EVERETT — Parking can be a headache for property managers.
Who is parking where? Are all the parking permits up to date? Why are the guest spots always filled?
Enter Parking Boss, an Everett software company that hopes to help apartment and condo building owners sort the mess.
“All you have to do is Google apartment communities and look at the reviews and you’ll see over and over and over again parking, parking, parking,” said Joel DuChesne, one of the partners in Parking Boss.
The company has designed a software program to untangle the parking mess. So far, Parking Boss has signed up more than 150 properties with about 30,000 units mainly in California and Florida. And the company hopes to triple that number this year. DuChesne and his business partner Nathan LeMesurier are the driving forces behind Parking Boss.
The firm creates a new database for each property and sends a box with signs, scannable parking permits and magnets to each property.
The company charges each property a monthly fee — usually under a few hundred dollars. In return, property managers and their security companies get a system that allows them to easily check and keep track of who is parking where.
There are many firms that offer parking tracking at pay lots, but there are few that offer similar services for apartments and condos.
Parking Boss is an offshoot of Luminous Creative, which was started by DuChesne and former partner Stephan McIntosh in 1997. Luminous Creative started as a traditional print design firm, but moved early on to creating websites for businesses in Snohomish County.
DuChesne, who is from Snohomish, has a design background. He met LeMesurier through a mutual acquaintance in 2001. LeMesurier was still attending high school, but he had a web background after setting up a ‘Star Wars’ fan site in the still-early days of the Web. The company hired LeMesurier to help with all things digital.
“His capabilities and what he has learned and what he could do completely changed our company and what we could offer,” DuChesne said.
Luminous helped create and manage corporate websites for The Everett Clinic, Snohomish County PUD and what is now Xfinity Arena. And the company hosted websites for dozens of smaller businesses mainly in the county.
In 2009, LeMesurier and his wife bought a condo in Edmonds and LeMesurier joined the condo board. One of the issues at the 150-unit complex were people parked too long in the guest stalls.
Residents and their guests could use the guest stalls for only 24 hours a week, but it was difficult and time consuming to keep track of who parked there.
“I remember one board meeting and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I have an idea that might work here,’” LeMesurier said. “I left the meeting and I called Joel walking back to my condo.”
They created a parking system where people needed to check into a website and print parking permits.
Violators could be towed. Just the threat of towing stopped all of the parking scofflaws, LeMesurier said.
Within a month, they sold the system to another condo complex in Mukilteo. They started running it as a side project to Luminous and came up with the — by their own admission — not very sexy name Guest Services Parking.
They were able to sell the system with various tweaks to some more properties.
“It was pretty soon that we realized that just managing and regulating guest parking wasn’t enough for a lot of these places although it was needed,” DuChesne said. “So we built a whole system around regulating their resident vehicles as well that kind of changed our product.”
They improved the product from the original printed permits to mobile scannable permits. Residents at each complex can check on cars, but property managers and their security can log onto a website through a browser to get more information and even send photos of parking violations.
They came up with the name Parking Boss with the web address www.parkingboss.com. “The domain name was not available but it was affordable,” DuChesne said.
Last year, they split about half of their efforts between Luminous and Parking Boss. They think that they’ll spend about 75 percent of their time on Parking Boss this year.
“Building a product and building a business, there’s a lot of overlap, but there’s definitely some differences,” LeMesurier said.