10 parking tips for drivers in big cities

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When you’re in and out of your vehicle for deliveries, you want to make sure you’re leaving it somewhere safe, convenient, and legal. Unfortunately, throwing on the flashers and hoping for the best will only get you so far. 

For delivery drivers in big cities, it’s not always easy to find a parking spot close to your destination. If you’re not careful, you’re taking the big risk of a ticket or tow. 

Plus, circling to find a spot costs you valuable time and earnings. A lot of delivery drivers also wonder if companies like UberEats will reimburse them for any parking fee or fines. We’re sorry to say the answer to that one is a pretty hard no. The same goes for courier-only services like Instacart. 

But that doesn’t mean you’re on your own! Thankfully, there are a number of tactics drivers can use to ensure they have access to the best parking spots out on the road. 

Here are 10 ways delivery drivers can streamline the parking process to help them save time, deliver faster, and make more money. 

1. Engage your community 

While not every driver is willing to risk beating the system, there are a number of different driver communities where you might be able to ask questions and gain some valuable knowledge. 

For instance, Gridwise’s Facebook community page brings together drivers who are interested in networking and learning how to optimize their driving business from other Gridwise users. You can also download the Gridwise app for access to exclusive driver perks and tips, and again, join our Facebook group to connect with like-minded earners.

2. Find a broken meter 

We’re not going to call this a “hack,” but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for. If you spot a broken meter near an area you know has high traffic for deliveries, you could be in luck. Make a mental note so that you can take advantage of it next time you’re in the area. 

Another way to “beat the meter” is to check what time your city makes you pay for parking. Oftentimes, there are only certain hours or days when you need to feed the meter. If you can schedule your driving around these hours, you’ll be able to save. 

3. Look for curbside pickup

One of the toughest places to find parking is in densely populated urban centers. At least, that’s if you’re looking on the street. We learned from drivers that parking spots associated with your pick-up and drop-off location can be a great place to pull in. They’re usually ticketed by the hour, so if you’re quick with your delivery, you may not have to pay at all. 

4. Utilize helpful apps 

While navigating yet another app may not sound ideal, it can sure beat circling excessively trying to find an appropriate spot to pull over. 

  • Waze‘s “Where to Park” feature shows users available spots near their destination by calculating traffic density in certain spots.
  • Way+ allows drivers the option of purchasing flexible daily and monthly parking passes that allow them to park in different spots around their city multiple times a day. Drivers who purchase a subscription can also save on gas, car washes, and auto insurance! 

5. Opt into two-wheel drive

One of the best ways to eliminate the hassle of parking your car on deliveries is to well, eliminate the car. Choosing to deliver on two wheels rather than four lets you be a little more nimble and opens up more options for where you can leave your vehicle. Just be sure to bring a good lock!

6. Carry coins 

The reality is sometimes your best option for making a delivery quickly is to feed the meter. With more and more city meters being converted to digital payment systems, you can save time and money by carrying enough quarters for a few minutes at the curb. 

Paying $5 for a few minutes of parking in a pinch is going to cost you a lot less in the long run than taking your chances with a parking enforcement officer. 

7. Scope out the area 

Next time you’re out for a stroll around the block, try and take it in areas where you frequently pick up or deliver. When you know a customer is waiting, it can be difficult to take the time to look around and identify open parking spots. 

This is also a great time to make note of the daily and hourly parking restrictions in certain areas. 

8. Call ahead 

It pays to be prepared. On any order, there’s always the chance that either the restaurant or the customer will be able to meet you at your car for a quick hand-off. While not always possible, calling ahead might end up saving you considerable time finding a parking spot. 

We recommend being polite in any customer or merchant interaction. Rather than telling someone to meet you at the curb, you can try asking if there’s parking nearby or what the most convenient way to complete the delivery is. 

9. Mind the curb 

Colorful curbs aren’t just meant to look nice, they also serve to tell drivers where they can and can’t park. You might still remember what color indicates what, but a lot of states have unique rules that you can use to your advantage. Oftentimes, certain curb colors indicate loading zones or short-term parking that other drivers will avoid because they aren’t sure whether or not they can park there.  

Here’s a guide to curb laws by state. 

10. Take your time 

Going along with tip #7, and as with everything in life, every once in a while it’s important to remember to just take a breath. 

We know you want to make your delivery as quickly as possible to maximize your earnings, but when it comes to parking, mistakes can be costly. A parking ticket can range anywhere from $40 to $200 dollars depending on your city, easily wiping out at least an order or two if not an entire day’s earnings. While it might be tempting to try and bend the rules in a pinch, financially it just isn’t worth it. 

Have a parking tip you’ve had success with? Leave a comment or share it with the Gridwise community!

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