Parking in downtown can be a nightmare. Whether you are delivering food or people, you may want to park somewhere. It will just be a few minutes. Can you just park and leave your car any where? No! If you park illegally, you risk being ticketed, booted, or towed. Best case scenario? Customer comes down for their delivery. However, if you are ordering something, you most likely do not want (or can) to come down for a delivery. Here are a few tips from the pros:
Valet/Service Entrance/Loading Docks
This should be your first choice. At most buildings, you can find a service entrance/loading dock, or a Valet/Security officer. 99% of the time, if you let them know politely that you have a delivery to pick up or drop off, they will be more than happy to let you park there for a few minutes. They may direct you to a specific spot, but if you are nice, they will let you leave your car there. It is nice to offer to leave your keys with them, just in case your car is in the way. Usually they say no, but sometimes they are happy to take them.
Street parking is probably the best choice for the part time rideshare driver. In Houston you can park for free after 6pm and all day on Sunday. The only con, is, these fill up quick. You may find yourself walking a block or two. If you get there before 6pm, you will need to pay. I believe most, if not all parking meters in Houston need your license plate now. If you look at the parking enforcement vehicles, you will notice little black boxes. These are license plate readers. All they have to do is drive down the street, and the computer inside alerts them to someone who is parked illegally. Parking tickets, rather inexpensive is a unnecessary expense when you are making a few dollars per delivery. 25 cents in the meter can easily cover the time you need for a quick delivery.
I do recommend you download the ParkHouston app now and set it up before you need it. If not, you can pay at the meter, but it is a lot easier with the app. Always carry some coins and a couple dollar bills just incase one or the other doesn’t work.
Commercial Loading Zones
You may have seen these on street corners, especially in the downtown area. These are commercial loading zones. These are a bit expensive for the part time driver, but they are worth it if you get serious about delivering. These are usually open for the taking, and will save you time from looking for spaces, walking a couple blocks over, etc.
The class C permit from City of Houston is a 30 minute permit for roughly $175. (Tax deductible to). 30 minutes should cover you in most cases as it relates to on demand delivery apps.
It should be noted that commercial tickets are typically worse than non-commercial tickets. Make sure you get a permit if you want to park in a Commercial Loading Zone!