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How Getaround offers car hosts better parking support with Retool


Kathy Dieppa is a Senior Operations Analyst at Getaround—a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that connects safe, affordable, and convenient cars with people who need them to live and work. In her role, Kathy focuses on building out internal processes and tools for the operations teams.

A critical, but less obvious part of running a car sharing business: parking.

Getaround's Parking Locations team sources and manages parking locations for car hosts. For a long time, they relied on a massive and difficult-to-use Google Sheet to track parking data, including vendors, locations, subscriptions, and access card information. "Using Google Sheets was not easy," says Kathy.

Manually inputting new data into the spreadsheet was error-prone and, because of the size constraints, the spreadsheet became slow to load and hard to navigate. On top of that, they couldn't integrate it with other tools, making it hard to visualize or report on the data within.

This is the story about how Kathy decided to help streamline their operations by building an app with a more user-friendly interface so the team could connect car hosts with safe, convenient, and affordable parking spots faster and more reliably.

From an overwhelming spreadsheet to an easy to use dashboard

To help their operations team provide better and faster parking support, Kathy and her team decided to adopt Retool to build a better interface over their parking data.

For starters, she migrated their behemoth of a spreadsheet into a BigQuery database to better structure the data, better integrate with other tools, and properly scale the database as they added more parking data. Once it was setup, they connected the database to Retool and built a simple UI to interact with the data.

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Immediately, she noticed how clean and intuitive the UI was, how seamlessly they could manage new records, and how much easier it was to navigate across types of information. No more out-of-control spreadsheets.

Let's take a look at how they manage parking spots for car hosts using their new parking registry page, Parkifier. Using the new dashboard, the Ops Team can easily add a car and check it doesn’t exist in the database to prevent duplicates.

Getaround Image 2

They can also select a location to park the car, see available spots at each parking location, add the access card number to the record, and update the date the car will move into the spot.

Getaround Image 3

And to ensure smooth payment, they can input the car host's Stripe information right on the registry page.

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Any updates made on the registry page are immediately reflected in the database, and record updates are easy—they take one click of the ‘edit record’ button. No more searching for a record in the Google Sheet and scrolling.

Finally, when the team knows when the car will vacate a parking spot, they can add it to the record so that the Ops Team knows when a spot will become available for other hosts to use.

To build and use the parking registry page, Kathy and her team used several key Retool components and features, including:

  • Modals to open popups that enable a sub-workflow within a page

  • Wizards on top of a modal, to set step-by-step processes with logic, such as requiring an ops team member to enter a valid car name in order to proceed

  • Forms for adding and editing records and validating each field

  • Buttons to simplify workflows where there are a lot of actions that can be taken. Each button opens up a web page or modal that enables easy, intuitive actions without complex navigation.

Improving parking—and the Getaround product—overall

Using their new parking registry page gives Kathy and the entire ops team more confidence in the data they’re working with, which helps them better serve Getaround’s car hosts.

And with their data in a proper data warehouse, they can now leverage proper BI tools. “Using BI tools will enable even more reliable operational and financial reporting and further streamline our operations,” Kathy says.

The improvements we’ve achieved with Retool ultimately enable the team to scale and serve more car hosts—and improve our parking offering.

Looking to the future, they're exploring how they might add parking data into the core product—something that could hugely improve operations and the Getaround user experience.

“Thanks to Retool, we’re one step closer to putting the parking process into the car hosts’ hands, optimizing parking point of sale, empowering hosts, and removing the operational load of this process,” Kathy says.

Our Retool parking registry page is just the tip of the iceberg; we can’t wait to further streamline the parking experience for our internal team and our car hosts so they can get around more easily.

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