Here at Max, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to make the most of everything. These days, it’s easier, due to the proliferation of new companies that have sprung up to address inefficiencies in people’s lives.
We’re excited about these new hacks that allow people to save time and effort.
Everyone hates to park in the city, no matter what city you’re in. Parallel parking is a nightmare, finding a spot can leave you circling the block, and garages may feel unsafe. And if you’re running late, you have a bigger problem.
Now a bevy of new parking services has begun serving frustrated drivers in major urban areas around the country. It’s the inverse of Uber: instead of using your smartphone to order a chauffeured car, you’re driving yourself and smartphoning up a parking valet.
How it works: use an app like Luxe Valet, Zirx, and Valet Anywhere to call for a valet. When you arrive at your destination, the valet will appear and drive your car away. Where to? Somewhere safe, but you don’t care — you’re on to your meeting or dinner reservation. Some of the services will even fill up your tank or perform other maintenance tasks for you while you’re parked. When you’re ready to leave, the valet will meet you outside with your car. You can do on-demand or monthly parking, a boon in places like Manhattan where garages are both expensive and inconvenient.
Babysitting + Driving
Being a parent is about trying to be in more than one place at the same time. Even parents who have flexible work schedules find themselves dealing with complicated logistics when it comes to taking little Sally to diving practice when her brother Sam has a band competition across town. Many families have nannies, housekeepers, or babysitters who look after the children, but these caregivers often don’t drive, or don’t have a car. Hiring someone just to drive the children around works, but it’s complex.
Now a team of hardcore tech veterans who are also working mothers in Los Angeles has launched a service, HopSkipDrive, that solves this problem. They provide qualified, background-checked babysitters in a car. The sitter will pick up your kids at school, sign them out, strap them into a booster seat, drive them to tennis lessons, and sign them in. The service plugs the gap between activities, especially for children who are old enough to stay alone at drop-off classes or practices but too young to travel alone.
Finding a trustworthy person to walk your dog while you’re at work or away is tough for dog owners. And when you need someone at the last minute, you’re really in trouble. But you can’t always leave work to rush home when your dog needs you. What to do?
Now there’s Wag, an on-demand dog-walking app. Take it as a given that dog owners want to line up walkers from their phones. Now assume that your phone gets you access to vetted, insured, bonded, and trained dog walkers. The company will provide a lockbox so the walker can get into your house (or you can have your doorman let him or her in), and the walker will send you updates so you can track your dog’s progress. Want to know what the dog did along the way? That’s on the app, too — as much information as you like. For now, the service is available in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with plans to expand to other cities.
You don’t need an app to walk your dog — if you have the time to do it yourself. Wag’s genius is in making it easier to pair up dog owners and dog walkers. (We at Max got to know Wag because some of our owners are also investors in a fund that has invested in Wag.)