On-demand parking war heats up as Luxe’s rival ZIRX comes to LA

ZIRX, one of the new on-demand parking apps to emerge in the last six months, has just expanded to Los Angeles. It’s following closely on the heels of its competitor Luxe, which announced its LA move last week. The parking wars are heating up.

If you’re the sort to pay attention to developments in the on-demand space, you probably noticed the internet collectively falling in love with Luxe in the last month. The parking app allows you to hand your car off to an attendant anywhere in San Francisco, and have it returned to you where you finish your day. The price — $5/hour and $15 maximum — had reporters from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal swooning over the convenience after trying it.

Quietly in the background, Luxe’s biggest competitor went about its business, as it had since launching in June, months prior. In what could be a significant miscalculation, ZIRX CEO Sean Behr didn’t hire an external PR firm to sing its praises to the press. “We’ve just been really focused on doing rather than talking,” Behr told me on the phone.

As a result, the rather unfortunately named ZIRX (sounds like a Toy Story character) received mentions in the flood of stories about Luxe, halfway down the page, in lists of its competitors. It was portrayed almost as an afterthought, not the market leader.

It’s a weird dissonance, because ZIRX launched earlier and moved into its second market — Seattle — months before Luxe moved into its second market of LA. As a result, it has also built more product features than Luxe.

  1. It’s available on both iOS and Android, while Luxe is just iOS for now. In markets like Seattle, where a larger chunk of the public is on Android, that makes a big difference for customer expansion.
  2. ZIRX, unlike Luxe, offers overnight parking, for $15. You’re not supposed to leave your car overnight with Luxe, and if you do you’re charged $50.
  3. ZIRX offers a $299 monthly fee, where you’ll get unlimited valet pick ups and drop offs. You could basically eliminate the hassle of street parking in your neighborhood or at work, if you can afford that price. Behr told me it’s like, “It’s kind of like your garage in the cloud.”
  4. ZIRX parks its cars only in enclosed structures, complete with cameras.

All-in-all, it sounds like a more developed product. Luxe’s website makes it clear it doesn’t offer Android or overnight parking and it makes no mention of a monthly subscription service or enclosed parking structures. I reached out to Luxe one hour before publishing to inquire, and I’ll update this story when I hear back.

Update: After this story published, Luxe responded to my inquiry. The company says Android and overnight parking are both coming soon. Despite not being mentioned on the website, it does in fact have a monthly subscription for unlimited short-term valet requests — $99 for the first month, $299/month thereafter. Lastly, a Luxe spokesperson pointed out that the company has longer operating hours, staying open later than ZIRX most nights.