Combatting the Truck Parking Shortage in America
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This episode discusses the truck parking shortage in America with Evan Shelley, CEO of Truck Parking Club. He explains why there’s a lack of parking spots for truck drivers, how long this has been an issue, whether it’s the government or private sector’s responsibility to solve it, and how his company’s marketplace app connects drivers to businesses with extra parking capacity. Listen to learn about this major logistics challenge and hear more about Truck Parking Club’s innovative solution.





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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I'm your host, Blythe Brumleve, and we are proudly presented by SPI Logistics, and we got another good show for you today, this time with Truck Parking Club CEO, Svan Shelley. Welcome to the show. This has been such an important topic that I've been wanting to dive into. You are the perfect guest to talk about the lack of parking in this country, so welcome in.

Evan Shelley: 0:32

Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:34

Absolutely Now, for folks who may not be familiar with you, your back story. How did you get into freight? What's your freight founder's story.

Evan Shelley: 0:42

Yeah, so it's not typical, I guess. I came from real estate, so background in civil engineering and started really in construction and rolled into development in real estate, buying and selling houses and then ultimately buying and selling land. And through doing land deals I figured out from some brokers and investors at Truck Parking there was a huge demand for it and that there wasn't enough of it. This was back in 2021. And from there really started investigating like why is it a problem and why can't we just build more of it and things of that nature. So over the course of like 12 to 18 months I started talking with people in the space, going to conferences, talking with truck parking operators and really understanding what's the actual problem. And then from there started Truck Parking Club.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:41

And so you were from when I was reading. You were in stealth mode for a while and so that kind of just reading between the lines, it sounds like you were having a lot of those conversations, those insights, what was sort of the light bulb moments that told you that this is something I got to try, I got to do.

Evan Shelley: 2:00

Yeah. So I don't know if I'd call it stealth mode, because it was like I think I was trying to find if there was a place in the market to make a difference, and so I didn't even know if there was something. I originally thought I was just going to go buy a bunch of Truck Parking and just be a real estate play, but then I realized you're not actually helping with the problem and it's very difficult to scale it that way. So I was really just investigating, I guess I mean stealth mode sounds better so I may start using that. But ultimately I don't know what's your original question, that I got lost on the stealth mode.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:39

So, with all the conversations you had, how did you sort of come to the moment of you know this is such a problem that I want to create a solution around it?

Evan Shelley: 2:49

Yeah, yeah, just through a lot of conversations with people, I actually met some people who had other marketplace type apps and car parking apps and stuff like that. I was like I think there's something there where you can leverage technology in existing space. Like a lot of car parking apps. They'll take someone's driveway or something of that nature and leverage that existing space with technology and allow someone to reserve that space and use that space. So it really just applied the same thing to truck parking club and create a marketplace where we help business owners monetize their extra space while also helping truckers find and reserve that space all across the US.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:35

Yeah, because for folks who may not know and where I read the word stealth was coming from a freight waves article that you were in stealth mode for a while. And it opens up the article. It says there are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States yet, according to American Trucking Associations, there are only 313,000 parking spots for those drivers. That means on average that there are 11 or 11 truckers fighting for any given space on average, which is crazy to me and I'm wondering through your conversations that you had do you know how long of a problem that this has been? Because it feels like I never heard about this issue and then all of a sudden I hear about it all the time. So I'm curious as to if you know how long this has been a problem.

Evan Shelley: 4:22

Yeah, so you talk with drivers that have been around for 20, 30, 40 years and they all say they've had issues, even a few decades ago, with finding parking, I think. But the experienced guys learn their routes and learn where to go and typically they have less of a problem. But you hear it From, we hear from drivers all the time. You know, in the 90s I knew this was going to be a big problem. I was having trouble finding parking then and no one did anything about it. And then now it's gotten to the point where it's just gotten extreme. I think is the reason that everyone is talking about it now, and I think it's become a little bit more political now because you're seeing the headlines where you know fatalities are occurring because of trucks parking on, on ramps and off ramps and things that nature. So it's becoming more political. The media has picked it up, so more people are talking about it and I think that awareness is ultimately going to help. You know, there's I think there's like $750 million in federal funding that's trying to be put into use for truck parking. So I honestly think it's just an awareness thing. That probably should have happened a decade ago and it wasn't a big enough problem for, I would say, the average person that you know. The media or anything really picked it up and then now, like you said, I mean it seems to be quite the buzzword now.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:57

And you mentioned that, the federal funding and that brings up one of my followers. I had asked this question on Twitter and they had you know, preparing for this interview, and one of the my followers said that a superior trucking payroll service asked this question. He said who is responsible for truck parking and what is the case that the government should provide this. So do you think it should be you know a situation where the government is funding these kinds of initiatives, or is it you know where the private market comes into play, like with your solution? Or maybe it's a combination of the two?

Evan Shelley: 6:31

Yeah. So I would definitely say it's a combination of the two. I meet people who say it's a private sector thing and I meet people who say it's purely a public sector thing, and I think it's probably something in the middle. Is, you know, 750 million will create tens of thousands of spaces. The shortage, the numbers that are thrown around today, the shortage is 600,000 or so spaces. So that 750 million is going to put, you know, hopefully a 10% dent in the actual problem. So it can't ultimately just be a federal thing, it needs to be private sector as well to ultimately really help in a significant fashion. The core issue of, you know, creating 600,000 or so spaces.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:30

And so talk to me about Truck Parking Club as the solution provider, especially in the private sector. I see on your site you have some call to actions. You know, become a property manager or become a property member, but then there's also areas for you know the driver to sign up as well. Walk me through what the driver onboarding experience is versus the property member experience.

Evan Shelley: 7:55

Okay, cool. So Truck Parking Club is a two-sided marketplace. So, like you just said, we have a trucker member and a property member. So the trucker member will go to our site or our app or our web browser and they will search for, let's say, they're looking for truck parking in Atlanta. They can search for Atlanta or they can zoom in on our map either one. I think people use a little bit of both and look for that location. Let's say they're in, you know, north of Atlanta. They'll see that we have, you know, 15 or so locations in that area and then from there they can click a listing and see the pricing, the photos that will show them what the facility looks like, the amenities, whether that is showers, restaurants, food, 24-7 access, etc. And then the booking availability, whether that's zero spaces, 10 spaces, 50 spaces, whatever it may be at the time. We have real-time availability, so that driver is going to know if they have availability or not at that location and everything is instant on our platform. So when you book you get that location at your determined check-in time immediately, whether that's an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly booking. So that's a quick overview on the trucker side and then on the property member side. It's just like uploading a location on Airbnb. You go in, you give a description of your property, location of your property, how many spaces you have available, if it's available on certain days or not. You know, maybe we have people that will turn off their location on the weekends or something of that nature, and then pricing if they want to do hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. That is their choice. And then photos of the property and then we have an internal bedding process for every single location.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:58

Oh wow. So it's really and that was one of the first things I thought of is like this feels a little bit like Airbnb, but for trucks. So I imagine, from the property standpoint, you know who is, I guess, a target fit for this? Is it, you know, warehouses that just have extra space? Is it any kind of property owner, just in general, who is sort of I guess your two or three like top demographics?

Evan Shelley: 10:23

Yeah, so we have a good connection with carriers, especially smaller carriers, that maybe they have one terminal or one headquarters, one hub for their trucks and they have 10 spaces and maybe an extra 10, 20, 30 spaces in their yard. They'll add their location to our platform and then we'll help that carrier monetize that extra space, help them make some more cash at their facility and then we help trucks find that additional parking. So that would be one another. It's like you just said, warehouses. You know a lot of warehouses do have some amount of extra space and we have a lot of warehouses on our platform where they have an extra 10, 20, 50 spaces and so they add their location and we help them monetize that extra space. And then we have truck repair facilities is another one where and you know, in that scenario a lot of times guys will end up getting their truck worked on or their trailer worked on as they need when they're staying there, or if they drop a trailer, they'll have their trailer worked on while it's staying there. So it's really I mean, it is the sharing economy, where maybe that truck is booking at that truck repair shop that ends up realizing that their service is closed, their service is on site that they can use, so we create a community really.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:54

That's cool and I imagine I love the ability for you know like a smaller carrier, to be able to add some additional income. You know revenue streams, especially in a market like this. How do you go about? You know, I guess you know finding new places Because we were talking before the show about, because I'm from Jacksonville and so I'm looking on here and I'm like why hasn't any Jacksonville businesses or property owners stepped up and signed up for this? So how do you think about sort of filling the gaps between you know different locations, especially in the state of Florida, where that's where such a deadhead state for the majority of carriers.

Evan Shelley: 12:31

Yeah, so to date, the majority of our locations we have 175 or so locations have been word of mouth, inbound, social media Nice Just articles, podcasts and someone figures out about us that has some extra space in their yard. But also we're looking into doing more outbound to filling gaps, like you mentioned. You know Jacksonville being one of them for sure, where we know that we have gaps in our map and ultimately we want to fill those to provide the most value to the trucker.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:18

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home, or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the Freight Agent Trenches, sponsored by SPI Logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. I want better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit spi3plcom. And I don't know if you know the answer to this, but I was just thinking as you were talking. Is this a uniquely US problem, or is truck parking an issue globally, or maybe in other countries?

Evan Shelley: 14:23

So I think there is a bit of an issue in Europe. I think it varies from country to country, but I think it becomes a little more complicated over there as far as finding parking and secure parking over there is actually more of a concern than it is here, and so they deal with similar things but maybe a little bit different. But I think there is a bit of a shortage over there as well, from what I've talked with other companies over there and heard that. I've heard that in certain parts of Canada is an issue. I don't really know much about Central or South America, but I think there's similar aspects in Europe and in Canada.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:12

Interesting? Yeah, because we had a previous episode where we were talking to Overhaul, which is monitors like cargo crime and things like that, and they said for a lot of drivers in Mexico that they're told not to drive at night, that you only drive during the day, and so secure parking is something that is few and far between where it's life or death like dangerous if you were to park overnight somewhere where you're not exactly sure, and I'm sure that those cases exist in the US as well. I did want to ask because you mentioned podcasts. You mentioned a lot of your referrals come inbound, which is fantastic. I wanted to ask you about your founder drip, because I'm a big fan of founder driven marketing and it feels like you have been I told you this at CSCMP like I've seen you make, like the podcast circuit and go on all the shows. Is that a conscious effort that you're doing in order to get those inbound leads, because it feels like it's an important strategy for you guys.

Evan Shelley: 16:15

Yeah for sure. So when I first was really starting the company I guess when I was in stealth mode I was really thought about what would drive growth for the company and what was important for the company. And then, as we launched and rolled out the company and really started talking about and advertising it, I started to realize what were the important parts of the business and what really makes a marketplace work. And it just so happened that it seems like podcasts really work well for our business model, because I can sit and have a conversation with you, we can have a nice chat, and then someone sees this and through the course of this podcast they become educated on what we do, what we stand for, what we're trying to accomplish, how we treat our customers all in one podcast and ultimately those become some of our best customers. So for our business and our model it works very, very well and I feel very thankful that people let us such as yourself, let us come on their podcast and talk about what we do.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:36

Yeah, for sure. I mean, as you're talking about that and thinking earlier to what your comments about Airbnb, what happens if some kind of issue happens on the property? Who are they complaining to? Are they complaining to you? Do you have to handle those customer service issues or is it on the property member and the driver to handle it themselves? What happens if an issue comes about?

Evan Shelley: 18:02

Yeah, that's a great question and it's a common thing with marketplaces, like fault for issues and things of that nature, and to date we've had certain types of issues nothing insane but certain issues that we've had to work with our trucker members and property members on but for the most part, with everything we've experienced to date, we haven't had any large legal issues. I mean a common one I can easily talk about is someone gets a ding on their truck when they're parked at a location, or a ding on their trailer. It's pretty common, and so what ends up happening is typically they'll call our customer care team and we'll talk with them about what's happening. We'll talk with the property member, We'll see if we can resolve and figure out what happened, et cetera. So we do. We want to make sure that all of our members have a great experience, whether it's a trucker member that is having an incident and we need to resolve it. We're to answer your question. We're okay with helping our trucker members work through issues. I'll give you an example. Our customer care team is made up of former truckers.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:25

So when you call, in.

Evan Shelley: 19:26

Yeah, you're talking to a former trucker and when there's an incident that happens let's say someone's truck gets dinged Our team talks with experience on how to handle those situations and I can't tell you how many times I'll talk with my team after the fact, or I'll see MRCRM like that the trucker member is thanking our customer care team for telling them to call the police and get a police report or immediately call their insurance company or all these different things that they know from experience, and they'll thank us for that and ultimately we could very easily say that's not our job, but we're adamant about taking care of our trucker members. We're very trucker centric. We do everything we can to provide the most value to truckers. So we do get involved in those situations as we need to be, and the main thing we do is try to lend experience that our team has in helping resolve whatever situation is happening, because at the end of the day, this should be like the smallest thing on a trucker's day as far as like parking their truck or going to get their truck in exiting a facility. It should be the smallest part of their day. So we try to mitigate and minimize any issues that happen.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:48

Yeah, I love that you said that, because Airbnb is a company that was just such. It was seen as such a darling, and then I think they kind of lost their way a little bit when some of these property owners started overcharging cleaning fees, for example, things like that. So it's good to see that the users of the platform feel like they're being taken care of not just by a customer service team, but by a customer service team that's filled with drivers who know their pain points and know that those situations are going to arise. But here is how you handle it, Because that's all the drivers are looking for.

Evan Shelley: 21:24

Exactly, and I think you made a good point about Airbnb and every company loses their way at points right. I'm a fan of Airbnb. I do think they lost their way there for a little while. I think they're trying to get that in check. Hopefully they do, but you know.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:41

The CEO, I think, even came out publicly and said that and he's like, we kind of lost our way a little bit. But here's how we plan to get back.

Evan Shelley: 21:48

Yeah, I think they've got like four million properties now or something, so it's very easy to lose your way. But I think the biggest thing I've drawn is we don't treat our business like it's a commodity. Dollars in parking space, reserve, dollars out, deal with a customer. We don't think about our business like a commodity. We think of our business as having a product that helps customers. Our trucker members get parked Like we are our service to them and we provide world-class customer service to them and we create an experience for them to make what should be the easiest part of your job a little bit easier on you at the end of the day or the beginning of your day, whatever it may be, and we're very, very focused on that.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:40

So what does, I guess, sort of is there a next phase to truck parking club? Is there properties you're going to purchase or additional locations? I would imagine is for sure. What are drivers looking for next? Because I think I was reading too that they spend on average an hour a day looking for parking. So I imagine you're already trying to solve a big problem. I don't know what the product roadmap looks like for you, but maybe it's just staying in this one spot and trying to figure that out. Is that a safe assumption?

Evan Shelley: 23:16

Yeah, so I'll answer it with this. So we have a North Star that we really talk about amongst the team. So truck parking club helps truckers save time and fuel by efficiently finding and reserving truck parking across the US. So everything we do on a day-to-day basis, on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis, all the strategies we talk about and the tactics need to tie into that. If it doesn't tie into that helping truckers save time and fuel by efficiently finding and reserving truck parking across the US then we don't do it. We're just not focused on anything other than that. And so what does that mean? Right? So like, as you mentioned, takes nearly an hour for truckers to find parking on a daily basis on average. Our goal is to get that down to five or 10 minutes and help the trucker find parking, and how do we do that? We need more property. Right, we have 175 or so as of today. We need five or 10,000. So for us it is continuing on that mission and hopefully we can look back on this podcast in 12 months and say, hey, truckers are finding parking a lot faster now because we have 2,000 properties, and then, maybe 24 months from that, we have 5,000 properties. So that's what we think about. That's really all we think about is executing on that.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:52

So, as we kind of round out the conversation, is there anything that you feel is important to mention that we haven't already talked about?

Evan Shelley: 25:02

I mean no, I think you've done great. I think we've hit on a lot of really cool things. I like how we dealt a little bit more into the business and what we're doing and what we stand for, so this has been awesome.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:13

Awesome, well, appreciate your time. Where can folks follow more of your work? Sign up for Truck Parking Club. That's also the website, truckparkingclubcom, become a property member and also, as a driver, sign up. Is it all app-based, or I think you mentioned that you can use a web browser as well.

Evan Shelley: 25:31

Yeah, we have a desktop web browser mobile app. It works well. It's optimized for all of those. So you can catch us on truckparkingclubcom in the footer of our Website. We have all of our social medias. We're on all the socials tiktok, facebook, youtube, x and LinkedIn. I've me personally if you want to reach out to me, I'm. I'm on LinkedIn. Typically I try to check X more often, but it can sometimes go a week without me looking at it. I get behind. But I'm very active on on LinkedIn and I would say we have a 24 7 customer care line, the numbers 888 899 Park. That's 888 899 727 5 for any of the drivers out there, carriers that just want to call or property members that want to call and Talk about the business. You know our customer care teams there to talk with you about those types of things or transfer you to someone who will assist you.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:33

Awesome. Yes, I will make sure I'm copying that information, that the phone number and the website, from your website, just to make sure that we include it in the show notes so folks can check there, to just make it easier on everybody. But, evan, this was a great conversation, one that I've wanted to have for a long time now. So I appreciate you coming on the show and breaking down a very big problem that not enough Americans are aware of. So appreciate you explaining that and break it down for us and then also, you know, building a solution to combat the problem.

Evan Shelley: 27:05

Yeah, thanks much for having me really enjoyed it.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:09

I Hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everything is logistics calm. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's digital dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a Neighbor down the street or stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry. Then it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at digital dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content Similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digital dispatch I. Oh. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.