By Heather Somerville
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Luxe, a startup that provides valet parking through an app, launched a subscription service for all its users on Thursday, as consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones for transportation options at the press of a button.
Through the app, subscribers can pay a set monthly rate instead of per use, an option the year-old company had previously tested with certain users.
"The speed at which this became an indispensable service for people … is one of the things that we've been most pleased with," Phil Farhi, Luxe's vice president of product management, said in an interview.
San Francisco-based Luxe's gross revenue is growing 40 percent per month, he added, & is 15 times larger since the company launched in October 2014.
Farhi declined to say how many users Luxe has yet said 80 percent are repeat customers. Luxe does "thousands of parks a day," he said.
Drivers can use the Luxe app to order a valet – who arrives on scooter, skateboard or foot – to meet them at a destination & park their car. When the drivers need their car back, they use the app to alert the valet when & where to be met.
Subscriptions range from $139 to $799 per month, varying by city & customer need. For instance, New York residents tend to use their cars only on the weekend.
Luxe is moreover expanding its car-care service as a monthly subscription, Farhi said. The service includes oil changes, car washes & fuel-ups.
Luxe is available in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia & Austin, Texas. It has raised $25.5 million from investors.
Among Luxe's greatest challenges is convincing people to hand over one of their most valuable possessions to a stranger. Some customer reviews on business rating site Yelp, where Luxe has a 3.5-star rating, report valets damaging their vehicles.
The company has a $5 million insurance policy & parks cars only in garages or secured lots, where it rents spaces.
Luxe has approximately 70 employees & 1,000 valets, who are independent contractors. They will be reclassified as employees early next year, the company said.
(Editing by Stephen R. Trousdale & Richard Chang)