We met Jean Verheyen, one of the founders of Proxiparking.
My partner and I started our company about 4 years ago. We got the idea after driving around for hours one evening desperately looking for a parking place and just wanting to get home after a long day of work, and saw that the supermarket’s parking lot nearby was filled with empty spots. That’s when we realised there was a real business opportunity to develop!
Since then, we have been managing parking lots (corporate as well as private). Our mission is to find real solutions to Brussels’ parking issue by clearing the streets as much as possible and by optimising our partners’ income.
We also launched a platform, Parking.be, which is dedicated to parking lots. Now any parking owner can put his space up for rent when he isn’t using it, and can actually make interesting profit out of it (without having to worry about a thing, because we take care of everything).
What does an entrepreneur’s day look like in Brussels? What do you struggle with, or on the contrary, what support can you rely on?
A lot of time is spent getting people to hear about you! Finding prospects, following up, getting new parking owners on board, creating new partnerships. There is also a lot of management. Once we get an owner on board, we handle everything from A to Z (finding the right tenants, handling the contracts, managing the places, the security aspect, following up on payements, etc.). The quality of our service and our clients’ satisfaction are most important, that why we put so much time and energy into it!
Your company’s offices are established in a business center, why did you choose that kind of solution? What are the limits of working at home?
We chose a “flex desk” at Silversquare, because we are often on the road and we needed an office well situated in Brussels where we could meet up and have meetings with clients from time to time. We were immediately attracted by their prices and the range of services that they offer.
Silversquare has supported us since the very beginning. They introduced us to interesting contacts and complementary profils. A brainstorming session was also organised with a couple of members that helped us clarify our goals. More than that, Silversquare helped us evolve, by being surrounded by other entrepreneurs who have similar objectives, which is really motivating.
I have a thousand stories to share about Silversquare. Everybody gets along so well, there is a great atmosphere, you meet plenty of new people, you stay motivated, etc. I could talk about it for hours.
Do you have any advice to give for anyone about to start a business in Belgium?
Surrounded with the right people, create a good network, be patient, curious, know your business’ field at 150%, don’t be scared of failure (because as long as you are learning you’re a winner), talk and confront your ideas with as many people as possible.