Atlanta has a car boot problem, and unlikely entrepreneurs like “The Boot Girls” and Christian Verrette, the owner of ATL Boot Key, are seeing dollar signs.
Verrette, the mastermind behind the whole citywide enterprise, revealed to TSR Investigates’ Justin Carter that he figured it all out about a year ago.
Boot Removal Is Big Business In The ATL, Entrepreneurs Say
“I got booted, did some research, and I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure I can make this key,’” he told Carter.
He researched and learned that Atlanta parking lot companies use only four types of boots.
“So I took some of the money and I invested it in some machinery and now I’m just selling them myself. I did $50,000 in sales last week alone,” Verrette said.
During the interview with Carter, he claimed he earned $50,000 selling around 1200 individual keys at about $41 per key. Verrette brushed off suggestions that his clientele should be punished for parking illegally, calling it “extortion.”
#TSRInvestigates: Atlanta’s “Boot Girls” Are The Heroes The City’s Been Waiting For! // https://t.co/8XRIygb6gK pic.twitter.com/BTWI9fkcr5
— TheShadeRoom (@TheShadeRoom) May 16, 2023
“Boot Girls” Say They Do Over 20 Removals Per Day At A Flat Rate Of $50
Meanwhile, three Atlanta women that call themselves “The Boot Girls” are similarly fighting against private companies booting vehicles across the city and charging “predatory” prices for removal.
And business is very good, they say. TSR Investigates’ Justin Carter reports that the trio has amassed tens of thousands of dollars already from the enterprise.
“We will do over 20 (boot removals) a day” at a flat rate of $50, one of the “Boot Girls” tells TSR Investigates.
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But the work is far from easy. The women have routinely gone toe to toe with parking lot employees and men twice their size because they claim they’re doing what they feel is right.
“They chase us down, we got our backs to them trying to take off someone’s boot.”
Girls Are Calling Out Private Parking Lot Owners For Predatory Practices
Meanwhile, authorities are hot on their heels. The girls, who protect their identities with ski masks, recently went viral on TikTok after starting their own boot removal business, the three said.
Although it isn’t illegal to buy and sell boot keys in Atlanta, according to police, using the keys to remove the boot is unlawful. The new-school entrepreneurs say they wear face masks to obscure their identities due to the legal grey area that they operate under.
The three women, whose identities remain anonymous, said it all started after they began being unfairly booted in their upscale Buckhead neighborhood. One of them eventually found Verrette’s services online, selling keys, and it’s been big business for the women ever since.
The women are calling out private parking lot owners for what they call predatory practices. They claim some companies charge $75 per day for people who are either late returning their vehicles or don’t pay.
“It’s just really expensive and a lot of people can’t afford it,” one of the Boot Girls says.
Atlanta PD Say Some Of What The Boot Girls Are Doing Is Illegal, Trio Argue Otherwise
But police in Atlanta say some of what the Boot Girls are doing is against the law.
“While owning a boot key is not illegal, if you use the boot to modify, tamper or disengage a booting device from a vehicle, you can be charged with criminal trespass, theft of services, theft by taking, and damage to property in the second-degree,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement provided to The Shade Room.
The women went on to say that they never steal or damage any of the boots they remove.
“It’s always right there where they (the booting company) left it.”
However, authorities doubled down on their enterprise’s criminality, claiming the owners of those businesses are authorized to boot or tow vehicles that violate their private parking rules.
What do you say, Roomies? Are “The Boot Girls” heroes of the people? Or are they just pesty entrepreneurs toeing a fine line between legal and illegal?
The Shade Room does not condone any illegal activity.