Rent the extra storage space in your home for easy extra income

Linda and Peter O’Connor bought their 32ft travel trailer so they could enjoy their retirement years touring the country. But when they started looking for a place to store it near their home in Kerrville, they were shocked at the prices listed.

“They wanted $350 to $450 a month for a covered place,” said Linda, who was a buyer for an industrial fastener manufacturer.

Then she Googled “RV storage” and found Neighbor, Neighbor.com, which bills itself as a self-service storage marketplace that connects homeowners and others who have unused space – a guest bedroom, basement or garage – with those looking for a safe place to store everything from clothes, books and records to cars, boats and caravans.

Today, the OConnors’ RV sits safely under a metal carport in Alejandro Lara’s front yard, less than 10 miles from their home, and for just $120 a month.

Linda and Peter OConnor store their 32ft travel trailer under a carport in Alejandro Lara’s front yard less than 10 miles from where they live.

Linda O’Connor

“It has everything we wanted,” she said. “It’s cheap, we can access it whenever we want and every other day I just drop by to make sure everything is okay.”

Often called the Airbnb of self-storage, Neighbor launched in 2017 and now operates in all 50 states, with revenue five times higher this year than last, according to co-founder and CEO Joseph Woodbury. , which declined to provide revenue figures for the private company.

Woodbury attributes the boom to the punch of a pandemic followed by inflation, which prompted many homeowners to seek a lucrative side hustle while prompting self-storage customers to seek cheaper digs for their belongings.

“Almost everyone has an empty space somewhere in their house that they can rent out,” Woodbury said. “And once it’s rented, the money is automatically transferred to your account. They can literally make money while they sleep.

Compared to many companies in the sharing economy, Neighbor requires little from its hosts. New hosts should first select the type of space they have, its features (controlled air conditioning, private entrance, whether it is locked, etc.), then write a short description with measurements and photos of the space. space.

Homeowners can register on the Neighbor.com website to rent out their unused space, such as a garage, for a monthly fee to people looking for a place to store their belongings.

Homeowners can register on the Neighbor.com website to rent out their unused space, such as a garage, for a monthly fee to people looking for a place to store their belongings.

Neighbor

Renters enter their location and what they want to store, whether it’s common household items, a vehicle, or even commercial inventory such as computers and office furniture. They then receive a selection of available spaces within a distance they define, and can then contact hosts for any of the spaces they are interested in through the website.

Vicente Hernandez lives on the East Side of Houston and recently listed an empty storage space in his home for $35 a month.

“I’m separated and the money can help me do something with my kids when I have them every other weekend,” he said. “Maybe take them to dinner or to the movies. Something good.”

Woodbury says spaces on Neighbor rent on average 30-50% less than at the chain’s storage locations. It’s also much easier to find storage on Neighbor, he said.

“The self-storage industry builds about $5 billion in new inventory every year, but they still have occupancy rates above 96%,” he said. “So they’re basically complete. On the other hand, we have plenty of places available.

Indeed, a quick search for a 10-by-10-foot storage space on the north side of San Antonio recently turned up 54 spaces within 10 miles of the airport. Another search for covered vehicle storage within a 15-mile radius of South Park Mall found 44 spaces available.

Woodbury also has a ready answer for those who might be reluctant to leave their valuables in someone else’s home or property. After all, what stops a nosy parker from rummaging through their belongings, either out of sheer curiosity or looking for something to steal?

“The best protection we offer is that we’re hyperlocal,” he said. “You store your things with someone who is, often literally, your neighbour. This tends to build trust between host and tenant.

And if trust isn’t enough, the site also offers hosts a free $1 million personal liability protection plan in case a renter gets hurt, for example, by tripping and falling on guest property. host.

Renters can also purchase one of several plans that will reimburse them if their belongings are stolen, damaged or destroyed – although the plans carry a 10% deductible.

However, such measures are not foolproof and, as with other sharing economy systems, Neighbor, like the others, attracts its share of scammers. When someone contacted Erika Longoria about renting the cabana in the backyard of her house on the northeast side of San Antonio, for example, he asked to bypass the site’s payment system and send a check.

“I knew it was a scam and shut it down right away,” she said.

Christian Espinoza's garden shed measures 13 by 25 feet and rents for $135 a month on self-storage marketplace website Neighbor.com.

Christian Espinoza’s garden shed measures 13 by 25 feet and rents for $135 a month on self-storage marketplace website Neighbor.com.

Christian Espinosa

While hosts can set their own rent, the site also offers pricing based on demand and competition in the area. The algorithm suggested that Christian Espinoza charges $135 a month for the 13-by-25-foot wooden shed in the backyard of his Kirby home.

“I don’t use the shed because I live alone and have a lot of space in the house,” the cable technician said. “I thought it would be nice to earn some extra money on it.”

rmarini@express-news.net | Twitter: @RichardMarini

Comments are closed.