Linda and Peter OConnor bought their 32-foot travel trailer so they could enjoy their retirement years seeing the country. But when they started looking for a place to store it near their home in Kerrville, they were shocked by the prices quoted.
“They wanted $350 to $450 a month for a covered spot,” said Linda, who was a buyer for a manufacturer of industrial fasteners.
Then she Googled “RV storage” and discovered Neighbor, Neighbor.com, which bills itself as a self-storage marketplace that matches homeowners and others who have unused space — a spare bedroom, basement or garage — with those looking for a safe place to store everything from clothing, books and records to cars, boats and travel trailers.
Today, the OConnors’ RV is safely ensconced beneath a metal carport in Alejandro Lara’s front yard less than 10 miles from their home, and for only $120 per month.
Linda and Peter OConnor store their 32-foot travel trailer beneath a carport in Alejandro Lara’s front yard less than 10 miles from where they live.
“It’s got everything we wanted,” she said. “It’s cheap, we can get to it whenever we want and every couple of days I drive past just to make sure everything’s OK.”
Often called the Airbnb of self-storage, Neighbor was launched in 2017 and today operates in all 50 states, with revenues five times higher this year than last, according to co-founder and CEO Joseph Woodbury, who declined to provide revenue figures for the privately held company.
Woodbury credits this boom to the one-two punch of a pandemic followed by inflation, which spurred many homeowners to look for a money-making side hustle while at the same time prompting self-storage customers to look for more inexpensive digs for their stuff.
“Just about everybody’s got some empty space somewhere in their house that they can rent,” Woodbury said. “And once it’s rented, the money gets transferred into your account automatically. They can make money literally while they sleep.”
Compared to many sharing-economy businesses, Neighbor requires little of its hosts. New hosts must first select the type of space they have available, any features it has (climate controlled, private entrance, whether it’s locked, etc.) and then write a short description with measurements and photos of the space.