Certainly by now, many of you have stayed at an Airbnb rental. I just checked the website, and there are more than 300 homes available in Salt Lake City, 300-plus homes with "Sports Guides" experiences in Park City, a sheep-camp trailer in Price, and homes or condos in St. George where you can stay with a "Superhost" who serves as your tour guide. Maybe you're renting out a room right now for extra cash? I had a client who told me he was pulling in more than $65,000 per year (in cash) by renting out his house on a nightly basis, mostly to film industry people during Sundance or movie and TV shoots. And, of course, Salt Lake City and other Utah subburbs are doing virtually nothing to tax, license or monitor this budding industry.
It's amazing that this multi-billion-dollar phenomenon has only been around since 2008. For me, I'd use this service over a hotel almost any day. Airbnb started when two roommates living in San Francisco couldn't afford to pay rent and decided to turn their loft into a rentable space that could fit three air mattresses. They advertised it with the promise of free breakfast and bought the mattresses just in time for a big convention coming to town. Three people soon answered the ad, and the idea stuck. It took a few years to get together the right business model and investors, but the founders of Airbnb have laughed their way to mega millions and hospitality history.
Now, there's neighbor.com. No, you don't get to rent a neighbor. You get to rent storage space in people's homes, on their land, or at their offices through what people call "the Airbnb of storage." The company is less than a year old but is making self-storage companies shake in their boots. Hell, I pay $210 a month for storage on North Temple for the crap I can't squeeze into our home. Trolling the website made me perk up with possibilities. There's a 5-by-5-foot basement space next to someone's furnace in the Avenues for $29 a month, a 12-by-35-foot piece of fenced-in dirt yard for $46 a month, a shed with a locked door in a backyard in Bountiful for $13 a month and a bedroom closet (not kidding) for $7 per month. If you have toys like boats, ATVs or trucks, there are plenty of listings for rental parking options over the winter. There aren't too many insurance guarantees when renting a stranger's closet or shed, but the prices are at least 50 percent less than storage facilities, and there's obviously a need this company is filling—fast.