A new entry into the shared economy landscape, the online marketplace matches home owners with landowners and tiny-house wannabe dwellers with micro-home owners looking for rental income. Founder/owner Maggie Daniels offers free listings to both land and tiny home owners. Like AirBnB, guests are charged a fee when a booking is confirmed.
The Simply Enough team met Daniels at the 2017 Tiny House Conference in Portland and followed up with a few questions.
I know a little about your background—you moved to a tiny house after you began renting out your “big house” out for extra income, right?
MD: Yes. Renting my house on Airbnb proved so successful that I was leaving my home too often. Building a tiny house provided a way for me to stay on my land, to have my mini/aspiring homestead and continue to receive rental income. Up until last week, I felt I was "full-time" tiny—except, now, my tiny house has been the thing I'm renting out more frequently!
The next step was realizing that I have room for more tiny house parking spots on my land. I went ahead and added hookups to make it easy and friendly to a variety of different needs. Then, I needed a way to let people with tiny houses know I could accommodate them on my property, and I realized I could help elsewhere, as well.
What else in your background was an influence in starting this business?
MD: My background is in finance and business, and I always thought of starting my own business but never dreamed it would be so soon or happen almost organically. While researching my own tiny house, I learned of the challenges in finding places to park. Living in rural Indiana, I was initially very surprised, thinking, "There's land EVERYWHERE!" How naive. After helping some folks find land here in Indiana, I started piecing things together, which turned into a full-blown business plan. It became apparent, very quickly, that this need was far greater than I originally imagined, and it was going to demand my full-time attention. So, I got serious, got some funding and a lot of my savings together and took a leap of faith.
When did you launch? And how much has the site grown since then?
MD: We launched the business in March 2017, so we've been up and running for a a couple months now. I started working on the business almost a year ago (in concept) and left my former job to do it full time at the end of last year. I've been really happy with the reception! We've had a lot of users sign up to the site (we hit 1,000 recently), and we continue to add inventory each day (woo hoo!). We still have so much more to do. It's not just about having "inventory" in any particular state (we're in 30 states), it's about having the right inventory, in the right location and sub-market, at the right/fair market price, at the right time with a Guest and Host match. It's extremely challenging—very daunting at times because people's lifestyles are relying on you.
Do you have any “success stories” you can share?
MD: Yes! I'm happy to say we have several success stories since our launch: Land hosts who are hosting tiny housers in need of long-term solutions, and people giving tiny a try by renting a tiny house. We have had these situations in places like Washington (state), Massachusetts and the Midwest. There is already a testimonial on the homepage at the bottom from a match in Washington. I haven't had as many tiny house rentals yet, so I don't know of someone who has then gone on to purchase a tiny house after renting one.
Are there any upcoming additions/changes in the works?
MD: Yes! We just launched a new "forum" feature this week (!) which will be more of an open Q&A with Hosts so they don't have to answer the same questions over and over, and it will give a lot more information to the Guest who is traveling (to see the back and forth and answering of questions). We are also working on a long-term monthly renewal program which will automate monthly payments for longer term stays. This will help make booking and payment more efficient, plus it will have an auto step-down cost structure so it's more cost-efficient for the Guest!
We also added a calendar syncing feature which probably isn't as exciting as some of the other inovations, but it is certainly a functional improvement that will help people who book multiple locations, trips or have several listings.
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