There must be an easier way? A discussion on alternatives to hosting

Hi everyone, I’ve been a host in the past, as have family and friends. A lot of the good things that can come out of this have been talked about in this forum, but a lot of the difficulties / hassles of being a host have been too.

I’ve been looking at ways to help people monetize their space in a way which doesn’t require other people to stay in their home… Granted, for some this misses the whole point of AirBnb (making new connections, etc), but for some who depend on the income from AirBnB this would be a welcome relief from time to time…

The idea is simple - the same concept, but applied to self-storage. Fill your spare bedroom with boxes, with the logistics managed by the intermediary company, and make money for just having things in your spare space. No bed sheet changes. No clean up. No worrying about whether the next guest will be a total bore. Yes, there are some challenges involved, and we’re working on those.

I’d like a debate with those in this forum about this idea (which we’re actively building now in London, UK). What do you think?

Here’s where we’re gathering feedback from would be “storage hosts”…

And here’s where we’re gathering feedback from would be “storage guests”…

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Not a bad idea. Adds on to the sharing economy. “manhattan mini storage” for the sharing economy, essentially. Making use of unused space in a non-invasive way.

Questions I have are:

Tranportation: how do you move stuff into the space? Do you have on-demand crew?


Seems promising, especially for students.

You would take a HUGE drop in income as you would only be able to charge no more than self storage units in your town.Also, they still have the right to come in and check on their stuff or add to it or take away, meaning people will still be coming in your house yet you will be making a small fraction of what you made before.Also, most people will not want to leave their stuff in someones house; they will want professional self storage; with set hours to retrieve stuff with remote gate; security and heavy duty door and locks; also at self storage you usually can drive right up to thestorage space;making loading and unloading much easier. I would suggest adding a guest house in the backyard so you dont have to interact w guest. I never see my guests after I do the initial walk through.

Thanks Connor_Lee.

Transportation: Yes, the idea is to have door-to-door pick up and drop off service managed by the company. The person who is storing does not need to leave home
Liability: Interesting one, lots of different companies have quite an unclear approach to this. We’re working on it!
Insurance: This will need to be clear and watertight, agreed.

Thanks jamfactorykeen. Yes, storemates are based on a similar concept, but executed in a different way. We think we can do something much simpler and accessible.

Thanks diamond54.

The idea is to standardize the unit of measure, like these guys do ( That way it’s easy for hosts to calculate exactly how much they can make from their space. Because it’s “bitesize” storage (by the box, as opposed to for the square footage), it means you can store for multiple guests at once. We’re doing detailed analysis on what exactly it would take to match the revenue of an average AirBnB bedroom by storing boxes instead. You’re right, in practice it would mean a drop in income, but for some this may be a welcome, more passive alternative.

Yes, there are logistics challenges. The key to being able to offer the service is that the logistics is managed by the intermediary (us) - there will be pre agreed drop off and entry times, and the host and guest do not have to meet unless they want to. There is no “getting in to check up on my things”.

Our customer research so far shows us that if SECURITY and CONVENIENCE can be guaranteed, then they have no problem storing a large % of their things in other people’s homes. Once you get into high value objects, it’s a bit more complicated.

We’re looking at the guest house/secure garden shed option - good thinking.

Thanks again for valuable feedback. If you want to capture it here, would be extremely valuable:

I don’t think it’s AirBNB hosts you’re nec looking for. There may be an idea here but most hosts have set up a pretty nice space where we can also comfortably house our friends and family. I don’t relish the idea of having a bedroom in my home filled to the ceiling with boxes, bbq grills, and bicycles.

I think people with large, unfinished basements might better fit your target – the space needs to be unattractive and largely un-utilized.

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Hi chicagohost,

This is really important insight - the opportunity cost of having boxes stored in a room is that you can no longer use a spare room for friends/family when you’re not AirBnB-ing.

Agree with the target customer comments. Thanks very much!

It seems more likely that you find people willing to rent out half the space in a small bedroom closet. Everyone has a bedroom and hallway closet but very few have large empty basements. This would also resolve the security logistics of multiple people accessing their stuff in a large shared space.