‘Storages Airbnb’: growth of vacant room rental service for storage

The empty bedroom or garage are becoming sources of extra income for Brazilians amidst the pandemic. These vacant spaces inside the families’ houses are starting to be used to store objects from other families and companies.

In the future, they may function as mini electronic commerce distribution centers to expedite deliveries.

Since the beginning of the year, a platform has been in operation in the country that connects those who have available space with those who are looking for areas to lease. It operates in 200 cities, including all capitals and the Federal District. “We want to be the ‘Airbnb’ of storage,” says Mario Quintanilha, CEO of startup All In Storage.

Former executive and shareholder of Aliansce Sonae, in the shopping mall sector, Quintanilha says that the inspiration for the business came from a personal need. Moving from São Paulo to Florianópolis (SC), he ended up leaving his belongings in two rooms at a friend’s house.

After the first year of occupation, he decided to pay a rent. “The idea of ​​having a storage-sharing company came from there.”

In the United States, there are storage-sharing companies in neighboring areas such as Neighbor, as well as in Canada, Australia and Europe.

But in Brazil the segment is very new. Here, even the self storage market, which are large companies dedicated to the storage of objects, is in its infancy. Eduardo Terra, president of the Brazilian Society of Retail and Consumer Affairs (SBVC), points out two obstacles to the advancement of self storage in the country: not being part of the Brazilian culture and the value of the lease being high for the market.

Pandemic

The startup that started operating in the pandemic was powered by it. With the drop in income caused by the stoppage of activities, several people began to rent vacant rooms in the house for storage in order to obtain extra income.

This was the case with the independent financial consultant Fabio de Paula. In April, he decided to rent the vacant garage through the platform. “It was a room independent of the house, which was under renovation”, he explains.

And he found one interested in storing the furniture in the place. For the lease, de Paula receives about R$300 per month, after discounts from the startup’s monthly commission, which varies between 15% and 20% for promoting the “match”.

On the platform, the rent varies between R$ 10 to R$ 15 per square meter, half of a rental in self storage, says the executive. Other advantages are reduced bureaucracy, a minimum one-month lease and the entire process online.

What plays against it is that, in the event of a claim, the lessor is solely responsible, according to the terms of the startup’s contract.

New business

Engineer Bruno Yoshida was another who entered the storage sharing segment because of the pandemic. When the health crisis began, he had rented a shed to open an auto parts store and was just waiting for a license to operate.

With the lockdown, he gave up on the physical store. At the time, he thought about returning the shed. But, digging through the internet, he discovered the platform and a new destination for the vacant space: storage sharing. “It was scare, because my partner and I had another project.”

Yoshida divided the shed into boxes and opened a company, iBox. Today it has 30 storage boxes, of which 16 are leased. The expectation is to reach 80 boxes this year. “I’m still not making a profit, but the scenario is very good”, says the engineer. He rents 40% of the space through the platform and the rest on his own.

Among the clients there are families moving, independent professionals who have reduced their offices and small e-commerces.

The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.