An Airbnb-style service for finding space to store vehicles, boats and trailers has come to Minnesota.
Stow It’s website helps people with a truck or boat to park somewhere for a season or longer find people with spare garages, barns, commercial facilities, even plain old fields, said Dillon Eldridge, the company’s chief technology officer and a Prior Lake resident.
The system replaces what might’ve otherwise been a Craigslist-and-handshake deal, he said. Stow It automates payments while keeping 5%, tows vehicles if necessary at no cost, guarantees assistance for damages and keeps local money mostly local.
“We take a lot of that headache away,” Eldridge said, adding that he sees the sharing economy of Airbnb, Uber and the like as a good option for people with slow-growing wages and rising costs of living. “A lot of people are finding ways to pay the bills.”
Stow It aims to help people in a wide variety of circumstances: veterans and other travelers who need to put a vehicle somewhere for a few months, RV-owners in neighborhoods that don’t allow them, boaters who want to keep their boats close to a favorite lake. Prices around Scott County range from $50 to $140 per month, according to Stow It’s website.
Ross Larson of Minneapolis signed up for a space Prior Lake earlier this year, right around when Stow It expanded from its base in Colorado to Minnesota. He’ll keep his boat in Prior Lake during winter when it’s not on the lake.
Larson called the setup a brilliant idea for people like himself who don’t have space around their properties or housing.
“There’s so much unused space out there,” he said.
Carl White, who lives between Prior Lake and Elko New Market, said he’s been holding campers and trailers on a few acres of open land for a few months as well. The customers often have exhausted their other options.
“Apparently it’s tough to find space to park campers like that,” he said, adding his experience as a host has gone smoothly. He makes about $260 a month, which covers much of his annual property taxes.
“So it’s definitely going to go a long way,” said White, who’s now friends with Eldridge and his wife and called them good people. “I really can’t say enough about them.”
Storage can last for a single stretch, repeat every year or continue for years in some cases, Eldridge said. He doesn’t have local employees yet but hopes to soon bring on a community manager who can help local hosts get set up in person. He handles the job for now and said more hosts are welcome.
“Storage on your terms is kind of our slogan,” Eldridge said. “We’ll store anything with on wheels, and if you’ve got space, we’ll fill it.”