If human history has taught us anything, it’s this: when in need, hit up a neighbor.
Baking cookies and ran out of butter? Just drop next door and grab a stick from Johnny and Susie. Need an extra hand to help carry and grand piano into the next room? Hit up the Thomas’ three large sons. One camping chair short for the weekend’s canyon excursion? Borrow an extra one from the Haws.
Neiybor recently launched a brand-new platform as an expansion of this concept, taking a community-based approach to the world of self-storage. The idea is to pair hosts (people with unused, available storage space) with renters (people searching for local, affordable storage options), similar to the way Airbnb transformed vacation rental options. Rather than relying on manufactured storage space, Neiybor wants people to use the space they already have.
“We call it Neiybor because we want to be hyper-localized, we want to bring communities together,” said co-founder Joseph Woodbury. “Part of the advantage of storing with Neiybor is you get storage for around half the cost. But the other advantage is Neiybor allows you to store with someone down the street, the closer, the better. If you know them, even better….it creates a community.”
Alongside co-founders Preston Alder and Colton Gardner, Woodbury began feeling out the market in December 2016, creating an email list of people interested in the concept of Neiybor. The original idea had come from Alder, who needed storage space while he and his wife spent time in Peru. Traditional storage facilities seemed abnormally expensive and because of this, Alder ended up using open space at a friend’s house. This got him thinking about a business that paired hosts and renters together, taking advantage of the unused space that many home-owners have to offer.
Using this idea, Neiybor created an email sign-up sheet and began manually pairing hosts with renters, getting an excellent feel for their consumer base in the process.
“It was a super laborious process but really great for us,” said Woodbury. “We got to know all these people really well and see what they were interested in storing, whether it was RV storage, boat storage, box storage. We had so much interest we knew we couldn’t do it manually anymore.”
Neiybor launched a more formal program in April of this year, onboarding a large amount of Provo-based apartment complexes that had storage room to spare as students left for the summer. As support for the idea grew, Neiybor needed a product built to scale. They began working towards a tech platform that paired together hosts and renters in a much more efficient manner, building out the tools they hope redefines how people store goods. Which leads us to the launch of Neiybor’s platform…
“Over the summer we’ve been working on getting a base layer of people, not only in Utah County, but Salt Lake and Davis County,” said Woodbury. “Now that be have that base layer, it’s time to officially launch Neiybor in Utah. We’re coming out with our own site, built from the ground up.”
The new site will unveil many new features and most importantly, it’s built to scale. Users can request background checks on potential storage partners, or receive a price estimation based upon the size and location of the storage space. Eventually, Neiybor will include Facebook connections so you know of friend, family, and acquaintances looking to host or store. You know, a community of neighbors.
With a customer base already in place and a platform built to scale, Neiybor is ready to grow. They’ve begun expanding the team, ready to nail down the Utah launch over the next few months.
“Instead of using manufactured storage space, we’re using the space we already have,” said Woodbury.