— Business Insider (@businessinsider) April 27, 2016
To take advantage of [the most expensive real estate market in the U.S.], Bob Allen, an entreprenurial 68-year-old, has started targeting Bay Area residents who don’t want to pay for expensive apartments to rent the five vans that he outfitted with beds and kitchenettes.
Here are his customers’ options:
A van without driving privileges — where Allen drops off the car at a designated location — costs $30 per day for 2 weeks or more, versus $89 per day for driving.
Allen tells Business Insider that he got the idea to target to tech workers and other Bay Area residents instead of simply vacationers after talking to many of his passengers while driving for ride-hailing startups Lyft and Uber. He’d ask them whether they’d consider living in a van to save money. He got enough yesses to make him realize that “stationary users” could be a big market.
At this point, the inquiries for stationary vans are five times higher than those for travelers. He lists his vans on his own website, Go-Tel, as well as AirBnb, and Turo.
Who are his customers?
“Some of these tech kids want to save money,” he says. “They feel like they’re in a bubble and they feel like the bubble is going to burst and they want to be able to go back to wherever they came from with a little money in their pockets, so they’re starting to look for alternative ways of living.”
What problem is he solving? You already know it.
It’s not for everybody, but it’s a solution for more people than I ever dreamt of,” he says. “The Bay Area is out of control — the rent is so outrageous. If I had 100 vans I could rent them all.