10 years ago, if you told me I’d be going on a vacation that involved sleeping in the bedroom of a house belonging to a person I didn’t know, I’d say you were crazy. Oh, and hitchhiking? My parents always warned me not to get into cars with strangers. So what if you said that it would become totally commonplace to hop into the back of people’s private vehicles and catch a ride somewhere?
Obviously the world is changing.
When my brother told me about this cool new company–“the Airbnb of Storage,” he called it–my first thoughts were that it was risky to store your stuff at some random person’s house. Or to store some unknown person’s stuff at your house. There’s no way I would ever do that, I thought. But hang on a second. I did my homework, and I have changed my mind. Why? Check this out:
First of all, the words “symbiotic relationship.” If that phrase means nothing to you, Google it–and then scroll through countless images of super random animals doing really bizarre things. My favorite is the bird happily neiysitting inside the alligator’s mouth. Alligator is getting his teeth cleaned; birdie is getting a meal.
Symbiotic = win/win.
Neighbor = win/win. Renter gets cheap storage; host gets monthly payout.
So is Neighbor Safe?
So maybe Neighbor is nice for all parties involved. That’s great. So what? Well, if you’re looking around for a place to keep your things, chances are you are looking for things like convenient location, most bang for your buck, flexibility of contract…
Bam, bam, bam. Neighbor is far and away the victor on all three counts. Get online and look up the average cost of a storage unit rental, not to mention the required 6-month, 12-month, 2-year contracts. Look up how far away the nearest storage unit is from where you live. And then, after you do that and get a good idea for the availability and expense of storage units, then go to Neighbor and see what sort of options are available in your own Neighborhood. See how much cheaper those options are. And see how friendly and smiley the hosts look.
Will my Belongings be Safe?
Okay, that totally brings me to my next point. How do I know—if I’m a renter—that my stuff will be safe at some other person’s house? And how do I know—if I’m a host—that I’m not going to be paired up with some creepy person who wants to store rat poison at my location? Well, first of all, it turns out there’s a screening process for all parties involved. Photo ID, email and phone verification. And second of all, that’s a lot of money to pay to store rat poison.
Basically, as I scrutinized the Neighbor website looking for creepy people, I didn’t find any. Instead I found pictures of nice, normal looking people offering rent in their nice, normal-looking spaces. Take Aaron A., for example. He’s renting out a “Harry Potter Closet (Under the Stairs): Clean, insulated, well-lit crawl space. Accessed through interior doorway. No kid or pet access. 6 x 3 feet. $9/month.” Or check out a listing by Ryan G.: “The outdoor parking is big and perfect for an RV, boat, or trailer,” 10 x 35 feet, for $35/month. Seriously a crazy good deal. And I looked at Ryan’s photo for a long time, and the picture of his RV pad. He looks normal. So does the RV pad. Apparently there are plenty of normal people out there who are energized by the idea of making a little extra cash and don’t mind some extra dormant boxes of stuff in their unused space. (The extra cash comes in the form of direct deposits through a secure third party called Stripe. Never heard of them? It’s okay; I hadn’t either. But if you’ve used Pinterest, Facebook, Target, Lyft, Amazon or Blue Apron, then you’ve used Stripe.)
Are Hosts Protected?
Neighbor takes care of their hosts too with their $1,000,000 Host Guarantee to cover any personal liability. Not only that, but if you have further questions, or you just don’t feel like combing through the digital archives of rentable space, the customer service representatives at Neighbor are more than helpful. Like, über helpful. They’re available for live chat or phone call during business hours, and they will do all the work for you of setting you up for all your storage needs if you want them to. Just read the raving reviews they are receiving if your skeptical!
So back to the original question—is Neighbor safe?
Well, obviously nothing in life is guaranteed. And just as you would get renters insurance when storing with an industrial storage rental company, you probably should get that with Neighbor, because the host isn’t liable for catastrophes (except in cases of gross negligence).
But really, in terms of safety, Neighbor self storage is rocking it (as they’re rocking it with all the other aspects of storage—cheaper, more flexible, staffed with nice people, and more conveniently located). In fact, when it comes to safety, that is the second half of their motto, “connect and protect.” And it’s reassuring to know that the protect part of this clause is for both renters and hosts. Like I said earlier—symbiotic.
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