In this episode, Stacy sits down with Preston Alder, the CMO of storage rental company, Neighbor. The two discuss the importance of market identification as an entrepreneur and the benefits in can have on the success of your company.
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of Influencer Marketing and branded content agency Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform, for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2: 00:31
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy Jones: 00:36
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Preston Alder, CMO and Co-founder of neighbor.com, a marketplace that is disrupting the 400 billion dollar self-storage industry. Preston started his first company while he was in college at Brigham Young University, a videography business which build his creative side and helped him get through college. His idea for Neighbor was born from a personal pain point before he even graduated. Today we’re going to talk about marketing tactics and how to build brand trust in a sharing economy. We’ll learn what’s worked from Preston’s experience, what could maybe be avoided if your business is in the sharing economy or in any other type of economy quite frankly because we’re all in business, and where other brands are missing the mark. Preston, welcome.Preston Alder: 01:24
Hi Stacy. It’s good to be here.Stacy Jones: 01:26
Super happy to have you here today. What I’d love to do, I mean, you have a really interesting background, the fact that you started your business based on your experiences in college. I’d love to have you just fill us in on how you got started and what got you to where you’re at now.
Preston Alder: 01:43
I’d love to share. As you said, Neighbor was started, the concept, the idea came about while I was in college. It actually turns out my wife and I, we were recently married and we needed storage. I was a junior going into my senior year in college and I was leaving for a summer internship. I was going to be in South America helping a younger company. As I looked for storage options, my wife and I, we had to put our stuff somewhere. We started calling storage facilities and I realized every storage facility in the surrounding area was completely booked out. This shocked me. I didn’t realize storage facilities booked out. I had never purchased storage before. I started calling surrounding cities and it turns out that even those facilities, the ones that weren’t completely full were just very expensive. It was more than I wanted to pay as a college student. I went to the drawing board and started calling around. I called friends. I even called local apartment complexes associated with the university and said, “Hey, is there any way I could store my stuff in this apartment that’s not completely full?” I just got a lot of blank stares and a lot of nos frankly. They said, no, that’s not a thing, even though those rooms were going to be empty for the summer.
Preston Alder: 03:01
Eventually, I found an old friend who was actually an old neighbor of ours back when I was very young who lives about an hour and a half away. Called him up and he said, “Hey, we’ve got an empty garage. Come use our space.” I packed up all of our stuff. I drove it there. It was the middle of the night. It was finals week, just a very stressful time in my life. I ended up driving, I think it was an hour and a half there, hour and a half back. On my way back, it’s like two or 3:00 AM and I remember thinking, I know there are empty garages and empty bedrooms even close to where I live in my apartment. Why did I have to drive three hours? Why did I have to rent the truck? It would have been so much more efficient if I had been able to use a neighbor here. For me, it was a neighbor that helped me when the storage facility couldn’t, and it was much cheaper and I felt good about the option all around. It wasn’t in that moment itself that I decided, oh, I need to start a company but that was the seed of wow, everyone should be doing this.
Preston Alder: 04:01
Then from that time on, it was probably about six months later actually. I reached out to one of my co-founders, wasn’t a co-founder at the time, but I reached out. We had worked together at three different companies. We knew each other very well and trusted each other. His name is Colton Gardner, and said, “Hey Colton, I’ve got this idea that’s been the itch in the back of my mind that I want to pursue.” We started making pitch stacks. He was up at the University of Utah. I was down at Brigham Young University. We pitched at both these winning competition money and that’s how we got our first seed of an idea going or first initial small funding. Then from there we actually launched, pulled on my third co-founder, Joseph Woodbury. We raise a seed round and from there it’s exploded. Our team has grown. We’re in more than 45 states at this point where you can reserve space like rent space out, but we’re based out of here in Salt Lake City.
Stacy Jones: 04:57
Well, what was your college major?
Preston Alder: 05:00
I was a business strategy major.
Stacy Jones: 05:02
Okay, you already were aligned with having potentially an entrepreneurial mindset.
Preston Alder: 05:07
Yeah, to be completely honest, not just myself but all three of us co-founders are very risk-averse. If you would ask me, “Preston, are you going to go like quit your full-time job and start a company and be an entrepreneur?” I would’ve said, “No way.” I think that was never part of my plan. I never aspired to be an entrepreneur, but I have always been very creative. I do like creating things. Before starting Neighbor, I had started my own videography company. I like creating and working in marketing specifically.
Stacy Jones: 05:38
Being kind of self-employed overall too.
Preston Alder: 05:40
Stacy Jones: 05:43
When you started this, what year was that?
Preston Alder: 05:46
The initial idea was end of 2016 but really launched like we didn’t start advertising Neighbor to the users until spring of 2017 so just over two years ago, coming up on two and a half.
Stacy Jones: 05:59
Airbnb was pretty well-established at that point as the sharing mindset of having a company where people were going to be utilizing other people’s space, in their case, for sleeping. In your case, for storage of items. Did you think that helped lay the groundwork for you and open doors and made it a little bit easier that they had broken those doors and people are used to potentially using other people’s, such as Uber and Lyft to drive you places? I mean, it’s a very different mindset than a decade ago.
Preston Alder: 06:34
Yeah, no, they definitely did, like the groundwork that Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, all these companies have done have made it exponentially easier for us to both communicate the idea of what we do and also establish trust. In a lot of ways I feel like their challenges of convincing people or getting people on their product are even more difficult than ours like 20 years ago it would have seemed crazy to go sleep in a stranger’s house or to get in a car with somebody you’d never met before that isn’t a taxi driver. For us to say, hey, would you be comfortable storing your Christmas stuff down the street with a neighbor that you potentially already know? The idea behind Neighbor is that we’re not even trying to connect people across great distances. We’re really trying to connect people as close as possible to where they’re living, in their own neighborhood. Taking that step of, would you feel comfortable storing your stuff with a neighbor? Definitely the sharing economy companies before us helped lay that groundwork.
Stacy Jones: 07:36
Those are great walls striped and broken down for you guys. What have been some of the hurdles? Obviously, sharing economy is in place. Those walls as we just mentioned a little bit more broken down, but there’s been challenges I’m sure with marketing and getting people onboarded, what have you faced? How have you conquered and sold in and even very successful in raising money to support the business and grow it? How have you approached this?
Preston Alder: 08:05
Obviously as startup, anyone that’s tried to start a company or has started a company will know that there’s going to be thousands of problems or obstacles that do come up. I would say two major ones that stick out or one like we’re building a marketplace. Marketplaces are very difficult, it means that we have two types of customers that have very different needs. It’s a very rare case where someone who has space actually needs storage and someone that has like who needs storage has space. For that reason, we have two different people, two different types of customers with different needs, different demographics but we need to market to both those customers before we can even start making money. We need to have hosts and renters or what we call them. It’s the chicken and egg syndrome.
Preston Alder: 08:52
I can speak to that and how we’ve overcome and how we’ve identified ways and then I have a second point as well. To this first one, I think the first and foremost, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is we really need to… I mean, you need to identify who your customer is and where they’re at. How are those trends and finding them going to be different? Just to give you a high level view for us, we quickly identified that renters, if someone needs storage, it’s almost like buying gas. When you need it, you need it, you’re going to look for it, find it. Typically, the cheapest option and then you’re going to move forward. There’s a small window, it’s probably a couple of days where someone says, “I need storage. I’m moving next week or I’m moving in two weeks, let me find an option.” They’ll go through this search period where they’re trying to find, and they’re proactively looking on channels. They might be performing a Google search or Google Maps and they might be calling around or word of mouth. They’re looking for facilities on side of the road. We quickly learned that by focusing on channels that did that lead capture.
Preston Alder: 10:02
Something like Google ads, if we’re bidding on the right keywords. If someone says storage near me, are we in the right place at the right time with the cheapest option and the closest option? That meant we needed to only be marketing in the areas that made sense where we knew we had the right supply for them. Long story short, for renters, we quickly identified that that is the best way for us to quickly service their needs is identifying the channels where they’re performing searches. Now for the other side of the market, when we talk about our supply, there are very few people out there that are going to get online and type in, “I have an empty garage I’m not using, what can I do with it?” They’re not necessarily proactively looking for it. We need to find other channels. Two things, without going into too much detail, but two things that really worked for us were having very broad campaigns that help generate awareness.
Preston Alder: 10:57
In the markets where we have launched, we’ve done big awareness campaigns such as billboards or other advertisements where we not only establishes trust like, oh, this is a local trustworthy brand that I can recognize and see but it also is just that repetition of people seeing it spreading word of mouth. The second way that we’ve really focused on our host has been to leverage channels that don’t necessarily scale. We do lots of grassroots efforts where we’ll host local community events. We might supply food or drinks at an event and reach out to a sponsor and say, “Hey, rather than paying a couple thousand dollars to put a small logo on the shirt, is it okay if we were to sponsor one of these things?” Maybe bringing some food, and then the host of that event is typically very grateful that we’re offering to do some of their work for them. We get in for a cheaper cost and usually get more exposure from that event.
Stacy Jones: 11:55
You’re being neighborly.
Preston Alder: 11:57
Exactly. We love that. We’ll host community events. We have had giant barbecues where we’ll have all the neighbors and anyone, you don’t have to be on the neighbor platform, you can just come and hang out at a park with all of us. We love it. That brand has been really important to us.
Stacy Jones: 12:12
Yeah, that makes sense. Then there’s obviously you know, some first thought starters that go into your business. I mean there’s insurance, how do you make sure that your things are protected? I’m sure that’s easy. You just buy insurance policies as part of what you offer. Then there’s, I’m just thinking of things that pop up when people will be concerned of people going through their stuff as well, which will be something that would be… My assumption is all of these are types of points that you are addressing in your conversations and so you’re trying to pre-identify where the pain points are for people to potentially stop them from participating.
Preston Alder: 12:52
They’re great question, in fact, you just nailed on that second issue. I mentioned there was two things, two hurdles. The second one you hit it. It’s just the word trust. How can people trust our brand? I think first and foremost we already touched on it, the fact that Uber, Airbnb, all these companies have really established that, that feeling that with reviews and a safe platform that has thought through all the issues that they’ve learned, consumers have learned, yes I can trust peer-to-peer platforms. Now for us, the biggest protection that I would say we have put up is the fact that we’ve really focused on brand. It’s the reason our company is named Neighbor even to begin with. We want to make it feel you’re not storing with a stranger. You’re actually storing with someone down the street that’s a neighbor of yours, someone that you can come to know that quite frankly will probably help you move your things in when you’re coming to the house.
Preston Alder: 13:48
They’re very welcoming. These are people that want to help others and will also be making money at the exact same time. Trust and building that brand has been vital to everything we do. We think from a consumer perspective, how do we need to build this experience to establish trust? Now in addition to that, we’ve also created lots of these safety features that help users feel very protected. We’ve got a review system where you can read the reviews of your previous host. We also have things such as you mentioned our guarantee. We have a two million dollar guarantee that protects every homeowner and their things, if there was a slip and fall or the house would be damaged. Now we want every host and renter, if they’re small issues to resolve those first and foremost between themselves, but we have this guarantee in place in case something crazy were to happen.
Preston Alder: 14:39
In addition to that two million dollar host guarantee, we have a $25,000 renter guarantee and that protects every renter that is going to be storing their items and they’re worried like what if there were fire or flood or something were to go wrong, that covers them. As far as other questions like, what if someone were to go through my things? Well, a lot of that is we want these hosts and renter to be able to communicate beforehand. You can go see the space and meet the renter, make sure you feel comfortable with who they are. We make it very, very specific in our terms of service that they can’t go through things. It’s also on the flip side, they can’t store certain items either. They can’t store anything perishable or flammable or illegal, and we make that very clear. Then as far as things as accessibility is another question that comes into this trust factor like, is this person going to be coming to my house all the time?
Stacy Jones: 15:30
Three in the morning, I must have my Christmas items at three in the morning. I’m ready now.
Preston Alder: 15:34
Yup, totally. Well, first and foremost, our renters rarely access the space. If you’re putting something in storage, it’s probably because you don’t need it on a day to day basis. That helps resolve that. Whenever every host list their space, they have the option of selecting three different features or three different levels of accessibility. Let’s say I’m listing a concrete slab on the side of my house for somebody to come park. I could say, this is available 24/7. I don’t care if you come at three in the morning because it’s not invasive. You’re not coming into my home. The second option is it’s business hours. Let’s say you own an office and you’ve got an extra room in that office. You’re like, well we’re going to be there during business hours anyways, we might as well make a few hundred dollars a month off that office space. You’re welcome to come anytime during business hours.
Preston Alder: 16:26
Then finally there’s by appointment only, and by appointment only is the most common for home use. Both the renter, they understand I can only access that space if I send the host a message and the host says, “Yes, you can come visit the space.” What’s nice about this platform is it’s not too much different than the current self-storage industry as well. Even for self-storage, most facilities will close at a certain point in the evening, like five or six at night and you can’t access your stuff anyways until the next day.
Stacy Jones: 16:58
No, it’s very true. What you also said about people not ever going back to their storage if it’s longterm, I am a good case in point. When my husband and I met and I moved out of my house into his house, we downsized but we didn’t want to get rid of everything. For over a year and a half we kept things in storage. It was a lot of money to spend by the way, and a lot of things you probably didn’t really need but we didn’t go once. It’s easy to see that you don’t have to stop by all the time.
Preston Alder: 17:26
Yup, totally. Those are the two big hurdles that I would say the marketplace building two sides of the market and then also trust. Making sure that our users can feel comfortable and confident when they come. They realize, hey, I can get paid every month on time. That is another part of trust. Even if, let’s say a renter were to come and start renting my basement, what would happen if they stopped paying after a month? Well, Neighbor, in order to establish trust with each of our host, we promise that we’ll continue paying for that monthly rent until their items had been removed. We’ll help with that process of removing. As a host, you never feel the difference. You continue to get paid for that space.
Stacy Jones: 18:08
Right. You take on any legal requirements of going after the person who’s abandoned their items?
Preston Alder: 18:15
Yeah, we help through that process. In the case of abandonment or if there’s an eviction process, we follow all lien laws according to the state to help remove those items.
Stacy Jones: 18:25
Give yourself a few more years and expand a little bit more and you too can have a whole like storage war type of show of all the things that you had found and selected.
Preston Alder: 18:37
Totally. That’s great.
Stacy Jones: 18:41
You’re using local communities to get the word out. Are you focusing on large cities right now or are you focusing on smaller cities or college towns, or how are you all choosing what locations around the United States you’re going after as you’re building? Are you going all in for the biggest of the biggest or more moderate approach?
Preston Alder: 19:02
Yeah, no, it’s a good question. We started very local here in Utah and it was let’s focus on the communities where we’re living. We’re very micro focused even within cities. Very quickly we spread all throughout Utah and we’ve got a very good footprint here. At this point though our organic growth and it’s been very encouraging, our SEO and our brand name outside of the Utah market has exploded. We now get more registrations and growth outside of the state than we do within the State of Utah. That’s been happening for some time. While we’re growing organically across the nation and growing fast, we do have select markets where we’ve identified, okay, these are markets where we do want to do a focused effort. We want to go out and launch. Just recently we announced a launch into the L.A. market and in addition to L.A. we’ve got a lineup of other markets already identified that we’ll be launching into. One of the key questions we ask ourselves are, will we be able to find both supply and demand? Is there a demand for storage in this market? As well as, do we feel pretty confident that we can get supply in that market? As far as strategy and how we select those markets, that’s what we think about.
Stacy Jones: 20:15
If you had to do this over again, would you approach in a different way or do you think you’ve ticked off all the boxes that you would have taken the first go around?
Preston Alder: 20:25
It’s a good question. I try not to think too much about the past and what I would have done different, but-
Stacy Jones: 20:31
It’s all learning lessons, everything in life is learning as an entrepreneur.
Preston Alder: 20:37
Totally. Would we have done it different, I don’t think so. I really think it’s been vital to our growth that we’ve had to focus on these micro bubbles. One way that, and this goes for lots of sharing economy companies. For anyone out there that’s interested in starting a sharing economy company. If I’m a model such as like a home sharing, let’s say Airbnb for example, they’ve got a great viral model where if there’s only three hosts that live in a foreign country, let’s say Thailand and I want to go visit Thailand and I really like using Airbnb. There’s a fairly good chance I could use Airbnb. I could find one of those three listings and that I will travel to that location and probably revolve part of my trip around that. Now, with a very local bay sharing economy company, let’s say storage with Neighbor, if I need storage, I’m not going to want to drive an hour and a half or out of my way to store items. The value comes in the fact that it’s my neighbor, it’s in my own neighborhood.
Preston Alder: 21:40
With an Airbnb model where I can use even individual listings in a select market, and then not only that, but that person, if I were to use Airbnb in Thailand, when I go home, I’m taking Airbnb with me. I can become a host in that new market. Beautiful way that they’ve got this viral growth model where host can be renters and renters can be host. For our model, we’ve really had to identify local markets where we can go deep, reach liquidity, and make sure that not only do we have enough options for people to find storage but we have the right type of space. If I need to store my car and there’s only a room that’s available to store things, I’m not going to go store my car there. We need to make sure that we have the right variety and the right type in a given market.
Stacy Jones: 22:23
Is it impacted at all? Do you have local? I mean, Airbnb has local commerce laws that they have to deal with all the time, regulations. Is something like this really regulated by cities or is it enough that it’s privatized let’s say, enough that it’s not something that local government gets involved with and enforces?
Preston Alder: 22:43
No, that’s a great question. We’ve made it a priority to make sure that we follow all laws in any market that we’re going into. We also encourage every one of our hosts and renters to make sure they’re following those laws so that we’re in accordance to what can be stored and where. Thankfully, knock on wood, storage actually is not a very highly regulated industry unlike hospitality and other industries that they have had lots of red tape and hurdles to overcome. Storage is one where it’s not as invasive to a community or a neighborhood. For somebody to come and drop off a car and store it in my garage and nine months later they come back and pick up that car and they leave. That’s not affecting our neighborhood in the same way that maybe poor traffic on a daily basis. Really, for given locations, let’s say HOAs or even communities that they really like Neighbor because we increase home values because all of a sudden your home is generating an income.
Preston Alder: 23:42
You could make hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars every month off the space you’re not using. That all of a sudden it’s almost like you’re making money even though it’s still zoned for residential. We haven’t had those hurdles. I’m sure there will be opposition, but all in all, we’ve appealed to the demographics, we help communities, we help individuals and we want to continue to do so.
Stacy Jones: 24:09
That’s great. What else would you share as far as advice for our listeners who are interested in or working in the sharing economy, what do you think that they should keep their eyes out for?
Preston Alder: 24:21
Sorry, to rephrase the question like specifically sharing economy or just general advice for entrepreneurs?
Stacy Jones: 24:28
Why don’t we start with sharing economy? Then I’ll give you general advice.
Preston Alder: 24:32
Yup. Great. I’ve had a lot of people talk to me or approach… [inaudible 00:24:44] X, Y or Z.
Stacy Jones: 24:50
The internet is glitching. I’m going to have you restate what advice you would give because it’s all things tech today so just, yeah.
Preston Alder: 25:02
No worries. It’s a fairly common question. Sharing economy is the way of the future. We’re leveraging your underutilized resources to make both a more affordable experience as well as a way for others to make money. That’s my small pitch. I love sharing economy companies. I think it’s just a way to improve our commerce in general. As far as advice, lots of people have approached and said, “Hey, I want to start Uber or the Airbnb of X, Y and Z.” It could be of power tools or of camera equipment or whatever that is. My biggest recommendation is to pick a narrow focus. Really hone in on a single thing and ideally hone in on one where you feel like you can hack one side of the marketplace. You can figure out the supply or the demand. A lot of people want to take on the world and just say, “We want to do every rental under the sun.” It’s just very difficult because you now need to get like you need both the supply and the demand think of you and associate your brand with everything at once. Unless you have that overnight, it’s very difficult to grow that traction. I use the example that, I mean Amazon was a bookstore and now they’re flying rocket ships.
Preston Alder: 26:18
Google was a search engine and now they’re doing everything under the sun. It would be better to focus in on a single thing within a shared economy market and spread from there. This is just an example I sometimes throw out there, I wanted to do a sharing economy platform for athletic equipment rentals. I might focus in and say, I’m going to do ski equipment and I’m going to spend an entire week on the ski slopes and everyone that’s getting off the bus, they go up the hill. I’m going to say, “Hey, do you need skis? You should get on my platform and rent. Here’s a flyer.” For everyone coming off the hill with skis, I’m going to hand them another flyer and say, “Hey, you’ve got skis you’re not going to use for the next 60 days. You might come two more times this season. You should put them on my platform and rent them out to someone else.” That would be one way that you could hack the system and very quickly establish a brand around that system. Long story short, my advice for sharing economy would be pick a narrow focus where you can go deep so that people associate that brand with you. Then the second piece of advice would be try to hack one side or both sides of the market, the supply or the demand.
Stacy Jones: 27:29
Okay. Then as far as entrepreneurs and all of that is great advice by the way. As far as entrepreneur scale, since you are certainly one, what advice do you have for them?
Preston Alder: 27:39
Probably two things come to mind. First, I’m actually not a huge advocate of how you should be an entrepreneur. For me, I very much found me and I’m glad I’m here. I absolutely love it, wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I don’t think I would be able… I’m so excited that I’m doing what I’m doing because I’m so passionate, and this goes for everyone on my team. Not because I contrive to something like I was so obsessed with becoming an entrepreneur that I made something work. My biggest piece of advice is go deep and learn some very relevant skill sets. Pick up some engineering or coding resources so that you can be a huge asset when you do start a company or go start working at a company, and as ideas come, take those leaps of faith and join them.
Preston Alder: 28:30
I’m not the biggest advocate of saying everyone should be an entrepreneur and you should go start something even if you don’t know what it is. My second piece of advice is just like really creating value for the customers that you’re working towards, for us, that is the biggest, like the single most driving factor. The fact that I know we have people making 20 grand a year on Neighbor, they’re making tons of money and this is significant. We have people paying for their mortgage or their phone bills, paying for Christmas because they’ve got a part of the garage they’re not using. It’s a huge motivation for us to know we’re helping users. Sorry, were you going to say something?
Stacy Jones: 29:08
As you say, you’re able to help people actually pay their mortgages and people who might not be able to otherwise in some cases too.
Preston Alder: 29:15
Yup, exactly. It’s awesome. One of my favorite jobs that I’ve had is I’ve actually worked a lot with customers on an individual basis. In the early days I was taking photos of every listing that would onboard with us. We have other photographers at this point, but it was great to be able to talk to them and hear their stories of like, “Hey, I recently went through a divorce. I don’t have a source of income. Neighbor is making me $300 a month and I don’t do any work. It’s my basement or my garage.” That’s been something that as an entrepreneur it would be really hard, not that other industries aren’t worthwhile or worth pursuing, but for me it’s been a very helpful driver to know like the customers that are using Neighbor absolutely love it and it’s making a meaningful impact. In addition, every one of our renters, on average, our listings are about 50% the price of traditional storage. Those people that are in a bind and need storage, we’re not only closer, not only do we provide a guarantee that makes it safer, but we’re also a cheaper option for them. Being able to provide value for our customers have been one of the things that’s driven me as an entrepreneur.
Stacy Jones: 30:24
That’s fantastic. I mean, I even imagine with the retirement community where you’re getting into baby boomers up to silent generation now, you’re giving people who don’t have other income other than social security potentially or maybe there’s a pension, opportunities where they could make money. Some people live in big houses and have the room to be able to actually do this and it’s very easy and it’s not a task that they’re going to have to take on.
Preston Alder: 30:54
Yeah, no, exactly. One of our very early customers is one of my favorite stories just because I spent so much time with them in the early days as we were growing Neighbor was a retired woman named Annette. Her husband had passed away. He was a veterinarian that he had a small animal hospital that no longer is in use. It’s in a residential community. She now has, it’s a recycling company. They store a few of their trucks in the parking lot of this abandoned animal hospital. She as retired widow is able to make money every month off of this transaction. Just really cool to see the impact, and not only that but the person that rented her space, he ended up finding a friend that could trim her trees and do her bushes. It was a very neighborly transaction and it was now only one of our first people like we didn’t know either of them. They found our platform organically but it was incredible how it worked.
Stacy Jones: 31:51
That’s awesome. Well, how can our listeners learn a little bit more about Neighbor? Where should they go to visit?
Preston Alder: 31:58
Checkout neighbor.com, so neighbor.com is where our website is. You could find storage there. You can also list your space to make money. It’s very simple, it’s free to list your space. It doesn’t cost money. You can get on and it’ll ask you simple questions like what type of space is this? You can say, I’ve got a loft that I can store, I could park a few vehicles here or I’ve got a garage or a bedroom or an office space that I haven’t filled completely. From there it will ask questions like, well, how big is that space? Then we’ll give you a recommended price. We’ll say, hey, this is how much we think you should charge. They can put whatever they want. We make our money by charging the renter a small additional fee. It’s not that we’re taking money away from you apart from a very small like the credit card transaction fee. Then finally, we have a great referral program. In fact, this is a very timely time for us to have this interview.
Stacy Jones: 32:51
Preston Alder: 32:52
Tomorrow we’re launching a new referral program where it’s almost like a gamified ranking system where anyone that you refer that publishes their space and that space gets rented, you will get $50 and they will get $50. It’s an exciting referral program where you should tell your friends, like you’re not selling them on something, you’re just saying, “Hey, do you like making money?” Well, not only will you get $50 but you can make money month over month for renting your space out and there’s a point system. Not only can you make $50 for every completed reservation, but the leader at the end of each month, so the person at the top of the board will get an entire month of their mortgage paid off. Neighbor.com is going to come in and write a check for your mortgage for that month.
Preston Alder: 33:37
We are firm believers that not only can Neighbor when you’re renting your space out pay off your mortgage, we want to communicate that in a very visual way and saying, in fact, we’re going to pay some of the mortgage off every month repeatedly month over month. It’s every month that will reset and you’ll have a fresh chance to go invite your friends, invite family members. As they convert and they list their space, you’ll go up in the rankings and you have a chance to get your mortgage paid off.
Stacy Jones: 34:02
That’s a very cool point system. Then for someone to sign up, do they just have to go to neighbor.com to sign up for that?
Preston Alder: 34:09
Yup, neighbor.com. For this specific referral program, you’ll see it, it’s in the top right corner, but you can also do neighbor.com/invite, that should work just fine.
Stacy Jones: 34:21
Preston Alder: 34:22
That goes live tomorrow or Thursday morning, the 27th of June.
Stacy Jones: 34:27
Perfect. We will get that up there then and make sure that that’s included in our podcast notes as well for all of our listeners. Are there any last words of parting advice that you could give our listeners today?
Preston Alder: 34:39
Man, I feel like we’ve covered a lot of things. I would say probably the most important thing and the biggest help in starting a company is surrounding yourselves with people that are smarter than you and that you trust. Everyone at this company I would say is smarter than myself and they are all amazing. It’s cool to work with not only close friends but people that I admire and can get lots of professional help from. Whatever you do, even if you’re not going to be an entrepreneur and start your own company, you should definitely factor in whatever career path you take, you should factor in those that you work with. Make sure they are people that inspire you to be better and also can help mentor you.
Stacy Jones: 35:21
I think that is an awesome parting words of advice. Preston, thank you so much for joining us today. Really, really enjoyed having you on the show. To our listeners, thank you so much for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, and I look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast. Preston, thanks.
Preston Alder: 35:40
Thanks again, Stacy.
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