With rent in the Silicon Valley being so outrageously high that stories of Google employees living in trucks on campus sound like smart ways to save money, it was only a matter of time before an entrepreneur saw an opportunity.
Entrepreneur Bob Allen, 68, rents minivans that he’s outfitted with a bed and a tiny kitchen attachment. Allen only has five vans in his fleet for now, but each one makes about $1,000 in profit each month according to Business Insider.
At first, Allen launched his company, Go-Tel, to rent vans to vacationers visiting national parks in the Bay Area, ether to just camp or to drive around.
But after working as a driver for Lyft and Uber and talking with his tech worker passengers, enough of them said they would consider living in a van to save money — Allen then realized that the market for tech workers willing to live in a stationary vehicle on their company campus was bigger than he thought.
Allen then began to market his vans on his own website, Turo, AirBnb and Craigslist. Demand for stationary living quarter began to heavily outweigh demand from vacationers.
A stationary van, which Allen delivers to a designated location, costs $30 a day for two weeks or more. If you want to also drive the van, it will cost $89 a day.
Allen told Business Insider:
“Some of these tech kids want to save money. 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.”
In his old age, Allen admits that he would have to hire help to scale his business, but he’s proven that this is a market that’s just starting to come to view — at least until tech companies like Google begin to ban employees from living in their parking lots.
“It’s not for everybody, but it’s a solution for more people than I ever dreamt of. The Bay Area is out of control — the rent is so outrageous. If I had 100 vans I could rent them all.”