Alberta Startup Adopts Airbnb Model for Rentals
Chad and Cherie Ball were struggling during the 2008 recession but still wanted to take their family on a vacation, so they started looking for more affordable options.
“We turned no farther than our neighbor’s driveway and we saw his trailer that literally just sat there for months on end, not being used,” Chad said. “So we approached him and said: ‘Hey, not using your trailer? What are the chances of you renting that out to us?’”
The neighbor was up for it, but raised a question about insurance: if the trailer was rented out, wouldn’t it require commercial insurance coverage?
That started a six-year process for Chad and Cherie. The Okotoks, Alberta, couple wanted to make short-term RV rentals easy and accessible for Canadians. On a 2010 camping trip with friends, they noticed lots of trailers that weren’t being used and wanted to find a way to benefit both trailer owners and potential renters.
“We passed about a dozen RV storage sites and they were all full,” Chad recalled. “It being a long weekend, we thought that was odd.
That’s how WheelEstate was born, an online peer-to-peer marketplace. Think Airbnb or VRBO for vacation trailers. WheelEstate is fully insured and has partnered with other companies to offer roadside assistance and tow-vehicle rentals as well.
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