Chicago Startup Spacii Offers Peer-to-Peer Self-Storage Option

Chicago startup Spacii has launched an online platform to connect homeowners who have extra room with renters seeking non-traditional self-storage options. The peer-to-peer storage concept can also link people with businesses that have available space.

Chicago startup Spacii has launched an online platform to connect homeowners who have extra room with renters seeking non-traditional self-storage options. The peer-to-peer storage concept can also link people with businesses that have available space.

Founder and CEO Danny Weiss came up with the idea for the company after helping his grandparents create a website for their Detroit-area self-storage facility. “I became very fascinated with the emerging sharing economy in which technology was helping individuals utilize underused but valuable assets,” said Weiss, who launched the website last spring. “The combination of these two occurrences caused me to connect the dots and create a platform for peer-to-peer self-storage.”

Spacii renters typically save 30 percent to 40 percent compared to conventional storage options, Weiss said. “This is because the opportunity cost for hosts is little-to-none as their listed space was previously vacant. Therefore, many hosts are willing to list their space at a low-rate since it was previously not making any money at all.”

Potential renters can search the website for storage space in their area. They must provide Spacii with their name, phone number, e-mail, ZIP code and storage needs. “Spacii replies to most storage inquires within a few hours, in which we pass along storage options that may fit their needs,” Weiss said. The renter and host then agree on terms and schedule a drop-off.

To determine the trustworthiness of the host, Spacii requires applicants to complete an online form. A company representative then contacts the host to explain the process and determine if the applicant is a good fit.

Spacii charges renters a 15 percent service fee, which is included in the price to which the renter agrees upon renting the space. The host will receive the total cost of booking, minus Spacii’s fee as well as applicable fees and taxes that may apply, according to the company website.

In its terms of use, Spacii states the company isn’t a party to any agreements between the renters or hosts. It also isn’t a broker or agent, or an insurer of any kind. The host has the right to check the renter’s criminal and credit background, and Spacii can’t control the conduct of hosts or renters.

If the renter defaults on the payment or leaves behind items at the host’s property, Spacii will attempt to contact the renter. After 30 days, the items are considered abandoned and will be removed by one of Spacii’s partners, according to the website.

“Like many other sharing platforms, we experience an exceptionally low incident rate,” Weiss said.

Two similar companies, Spacelli and Spacer.com.au Pty. Ltd., opened earlier this year in Australia.

Although Spacii currently only services the Chicago area, it has plans to expand to other markets, according to the source.

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