MY MONEY

Ugly bathrooms, unwanted baby gear: make money from home

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There are ways to make money from what is sitting idle in your home or even your home itself.

Here are two of our favourites.

All you need is an ugly bathroom or spare travel cot.

ugly bathroom earn money from home

Lights, camera, action

Whether you own your own home or are renting, you can rent it out for film shoots and commercials. If you don't own the home, however, you are restricted to renting it out during the day.

Caroline Lepron, Skoutli chief executive and founder, launched her business just before the pandemic. The idea was to provide film professionals with a catalogue of locations for shoots, ranging from homes, bathrooms and backyards to garages and vehicles. The pandemic has slowed the business, but Skoutli is still able to organise shoots, as long as people comply with restrictions.

Locations are offered by the hour and the prices vary according to the number of people who attend the shoot. Lepron says examples include renting a yellow bathroom for two hours, a modern kitchen for a full day or a swimming pool for three hours.

You set your own price; Skoutli lists it by the room by the hour and might change the price depending on how many people attend the shoot . For example, with a large crew you might earn $200-$250 an hour, with discounts for a full day and a set minimum.

"People are making $250 for a full day for a small shoot, and for others it might be $2000, but the average is probably around $900 to $1000 a day," says Lepron.

"We found that for photo shoots people wanted to display products on a nice bed, or do a bikini launch by a pool, but they had to rent a full Airbnb for the night to use just the pool for a few hours. We thought there might be a better way for people to search what they were looking for and pay.

"We started to get some bookings and then built a proper website, which was launched in March. Bookings so far have included ads for Afterpay, eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Nutella and some smaller brands and independent photographers."

Popular choices at the moment range from a bright pink bathroom to a retro '70s house. "Anything that's very different, people love. We also had a house with Moulin Rouge styling and people loved it. Of course, a beautiful house can work well, but sometimes people just want a garage and driveway for an insurance ad and don't even want the house," she says.

"People can rent out what they want when they want and 95% of shoots are during the daytime and during the week, so people can go to work or work from home and rent out part of the house."

make money from home ugly bathroom

She cites an example where one couple made $5000 by renting out their kitchen while their four children were at school. They'd just finished renovating the house and the funds went towards paying for it.

"People are surprised - at first they are sceptical and when they realise how much they can make by doing nothing they're impressed," says Lepron.

"People say their house is not nice enough, but some ads want a really ordinary house, and when you show them how much they can make they want to tell their friends. For some movies we have requests for very ugly bathrooms, and it's difficult to find one."

Skoutli is now focused on getting more supply. "We have 1900 listings now, but it's all about having the right place in the right city, because requests can be very different," says Lepron. "Last weekend we had a request for a four-wheel-drive shoot. Who has a space big enough for 4WDs to be working in the background?"

Share the baby love

As well as houses, you can rent out your unused baby products. Vanouhi Nazarian , chief executive at Kindershare, came up with her business idea when she was given a university assignment to plan a business relevant to her situation. At the time she had two children and was unsure about whether she would have a third, but had a house full of baby gear.

"I thought it would be a help to myself and to others to rent out baby gear that was not being used," she says. "I'm an accountant by trade and underused equipment is a disaster. We found our first customers by walking around local playgrounds, and launched in 2017."

The business first appealed to travelling parents, or when people had international or interstate visitors. However, since March it has moved more towards newborn items such as automated baby rockers and baby capsules, which are only used for the first months of a baby's life.

There are currently around 900 products listed on the site, and more than half have been rented out more than once.

"We're finding since COVID-19, for first time parents using Kindershare, the stigma around second-hand has gone. People realise they don't have to spend excessive amounts of money to get baby gear, and second- or third-time parents that come to us say they wished they had had this when they had their first child," says Nazarian.

"Since the downturn we are also finding people are using Kindershare as a 'try before you buy' service. New parents are being increasingly discerning and not wanting to splash cash on things that might not be useful. By renting it for a month or so, they can see if it is something they want to hold onto for the longer term."

make money from home baby gear

Recent lenders have come to the business as soon as their first child hit the six-month point and they found they had expensive baby gear just sitting around the house, says Nazarian.

"We have a few people who have realised they can make money off this and do it as a side business."

Depending on the number and type of products they have listed, you can make up to $300-$400 a month.

For example, one of Kindershare's most expensive products, Snoo (an automated baby rocker) sells for $2000 and rents for around $190 per month.

"If you only use it for a few months you save a lot of money, and those who rent it out for a year or so can make their money back," says Nazarian.

"A lot of newborn equipment can only be used for four or five months. Some things might date, but other things are more basic. For example, there have been three different versions of the most popular travel pram, and when people are looking, even the basic version ticks their needs and the price comes down, but it still gets rented out if it's a product in demand," she says.

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Julia Newbould is a financial writer and commentator with a background in journalism. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
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