Business Plan — One to Four Rental Units

We have determined that the rentals that we want to build need to be for one person or two people. We have two sizes that we like to use. One is two hundred and ten square feet and the other is three hundred fourteen square feet. The first we call an Io-16.5. The second we call an Io-20. We use the name Io (pronounced eye-oh) because it is the smallest moon name and these are small domes.

We are Building Cottages or Weekly Rentals or By-the-Week Motels. These buildings fall under different trade regulations and they are far easier to finance at a bank.

It is relatively simple to find a piece of land that will handle one to six of these little rental units. You can buy a vacant lot and put one on, and then as it rents and you get a little stronger then you put two or three more on. You do not need to invest millions of dollars to get this plan working. The first lot that I bought held four units. It was zoned residential and I got it changed to commercial. By changing it to commercial and building a by-the-week motel on it, I was able to use one water meter and one sewer hook up. The lot is small. It only has room for four units. It is right downtown Italy, Texas (a very small town in Texas). Before we had the buildings built they were rented. They have been rented ever since.

The first large project we did with the dome rentals was in south Texas. The owner had the land and he had been through the class but he really did not know how to get started. So, he and I talked and I explained to him he needed to go see his banker, take his business plan and see if they would loan him the money for four units. He had a landscaping business and had been running it for many years but he was really getting tired of it. He wanted something that would be better. So, we helped him build the first four units.

As soon as he had the first four built they were rented and he was getting some money in every week. He was happy as could be. He went back to the bank and said, “Ok, it is working, we are making money. It is doing all the things that were promised. We would like to build four more.” The bank said no. They wanted to see it run for a few years because it was new. It was new to the bank, it was new to the world. The only other place that had something like it was ours here in Italy.

He called me very discouraged. I had just finished reading the biography of Sam Walton. The man that had built Walmart from nothing. In the biography he told about wanting to borrow money to build the first store and how difficult it was. He said that he had to go to two hundred and eighty-two banks before he got one that would loan him the money. I told that to my friend in south Texas and suggested he at least go to two hundred and eighty two banks. He called me back the next morning and said he had gone to the second bank in this little town, it only had two banks, the second bank’s bankers came out and looked at what he had and said sure. They would rent them, how many did he want? He said he wanted four more. So, they financed four more and then eight more and then twelve more and now it is about fifty.

His wife stopped by one day and thanked me again and again for pushing him to build those rentals. She said her husband was happier than he had ever been. That he was doing the maintenance and the work and all. They were working and they were making money. He was finally in a position where he could back off on his landscaping business and they were going to build themselves a summer home over in Tennessee.

You can do this. You can build a few at a time. You can buy some more land and build a few more or you can find someone that would like to invest with you and do it together as an investment.

If you go to the internet and study America’s Rental Housing: Meeting Challenges, Building on Opportunities, by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, you will find the need for these rentals is beyond belief. In the twenty years we have been doing this we have seen the rental price for these small rentals virtually double. We have to run them as a business and so will you. If you want to learn how to build the domes, they are the simplest ones. You build them and they will last lifetimes. They are something you can turn over to your kids and you can get the practice you need to build Monolithic Domes and then build them for others.