One company is giving away tiny homes if they’re used as an Airbnb rental

It sounds too good to be true but a Wisconsin-based tiny house builder is conducting an odd experiment in American commerce by giving away its rugged tiny homes for free to partners willing to use them as Airbnb rentals.

There are a few catches, which we’ll cover below, but the company — Escape, based in Rice Lake, Wisconsin — produced a line of well-designed and nearly self-sufficient tiny homes inspired by the prairie-style cottages that dot the wintery landscape there, as well as by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s renowned appreciation of nature. Those who simply want to purchase an Escape tiny home is looking at a cost ranging from $40,000 to $80,000, plus any utilities and the cost of a license plate, since these tiny homes on wheels are legally designated as recreational vehicles.

However, the rental program that offers “free” tiny vacation homes is rather elegant as well. Here’s how it works. The “partner” deemed well-suited to receive an Escape tiny home undergoes a credit check and drops a security deposit of up to $2,000. Escape will deliver its free rentals to any location within 100 miles of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. (delivery and setup costs will be deducted from future rental fees). The partner is also responsible for maintaining the unit, including housekeeping, as well as carrying adequate liability insurance.

The partner must also set up utilities, including water and septic, but the Escape tiny homes designed by Sala architects are surprisingly robust and adaptable. In addition to solar power, the units can be outfitted with water or gas tanks as well as composting or dry flush toilets and even a washer/dryer upon request. Heat can come from a variety of sources including baseboard heat, a furnace, split system or a fireplace.

Once everything is in working order, the unit is free to the partner to use for a year with the option of yearly renewals and the opportunity to purchase the unit at any time. Escape will promote the rental unit on its website as well as a variety of PR channels, at no cost to the partner, although it’s obvious that partners should advertise the unit on Airbnb’s website as well. Once rental commences, the partner’s share of the rental income is 40 percent, minus any booking, credit card or other fees associated with the direct rental of the tiny home, with checks sent to partners on a monthly basis.

With the ability to adapt the Escape homes for off-grid use as well as wheels to make transport or moving nearly effortless, these mobile wonders can operate almost anywhere. The handcraftsmanship is clearly a feature, as are modern accents like panoramic windows, plenty of storage, climate control and LED lighting. The company also affirms that design is key through architectural models that use windows, light, long sight lines and maximized space to make them feel bigger on the inside.

The Escape homes are sold factory-direct but aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources to outfit them could be looking at a business opportunity.


Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Fibaro smart devices are now compatible with the Samsung SmartThings hub

Samsung SmartThings now supports even more devices with the integration of Fibaro, a company known for its smart home sensors. Several Fibaro devices are already compatible, with more on the way.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.

Walmart drops prices on air fryers from Ninja, Farberware, and more

Walmart dropped prices on best-selling air fryers from Ninja, Farberware, and La Gourmet. Interest in air fryers took off when home cooks realized the possibility for guilt-free fried food when you cook with very little to zero oil.
Smart Home

Amazon cuts prices on Alexa-controlled Echo and Echo Dot bundles

Amazon cut prices on Alexa and Amazon Echo device bundles. The second-generation Amazon Echo and third-generation Echo Dot are bundled in discounted deals with the Amazon Smart Plug. The Echo and Echo Dot are also bundled together.
Smart Home

Protect yourself: Here are some of the best home security systems

Looking for the best home security systems for your house? These systems offer the best mix of devices, smart features, monitoring services, and fees that you can afford (plus good customer service reports).
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.
Smart Home

Looking to safeguard your home? These are the best DIY home security systems

Looking for the best DIY Home security systems? These security kits will help you feel safer in no time. Check out our top pick and full list to see which kit will work best for your home.

Air purifiers get steep price cuts on Amazon just in time for allergy season

Spring kicks off allergy season, and Amazon has cut prices on three highly rated air purifiers to bring relief. Allergens and contaminants in the air can have long-term consequences, says the EPA, so proactive steps can help today and later…
Smart Home

Instant Pot has another winner with its Accu Slim sous vide

We all know that Instant Pots are the bomb, but did you know that Instant Pot has a sous vide immersion circulator too? The Accu Slim lets you cook sous vide recipes at home. How does it perform? We tested the device to find out.