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Not giving away enough? Or giving too much?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 272
Location: Nauvoo, AL
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So here's the set up. 

$600/ year up front for leasing an acre to put your "stuff" on.  Which equates to $50/month.
I also ask for 20hrs a month worktrade.
The time spent on building your shelter will count toward your worktrade hours.
The entire $600/ year rental fee is refunded to the
renter if/when they decide to end the partnership.
10 years =$6,000 refunded,  5 years = $3,000 and so on.

Access to a total of 61acres, (35ish acres of "almost" pasture, the rest is a mixture of bottom lands, planted pines, and 1330' of river frontage.)

The property is in Alabama.

I have enough reclaimed materials to build a few tiny houses.  Available for FREE for people to use to build themselves a shelter of a 200sqft footprint or less.  I've offered to assist in building if anyone needs it.


The rules:

Permanent shelters built with my materials will remain on the property.
A rule of no illegal drugs,  including marijuana.
No path to ownership of any part of the property.
Either party can end the agreement at anytime.
With the entire sum of the renters rent returned to them the first non holiday weekday.


So here is my problem.

I've had about 6 people take me up on this in the last two years.
NONE of which made it more than three months.
A few left in the first week.
One didn't make it the entire weekend.


I posted an add on the regen ag FB page, the regen ag uncensored FB page and here.

I've gotten a good amount of backlash and people actually getting personally offended.  Especially this go around.

Complaints:

Rules are for fascists
How dare you deny me my medical pot...
I'll die if I can't smoke everyday.
Housing should be provided.
$600 is to much.
Your place is in....Alabama.
Money! And you require me to "work" 20 hrs a month.   How dare you.
Plus much much more.

I've looked into wwoofers and created a Wwoofer host account.  


So here's my question.

So am I asking to much, while not offering enough in return?



 
gardener
Posts: 2140
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I think you are offering a great deal.  To the point that I'm not sure what's in it for you?

I'm not sure why you aren't crawling with tenants, unless there's something else going on that could explain it?  If you're hiding in the bushes taking pictures as they change I could see how it would turn some people off.  Or maybe a severe personality conflict.

But on the face of it, the deal sounds perfect.  The refund of all rent paid seems especially generous.
 
Jay Grace
Posts: 272
Location: Nauvoo, AL
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What is in it for me.

20hrs a month labor.  Many hands make light work.

Potential long term business partner for the right person.

I work ALOT of hours at my job.  A responsible person could potentially fill in the occasional gaps that I'm not able to do the daily and semi daily jobs that are required on the land.



No crazy personality disorders, and not a perv.
I've had no problems with those who've came out for the offer. 
I believe I went above and beyond to help each person to try to achieve their goals. 
Regardless of this all of left apologetically on their own accord for one reason or another.  With no hard feelings. 

 
Posts: 232
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Maybe try asking for more??

I had once been told a story from an economy teacher who took the best potato's from his area, to a wealthy area that lacked potato's of any quality.  He had the smart idea to charge less for his quality potato's than the sub-par potato's in the market he drove to.  Simply put....he didn't sell many potato's.  The lesson he was teaching, is to learn/know your market, and the reason he didn't sell his better quality potato's was basically because he was charging less.  So the wealthy people of the area automatically assumed his potato's weren't that good.  But had he of charged more for his potato's than the sub-par ones, he would of sold out instead of driving home with them.

Maybe if you ask for more, people will assume there is more value..??  I don't really know, but that story has stuck with me.
 
Posts: 113
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Maybe you're not reaching your target audience.  Or maybe "no path to ownership" means there will always be a transient nature to the partnership. 

Certainly that's a good price for rent of land.  What about economic opportunities in the area?  People still need to earn that 6k a year, plus whatever else they need to live, unless they're living off savings.

Ultimately I think there are very few people these days who actually know how to live the settler lifestyle (aka moving across the country, building your own home, and becoming self-sufficient off the land).  It's a huge skill set to acquire, and if one already has that skill set, they might not be in a place where they want to move elsewhere to use it.  (Maybe they already have land, or family they need to be near, etc.)

Moving to build your own place, have an adventure, test yourself again the land and self-sufficiency...they sound like amazing things.  But it's going to take a lot to do it.  A lot of gumption, some money, and a fair amount of risk: time, energy, opportunity cost of doing something else, and the risks involved in the human element of the equation, whatever that turns out to be.

People who move to start a new life and fling themselves into an unknown situation tend to be really brave or really desperate.  Sometimes both.  I don't think desperate people are going to have 6k up front.  It's not necessarily going to be easy to find the brave, qualified, prepared, and physically strong and healthy individuals that are you target audience.  Especially with no path to ownership. 

I think most people want to put down roots eventually.  And for better or worse, many see land / home ownership as part of that.


*edit*  Well shit, I just realized it's not 6,000 but 600!  :O  That's not a big upfront sum at all!
 
gardener
Posts: 402
Location: Sierra Nevadas, CA 6400'
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I think the problem is you're not (really) charging anything. There's a saying that free customers are always the worst customers, and I think that's what you're experiencing. I don't know what it is in humans, but when we get something for free, we expect everything in return. But if we are forced to give up something like our hard-earned cash, we're suddenly a lot nicer to the person who sold it to us. Your offering seems far more than generous. If I were in your shoes, I'd try an alternate approach: charge more and keep the money.
 
pollinator
Posts: 329
Location: SoCal USA
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The no weed is probably a big part of it, as your post mentions. It seems there are a lot of people looking for a place to chill, smoke weed, and "live the permaculture life" in an established site, which doesn't align with the reality of a lot of places that want to get things done long term. If people are having to make the place they stay in, you might be getting some folks that didn't realize they would be camping at first, and doing hard work to get shelter?

Are you providing meals, or the food for them to make their meals? If the amount of work/money you get is flexible, perhaps make the rent higher, like $1000/month, and you deduct $X per hour they put towards projects? I would also suggest some amount like $100 be non-deductible. I think that would thin out folks who really aren't interested or invested but will show up anyways because there's nothing to lose. Your time is worth something too, and you waste it on flaky folks that show up for a day or two and get oriented, then they don't want to bother with it after all and leave.

No offense meant to anyone about the weed, just seems to be a common sore spot when people are told they can't have it.
 
Jay Grace
Posts: 272
Location: Nauvoo, AL
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Mark, I do have two other cabins on the property.  One of which is practically move in ready.
The other is short a few windows.. so a bit drafty during the winter.
BUT, what I don't want to happen is get someone to come out.  Then they pile up in the loaner cabin with no desire to complete their own cabin.

The pot issue to me is a depressing issue.
I've seen more than a few just decide that getting high everyday is their number one priority.
Also, considering that is currently illegal here in AL could potentially put myself, as the property owner, in legal trouble if the "bunch of bush hippies down by the river" get raided.

I really don't want to charge more as I don't want to price out a potential person. The money really is just to weed out potential problems and if a person gets burnt out for whatever reason they can leave with a bit of money in their pockets.

Yes, I've heard that people associate worth/ value with the price someone is asking for an item.


My end goal is to move out to one of my offgrid cabins and rent my main house (1200sqft on the front of the property). 
 
pollinator
Posts: 192
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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Mixed feelings on this, partially because I think a few key factors are unknown. A lot of my initial reaction is similar to Lori's reply though.

1. So $600/year, refunded in full when the person chooses to leave, correct?
2. 20 trade hours/month, which building their shelter is included in.
3. The leaser has a choice between building a shelter out of their own materials, or using your materials but then forfeiting their ownership of the shelter.
4. There is no path to ownership on the land.
5. Your rules are mostly fine and the complaints you listed are ones I would ignore, as young people these days generally complain about anything that inconveniences their lifestyle.

Jay Grace wrote: I've looked into wwoofers and created a Wwoofer host account.



Wwoofers programs, to my limited knowledge, exchange knowledge for work. I don't see anything in the OP about knowledge being exchanged except for an optional assistance with shelter building.

---

With that, I have a few questions:

A. What is the intention of having these people come out besides to help you a couple hours a month? It doesn't seem clear to me as there doesn't seem to be any education being taught to them and it seems like they aren't doing much work-experience with you either.
B. What does "access to 61 acres" entail? Could someone gather firewood or graze chickens or something on that area?
C. How far away is your property from a town where someone could seek employment or access a market?
D. What exactly is the "long-term partnership" you are referencing? Is it doing the jobs you don't have time for? Something else?
 
garden master
Posts: 204
Location: Morongo Valley
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I agree with most of the sentiments above, particularly that something with a low valued is valued lowly...  And I think it may be that you are both giving too much away, and also not providing enough of certain things to get the attention of the people you'd like.  It seems you are getting the attention of either entitled people, or people looking for something for truly nothing.  My thoughts on this matter:

Too much giveaway:

The $600 per year is very reasonable, but I don't understand why that rent would be refundable.  It makes it sound too good to be true, at first glance.  It would sound more serious to me without the refund option.

Not enough:

A clear mission, so I understand where you wish this to go, and could see if my goals fit that mission.
Structure, so I know what exactly would be expected of me, and what I could expect from other tenants I would inevitably interact with.
A sense of a "bar" for entry so I knew that troubled people would not be tolerated and could feel fairly safe.


I think the last two are important in few ways.  I wouldn't want to join a community where I could end up having to be around a bunch of problematic people.  So knowing the community's screening method, even if it was a landlord-tenant situation like you are mentioning, would be as important to me as to you.

Bonus stuff:

Being able to demonstrate some of your projects so people can see what's possible.
Bringing in educators who can train people.

I think the last two are a huge part of why Paul's community is doing well, despite the speed bumps along the way.  He offers a lot of educational opportunities, very immersive high-value ones.

Have you tried reaching out in your community for people who don't have land, or have enough land? People already in your community at least know what it's like to live there already, and may be invested in living there. 
Maybe people in small nearby towns on little lots who dream of country living, or starting a small farm income? 
Or even people who want land to raise animals or start a food forest, initially? 
Also, do you have water available to each plot?  That would also be very important to me if I were looking for land to try out a sustainable lifestyle on. Even with permaculture you need water for getting many things started, droughts, and animals.

Also, I just listened to the podcasts between Paul and Diana Leaf Christian, they were so informative I took notes!  Those podcasts might give you some ideas of how to create the successful agrarian community you desire.

Good luck!  Try, try again!
 
Posts: 1764
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I like the idea that you have some land and you want some people to come and try out some permie/farming ideas on it.

They pay a nominal fee, and I wouldn't mentioned  that they get it back.
But I do like the idea that you stick it in a VC pool, and if someone has a biz idea you could pull from that to lend them some funds if after seeing what they do for a year, makes you feel like they could make some money.


If you are going to have more than one tenant. what happens when my goat escapes and eats down all or MARY's lettuce? It really was an accident but. 
 
gardener
Posts: 7488
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I know people who aren't worth $2 per hour, and I know people who are worth $50 per hour. I can't imagine any of the top earners, choosing to pay $1,000 worth of labor, to live at anyone's place, other than their own.

I would expect many who are worth less than $2 an hour, to agree to everything you said. I don't imagine any of them lasting very long, or carrying through.

Those who aren't going to work out, are likely to choose to make all of their building mistakes, using the materials provided by you.

For those in the mid range, at say $20 labor value, $400 in labor is quite a lot, for a patch of dirt.
 
pollinator
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Jay Grace: I had a similar experience as you when I had about the same deal as you. In my case it was a traditional home, no rent and and thirty acres, but about the same deal rules wise.

I don't get it either, so I am not joining in because Idon't have any advice to offer, but taking notes as to why?
 
Posts: 170
Location: Denmark 57N
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Having a quick look down It looked fine but I realised it didn't appeal to me either, so why doesn't it appeal to me?

I don't care about the drugs rule, I don't even smoke tobacco.
The "rent" is just a savings mechanism

I'm not too keen on a "tiny" house but I'm sure some are.

Now the 20hours a month so say $300 a month really as rent. under 5 hours a week that's not a deal breaker.

My problem would be that anything I do to that land is "lost" it's not mine so I am in effect wasting my time. There is also the question of is there anywhere to work around you? Food electricity insurance etc etc still needs to be bought. 20 years ago I might have said yes for a year, but I don't think you would have found me worth it. Of all the people I know I can think of only one who might do something like that, and he would still be dependent on a easily accessible job.


Saying this I have a pair of friends who went on and on about wanting to grow their own veg etc etc, (they live in a flat in town) but when I offered them space to do it for free... no not interested.
 
Posts: 6542
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I think your offer is great...it is similar to one we tried on our forty acres (that we have since sold).  We surveyed off six acres in a private corner and offered it as a long term lease with ownership after five years of work/trade at twenty hours a month....I think in our case location was the drawback and maybe no one wants to be obligated for that long?  I thought of it as a way to buy land without a bank or cash involved at all. We had a bit of interest but no takers so in the end sold the whole thing to a wonderful couple of permies....it is in Arkansas though...might be if it were offered in Washington state, folks would be all over it....I don't know.  We wanted that five year obligation so that someone wouldn't just buy it and then sell immediately and we end up with nightmare neighbors...lots of thought and reasoning went into this that I won't go into now.

I've been on the other end of this situation though...in my early twenties in the early seventies just hitching around and landed in the Ozarks on some land with some folks and stayed.  After a few years of communal living my husband and I desperately wanted something of our own for many reasons and fortunately we were able to buy five acres outright from the owner.  I didn't go into it wanting to own something...that need came later once we had children....

We still have that five acres of 'hippie land' and I've tested the interest for letting someone live there and can't seem to get a good dialogue going...I feel like I've got stuff about us all over here at permies and want to know more about the folks interested in living there....I've given up on that as it never got off the ground really.

I think that Paul Wheaton is correct in his assessment and experience at the Lab with folks coming to 'live' there....eventually someone will connect with you and what you are doing...the land and the offer, etc.  It may take too much patience and energy to wade through all of those who 'think' they want to have what you offer....

haha...people are so complicated...if only they all thought like 'me'



 
Jay Grace
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That reminds me, the ANTI Paul Wheaton fan group jumped all over the fact I mentioned I would like to take a bit from Paul's experiences and add to that model.

Apparently, the poo debacle is still a subject the FB trolls love to bring up.
As is community drama.



 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6542
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Jay Grace wrote:That reminds me, the ANTI Paul Wheaton fan group jumped all over the fact I mentioned I would like to take a bit from Paul's experiences and add to that model.

Apparently, the poo debacle is still a subject the FB trolls love to bring up.
As is community drama.





All I can say to those folks is that it's just too easy to judge a situation wrongly when someone doesn't try to understand what's going on.
Paul's model (or anyones for that matter) is just that and folks can choose or not choose to participate in the program....seems simple.

I wonder if you have any sort of screening process or accept just anyone who would like the opportunity?
There are a few folks here at permies who have applications that folks fill out before being 'accepted' on the homestead for volunteer work.
Maybe make it something where they would have to compete or pass a test or at least answer some serious questions about how they see their future there.




 
Jay Grace
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Location: Nauvoo, AL
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Judith


All I can say to those folks is that it's just too easy to judge a situation wrongly when someone doesn't try to understand what's going on.
Paul's model (or anyones for that matter) is just that and folks can choose or not choose to participate in the program....seems simple.

I wonder if you have any sort of screening process or accept just anyone who would like the opportunity?
There are a few folks here at permies who have applications that folks fill out before being 'accepted' on the homestead for volunteer work.
Maybe make it something where they would have to compete or pass a test or at least answer some serious questions about how they see their future there.




My screening process was basically for a person to follow the rules I set.  In addition to the $600 per year up front.

I generally set up a FaceTime or at least a phone chat before anyone comes out.
I ask for a copy of their drivers license and an emergency contact number.
 
gardener
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To me, $600 to rent an acre of land for a year far exceeds the prevailing market value of an acre of land. Asking someone to contribute 20 hours per month of labor is again far in excess of the prevailing rental value of land in my area. In my area, land is typically a burden to it's owners, and the owners tend towards paying people to take care of it for them. I 'rent' an acre of land for about 20 hours of labor per year. I am only doing that as a favor to the land-owner.



 
Jay Grace
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Joseph,  it's not just an acre of land alone.  The acre is just to keep a persons personal belongings on.  More or less actually it is to keep other people off your acre.
A person would also have access to the remainder of the property. 61acres total ( minus the acreage if others come out)

Additionally, 100% of the "rent" is refunded when either party decides to end the agreement.

Deer lease property goes for $8-$12 acre per year.  But that's for mass leases of thousands of acres.
Property that you have permission to live on rents for $85-$115 an acre per month.



 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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How much is this land worth per acre? I have a small property in an expensive area. It's worth about 35,000 u.s. per acre. I would gladly rent it out for $100 an acre, to anyone willing to post a suitable bond, for damages that might occur. In an area where land is far cheaper, I would expect to charge less.
........
I know people who have bought land, and I know people who have rented land. In almost all cases, they all knew what they were getting into, and there was no dispute between the parties. I've also known quite a few people who got involved in rent to own, timeshare and workshare arrangements. I can think of two who are happy with how it all went down, and at least a dozen who are unhappy. It's pretty evenly split between tenants and owners.

As an owner who has had people work off their rent, I have been happy with one person, and completely disgusted by five others. Three of the five, never got any useful work at all done. Two, got some work done, but they required so much management by me, that it would have been easier for me to do it myself. Request for permanent employment and loans were commonplace. Four of the five bad ones, left me with lots of garbage to clean up, when they moved away. This ranged from a few plastic bags stuck in the trees, to an overturned vehicle and variety of stuffed furniture, left out in the rain. I had much more respect for the average person, before becoming a landlord. :-) Say no to drugs, and to druggies.

At one point, I mentioned to the good tenant, that I hadn't seen a couple who was living in my cabin, for about 8 months. He told me, "that's because they go into the bush, and hide, until you're gone."
 
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For quite sometime we said to folks that what they did in private when on our land was ok as long as they kept it private. (People coming here are adults and who am I to tell them what they do in their own time?) But, our long term experience was that drug use and alcohol use never worked out. It always got abused one way or the other. Some folks can handle smoking pot, others can't. The problem is that the "high functional" pot smokers never seemed to be able to resist being "friendly" to the other folks on the farm and offering pot to people who often couldn't handle it well. We had many unfortunate incidents over time with pot and beer.

What we do now is to say to folks that we do no drugs or excessive drinking, period. We tell them if they want to get "high", that's fine with us, have at it. But just not here. If they want to learn about farming and heritage skills, they will learn much here. If they want to smoke pot, there are other places for them. It's become a very firm line in the sand for us.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Then there's pets. One guy had a rottweiler that rushed up to everyone, while barking, and chased everything that moved. He shit on the pathways.

My Labrador, was trained to poop in tall thickets. She approached people with tail wagging and no snarling.

I've become pretty good at guessing which type of dogs people will like. Several breeds can never live with me. If there were small children, the list of banned breeds would grow. This is a useful demographic filter for me. I've used it when hiring help.

Then there's cigarettes. It could never work, so I don't even try anymore. Not at work, at the land or in personal relationships.
 
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Solar Dehydrator Plans - Combo Package download
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