Westfield Couple's Side Business Goes Through the Roof
RoofBoxToGo.com offers daily or weekly rental options.
When entrepreneurs consider starting a business, most strive to think "outside the box." But for Westfield couple Jamie and Aaron Wessner, their home-based business is all about the box--the rooftop box, that is.
Several years ago when the Wessners and their infant daughter were leaving their one-bedroom apartment in Hoboken for vacation, the couple quickly realized all they needed to pack simply would not fit inside their Jetta.
"Babies come with a lot of stuff," Jamie laughed. "We didn't want to rent an SUV for hundreds of dollars and we started looking for a place that rented rooftop boxes and we found that there was nowhere to rent one. We realized we're not the only people who use this. You need it not only for vacation but for a short trip to go skiing or golfing or taking kids back to college. We said, 'let's be the people who rent these.'"
Launched in December 2010, RoofBoxToGo.com offers road-trippers the opportunity to rent automobile rooftop cargo boxes and roof rack crossbars on a daily or weekly basis.
At 11 cubic feet, a small box is available for $10 per day or $50 per week. The larger size, 16 cubic feet, is offered at $12 a day or $60 per week.
"The box costs $400 and for people who live in an apartment, where are you going to store it after you take your vacation?" asked Jamie, who now owns "a handful" of boxes and rents them to people who pick them up from her in Westfield.
The Wessners said they have done very little in the way of advertising. "Most people find us through Google searches," Jamie explained.
Initially the couple got the word out by appearing at street fairs and festivals in Hoboken and the idea resonated with other families who found themselves in a similar situation.
"Now people ask, 'do you have a franchise in Westchester or in other locations?' because it's cheaper than renting a bigger car or buying the box and if you use it only once a year, do you really need to own one?"
While summer is the Wessner's busiest season, with all the rooftop boxes rented for the third week of August this year, Jamie said moving kids in to college and ski season are other popular rental times.
"If you put your equipment in the box, that makes more room for other passengers," Jamie noted. "And do you really want your wet ski boots in the car with you?"
While the Wessners don't have any plans to expand their side business at the moment, one idea they'd like to implement is to ask travelers to decorate the box with a sticker from the location they visited.
"Then you could see everywhere the box has been," Jamie said. "They've been to Cape Cod, Canada, all over the place and I wish we done it when we first started."
For more information, visit www.RoofBoxToGo.com.