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The Lessons I Learned While Setting Up A Geodome Airbnb Glamp Site Part 1 – Whitney Hansen


So, How Difficult Is It To Set Up A Geodome Glamp Site?

For the past six months, my partner, Tony, and I have been working on a Geodome in the Cascade mountains of Idaho. We decided we wanted to test out whether we could make money by offering a unique Airbnb stay.

For today’s episode, we’re going to share our findings through this experience thus far.

According to research, from the years 2019-2021, unique home searches have increased 94%.

Unique home hosts have earned $3 million globally. The unique market is the way to go when it comes to short-term rentals.

Getting My Partner On Board With The Idea

Tony and I are very different people, and so when I decided I wanted to dive into this project, it took some convincing.

The moment he finally was convinced was when we were touring the property, and he could envision the idea.

“I felt like this was one of the easiest ways for us to get into real estate – property ownership – and make money off of it.”

Tony

I watched the property for about a year and decided to make a full-price offer: $34,000 for about an acre of land.

Why A Geodome?

When deciding what type of unique stay we wanted to take on, we had to consider what kind of land we had. We bought raw land, which means it had no power, no running water, no development.

At first, I had imagined building a small cabin, but after looking at the costs, it was going to be way too expensive.

After doing some research, I came across geodomes. I looked at what is offered in the area, and I saw there were already some yurts up for rent (again, taking the unique stay perspective), so we decided a geodome was the best way to go.

Process of Preparing Cascade Dome

This whole process of developing our land has been a huge puzzle-solving process.

(Check out our process thus far on Instagram @CascadeDome).

I am definitely a big DIY person, whereas Tony is not so much, but we make it work! He’s been helping me with everything that we’ve had to work on – dug a big fire pit, chiseled out rocks, prepared the land for the deck, including getting rid of tree roots.

First Lesson

“Everything takes longer than you think.”

We thought we could get this property ready within two months.

We underestimated the time and money it would take to get this project up and running.

A lot of our costs are more expensive than we thought they would be. For example, lumber prices have risen recently, so it costs us more now than it would’ve maybe even six months ago.

Heads up: To get building permitting (in the area we are in at least), you have to have structural engineering. Make sure to check what your state and/or location requires.

Thankfully, Pacific Domes is taking care of our dome needs. Still, while we were getting the deck figured out, structural engineering, building permits, we also had to figure out how to get our future visitors safely to our dome on our property. So we built stairs. We’ve never made stairs before, so we let Youtube be our guide.

Second Lesson

Be flexible.

“Don’t be married to this perfect idea or vision of what it should be.”

Tony

Tony and I have had to adjust our plans according to our property’s needs. I advise anybody taking on a project like this to be flexible with their planning and roll with the punches.

Third Lesson

Think about what sells.

According to my friend Kristie Wolfe, a fellow Airbnb super host, properties with saunas generate 8x more revenue. To listen to my podcast episode with Kristie, click here. If you want to see the blog post, click here.

Thankfully, I had Brent Gentling’s BYOT channel to learn how to build the sauna from the ground up to create our sauna. To listen to my podcast episode with Brent, click here. If you rather read the blog post, click here.

Fourth Lesson

“It’s amazing to see what you can accomplish through Youtube, a little bit of hustle and grind, and creativity.”

It is an ambitious project, and I’m so happy we took this project on.

Fifth Lesson

Prioritize your safety.

When you’re taking on an ambitious project (such as this one), make sure to take your breaks. Don’t overwork yourself to the point where you’re getting sloppy with your work. Work hard but know when you’ve worked enough to avoid accidents.

Why Are We Doing This

After running some numbers, if everything pans out smoothly on a yearly basis, it should generate from $35k-$55k.

To listen to this podcast episode, click below.

In Conclusion

Tony and I have learned a lot through this new endeavor. It is ambitious and hence, a lot of work. However, it proves that anybody can take on whatever they set their minds to.

Before taking on a project like this, there are many things to consider, so make sure to look into your state’s regulations about building permits, expect things to take longer and cost more than anticipated, be flexible with your plans, and be safe.

Next week, we will dive further into this process, so make sure to stay tuned.

Until next time!

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