Hot tub rentals, delivered to your backyard, are a thing in Portland now


Remember the guy who started with one tromboneand walked towards a house?

Matt Halpin and Patrick Fry, childhood friends who grew up together in rural Onalaska, Wash., and now live 10 blocks from each other on the same Washougal street, can relate.

They started with a box of vintage magic tricks bought for a few hundred dollars via a Facebook ad and are now working a thriving business rent backyard hot tubs to people in the Portland metro area, deliver personal hot tubs to your backyard for as little as a week and as long as a month.

Let’s go back.

Talk to Halpin and Fry for even five minutes and they’ll freely admit that they’re always on the lookout for their next hustle. (In their day-to-day jobs, they are operations manager and warehouse manager, respectively.) These magic tricks, from the 1920s to the 1950s, proved lucrative at Roadshow Antiques, and they sold them, piece by piece, net what they said was thousands of dollars in profit. They used the money to buy a property, spruce it up with landscaping, flip it, and then look for their next investment.

The two happen to have a favorite podcast called – you guessed it –Lateral bustle. About a year ago, they heard an episode with a Long Island entrepreneur who had started a hot tub rental business, capitalizing on pandemic-fueled interest in backyard stays and the problems supply chain that put some people on a waiting list of years. for their own bathtubs.

Halpin and Fry checked out the market, saw that no one had beaten them to the concept in Portland, and thought they’d give it a shot. They invested in two hot tubs, not inflatable, but more durable, made from a composite foam, covered in marine grade vinyl with the same sparkling jets found in a traditional hot tub. Tubs plug into normal electrical outlets and need to be filled with garden hoses; after a few days of warming, temperatures reach 104 degrees.

“We thought, worst-case scenario, we’d have a few hot tubs,” Halpin says.

Their first client put their spa rental on their Instagram page, and the idea took off. Now the two have 13 hot tubs in constant circulation in Portland-area backyards, and they’re always on the lookout for more.

“The woman we rented to first, she owns a business in Portland, and she has a lot of Instagram followers,” Fry says. “And so she posted and then, you know, we started renting to people who worked at Nike and Adidas and word got out.”

Prices start at $300 for a tub big enough to hold two people for a week, and go up from there. Their largest hot tub is big enough for six people; renting it for a week costs $400. (Adding an atmospheric cedar bench and step will set you back an extra $50.) To determine pricing, Halpin and Fry say, they compared their prices with a similar Seattle startup, “and just made sure we were way below their prices.”

They make all deliveries themselves, and each spa is cleaned and sanitized before being transported to its next temporary home. Demand was highest in the winter and during the holidays, both say, but if you call and ask for a tub, there’s a good chance you can get one.

Given their day jobs, the business will remain a sideline for now. Still, they say, they had fun traveling around Portland together meeting new customers during the install and the breakdown. The majority of their clients are women, they say.

“I’m not even kidding when I say we’ve had a couple where we’re going to show up and the husband is like, ‘Wait, what’s that? said Frie. “It can be… embarrassing.”


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