My son, the kitchen-salesman, had a curious purchase deal over the past six weeks....and related this story yesterday over a bar-b-q. He works for a German furniture company in the Pfalz region of Germany, and only deals with kitchens.
So, this guy came up and wanted 30-odd kitchenettes. My son is used to dealing with a person who simply wants one single kitchen so this kinda begged some questions.
This was a German guy.....late twenties.....who seemed a bit clever. His story was a curious one.
He lived in a town in the Pfalz and there was political pressure put upon the town, to do their part on refugees. They had a requirement to put up a refugee center.....which no one from the town had any experience with or really desired to get into the operation. This guy was a private individual who was a handy-man on the side. He asked what the financial side of this would be.
The village wanted a place big enough to house 30 families....nothing fancy, but you had to supply everything (beds, chairs, towels, pillows, etc). They would cover the set-up costs and the contents of the place, then pay 'rent' for each month. This was worked up in a way for a long-term deal.....at least three years.
So the young guy went out, and found a unused warehouse in the town, that was begging for a renter. He presented his deal to the village, and they accepted.
He spent two or three months putting up enough walls and fixing up a men's bathroom and a women's bathroom. Each compartment would have heat, electricity, a door and a open area for a couple of beds and a sofa or two, with a TV. Each would have a kitchenette.
The pay-off? This is where my son grinned. The monthly payment to this guy for running this establishment is 30,000 Euro ($36,000). You can take out the rent required of the building, heat, electricity, water, and garbage fees. There's probably a minimum-wage clean-up guy in the mix of things for the facility. But this guy ought to be taking home 18,000 Euro a month ($21,000). At the end of the year.....with taxes taken.....he ought to have made 140,000 Euro.....which is a fair sum of money for a young guy. Once up and running....other than driving by once a day and making sure everything is operational....that's it....it runs itself. An hour of work per day at best.
I pointed out though.....there's no way that this refugee episode will continue on forever. My son disagreed. His thoughts were.....there's always conflicts underway somewhere in the world, and all of these people have some internet feed which leads them to pick Germany of all places to walk into and immigrate. He thinks the young guy has a guaranteed gimmick for at least a decade. I sat there thinking over this.....this guy by age 40.....could be a millionaire (if wisely investing his money), and it's all because of refugees and cheap housing. He's just clever to figure out how to make a simple idea into a practical business.