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Cottage Life March 2000

Internet biz offers a new lease on life
Couple rent out cottages from the cottage

As storm waves wash over the rocky shoreline and a Lake Huron fog envelops the thick stand of cedars outside, Mike Campbell turns on his computer and clicks to www.rentcottage.com. "The best thing about having an Internet business is being able to work at the cottage."

When that business is renting cottages on both sides of the Bruce Peninsula and down the Lake Huron shore, it helps that the owner's family has had one for 30 years on Warner Bay on the Bruce. And that he now shares his own on the same bay with Jean, his wife and partner, who's a native of Dyer's Bay. They are all too familiar with power failures and broken water pumps and they know not to get too upset about raccoons under the cottage. "Renters are not accustomed to these things," says Jean, "We let them know it's nothing to worry about." Though Mike adds ruefully, "We also know what it's like trying to find a plumber on the long weekend."

In his 18 years as Bruce County's senior planner and eventually the area's 911 coordinator, Mike became familiar with every bay and hamlet from Tobermory down to Kincardine. Seeing the potential of the peninsula's often dormant cottages, he decided to test the rental waters. In 1995, he and Jean did an initial mail-out and found 17 cottagers interested in renting , enough to prompt the couple to set up a Web site for Rentcottage.com. (Among other features, it includes sunset prospects and a privacy rating out of five.) After three years of devoting evenings and weekends to the business, Mike left his planning job for good in January ‘99. Not too risky a move considering that they listed their 100th cottage the following summer.

Working from their Owen Sound home for 10 months of the year, the Campbell's move their fax, scanner, two computers, and two kids to the cottage for July and August. As idyllic as that sounds, summer isn't exactly slack time for the cottagers turned cottage agents. Mike and Jean are attached to the phone seven days a week, fielding calls form their clients on everything from sour milk left in the fridge to dogs that left their signature on pine floors. "One of us has to stay in the office," says Jean, "while the other goes for a swim."
-David Cameron

PHONE: Toll Free 888.447.9590 (North America) or 519.793.3108 (Intl)
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm EDT
Address 2832 Highway # 6,
P.O. Box 70, Lions Head, N0H 1W0
Email info@rentcottage.com

  Licensed Travel Agency, Ontario Travel Industry Act, Ontario, Canada, Reg #50009034
Rentcottage.com is owned and operated by Interactive Vacation Rentals Inc