Equal Access

'Netting Tenants

The internet can make money for nearly any business. Want proof? Consider the case of Arlan Hurwitz, owner of SpringTree Apartments in Anaheim, California. In a competitive real estate market, Hurwitz was looking for a way to boost rentals in his 112-unit apartment building. He found it: offering tenants 10 free hours of Internet access each month.

Last year, Hurwitz and Internet consultant Rainer Freytag began working with an Internet access provider to provide the free service. Hurwitz also turned a vacant apartment into a classroom where free computer classes could be held. Then he hung a large banner on the building advertising free Internet access. Within one month, says Hurwitz, he'd rented 10 apartments as a result of the new Internet program, increasing his cash flow by approximately $8,000. Today, the building is at full capacity-and there's a sizable waiting list of Internet users eager to apply for apartments.

"I was completely overwhelmed with the results," marvels Hurwitz. "It was sort of a nice idea that I wanted to [test], and before I knew it, I had almost all my vacancies filled."

Besides generating additional revenue, Hurwitz says the program has helped him attract more qualified tenants; his existing tenants also seem to like having the educational opportunity on-site.

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This article was originally published in the July 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Equal Access.

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