Making Money in Second Life – Part Two (Do the Math)

This continues my weeklong exploration of making money renting apartments in Second Life. You can find me inworld as Uriel Wheeler and feel free to stop by my rental office in Avalon Estates).

Step Two: Do the math. I priced land as best as I was able. It’s a complicated… no, land prices in Second Life are bloody bewildering. Two side-by-side parcels might be offered for hugely different prices. I still don’t “get” it – so as I got started, I rented from a few trusted landlords. It also means that I didn’t need to worry about figuring out tier or premium memberships, which keeps the math simple for me. It DOES add in a factor of uncertainty – because someone else could screw me over.

As a result of doing the math further, now that I know there’s demand for this, I have recently upgraded to a premium membership and bought some land. The tier costs come out to a bit less than I was paying in Estate rent. The key here is to convert everything to one unit. For example, Premium memberships (annually) cost US$6 a month. Right now, that’s approximately L$1500. But it also comes with a L$300/week stipend – so the net cost is L$300 a month. Now I can add that in to the rest of my calculations.

The plots I’ve been using are 4096m^2 – that’s about 64m on a side. That size TENDS to come with about 900 prims.

DaisyHouse_001So here’s where you figure out the math. I made a test build of the skybox (I originally started with a mod of the “Daisy” freebie home) with all the doors, windows, security, and rental box. I counted the prims, and added however many I wanted to give the tenant. Then multiplied to see how many I could fit on the plot. Took my monthly rent for the plot, added a margin, divided by the number of skyboxes, divided by four, and came up with a weekly rent.

So for example – let’s say you’re paying L$8K a month for a plot like I described above. (This is a slightly high rent for commercial use of Estate land, but not by much.) You have a 10-prim skybox model that’s simple as dirt but has doors and security and a rental box. You could then put 9 of those on your plot, and give 90 prims per tenant. (You want to leave a little leeway for the rude idiot who goes overprim until you can fix ’em.) For the sake of convenience, you want to make L$1K a month if all the boxes are full, so you take ((L$9000 / 9) / 4). That leaves you with L$250 a week per skybox.

new_model_001Observant readers will have noticed that’s the rent I charge – but I have a lot smaller margin, larger and nicer skyboxes, and more prims for the tenant. There are rarely 1:1 comparisons among renting apartments and skyboxes, but spend a few hours looking at all the offerings and you’ll get a rough ballpark figure.

One thing I forgot – especially as I started up, I did not have full tenancy all the time. Still don’t, because there is turnover. You will continue to sink money into your operation after the startup costs. Be prepared.

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