I’m a single mom who rents out my yard as a private dog park. I earned an extra $7,400 in 21 months to pay my bills.

    Samantha Bosley and guest pups, Romeo and Juliet.

    Courtesy of Samantha Bosley

    Samantha Bosley, a single mom in Arizona, needed an extra job to support herself and her kids.In 2022, she started renting out her backyard as a private dog park through the app Sniffspot.The money she’s making is helping her pay bills and do more activities with her kids. 

    This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Samantha Bosley, a 42-year-old account manager from Scottsdale, Arizona, who has been renting out her backyard on Sniffspot since 2022. The essay has been edited for length and clarity.

    I’m from Scottsdale, Arizona. Over the past couple of years, the cost of living has gone up so much.

    I’ve been managing bills and taking care of my kids all on my own. I didn’t want to keep scraping by or have my finances tight — I wanted to have the room to take my kids on vacation or do fun stuff.

    Taking on a second job that required me to be physically somewhere other than my home wasn’t really an option. I’m a single mom with a full-time job and two little kids that I can’t really leave them alone for more time than I spend at work.

    I was researching ways to earn additional income or have a side hustle when I saw an ad for Sniffspot on Instagram. It’s an app that helps homeowners rent out their backyards to people whose dogs may not get along with humans or other dogs, providing them with a private and safe space.

    I thought it was a good option, so I tried it.

    The money I’m making is helping me cover my bills

    I started in September 2022. I created a profile, wrote a bit about myself, described my home and what to expect, and included pictures. I posted my profile, and dog owners on the site were able to book my backyard and select a time slot that worked for them.

    As a homeowner, there are different rates you can charge guests to use your yard, but I typically earn $15 an hour for one dog.

    So far, I’ve made about $7,400.

    It’s been very beneficial.

    Although I still live paycheck to paycheck, the money I’ve earned is helping me cover my bills, including offsetting my car payment.

    I can also afford fun experiences with my children now. Before, I couldn’t just say, “Hey kids, want to go do something fun today?” But now, if we want to do something fun or eat out spontaneously, we can.

    I don’t have to do much as a Sniffspot host

    My home was already well-prepared for hosting on Sniffspot.

    I have a ranch-style farmhouse home with a pool and a backyard that sits on half an acre of land.

    I have two securely closed fences in my front yard that can be accessed from either side of the house, although I don’t keep them locked. People can come and go as they please, and thanks to the fences, their dogs can’t roam outside the yard unless they choose to open them.

    A dog in Bosley’s backyard.

    Courtesy of Samantha Bosley

    Hosting on Sniffspot has as low overhead as you can get on a side business. But there are some things that I’ve needed to spend money on.

    For example, I had an issue with my pool filter — it blew up, and the pool cleaner said it was because of all the dogs swimming in the pool, which I don’t believe. I had to spend $800 on that. But that could have happened regardless.

    The guests respect my space

    I have about six regular clients spanning different age ranges. The common thread among them is that they typically live in condos or apartments.

    They are sometimes visitors from out of town.

    Almost always, they don’t have access to a backyard — and even if they do have one, it might not include a pool. They just really want their dogs to be able to run around and swim.

    When the weather isn’t ungodly hot in Scottsdale, I could have a full day of visitors on a weekend. During peak times, I could have back-to-back visitors on both Saturday and Sunday.

    I never feel weird about people being in my backyard because everyone kind of wants to be alone. I’ve never had anyone I felt could be potentially dangerous or made my kids and me feel uncomfortable.

    Sometimes my kids and I catch glimpses of the animals, and they’ll say, “Oh, look, so cute!” But we always try to give guests their space. I remind them not to interact or make eye contact with anyone, and they understand not to go outside and play with the dogs.

    It’s a win-win situation for everyone

    I’m a huge animal lover, which is a big reason I do this.

    Many people send me messages saying, “Thank you so much for opening up your space and letting us do this. We don’t have anywhere else to go.” It feels really good to provide that space for them.

    Plus, it’s pretty much hands-off — the only downside is if you accidentally forget to block time when you want to be in your own yard. But I usually block off plenty of time on the calendar for personal yard time with my kids.

    Overall, being a Sniffspot host has been great for me because I don’t have to go to another job and be away from my kids. It’s self-sufficient, and I don’t have to do much.

    I make extra money and get to help dogs. So, for the most part, it’s a win-win.

    As long as I don’t have any issues, I don’t plan on stopping.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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