The Perfect Side Hustle for Dog Lovers? Making Your Backyard an On-Demand Dog Park

An image to accompany a story about side hustles Courtesy of Denise Powers
Sniffspot is a new startup that lets people rent out their yards or other land by the hour as dog parks. "I made $2,810 from dogs swimming in my pool this summer," says Denise Powers, a Sniffspot host who converted her backyard into a water park for pups.
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Why watch dogs run around for free when you can get paid to do it instead?

Sniffspot is an online platform that lets you list your backyard as a private dog park to make extra money. “Our tagline is that we are Airbnb for dog parks,” says David Adams, Sniffspot’s founder and a Stanford business school graduate. “We connect people with land to dog owners looking for a safe place [for their dog] to exercise.” Sniffspot hosts rent their backyards, and some are making thousands of extra dollars a month along the way.

The startup is the latest to capitalize on the sublet economy, in which Americans rent out existing assets as a side hustle. As global inflation continues to strain household budgets, many people are doing whatever they can to stay ahead of rising consumer prices and keep their financial independence goals on track.

If you love dogs, and want a way to make extra money without having to leave the house, Sniffspot could be a perfect fit for you. Here’s what it is and how it works.

She Makes $25 an Hour Renting Her Backyard to Dogs

Denise Powers, a Chesapeake, Virginia resident who started renting her backyard on Sniffspot earlier this year. (Courtesy of Denise Powers)

You don’t have to be a dog owner or have experience caring for animals to rent out your backyard on Sniffspot. If you have a fully fenced yard, agility course, field, or enclosed arena, you can list your space on Sniffspot. You’re not getting paid to pet sit; you’re renting a space.

“I thought, well, hey, not only do I have a fenced yard, but I have a dog-friendly pool, so let’s try this out,” says Denise Powers, a pet photographer. Powers joined Sniffspot because she thought connecting with dog owners in the area could help her attract new photography clients or referrals.

She listed her backyard on Sniffspot for $25 an hour, allowed dog owners to rent her entire backyard and swimming pool, and instituted an extra $25-per-person fee if anyone other than the dog owner wanted to come along. Her thought was that she didn’t want someone to bring a dog and ten of their friends to swim. 

Powers started with Sniffspot in May 2022 and launched an Instagram page, Vince and Ava’s Poolside Oasis, for marketing. May was slow. By mid-June, however, bookings were regular, and the money was coming in. The Sniffspot side hustle made Powers $300 in June, then $1,296 in July, according to documents reviewed by NextAdvisor.

“I made $2,810 from dogs swimming in my pool this summer,” she says.

The backyard is fully fenced in, and owners can accompany their dog for the day if they so choose. (All photos courtesy of Denise Powers)
Vince, the Powers’ pup, going for a swim to burn off some energy.
Vince, after a day of running around in the yard.

How to Make Money on Sniffspot 

To become a host and make money on Sniffspot:

  • Go to the “become a host” page, and read through all the information about being a Sniffspot host.
  • Sign up for free.
  • Fill out all the required information about your space and upload your listing photos. For example, here is Denise Powers’ Sniffspot listing
  • Start hosting dog owners and their dogs.

Everything can be done through Sniffspot’s app, which Powers describes as “user-friendly.” You can even communicate with renters through the app, and you’ll be paid out monthly from Sniffspot via a direct deposit to your bank account. Sniffspot notes that every municipality has different land use laws, but they’ve never found a law forbidding the company’s value proposition. As with all businesses, there may be local requirements for business licenses.

The dog owners renting your space are responsible for all cleanup after their rental. You’re simply renting your space. You never have to come in contact with the dogs directly or their owners if you don’t want to. 

Low-Maintenance Side Hustles Help You Create Financial Independence 

If you’re looking for a new passive income stream, and have a backyard that doesn’t get much use, renting your space could be a way to make extra money. 

“It’s not like driving for Uber—you’re not spending any time on this,” says Adams, the founder. “Even our top hosts, who have hundreds of visitors a month, only spend a couple hours maintaining it. Most of our hosts are people with multiple side hustles, and this is one of them.” Adams says the top hosts on SniffSpot make over $3,000 a month in net income.

Side hustles like Sniffspot are a great way to get the extra money you can use to pay down credit card debt, invest for the future, and pursue financial independence