Like many people, Leticia Cropper is having trouble making ends meet amid economic uncertainty and sky-high inflation.
Her solution? She turned her Bellflower backyard into a dog park, which she rents out by the hour.
“I think that is the coolest thing ever,” Cropper told me. “I thought about doing other things with my backyard. But to me, this is the easiest and it’s stress-free. It runs itself.”
This is an example of how people are learning to monetize their homes during difficult economic times. What makes this possible are a new breed of apps modeled on services such as Airbnb and Uber.
David Adams came up with the idea for Sniffspot, the dog-park service, about four years ago.
His wife had related to him how, while traveling with their dog, she was unable to find a suitable place for the little guy to do his business and blow off steam.
“I put up a really simple website and it’s just built from there,” Adams said.
Sniffspot now lists yards in 1,500 cities worldwide. Los Angeles is one of the company’s fastest-growing markets. San Diego is among those with the most bookings.
Sniffspot is one of a handful of apps allowing people to turn portions of their home into profit centers.
Swimply does this with backyard swimming pools. Peerspace and Splacer turn people’s living rooms into event spaces and party venues.
Most Sniffspot hosts charge between $5 and $15 an hour for access to their yards. The company takes a cut of nearly 30% of whatever you earn.
Guests must sign a liability waiver before using a Sniffspot yard, and hosts are provided with insurance coverage by the company in case, say, a dog bites someone.
Cropper quickly slips into entrepreneur mode when discussing plans for her Sniffspot listing.
She provides guests with dog toys, and is looking into producing organic dog treats. Guests will find free samples when they arrive.
“And then if they’re like, of yeah, my dog likes them, then I’m, OK, I have some, you know, for sale,” she said.