The Firefighter Sharing His Spectacular Yard

Andy comes from a dog-loving family, and has had canine pals in his life since he was a kid. “Me and my brother have always had dogs ever since we were young. My family is Bolivian but me and my brothers were born here in the United States. My parents had two Yorkies and we pretty much grew up with them,” he said. After their parents passed, the two looked for dogs of their own, and ended up with a stray beagle and two German Shepherds who utilized the huge yard his family has shared for 15 years. 

Today, Andy, a firefighter by profession, shares his yard with guests and their dogs as both a way to make extra income with minimal commitment, and as a way to serve this community, particularly for people with dogs who benefit from playing in privacy. 

Stumbling into Sniffspot and finding success 

Always looking for new sources of income, Andy was intrigued by the methods people are using to generate extra cash with their homes, and came across what seemed like a great fit in Sniffspot. “I’m not sure I remember exactly how we stumbled upon Sniffspot, but I believe I saw it advertised somewhere online or I may have just seen it in the app store,” Andy recalled. “I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for us to have another source of income for things like upgrades around the house, groceries, and emergency repairs.” 

Of course, having a Sniffspot isn’t necessarily meant for everyone. In order to have a great spot, one thing you need is room to host dogs, which Andy had plenty of. ”After reading more about it, I realized that our yard could actually be the perfect spot for something like this,” he said. “In the county I live in, this much land in my area is not very common, but so many people have dogs here, so when we thought about having access to something dog owners can really enjoy we had to ask ourselves why we wouldn’t let people use our yard.” Hard-pressed to find reasons not to, the brothers set forth and opened their Sniffspot with no regrets. 

What it takes to be a great host 

When most people open a Sniffspot they aren’t quite sure what to expect, and Andy and his brothers are no different. They did realize right away, however, that hosting provides a service to those who need it, and runs their space like a business in that way. “We are providing a service, and with any service comes some expectations that you must meet as a ‘business owner that all your clients have when they visit,” Andy explained. “I didn’t really know what to expect when we first started hosting with Sniffspot but I did know there would be responsibilities that came along with it.” 

This business-minded outlook is what Andy credits with much of his success, and he prioritizes three things above all else in order to keep things running smoothly — clear communication, regular upkeep, and investing in the right improvements. “I think the biggest thing was making sure all my new clients had clear and detailed instructions, like directions to the Sniffspot, parking, entering the yard, where to leave trash, etc.,” he said. “My new guests receive a pre-written message that answers most of the questions that someone may have when visiting so there is no confusion as to what to expect. After their first visit, most of the time they are able to make the booking and visit without any help from my end so it makes for a very seamless experience, but I always let them know they can reach me with any questions! Last minute bookings are almost never an issue because of the text alerts that I receive.”  

Interested in hosting?

Learn more here about how your land can help dogs and you can earn up to $1,500 per month!

“Then the second biggest thing was making sure the yard was clean, making sure the grass is cut regularly and that we go outside to pick up our own dogs’ poop,” he added. “As far as improvements go, the only thing we really did was add some more permanent gates for the deck/porch so that any visiting dogs don’t enter the deck. It limits dogs to the yard and the guests don’t have to worry about retrieving their dogs.” 

Doing it for the love of dogs 

While technical matters certainly need to be handled to ensure a tightly-running ship, the care and emotional aspect of Andy’s relationship with dogs is the other side of running a successful Sniffspot. “Income aside, I think the biggest benefit of hosting is how a lot of the clients point out that they have reactive dogs that do not do well with other dogs so dog parks are not really an option for them,” he said. “It’s very satisfying to know that you can provide a safe space for these reactive dogs, which there appears to be a lot of.” While reactive dogs aren’t heard about much, or are often villainized when they are spoken of, reactivity is more common than many people realize, and Sniffspot has allowed countless guests to offer their dog the same enjoyment many other dogs get to experience on a regular basis — space to run, the ability to exercise with no stress, and freedom from judgment, tight leashes, and scolding onlookers. 

“The best thing about hosting with Sniffspot is being able to see other dogs enjoy the yard,” he added. “It’s one thing to see your own dogs running around in your backyard, but to see other dogs, sometimes dozens of them, exploring and sprinting around the yard gives me a very happy feeling.”  

Saving for a rainy day 

The success of Andy’s Sniffspot is apparent, and the extra income he makes from it isn’t earned for anything in particular, but used as he sees fit. “The money we earn from Sniffspot gets put into an emergency fund for the home,” he said. “If we need to do repairs to the home then we’ll pull money from that fund, and we’ll occasionally use it for upgrades to the yard, such as the gates for the deck. We haven’t put much thought into future plans for the yard but we are certainly open to ideas, especially if it can earn us more money.”

For anyone interested in hosting for themselves, Andy recommends setting yourself up for success by ensuring that your guests are treated to an experience that’s safe, welcoming, and well thought out. “I think it’s important to be prepared to take on some responsibility as a host, like making sure all your guests have their questions and concerns answered, and making sure your yard is kept clean, safe, and secured. One of the biggest challenges when I first started hosting was balancing the time it takes to do all that,” he said. “I think the other biggest thing is making sure you are okay with strangers coming to your home because a successful Sniffspot will see an influx of different people coming in and out regularly.” 

A bright future ahead 

In the months ahead, Andy and his brothers aim to keep hosting, earning, and sharing their space with their community and the dogs within it. While his Sniffspot is typically used for exercising, some guests have used their time “Occasionally I will have guests that host parties with a lot of dogs and they’ll bring snacks, drinks, tables, and just other things you would generally bring for a small party,” he said. “And the most memorable experience is when clients request that my dogs come out to play. Watching dogs make new friends is a very funny experience as you watch them go from the initial meeting phase and all the way to the chasing each other and playing phase.” 

Interested in hosting?

Learn more here about how your land can help dogs and you can earn up to $1,500 per month!

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