I've made $26,000 renting out my extra yard space. It's been a great low-lift side hustle and only takes 5 to 10 hours a month.
- Julz Maleno is a 30-something acupuncture student living in Chino, California.
- In 2020, she listed a vacant lot on her property as storage space on
Neighbor, a storage rental app.
- Since then, she's made over $26,700 renting out spaces for RVs, trailer, and more.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Julz Maleno, an acupuncture student in California, about her storage rental side hustle. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I'm in my last year of classes for my doctorate in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Throughout school, I've worked a variety of odd jobs to help pay the bills while juggling coursework.
I worked as an Uber driver at night and on the weekends, but after being sideswiped by another car, I decided being a driver was no longer an option for me as a single mom. I also worked as an acupuncture assistant at my school clinic and other clinics, but as my class schedule changed every quarter, I needed more flexibility.
I started looking into different ways to earn money that didn't require much time and heard about Neighbor on the radio. It's a website and app that connects people who have extra room in their home, garage, shed, or yard with locals seeking space to store their belongings. After doing more research, I learned I could make money by listing the gated, vacant acre lot on my property as a storage and parking space.
Since listing my space was free, I figured I had nothing to lose. [Editor's note: While listing is free, Neighbor charges the property owner a payment processing fee of 4.9% of the total reservation cost plus $0.30 per payout.]
So I signed up, took pictures of the yard, and then listed each spot with the general length and width dimensions. I divided my yard into three general sections to store cars, RVs, and trailers. I then divided those sections into a total of 20 "parking spot" spaces, each of which rents for between $40 and $200 a month.
I listed my first space right before the pandemic began in early 2020 and within days got a renter who wanted to store their RV. Since then, my extra acre of yard space has brought in more than $26,700.
The passive aspect of renting has been great for my busy schedule
I was initially skeptical about listing my space because I didn't know much about storage or what was considered a fair price, but the passive aspect of renting really sold me in the end.
Since I'm not renting out a garage or spare bedroom, I don't spend time cleaning or reorganizing the rental spaces. In fact, I didn't have to do anything to my yard before listing it.
I'm busy with school and don't have time to keep up with a gig job or maintain my yard, so it's great to be able to make extra cash without a big lift.
I do remember that my first listing was well underpriced, but with more experience I've priced more competitively with other Neighbor listings in the area. I was modest with my pricing at first and priced the spaces less than other local hosts because I wasn't sure if they would actually rent. After seeing how easy it was and how steady the inquiries were, I decided to message Neighbor's customer service to discuss increasing my rates. The support team helped me determine the best price for my area and space size.
There's not much on a day-to-day basis that I have to do for Neighbor
I spend five to 10 hours a month on the Neighbor app messaging renters, mostly just coordinating if they need to drop off or pick up something from their outdoor space. All of our communication happens on the platform, which is convenient so that messages don't get lost.
I require renters to reach out to me in advance when they'd like to visit their vehicle or trailers. I'm usually pretty flexible, but I need to keep the space secure and monitor who's visiting and when. Luckily, my renters are all pretty low-maintenance and very accommodating, so it's been easy to plan drop-off and pick-up times around my school schedule.
Many of the renters are very friendly and we'll chat from time to time. One renter had 20 Volkswagens stored with me for about a year with plans to restore them, and another renter had a school bus that was converted into a recording studio.
Using the app has been a perfect low-lift side hustle
It's been a rewarding experience to have nice renters who care about me and in turn, I keep a close eye on their property and monitor all other renters visiting the lot.
Since the listings are month to month, I like that I can adjust my prices and rotate renters in and out as needed, although I do have some long-term renters, including one who's been storing a Chevy Workhorse since 2020.
Renting out my empty yard has been great as a fairly
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