Renting out your driveway: An easy ‘side hustle’ that could pay off?

BOSTON — Looking for a side gig in this volatile economy?

A little extra cash can go a long way, with just about everything being more expensive these days.

There’s a side hustle trend gaining traction and no special skills necessary like being crafty or a good cook.

All you need is an empty driveway or parking space, and you can earn some pretty serious cash.

Anthony Viola owns a home with a driveway in Jamaica Plain that’s about a 10-minute walk to the Forest Hills T station, but he doesn’t own a car.

So that parking spot was sitting empty.

“It was just space going to waste. So actually my neighbor here asked if I would rent it out and then it turned out the tenants didn’t need the space, so that prompted me to start looking online to see if there were apps for these things,” explained Viola.

He found an app called “Spacer” that bills itself: “The Air BnB of monthly parking.” He says they were the first to contact him, and shortly thereafter found a renter for him.

Jeremy Zuker is the CEO of Spacer North America.

He says the number of people looking to rent out spots in Boston is up --- way up!

“I can tell you in the last several months - in the last 5 months - we’ve seen about a 70% increase in rentals in Boston. So it’s been a very busy market. Part of it’s weather-related. I think people are [anticipating snow,]” said Zuker.

He also says with parking garage prices in downtown Boston being so unreasonable, renting a spot is a great option for Boston commuters who don’t want to take public transportation to work, which can be unreliable and limiting. And hosts like Anthony can make hundreds a month.

“We think of it as it’s a piece of concrete - if you can turn it into a revenue stream, that’s great. So realistically we’ve had people easily making $200/month. In some places that are a higher density area, it can be higher than that and we’ve had rentals that have gone on for years so people are making $2,400 or more for years and that money can go to lots of different things that the host would like to use it for,” said Zuker.

As for Anthony’s spot, he says he makes enough for a load of groceries once a month. He says he’d probably make even more if he had an enclosed garage.

He says his renters tend to be Boston residents who don’t have parking spots of their own.

“The car here behind you has been sitting here parked for quite a long time because the gentleman that owns it doesn’t use it daily and he just leaves it here parked. The previous renter that I had just would come and use it for road trips and then would leave it here for months on end,” said Anthony.

And he says while he could have come to an arrangement on his own renting to his neighbors, going through an app means the app collects payments for him, and offers some additional protections, as well.

“I liked that about Spacer. There was insurance and everything was covered because, in fact, this past winter I had a tree fall because of the storm and if it had fallen on the car, I’m sure insurance would have been involved,” said Anthony.

The only real work involved, according to Anthony, is to keep the spot shoveled.

Right now Spacer only offers monthly parking options. I asked Spacer’s CEO if they’d be open to offering per diem parking for things like snow emergencies when street parking isn’t allowed. They said they’re looking into it.

There are also similar apps you may have heard of like “Spot Hero” and “Neighbor”.

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