COVID-19 pandemic spurred increase in gig workers, unique jobs: 'Airbnb for dog parks'

Side hustles spike during pandemic

The workplace in America shifted in 2020. Two years later, jobs are still offering work from home options. On top of that, many people picked up side hustles throughout the pandemic, and one involves furry friends.

The workplace in America shifted in 2020 — and two years later, jobs are still offering work-from-home options.

On top of that, many people picked up side hustles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of these side hustles involves furry friends for one Las Vegas woman.

Anna Riggi of Las Vegas, a single mom of six, started renting her backyard through Sniffspot as an extra source of income. (Ashley Soriano/Fox Business) (Fox News)

She’s one of tens of millions of Americans to pick up a freelance job on the side, and conveniently, it’s right in her backyard.

Anna Riggi's full-time job is caring for her six children.

"I'm a single mom and can always use a little extra income," Rigby said.

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Working a traditional office job is out of the question, so she started renting her backyard to dog owners.

"I have had a group birthday party where I've had four dogs here at once. They rented my backyard for a little birthday party. And I thought, ‘Okay,’" Riggi said.

She uses an app called Sniffspot.

"You can think of it like Airbnb for dog parks," said David Adams, Sniffspot's founder.

Sniffspot launched in 2018, and the number of hosts skyrocketed during the pandemic. (Ashley Soriano/Fox Business) (Fox News)

Sniffspot connects hosts with backyards to dog owners who may not have access to one otherwise, or who may prefer privacy.

The company has thousands of hosts in the U.S. and internationally.

It was just two years old when COVID-19 hit.

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"I guess in Washington, D.C., they shut down everything, including public dog parks, public parks and there was no option for anyone to get out at all," Adams said. "We just exploded in Washington, D.C., and now Washington, D.C. is one of our biggest markets."

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The gig economy exploded — jobs like driving for Uber or Doordash, and in other cases like Anna Riggi, renting her backyard.

"We've in many ways opened up Pandora's Box when it comes to people working from home," said Leith Martin, the executive director of the Troesh Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

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"A lot of those people are going to struggle to give up some of that freedom that they had from working at home," Martin said. 

A projected 87 million people will work freelance or gig working jobs by 2028, according to Statista.

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"I can set my schedules and what days I want on or off, and it's been nice," Riggi said. "It's nice having a little extra because, you know, I'm a single mom, and it really helps me out."

Sniffspot’s founder says some hosts make over $2,000 a month from the comfort of their own home — or backyard.

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