How to use your land to make money

Wondering how to use your land to make money? 

With creative thought and diligent research, you’ll find several options exist to make money from your land. Whether you rent or sell the space, use it to grow crops, or raise livestock, you can generate passive income.

As you’re probably aware, open land is valuable to developers and companies. Some of these companies will pay you to build facilities and equipment, such as cell towers. However, like most landowners, you want to get the highest profit possible.

Not having to be directly involved in the generation of that income also helps. Below are some of the top ways to earn passive income from your land.  

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How to Use Your Land to Make Money

The best ways to make money from your land include selling, leasing, Airbnb, dog park, recreational area, agriculture, livestock, junkyard or dump, or allowing storage and parking. Land is valuable and someone will pay you for the right to use your land.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways to turn your land into cash.

1. Sell or Lease It

If you don’t have the time or resources to maintain your land, think about selling or leasing it. Selling your property is the quickest and easiest way to make money. There may be developers and farmers who are looking for land to use.

Commercial and residential developers need open land to build new communities and shopping districts. Selling your land means you’ll earn a healthy chunk of change and not have to lift a finger.

You’ll walk away from the deal with a check and all the responsibilities that come with land ownership. This includes taxes and upkeep. However, selling your land only produces a one-time source of income.

For this reason, you might consider renting your land instead. You can lease it out to farmers who want to grow crops or raise livestock. Other options include renting out portions of the land to commercial developers.

These developers may pay you a recurring fee to use a portion of your land. Some possibilities include oil drilling or a cell tower. This type of arrangement can keep making you passive income month after month.

2. Set Up an Airbnb

Plenty of people love to get away, whether it’s to destress, take a break, or experience something new. Granted, some individuals gravitate toward luxury resorts and destinations. However, there’s a sizable demand for more rugged and rural experiences.

If you have the space and the view, setting up an Airbnb rental can earn you some serious cash. There are a few ways to do this on open land. If you already have a small structure, all you have to do is fix it up.

But if you don’t, you can buy a camper or a tiny home. Place it on or near a vantage point. Decorate it and create your listing on Airbnb.

To qualify as passive income, you’ll need to hire a property management company or staff to oversee the rental. A property management company can take care of visitor communication and manage check-ins and check-outs. The company will also take care of all maintenance.

Setting up an Airbnb rental does require additional investment costs. Although you can take in enough revenue to cover those expenses, you’re taking a risk. It may take months or years to recoup your initial investment.

Plus, there are the ongoing fees and upkeep costs. But if you do decide to sell the land down the road, you can promote your average Airbnb rental income. Some buyers may be more attracted to turnkey rental income as part of the deal.  

3. Create a Dog Park or Recreation Area

Dog parks and recreation areas can be profitable ways to use your land. Over 48 million U.S. households own at least one dog. And many owners need a place to exercise their pets.

Those who live in townhomes, condos, and apartments may not have enough yard space for dogs. Even single-family homeowners may have smaller lawns that don’t provide enough room for some breeds. People look to dog parks and recreation areas to walk and run their pets.

Some owners also like to get their dogs out to socialize. Obedience classes and doggie daycare centers are other ways to do this. However, they can be more expensive than a small park admission fee.

Paying $5 to $10 for a day at the park is more attractive than $30 for a day at daycare. And an owner usually has more control and oversight over their pets at dog parks. They can choose which dogs their pets interact with and practice training exercises.           

Of course, creating a dog park requires some equipment and knowledge. You’re going to need fences, waste stations, restrooms for humans, and landscaping. You might also need to invest in an underground sprinkler system and a full-time gardener or landscaper.

You’ll also need a way to oversee the collection of park fees. Someone may need to be onsite during operating hours to monitor activities. But if you have the funds to hire staff and invest some in the land’s appearance, you can make income.

4. Grow Crops

When you have enough land, you can make money by growing crops. Depending on the climate and soil conditions, what you grow is really up to you. Some people focus on berries and fruit trees.

Others stick to staples like corn and wheat. Before you begin, you’ll want to check market dynamics and zoning requirements. You may need to apply to rezone your land for farming and obtain permits.   

Obviously, you may want to hire people who are skilled at farming certain crops. If you plan on doing it yourself, it’s not passive income. It’s also difficult to handle unless the land is small.

The decision to grow crops does involve some risk. Climate changes and pattern variations could lead to sudden losses. Fluctuations in market prices and dynamics might also lead to losses or razor-thin profits.

You’ll also need to prepare for precision agriculture technology and other farming equipment investments. There are also the questions of crop preparation and distribution. How will you get the crops from your land to buyers? And will you need to do any prep work?

For instance, some berry farmers also use the crops to make jams and pies. Before venturing into growing crops, be sure to come up with a business plan. And include contingency strategies in case things don’t go as planned.

5. Raise Livestock

Another way to use your land to make money is to raise livestock on it. Similar to growing crops, this strategy requires some thought and investment. For starters, you’ll need to decide on what type of animals you want to raise. 

Check with local zoning laws to see what’s required to raise animals on your land. Obtain any necessary permits and prepare the land accordingly. You can hire out the preparation and work, but you need to ensure you’re in compliance.

You’ll also need to decide what you’re going to do with the animals. You can open up petting zoos or educational attractions. Some people also raise animals to sell as food or use parts for clothing.

You could also start a dairy farm or open up a pasture for training and riding horses. But all choices are going to require equipment, labor, and land preparation. Writing a business plan with contingencies can prepare you for the worst and potential exit strategies.

Do your market research before you invest and commit. You don’t want to start raising cows if there’s too much local competition. Likewise, you’ll want to avoid opening a place to train horses if there are local talent shortages.

7. Make Your Land a Storage or Parking Facility

People need places to store campers, RVs, vehicles, belongings, and horses. You can make money from your land by creating a storage facility. You’ll also want to check local zoning and business requirements with this option.

Say you have land located near an airport. You can create a parking facility for travelers. You’ll need to hire a contractor to create uncovered and covered parking facilities.  

Creating simple parking lots is easier, but you might want level or garage-type facilities. Consult with a contractor and compare costs against consumers’ preferences.

For facilities that store people’s belongings, you probably want a piece of land that’s in a populated area. Check with contractors to see what it will cost to build permanent storage containers. You can rent temporary ones in a pinch until the permanent ones are ready.

Camper and RV storage sites are a little less involved. Typically, these only involve laying down concrete and building a worker’s facility and stations. However, you might want to offer some covered options.

Storing horses will mean a lot more work. You’ve got to set up boarding facilities for the animals and purchase fencing for corals. You also have to hire stable staff and purchase supplies, including feed.

But if there’s enough demand for any of these types of facilities near you, you’ll start to earn enough profits.

8. Landfills and Junkyards

While designating your land as a landfill or junkyard may not be the most desirable, it’s a way to earn. Either option is best if you don’t live on or near the land. You’ll also want to consider whether there are any neighbors and how close they are.  

Generally speaking, you’ll have more difficulties getting approved for permits and zoning if people are nearby. Obviously, landfills and junkyards can be unsightly, cause noise, and lower home values.

Although waste management companies will be grateful for the space, consider these options carefully. There’s no sense in signing a contract for these types of land uses if you might change your mind.

Let’s say you want to convert the land for crops or livestock in the future. Having a landfill or junkyard on the property can ruin the integrity of the land. You may have to pay someone to relocate all the waste. And 100% cleanup can’t always be guaranteed.

Chemicals and debris from the waste may get absorbed into the soil. You could face difficulties safely growing crops or raising livestock. There is also the possibility you’ll need to invest in soil treatments to get the land up to par.

Summary: How to use your land to make money

When you have empty land, it’s natural to think of using it to generate a profit. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to earn income from your land. However, your choices will narrow according to local zoning and business regulations.

Market dynamics, including competitive forces, will also influence your choices. But with enough research and a business plan, you’ll discover the best use for your land. Whether it’s selling the land outright, leasing it to others, or converting it to storage, there’s a solution out there.

Land is viewed by many as precious. And they’re willing to pay for its use.    

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.