Do you have a piece of vacant and raw land on hand and do not know what to do with it? Should you sell it for that one-time profit or turn it into an occurring profit-making business? Whilst owning raw land isn’t quite the same as owning real estate, there are practical applications and benefits of raw land nonetheless, and it involves a bit of creative thinking and application to make use of your land to its fullest.
When people buy land, their first thought is to build a house there. Well, we get it. It’s hard to get your creative juices flowing when you’re simply staring at a piece of empty land. That’s why in this post, we’re going to show you how versatile and profitable a piece of land can be with 51 ways you can turn your land into a commodity.
This article at a glance:
1. What can you do with your vacant land?
You can be creative with what you want to use your land for! However, there are some restrictions that you have to keep in mind and take note before starting any work on your land.
2. Should you sell your land for a one-time profit or turn it into a business idea?
It’s totally up to you! Selling your land may be profitable if you’re getting good money for it, but always remember that there are other ways you can use your land, such as the 51 ways we’ll dive into in the article.
3. I have not bought my land but am thinking of buying one, what should I do?
Hop on to read our do and don’ts of land buying below. Take note that buying land is an illiquid investment and profits are not immediate unless you’re simply going to create a parking lot with your land. That’s why you should be 100% committed before placing that buy order.
Things to note before you dive into any of these tips
Hold up, before we dive in, remember that not every piece of land can be turned into whatever you want. For one, you may be limited to what you can do with your land depending on its size, location, terrain, zoning restrictions and other issues.
If you’re unfamiliar with zoning, it’s how the government regulates land—the municipal or local laws that are imposed to govern how real property can and cannot be used in certain geographic areas. Each country or state has its own zoning restrictions so it is best that you check for potential restrictions before you buy that land or start any work with it.
If you have already gotten your hands on the piece of land and checked your restrictions, skip on to 51 ways to transform your raw land. However, if you are just planning to buy a piece of land and haven't gotten to putting in an official offer, don’t forget the do and don’ts of land buying. We’ve listed a few but not exhaustive lists of things you should take note of before buying raw land.
- Buying land is a long-term, illiquid investment—be sure you’re fully committed
- Profits are not immediate unless you do not plan to develop your land at all
- Consider the proximity of your land to access to schools, your job, grocery stores, etc.
- Be 100% sure of the costs involved and spend your money wisely
- Make sure you have access to utilities, including electricity and internet lines
- Check that you have road access and your land can be accessible via public roadways
Lastly, as we've mentioned before, zoning restrictions are an important issue before buying any piece of land. To put it simply, zoning laws make it impossible for you to have your own hypermarket or sewage processing plant in your backyard. Thus, always make sure that you are allowed to build whatever you plan to build on that vacant land before buying and starting development.
With that, let’s move onto our main topic for today.
Here are 51 ways to turn your land into a commodity
1. Community garden
A simple and beautiful way to make money from raw land, especially if you rent small plots of land out to people who want ownership of their section of the garden. You could also sell the flowers you grow for an extra financial boost.
2. Wildlife preservation
One of the easiest but highly time-consuming ideas. In order to attract wildlife onto your land, you’ll first need to protect the land from hunting, fishing and trespassing activities. It could take a while for the land to return to its natural state, and that’s when the wildlife will follow.
3. Small houses
Small houses work when your land is not massive in size. You could have a small hut to visit on the weekends for a short getaway from city life.
4. Farm snails
At one glance, this may seem like a gross activity. However, global snail farming is a lucrative business. In fact, the snail farming industry is valued at €1 billion and it is growing at 4.5% per annum in 2020, and the countries that consume the most snails in 2021 are Spain, Morocco and France, which make up for 67% of the world's snail consumption.
5. An orchard garden
If you’re into trees, flowers and fruits, this is probably your pick. Depending on the location of your land, you could plant different types of trees. Once you’ve gotten on track, you could even sell your produce at local markets or to larger grocery stores.
6. Start a farmer’s market
Besides selling at a local market, create your own! You don’t need a huge space to start a farmer’s market, you just need enough space to host a few stalls that sell quality products. You could also charge vendors a small fee for using your land.
7. Recreational activities
Dirt biking, paintball, four-wheeling, ATVs—anything you can think of. We personally love any activity that gets us covered in mud and sweat. If you do go with muddy activities, don’t forget to include a shower station for guests to wash off too, as an added advantage included with the fee you’re collecting.
8. Raise livestock
For a more hands-on experience and if you’re not afraid of animals—large or tiny—try raising livestock such as cows, sheeps, goats for edible products such as beef, milk, or cheese. You could market these at a local market for profit.
Who doesn’t love spending a weekend out camping? It’s simple too—you want to give your customers the full hands-on experience, which means less preparation on your part. One point to consider though: glamping is in fashion now, so you might want to add some elements to spice up your campsite.
10. Solar energy
An easy method to gain passive income if you could build a solar farm on your land, it’s a great use of vacant land. We get it, building a solar farm sounds intimidating if you do not have the knowledge or equipment to do so, but you could lease out your land for solar farm use.
11. Wind energy
Just like solar energy, harnessing wind energy can be difficult and tedious if you’re not well-prepared. However, it could work in your favour if you’re located in the right climate. Again, you could also lease out your land for use instead of doing it yourself.
12. Self-storage facility
As houses get smaller, the need for more storage increases. This is incredibly true, as we see the fast emergence of more self-storage facilities appearing in many smaller countries. Your land could be one entire big storage facility which will require minimal effort. Simply build individual crates of different sizes with a secure lock on each door and voila!
13. Vehicle storage
People are often looking for ways to create more storage space, especially for those who live in apartments instead of landed property. One way to earn passive income is to rent out spaces for these people in need of places to store their unused vehicles or scrap cars.
14. Forest timber
While this option is not for everyone, timber could be worth a lot of money. Timber land is one unique investment strategy that enables you to own, enjoy and profit from it all at the same time, but will require a lot of research and work on your part.
15. Animal park
For animal lovers, opening an animal park is a marvellous idea that is both enjoyable and profitable at the same time. Forget huge commercial parks, a small homemade area that houses a few different varieties of cute animals such as bunnies and chinchillas could attract children and their families to your land.
16. Photography studio
Well, most people love taking photos for different needs. For those who are tired of studios, outdoor photography may just be the thing for them. Offer packages and hire professional photographers. Alternatively, you could set up a self-photo studio which allows customers to have fun and take their own pictures using a remote.
17. Hiking trail
This hiking trail method will only work if your land is on a slope or a hill. If your workable area is on a flat surface, consider changing from a hiking trail to a go-kart route perhaps.
If your land is near an airport or sea port, this is a great idea. You could provide monthly or weekly parking passes for people who are travelling and do not want to leave their cars unattended. All you need is a parking attendant and a security guard.
Wine is a topic that most people love! White wine, red wine, fruit wines—the possibilities are endless. So, why not invest in a vineyard? You could start with harvesting grapes, turn them into wine and sell them. Also, vineyard tours are popular too. You could open up your vineyard on certain days to the public and have them pick their own grapes and create their own wine.
20. Golf course
What a nice sport for a leisure weekend outdoors, away from the city. Note that this idea requires a big investment and capital. However, if your location is ideal, you could be looking at a high return on investment. People cough up a lot to golf and if your land is the perfect golf course they’re looking for, you might turn your raw land into a very profitable business.
21. Spiritual sanctuary
If your land is situated near a river, lake, or just in a tranquil area away from city life, setting up your land as a spiritual sanctuary is a great idea. If you combine it with a few individual houses, you could merge it into a resort that can be rented out to people who want to connect deeper with mother nature.
You will definitely be surprised at how precious landfills are, especially with the amount of waste generated daily with no place to go. You could charge a fee to allow people or organisations to leave their trash on your land, provided you have the right licence to operate a landfill.
23. Outdoor shooting range
Not many people get to fire a gun in their lifetime, although they may just want to get the feel of holding a gun. Of course, this idea may not be legal in some countries, but it is lucrative if you’re allowed to set up an outdoor shooting range. Nonetheless, we discourage shooting wildlife or destroying the natural habitat of animals. Instead, just set up certain targets that people could practise shooting on.
24. Drive-in movie theatre
The oldest trick in the book for a romantic night out with your partner or loved ones. It’s not that difficult to set up a drive-in movie theatre actually—you just need enough space for cars and a huge screen to project your movie on. Add on a snack bar and you could be looking at a business idea. Well, we recommend you to skip the booze though, to avoid drunk-driving issues.
25. Horse stables
Who doesn’t love horses? Well, it’s not such a well-known sport in more metropolitan areas because of the hefty price of being a horse owner. You’ll need your own stables and equipment. However, if your land is big enough, renting out horses for rides or tours can be profitable as well.
26. Outdoor obstacle course
Some people love the thrill of car racing, and others love crossing from tree to tree using a thin rope suspended in the air. Obstacle courses are difficult to set up, so you’ll probably need a professional to help you get all you need. Of course, you’ll also need safety harnesses and helmets, unless you want accidents in your outdoor obstacle course.
27. Outdoor rage room
Ever heard of a rage room where people pay to break and smash things in a room for a certain amount of time? It’s called a rage room. And yes, people actually are willing to pay a fee to smash things such as televisions, computers, tables, guitars, you name it.
28. Create scenic points for tourists
This idea will only work if your land is situated on an awesome cliff overlooking the vast ocean or next to a waterfall. You could set up a scenic overlook for locals and travellers to take pictures.
29. Pet sitting business
Believe us, people are willing to fork out good money for their pets. Pet hotels used to be popular for people who do not want to leave their pets unattended while on travel, but recently, pet hotels have been in the spotlight for possible abuse to pets. Your land could be a great space for dogs to stretch their legs and have some play time out in the open space, or for cats to roam freely in an indoor setting.
Ever wondered where your honey comes from? Homemade honey is a popular item sold at farmers markets or small local groceries, and you could earn a profit from that. Be careful though, bees can be harmful when they sting, so be sure to hire professional help.
The most straightforward idea for raw land, if you plan to build a house on it. Airbnb does not only cater to city houses—staying in rural areas out of town is actually a great idea for a staycation. You could charge a fee to rent out your room or house to people looking to relax. Add in a hot tub and great food, you could be looking at great reviews on your Airbnb listing.
32. Rent out land for concerts/festivals
It’s true that concerts and festivals are getting more crowded these days, when everyone is so tired of being cooped up at home. Imagine a local artist organising his/her concert on your land. Not only do you get profit from the organisation and from selling food/drinks during the event, you also get to watch a free concert!
33. Rent out advertising space
Remember that huge signboard that you see when passing through a highway? You could set up your own and collect passive income. The best part is that once you set up the board, it requires no maintenance. You simply wait for renters who wish to advertise. Be careful before starting any work though, check your respective zoning restrictions first if you’re allowed to use the space for advertising.
34. Gas station
This idea works best if your land is near a public road and that zoning restrictions are cleared. It could be lucrative to build a gas station if you have enough land area and capital. After all, there will be times when cars run out of gas on the roads.
35. Rent out land for flea markets
You could start a two-in-one market—a farmer’s and flea market merged into one space. This way, you do not even have to remove the stalls. A farmer’s market on the weekdays and a flea market on the weekends, what’s better than that?
36. Extreme sports (ziplining, paragliding)
Well, city folks may find it difficult to experience extreme sports such as ziplining or paragliding in the heart of the city. There’s just not enough space for it. If you have your own land though, people who are looking for that adrenaline rush will come knocking.
37. Wedding venue
Forget hotels or churches. Imagine a wedding on a cliff, overlooking the ocean. How perfect and memorable will that be? Wedding venues are hard to come by, especially since outdoor weddings are raging these days. Renting out your land for an outdoor wedding will certainly earn you some cash.
38. Public swimming pool
Contrary to popular belief, building a swimming pool is not as expensive and tedious as you think. You could even do it yourself, if you have the tools and experience for it. Simply hop onto Youtube for step by step guides to building a pool. You could charge an admission fee to access your swimming pool.
39. Shopping mall
It’s expensive, for sure, to build a shopping mall. You’ll probably need millions of dollars. However, if you are stuck on what to do with your land, why not try engaging developers to see if your land can be used for a shopping mall.
40. Ice rink
A superb seasonal activity that you can earn admission fees from. If you’re thinking it’ll not be worth it because the ice will melt once winter is over, don’t fret. If you do not have the access and equipment to build an indoor ice rink made of imitation ice, consider a snow city instead! If it doesn’t work out, you could always change it to a swimming pool when winter is over.
41. Amusement park
Just like a shopping mall, an amusement park takes millions to build, with all the roller coaster and themed rides. However, you could always approach developers who might be interested in buying over your land. If not, there are always other options to consider.
42. Rest stop for long road travellers
If your land is near a highway, this is a perfect idea where you can earn easily. Travellers passing by might be on the road for a very long time and need a good lie down. You could set up a rest stop with individual booths to allow travellers to sleep, surf the net, have a meal or simply use the bathroom. Of course, you could charge admission to your facility.
43. RV camping site
Besides a conventional camping site, consider building a RV camping site for those who prefer a modernised style of camping without the sweating and hard work. There are people who love going on long weekend RV rides, so you could offer your land up for RV parking and charge by the hour or day.
44. Relaxation retreats
Yoga, zumba, meditation—these relaxation activities are so popular these days and studios are sprouting like mad all over the city. However, there’s just something different about having a yoga class in a studio on the 30th storey and having one in the natural outdoors. Rent out your land for yoga retreats and you could have business knocking sooner than you think.
45. Rent out to farmers for grazing their livestock
Renting out your land to local farmers for livestock grazing is a great idea if you do not want to get dirty with your land. However, do note that once the grass supply gets low, you might have to change up your strategy. Do not worry though, there are so many other options for you to make good use of your land.
46. Build a junkyard
Instead of building a landfill for people to dump their trash, consider building a junkyard too. There are collectors of old and used technology products who will probably be willing to rent out your land to a used items collector. However, keep in mind that profit may be low and slow for a junkyard.
47. Fallout shelter
It’s a bit unconventional but certainly helpful when required. If you’re in a location that is constantly exposed to hazardous chemicals, think about building a fallout shelter, not only for yourself but also for the locals or neighbours. You could charge a yearly or monthly fee to use the shelter, which will be stocked up with enough food and supplies to last for a period of time.
Ever heard of Hill Farmstead Brewery or the Russian River Brewing Company? These microbreweries brew their own beer, kombucha or wine, and you could set up your own, provided you love drinking yourself. The land could act as both a microbrewery and a weekend retreat location for you and your family.
49. Food trucks
Well, we included this idea because who doesn’t enjoy great food from a food truck? Food trucks are a great way to introduce more side businesses to your land as well. You could rent out extra space to a local musician or set up a small area selling homemade jam or drinks as well. If it’s difficult to access your land space, consider setting up shuttle buses at popular timings to drive traffic to your food trucks. Literally.
50. Training facility
It could be frightening for people living in the city to hear gunshots and see fire smoke escaping from a building that is actually a training facility for policemen or firemen. Thus, renting out your space for specialised training facilities may seem as a profitable business idea as well. It could even be used for other specialised activities such as drone operations and construction training.
Again, another unconventional idea for vacant land, but large areas of land are indeed useful for burial sites. By opening up your land for a cemetery, you could profit from opening and closing burial sites, selling plots of land and maintaining a perpetual care cemetery.
There you have it: 51 ways to turn your land into a commodity!
We hope that by scrolling through these ideas, you’ll have your own idea of what to do with your raw land.
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Author: Silverbird Content Team
Illustration: Irina Lisogor