Are you looking for some extra income to supplement your full-time job? Are you interested in sharing your unused space with travelers looking for a more authentic, local experience? You’ve probably already heard a lot about Airbnb and how it’s a great way to make money on the side. It’s an online marketplace that connects hosts who have property with guests looking for somewhere to stay.
On Airbnb, people list their homes or other living spaces as short-term accommodations for others to rent out. You might be thinking, “but I don’t have a spare property to rent. I can barely pay the rent or mortgage where I live right now!” However, one of the things that makes Airbnb such a great way to make extra money on the side is that you don’t need to own a rental property to make it work. Do you have a spare room in your house or apartment? You could turn it into an Airbnb rental and make some extra money every week!
In this post, we’ll talk about what you need to get started. But most importantly, we’ll discuss our top tips for maximizing your income as an Airbnb host. Sound interesting? Read on!
A Little Background on Airbnb
The idea for Airbnb was born in 2007 when San Francisco renter Joe Gebbia emailed his roommates with an idea. A designer conference was coming to town, and hotel rooms were booked solid. What if they turned their loft into a kind of classy, short-term rental space for the conference to make some extra money?
They spruced up the room, purchased three air mattresses, and set up a simple website called airbedandbreakfast.com. Their first guests each paid $80 a night to sleep in the makeshift lodging, and the three roommates knew they were onto something.
Fifteen years later, Airbnb is a publicly-traded company with rentals in over 100,000 cities worldwide. More than 800 million people have used the platform to book everything from business trips to honeymoons to adventurous family vacations.
How Do You Become an Airbnb Host?
Getting started with Airbnb is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is visit the Airbnb host page and input some basic information about your listing. They make it a breeze by giving you prompts that are easy to follow. You’ll answer a few basic questions about the property address, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, occupancy limits, etc.
You’ll also choose the type of listing you will be renting out. For example, will you be renting a whole home, cottage or condo, a bedroom or two, or something else? Airbnb listings run the gamut from barns to treehouses to tiny homes. So, it’s worth it to think outside of the box. You might have a space to rent that you had not considered yet.
Tips for Making the Most Money on Airbnb
If you’re like the average middle-income family, you’re probably living paycheck to paycheck with very little savings. Hosting with Airbnb can change that for you. And if you have kids, this is a great way to teach them about responsibility and budgeting with a project that benefits every member of your tribe.
There are reasons why some hosts are more successful than others. So if you want to ensure you make the most money you can with Airbnb, here are our top tips:
Make Sure Your Property is Meticulously Clean
Did you ever notice how your standards for traveling are much higher than they are at home? We typically think nothing of crumbs on the counter and a few dust bunnies in the corners when we are in our own places. But when we’re paying for a night in a hotel, you better believe we expect the room to be spotless.
So the first thing you will need to do is make sure the space you are renting out (and the surrounding spaces) are “hotel clean.” You’ll want to take your housekeeping to a whole new level and keep it that way, so you are always prepared for guests.
Create a Warm and Welcoming Space
Do you want to pay to sleep in an uncomfortable, impersonal room? Of course not, and neither do your guests. One popular suggestion for ensuring you keep your guests happy (and hopefully coming back again and again) is to spend a night or two in your own rental before you list it.
If you experience the space as your guests are going to, it will be much easier to figure out how to make it work. For example, is the bed comfortable? Is there easy access to the bathroom? Is the temperature conducive to comfortable sleeping? Will you need to get more blankets for additional warmth or blackout curtains to keep out the glare from the early morning sun? Make a list and go through each thing one by one until you have made the room as comfortable as possible.
You will inevitably need to make a few purchases to get your rental in tip-top shape. You’ll want things like new linens and pillows, decorative items and lighting, or a few throw rugs. But how can you make this happen when you’re already strapped for cash?
We recommend an additional side hustle so you won’t be dipping into your regular budget for your startup expenses. It doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment and can be as simple as paid online surveys, dog walking, or even delivering food. Check out our post on Fun Ways To Make Extra Money With Little Effort for more ideas.
Take Some Amazing Photos
Once you’ve got your rental cleaned, ready, and set up for guests, you’ll want to take some photos. This is an essential tip for new hosts since listings with great photos can earn around 40 percent more than those with no images. Think about it. You usually choose a hotel or destination based on how it is depicted in the photographs, right? Your prospective renters will be doing the same.
If your own efforts at photography come out a bit lackluster (or you don’t own a good camera), consider asking a creative friend for help or hiring a professional. Pleasant and detailed images let your guests visualize themselves in the space, so make sure you include as many as you can.
Offer as Many Amenities as Possible
One of the reasons guests book a specific Airbnb rental over another is the amenities that are offered. And it’s also why they keep coming back. You want your guests to feel welcome and to have a hassle-free experience that they can remember fondly. Think about what you would like to have when booking a hotel—cable TV, extra towels, a coffee maker, or even a mini-fridge.
If your guests are traveling for business, they may need to work online, so don’t forget to ensure your rental has a wifi connection.
It can help to look at the listings in your area to see what other hosts are offering. For example, if someone can get a rental with more amenities at a lower rate, they are likely to choose the cheapest place. While you may not be able to offer all of the amenities you would like to at first, it’s prudent to invest some of your Airbnb earnings into improving the space as time goes on.
Consider Serving Meals
If you enjoy cooking (and you have the time to do so), adding meals to your Airbnb listing is an ideal way to increase the value and charge even more per stay. If you can provide a delicious home cooked meal for less than what your guests would have to pay at a local restaurant, you’re providing them with an extra service that will save them money and also earn you a little extra. It’s a win/win for everyone.
You’ll need to check the regulations in your area, of course. And you’ll want to be sure you can deliver on what you promised. Don’t make your guests wait around just because you are running behind. If you say you will have a lunch prepared at noon, make sure that’s exactly what you do. Some hosts offer a simple breakfast of fruit, muffins, and coffee or provide a picnic to go.
Check the Legalities
This final tip is crucial to your success, since the last thing you need when trying to make a little extra money is to face penalties for violating state or local laws. You’ll want to check with your landlord and local authorities before renting out your space. Make sure that you are allowed to host guests and that you are following all the necessary regulations.
For example, in some cities, Airbnb rentals can be considered an unauthorized short-term accommodation that could incur some hefty financial penalties. In other regions, sharing your home with tourists is actually encouraged. So before you post your rental, know the laws where you live, so you are always in compliance.