HOW TO BECOME AN AIRBNB HOST
My unofficial rule for writing is, if 5 or more people ask me the same question, I’ll write an article to streamline my responses. It saves me time and I can ensure the same information is provided each individual. I’ve had probably 20+ people ask about becoming an AIRBNB host. We make between $400 – 850 a month by renting our guest room and it’s been incredibly beneficial for my family. We also have a competition with our friends and Financial Peace co-coordinators, Keith and Michelle to see who can pay off our homes first. It’s our hope Airbnb gives us the edge in this seemingly impossible goal.
OK -so in this article, I will quickly cover the common concerns, how I became a [successful] host and questions you should ask BEFORE becoming a host.
(Click here for $40 travel credit for you to try Airbnb as a guest.)
I did an informal poll on my facebook page and people overwhelmingly (94%) said having strangers in their home was their main hesitation. This was my husband’s concern as well. I won’t lie. It’s super weird at first. But the guests who use Airbnb are incredibly warm and friendly. It’s been an amazing experience. Since “strangers” are the hardest part of becoming a host I thought I’d share the type of guests we’ve welcomed into our home.
- Two Irish best friends who were traveling California for the summer,
- A pastor and his wife traveling back from Mexico after building homes for destitute families,
- A young couple competing in the extreme Spartan race,
- An adventurous and friendly young man traveling the west coast on his motorcycle and
- A Father and daughter visiting Magic Mountain for a 15th birthday celebration.
Our guests have been from Columbia, China, Belgium, Netherlands, South Korea, Dubai, Mexico and more.
Yes, some guests have quirks (door slamming, close-talking and snoring) but I’ve never felt uncomfortable or weird. And there was only one unreasonable guest who gave us 4 stars because the beds were “uncomfortable”. The poor lady was 8 months pregnant for the first time. There’s no bed in the world that can help a pregnant woman sleep well.
A large majority of guests are traveling and only want an affordable place to sleep and shower. They typically arrive late and leave early. Guests very rarely affect our family time or evening activities. They typically aren’t overly chatty and want to leave quickly.
No money is exchanged hands and funds are direct deposited either into your bank account or via PayPal. Airbnb makes the entire process simple and straightforward.
So let’s get to it…Is hosting right for you? It’s NOT right for everyone. And that’s ok! Note: If you don’t OWN your home you shouldn’t be an Airbnb host. Unless you’ve been given explicit permission, most landlords don’t permit short-term rentals so… don’t be unethical.
But if you’ve considered becoming an Airbnb host…. I have 4 questions for you to consider:
Four (4) questions to ask:
- Do you have an organized calendar? Or do you plan things last minute frequently? To be a great host, you need to keep your calendar organized and updated. Guests book with the understanding the room or space will be available. If you forget an appointment or obligation and cancel their booking it hurts Airbnb’s reputation, your listing ratings and ability to book in the future. If you tend to have a disorganized and “spontaneous” calendar…hosting might not be for you.
- What is the layout of your home? Some layouts work better than others. Is there a private entrance? Would the guests have their own bathroom? How close would the guests be with your regular family activities? If you want guests isolated and away from your family…you need to consider the layout of your home.
- How comfortable are you with strangers? If you’re hyper sensitive and nervous….hosting just isn’t right for you. Again – that’s ok! But if you’re not sure, I’d suggest you at least TRY. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Open up a few bookings and then see if you’re comfortable.
- Are you tidy and clean? There’s really no other way to say this…but if you don’t keep the space clean, you won’t be a successful host. Guests want CLEAN spaces. You need to have a specific and consistent cleaning regiment. Poor ratings are most often attributed to guests feeling the space was dirty. Additionally, the space should feel like a guest room not random “extra space”. The guest room should be ideally b
e free of clutter and personal belongings.
How to Get Started
If want to be a GREAT host and start making decent money, here are my suggestions:
- Submit the application and create your listing.
- Think of this as a part time job. Don’t half-ass this endeavor and cut corners.
- Take good pictures! For goodness sakes. You’d be amazed what crappy photos people submit. If you’d like to actually make money? Take. Good. Photos.
- Keep receipts. Anything you purchase for the guest room / or guests can be written off. However, they can ONLY be used for guests. For instance, you can’t write off any items you also use for your family. So if you buy snacks for your guests, keep them separate and then write-off the expense. Easy!
So what do you think? Is hosting right for you?
If you’ve never used Airbnb as a guest, here’s a $40 travel credit. Try the service as a guest first and let me know about your experience!
Want more? Check out Part 2 of this series for specifics and “tricks” to make guests happy and ensure you get great reviews (and the most cash) as a host.