Around March 2017 I looked at my loving husband and said , “Hubby? I need a part time job for extra income and with both of us working full time jobs and a 2 year old, retail is out of the question, I’m not a waitress type, I’m much too
socially awkward shy for that, so Airbnb is our only hope.” He agreed to my proposal under the condition that people only came on the weekends. I said that sounded good, given that we don’t live in a bustling city I really didn’t think that many people would come! But, build it and they should come, right? Within the week we had our first booking (and definitely not on the weekend, haha! Whoops!), and pretty much haven’t had a day off since! We’ve been able to save a good chunk of change, so without further ado – my best 10 Airbnb hosting tips! Oh – one more thing I almost forgot, if you’re saying “well, that’s fantastic, but I have a one bedroom apartment and I’d really rather not share my bedroom with a complete stranger.” then you need to know that Airbnb also has a couch option! Granted, you might not get as much money, but $15 is better than $0! OK, now my Airbnb tips!
- Connect with people – You have an option to add a picture and an “about me” section. I’d suggest that you use it so people can find out a little about you! It doesn’t have to be long, just a short paragraph.
- Photos – If you’re lucky enough to live in certain areas of the country Airbnb will even have someone come out to your house and take professional photos of your space! Pretty cool! If you aren’t quite as lucky, like me, you can be put on a waiting list and just open as many curtains as possible and take the best pictures you can!
- Point out what’s special about your place – What makes your place special? Are you child friendly? If so, can you supply a pack n play complete with sheets and a pillow? Or maybe dog friendly with a close-by dog park? It could be as simple as having an amazing backyard or a great reading nook! After you figure it out, take pictures and make sure you mention it in your posting!
- Make your guests feel welcome! You should supply a water bottle on the nightstand, and a fridge in the corner is always welcome! Or, just make really quick friends and share your fridge! I’ve never had the problem of people stealing food. I also go and buy disposable razors and have them in display in the bathroom, because that’s what I tend to forget when traveling! You could also set out travel size toothpaste, mouthwash, etc…
- Wifi is definitely a necessity in this day and age, make sure that you have your password on display. I went to World Market and found an adorable little double frame and bought 2 printouts from Etsy to put in them. One says “Be our guest!” and the other has our wifi name and password.
- Pricing – ah, pricing. My best advice is to see what Airbnb’s smart calculator suggests. I decided to stick with their price until I received ten 5 star reviews, and have since bumped it up $4 a night. It may not sound like much, but after a 5 night stay that’s an additional $20! But you don’t want to outpace yourself and ask for a lot before you get reviews. On the other hand, make sure to give your guests a percent off for a longer stay. Remember, this is your business, so it’s totally up to you what you want that to be! Airbnb gives you a choice for a weekly discount as well as a monthly discount.
- Timely respond back to booking inquiries – Yay someone e-mailed you to ask to stay at your little slice of heaven! Don’t get cold feet – respond to them as soon as possible. Remember, you’re not the only fish in the sea, they might have e-mailed 5 other people and will go with whoever answers first. Make sure that you have text alerts on your phone set up so you aren’t having to constantly check your dashboard.
- After confirming a booking – Send them a “thanks for choosing me e-mail!” complete with your wifi login and password, directions to your house, any rules they need to keep in mind (don’t let the cat outside is a big one for me) and letting them know which bedroom is theirs in your house, unless that one is completely obvious!
- Don’t Auto Accept – This is a setting that you have the choice to accept. I’d suggest not auto accepting (unless you’ll be ready within an hour or two for someone to stay). I have mine set up that someone must A) e-mail me first and B) Give me a 3 days notice. The 3 days notice doesn’t always happen, but at least when people e-mail me, I have the option to adhere to it or not.
- Legality – Last, but certainly not least, make sure that it’s legal in your city for you to run and Airbnb! Different cities have different laws, so make sure you check yours! The last thing you want it to have to shut down! This is something Airbnb will stress when you sign up for hosting, and even help you to decipher.
In 8 months we’ve made $2,993. Read here to see how it contributed to my $1,000 emergency fund and here to see how it helped me pay off $15,000 of debt in a year! Not too shabby for a part time job that makes me clean my house and bake muffins! If you’re still with me and this sounds interesting to you but you want an idea of how much money you could make then head on over to their website! After you plug in your city/state and how many beds you have it’ll estimate how much you’ll make based on 50% occupancy.
Besides the money though, it’s a great way to meet people and network! We’ve been lucky enough to meet people from all over the world and share different cultures with our son that we otherwise would not have been able to.
Have you tried Airbnb? If so, what are your best tips? If not, what’s holding you back? I’d love to talk to you about getting started with Airbnb!