If you’re looking to make more cash and have an extra room in your house that you could rent out, Airbnb might be a great opportunity to turn that spare bedroom into real money.
Airbnb is a company that offers affordable short-term rental alternatives to travelers who are looking to avoid high hotel costs.
The site advertises available rooms, condominiums and houses for rent on a daily or weekly basis to individuals and groups of people traveling for work or for pleasure.
Here is the real-life story of Steve and Annette and their Airbnb experience. Read it and find out if listing your spare space on Airbnb might be a good way for you to bring in some extra cash.
Real Couple Making Money with AirBnB
My friends Steve and Annette were looking for ways to bring in consistent side income. They know that having multiple streams of income is a really helpful tool for those who have financial goals they want to reach.
All of Steve and Annette’s kids were grown and had moved out of the house. That meant that most of their home’s other bedrooms were sitting empty.
Then one day it dawned on them that they could list one of those extra rooms on Airbnb for some extra cash.
At first, they listed one room and were making about $500 per month. After getting the hang of how it works, they decided to see if they could list a second room in their house as well, and increase their income in the process.
It worked. In fact, it worked so well that at the time of writing this article, they are making an average of $1,500 per month listing rooms on Airbnb!
Not Everything is Perfect
While their Airbnb side hustle is definitely making them income, it’s not always a hassle-free way to earn money.
Most of the people who stay with them have been great, but they have had their share of challenging guests as well.
Steve told me of a time when a guy told them that he was going to check in at 11 p.m. but then he didn’t show up until 1:30 a.m.
This matters since Steve and Annette like to greet their guests and get them situated.
Needless to say, greeting people early in the morning is less than ideal.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Steven and Annette changed their Airbnb listing so that it stated that they no longer accept late night check-ins. They also decided that they wanted to screen all future guests.
With the Airbnb instant booking option, there’s no need for travelers to get approval from the host before booking. However, if a host has the instant book option set to “off”, they have the ability to screen all applicants.
While having instant book set to off could impact a host’s ability to make cash quickly from last-minute travelers, screening potential guests before they book lets hosts to be sure that the guest(s) fits in with their work/life balance.
Taking caution to avoid the types of guests that might interfere with their work/life balance is important to Steve and Annette.
So, although Airbnb offers an instant-booking option, they prefer to pre-screen their guests instead.
Who Uses Airbnb?
Steve and Annette have had people stay with them for various reasons. One couple stayed with them because they were relocating to Arizona from India and needed a place to stay until they found a permanent residence.
They have also had people who stayed with them while they were on vacation. Because Steve and Annette live in Arizona, this is extremely beneficial when wintertime rolls around.
The average temperature in the Phoenix area is around 67 degrees in the winter, so people travel from all over to enjoy the warmth and get away from the snow.
Here are some other reasons people might use Airbnb:
- To stay for a work conference
- To visit a sick friend or family member for an extended period of time
- To go to a major event like a Super Bowl or World Series game
- To have a stay where there is access to a kitchen
- To be able to have on-site laundry facilities where they stay
- To be able to save money: Airbnb bookings are cheaper than most hotels
How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Host on Airbnb?
There is money to be made with Airbnb, but how much you might be able to charge for your listing can vary widely depending on:
- Your rental’s size
- How nice it is
- Extra amenities
- Proximity to popular destinations like sports stadiums and other venues
In Steve and Annette’s case, they list each room out for about $55 per night. This number can vary, though, depending on the season.
In the summer, they often charge lower rates because it is very hot in Arizona.
During the winter months, they can charge more because the weather is so good, and because Arizona is a hot spot for people looking to get away from the cold and snow.
If you decided to become an Airbnb host, listed a spare room in your home or apartment, and made $50 per night for your spare room for half of the month (14 days), you could make as much as $700 per month.
One cool thing about listing with Airbnb is that you get exactly what you charge the guest. Airbnb charges the taxes and fees on top of your nightly rate. So, if you charge $50 per night, that is what you will get paid.
Many people choose to use PayPal to get paid, however, Airbnb even pays the payment processing fee, so that is not a fee you have to worry about either.
Related Article: The Ultimate Airbnb Checklist: 14 Ways to Get More Bookings
What if I Want to List My Whole House?
Airbnb can also accommodate hosts who want to list their whole house. The fees for whole house listings vary as well, but there is definitely more money to be made by doing this.
My wife and I have rented a house out for $125 per night which was pretty nice. Let’s use this number for our calculations.
If you were able to list a whole house for two-thirds of the month, you could make $2,500 per month.
So, as you can see, you can make a lot more money by listing the whole house as opposed to just listing a single room.
I Have a More Luxurious Home. What Can I Expect to Make?
In most cases, a nicer home will list for more money on Airbnb. I searched for a four-bedroom, three bath home in Scottsdale, Arizona (an affluent city) and found homes charging between $550 and $2500 per night.
This means if you have a REALLY nice house and could get $2500 per night, two nights per week for a month, you could bring in $20,000 per month. While this is not normal, it is possible.
What to Expect When Listing Your Place as a Host
You will want to make sure that you have yourself covered when listing your place on Airbnb.
There are many aspects to being a host on Airbnb, so you want to make sure that you are thorough when listing your property.
It’s also important to be sure any potential guests know what to expect before they book a room or a whole house stay on your property.
Here are some things to consider:
- Ask for a security deposit in case anything gets broken. Security deposits are most often charged when guests rent an entire house, but not usually charged when renting an individual room.
- Require a cleaning fee up front so you can hire someone or pay for your own time to clean up after your guests. Cleaning fees can range from $15 – $50 for a private room up to hundreds of dollars for an entire house.
- Note whether or not you allow pets in your listing, and if so, what types and sizes. If you are listing a private room and have pets of your own, you should make sure to note that in your listing.
- Mention whether or not your place is kid-friendly. Even if you are listing a single room, somebody may want or need to bring a child along.
- Make sure to list all amenities, such as wireless internet, cable TV, washer & dryer, pool, etc. Also, mention what popular destinations and airports are in your area and how far you are away from them.
- Offer a discount if people stay weekly or monthly (this is good because there is less clean up required and less vacancy).
- If you are doing renovations or updates, block off dates so that people can’t book during those times.
What to Expect from Airbnb Support
If you have a question about hosting or about a guest, there are live hosting support people available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Some of the support representatives are located in countries other than the US, but for the most part they are very caring, competent and helpful in getting answers to your questions.
Be Conscious About Reviews
Each person who stays with you has the option to leave a review and, as a host, you can leave a review for the guest. Reviews build credibility and move you towards “Super Host” status.
Super Host status moves you closer to the top of the list when people search in your area.
Reviews from a guest’s previous hosts can also tell you a lot about whether this person will be a fit for your guest room.
Additionally, if a guest leaves negative reviews on most of the people they have stayed with, you may want to take that into consideration before approving their booking.
Since reviews are such an important part of Airbnb success, it is important to do what you can to make sure the room or house you are listing is welcoming.
Here are some tips for creating an inviting atmosphere for your guests:
- Be sure the room and house are clean. Dust, vacuum or sweep floors, make sure the bedding is fresh and clean and keep the house clutter free.
- Consider little extras like a hotel would offer. Provide nicely folded towels and washcloths. Offer personal sized soaps, shampoos and other hygiene items. Add bottled water to the room.
- Think about creating a flyer for each room or for the house that shares attractions and good restaurants in your area. Include numbers to Lyft, Uber or the local taxi service.
- Provide personality plus. Be kind and welcoming, but not intrusive. Let the guest initiate much of the non-essential conversation.
It’s okay to give polite suggestions about reviews as well. While we can’t control what our guests write, we do talk with them about what they want us to write about them and what we’d appreciate them mentioning.
To maximize your success as an Airbnb host, you want to set yourself apart from other listings so you can help to limit vacancies.
Steve and Annette do this by occasionally sharing dinner with some of their guests. They have had great conversations with their visitors and have even become friends with some of them.
Working to make each guest’s stay pleasant will help make your home a popular Airbnb destination and potentially fast track you to Super Host status so you can continue maximizing this popular income stream.
To find out more about Steve and Annette visit their site at MoneySmartFamily.com where they share the thousands of ways they have discovered to save money on everyday items and how those savings have allowed them to live a life free of debt.