We’re always talking on the site about all of the great ways to make extra money that are out there. From passive income sources such as dividend investing to active income sources like delivering pizzas, your income-earning capabilities really are in your own hands.
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 some ways to bring in some 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!
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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. It’s true that most of the people that 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, because Steve and Annette like to greet their guests and get them situated. Well, greeting people that early in the morning is less than ideal.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Steven and Annette decided to change 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, the ability to screen potential guests before they book allows hosts to be sure that the guest(s) fits in with their work/life balance needs.
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 staying with them for various reasons. One couple stayed with them because they were relocating to Arizona from India and needed a temporary place to stay until they found a more 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.
These aren’t the only reasons people use Airbnb. Here are some other reasons people might book a room with an Airbnb host:
- 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 definitely money to be made with AirBnB, but how much you might be able to charge for your listing can vary widely depending on how big your property is, how nice it is, how many extra amenities it has and how close it is to popular destinations such as 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.
So, if you decided to become an Airbnb host and list a spare room in your home or apartment, and were able to make $50 per night for your spare room for half of the month (so, 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.
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 varies as well, but there is definitely more money to be made by doing this.
Personally, my wife and I have rented a house out for $125 per night which was pretty nice. So, let’s use this number for our calculations. If you were able to list a whole house for two-thirds of the month, or 20 days, 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?
A nicer home will list for more money on Airbnb, at least in most cases. I searched for a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Scottsdale, Arizona (a very affluent city) and found homes charging between $550 per night up to $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. Obviously, this is not normal but I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the possibilities.
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 and you want to make sure that you are as thorough as possible 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 that you can hire someone to clean or pay for your own time to clean up after your guests. Cleaning fees can potentially range from $15 – $50 for a private room up to hundreds of dollars if you list your entire house.
- Note whether or not you allow pets in your listing, and if so, what types and sizes. For instance, you might allow dogs under 30 pounds but not over 30 pounds. If you are listing a private room and have pets of your own, you should make sure to notate that in your listing as well.
- 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 are in your area and how far you are away from them. You may want to mention your distance from the largest local airport as well.
- 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. And if a guest leaves negative reviews on most or all 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 or keep some in the refrigerator.
- 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 in their review.
To maximize your success as an Airbnb host, you want to set yourself apart from other listing 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 the people who have stayed with them that have subsequently relocated to their state.
While there is a balance between being friendly hosts and intruding on your guests’ personal privacy, by using your guest’s cues to how much privacy they may or may not want to have, you can make each guest’s stay accommodating to their personal preferences.
If a guest seems hesitant to talk, share or spend social time with you, respect that. However, if they open up when asked friendly questions, that may indicate an opportunity for you to share your social skills and offer additional kind gestures like a shared dinner.
Working to make each guest’s stay pleasant to their own personal preferences (at least as many as you can politely discover) 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.