When you learn to build and scale an Airbnb business, one of the best surprises is finding out you don’t need to own any property to do it. One of the ways to do this is to become an Airbnb property manager, also called co-hosting. So how can you become an Airbnb property manager?
I'm about to tell you how.
It has all the perks: you make money running other people’s properties, there’s little-to-no investment on your part, and you can scale more quickly than any other model. As a short-term rental property manager, you’re in constant communication with the homeowner, staff and guests.
Airbnb property manager: the regulation-resistant model
While rental arbitrage is a higher-profit model than becoming an Airbnb property manager, it’s volatile. You never know when regulations will change and force you to switch to a long-term rental model.
The Airbnb property manager business model hedges against this because your name isn’t on any contract related to the property. In most cases, the homeowner is allowed to do what they please with the property — if they want to list it as a short-term rental, there are far fewer regulations stopping them.
Plus, if regulations do pop up against short-term rentals, you have nothing to lose. You just find another homeowner and start managing their property elsewhere.
In your position as an Airbnb property manager, you would just be managing the property for them. You aren’t responsible for paying rent, utilities, maintenance of the house, or all that stuff that would be imposed on you as a tenant or homeowner.
Want the list of tools that helped take my Airbnb side-hustle to a 6-figure business?
How to become an Airbnb manager
To become an Airbnb property manager, the first step is to understand the vacation rental industry.
Ideally, you already have some experience as an Airbnb host. This will help you not only demonstrate to homeowners that you know what you’re doing but will help you prepare for any issues that may come up. And come up, they will.
Create your Airbnb business plan
Your next step will be to create an Airbnb business plan. Plan out how you’re going to work with your cleaners, which Airbnb property management tools you’ll use, and how you’re going to price your Airbnb listing. Are you going to manage everything yourself, or will you hire a team? As you scale, you’ll have no choice but to take on team members, if only for cleaning.
You’re essentially creating a company, and you’ll need a business plan to go with it. In your plan, make sure you account for any third-party vendors you’ll need to help solve any issues your clients may have. These include:
- Backup cleaners
- HVAC repair services
- Pest control
- Pool cleaning services
- Other emergency support
Where do I find vacation rental owners as an Airbnb property manager?
Even if you don't know anybody who owns a vacation rental or any house in the first place, you can find clients online to start your vacation rental management business.
One cool place to look is Co-Host Market, which is an online marketplace specifically for vacation rental managers and owners to find each other. You just set up your profile (free for owners, a small yearly fee for property managers), and then you can contact owners from there. Read my review of Co-Host Market here.
So now you’re ready to start, what else do you need to know before diving in?
How to start managing Airbnb properties and what to know before
Before you become an Airbnb property manager, you may be wondering how making so much money could be so easy. Well, it’s not. This is a full-time job that often requires wearing many hats. It can be draining physically, emotionally, and mentally. You have to be aware, alert and accessible 24/7.
There are some hidden parts of this biz that you may not be aware of.
Here are the 5 things you should know before becoming an Airbnb property manager:
- Run it with the same hospitality standards as a hotel: guests expect the best, regardless if you're hospitality professional or not.
- Try to automate your work as far as possible: this is the golden standard for any scalable business
- Learn about digital marketing: slapping your listing on Airbnb is no longer enough
- Have an entrepreneurial mindset: strive for excellence
- Set clear communication standards: your team and guests should know exactly how to communicate with you
Run it with the same hospitality standards as a hotel
Yes, people who book with Airbnb know they’re booking with an individual and not a big, corporate hotel. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have high expectations in terms of hospitality. You’re basically running a hotel, but you don’t have staff.
Guests will expect things like great service, a spotless home, fresh towels, clean sheets, and even extra services like a TV with Netflix on it or coffee and tea available to them.
The number one thing to keep in mind when you start working as an Airbnb property manager is that the guests’ experience should be your top priority. Always. You should communicate in a quick, friendly and comprehensive manner and do everything for them to have a great stay.
This will help you get more good reviews, which means more quality bookings.
2. Try to automate your work as far as possible
There’s nothing scalable about being a DIY Airbnb property manager. You can’t do it all and grow your business, even if you do everything better than anyone else could. The reason is that as you scale, you will take on more properties that are scattered around the place. As you start spreading yourself thin, the guest experience will suffer and so will your business.
There’s no need to do it all anymore, anyway — there are tons of tools and resources for property managers to scale.
Since the main thing guests will notice (and point out in their reviews) is the cleanliness of your unit, we should start there. The first thing you’ll want to do is outsource the cleaning to one person or a small team. Find a cleaning provider that:
- Is available to handle last-minute reservations
- Has positive past references
- Is responsive and a great communicator
- Is able to follow instructions (you can and should test this)
- Has great attention to detail
- Costs less than the cleaning fee you’re charging your guests
Next, you can think about using Airbnb automation tools. These won’t only help you save time and money — automating your guest communication, for example, will boost your response time, thereby increasing your ranking.
Using Airbnb pricing tools will help keep your prices right in real-time, finding the sweet balance between full occupancy and best rates.
Taking all these steps in automating your Airbnb property management business will let you work on your business at a higher level instead of staying in the weeds.
3. You need to learn about digital marketing
As an Airbnb property manager, you’re not only in charge of taking care of the guests and managing the property. You’re in charge for the general success of the short-term rental property.
That means you’ll have to learn about marketing online and maybe even offline. It’s not as simple as just publishing your listing on Airbnb and then waiting for bookings.
Your first step will be to learn about Airbnb SEO and how the Airbnb ranking factors work. If you can learn to write the catchiest Airbnb titles, descriptions and create the most enticing photo section, you’re on the right path.
After that, you should learn how to do social media marketing — Instagram can work pretty well for Airbnb properties. It’s also a good idea to create a separate website for the properties. You don’t need coding skills to do this — you can use platforms like Lodgify to easily create websites.
Read my detailed review & tutorial of Lodgify here
4. Have an entrepreneurial mindset
If you really want to become an Airbnb property manager, you need to come at it as a business. You need to have the right kind of mindset to succeed.
I used to be very skeptical about this type of stuff. If you talked to me about mindset when I was still working my finance job, I would have laughed it off. I thought positive thinking was a bunch of nonsense. That the only benefit was the money that people like Tony Robbins make from their courses and programs.
I thought we all just naturally think a certain way. That you can't change the way you think and even if you did, that it wouldn't make a big difference.
I thought that success comes from being smart and working hard. And that's true of course. But during my journey as an entrepreneur, I've realized that I grossly underestimated the power of a strong mindset.
I've seen firsthand in myself and many others that mindset is one of the most important contributors to success (if not THE most important).
But what's even more exciting…I learned that you CAN change the way you think. That the brain is like a muscle, you can train it. When you start your Airbnb business, you need to think big, think ambitious:
- Move from set it & forget it to creating an incredible brand
- Move from a place of stinginess to abundance and giving
- Spend more time around people who inspire you and encourage your ambitions
- Be determined to do the best
If I could encourage you to do anything, it would be to start working on your mindset from the start.
5. Set clear communication systems for guests & homeowners
One of the hardest parts about being an Airbnb property manager is getting overwhelmed with all the communication you need to keep up with. It’s not just that there’s a lot of it — you also need to do it well, in a timely and professional manner.
In terms of guest communication, building a rapport with your guests is vital to your business. That’s where tools automated guest communication tools like Hospitable helps. This tool can help you send custom responses instantly (even while you’re asleep). That way the guest always feels like they’re being taken care of.
But, as an Airbnb property manager, you also need to set systems for communicating with the homeowners. Make sure you set up systems and processes for how the homeowners communicate with you.
Keep a record of your communications and have a system for sending reports and following up with any issues.
Start Your Future as an Airbnb Property Manager
Becoming an Airbnb property manager can be your next step to financial freedom. You just need to approach it with the right mindset: prioritizing the guest experience and your entrepreneurial vision.