When you look for ways to make passive income or for the best side hustle ideas for 2020, you may get ideas like e-commerce, Uber, Lyft or providing a service. But all those things require you to exchange your time for money. It can become exhausting, especially if you're working a full-time job already, to work extra hours into the night (or worse, waking up at 4:30 a.m. every morning for your side hustle).
What if you could turn Airbnb hosting into your next side-hustle?
This article explains exactly how to do that.
I listed my property on Airbnb back in 2012. I was working a finance job at the time, and I just wanted ways to make extra cash. I'd rent out my whole apartment in Amsterdam, and when I got a booking I'd just crash at my buddy's house.
Airbnb hosting can be a very profitable side-hustle that doesn't take up that much of your time. You can do it even if you:
- Aren't a homeowner (just rent out a room!)
- Only have an extra room in your own home
- Don't have that much extra time
In this post, I'm going to explain exactly how to start hosting on Airbnb and get your side-hustle going quickly.
Can you make good money from Airbnb?
It is what you make of it, but the short answer is yes.
Those with an Airbnb hosting side-hustle can make some extra pocket money, and full-time Airbnb entrepreneurs can make multiple six figures. According to Fundera, the average Airbnb host makes $924/month from Airbnb.
Is an Airbnb hosting as a side-hustle more profitable than renting?
This is another question many potential hosts have. The stats don't lie: short-term rentals like Airbnb are twice as profitable as leasing. If you just have an extra room and you're paying $1500/month, you can list that room on Airbnb for $50/night. You'll have your whole rent paid instead of just the half a roommate would've paid! Alternatively, if you have a whole extra apartment, you can get the rent paid in around 11 days. The rest is for your pocket.
How to start your Airbnb hosting side-hustle
There are a few steps we'll go over to get your side-hustle going:
- Deciding what rental arrangement you want
- Setting up your space
- Creating your listing
- Cash checks!
Ready? Let's get started!
Decide what rental arrangement you want
When you decide what rental arrangement you want, you want to think about a few things:
- How much space do you have available?
- How much privacy do you want?
- What kind of host do you want to be?
- What are your Airbnb side-hustle income goals?
Do you have a whole extra room, or just one that's available when your roommate travels? Or, better yet, do you have a whole loft available with a private bathroom? I had a whole apartment when I started. The only thing was that I lived in it. So I'd list it and then go crash at a friend's house whenever it got booked.
It worked pretty well for a short while, but then I wanted to grow my business. However you choose to do it, figure out how and when you want to list whatever space you have on Airbnb.
Related Post: How to Start Airbnb Arbitrage and What to Look Out For
How much privacy do you want?
If you're going to be sharing your space with your guest, this is an important question to ask. It can get stressful to have somebody changing in your house every few days. If you have a whole apartment, this obviously doesn't apply to you. But if you don't, decide in advance how much you can take somebody living in your space with you. Do you want them to stay out of your bathroom, and not touch your coffee? Or do you want to take the “mi casa es su casa” approach? Decide how much space you want to keep for yourself and how much you want to share.
What kind of host do you want to be?
Some guests want a local experience: they want to talk to you and they want you to give them recommendations about the city. Others are tired, coming back from a conference (where they've been networking all day), and the last thing they want is to interact with another human. Decide which kind of guest you prefer, and make sure your listing reflects that so that you can attract the right kinds of travelers.
How much money do you want to make with your Airbnb hosting side hustle?
Do you just want some extra pocket cash? Do you want your whole rent paid? Or, best option: do you want to make a profit? These are questions you need to ask yourself about your Airbnb side-hustle goals. The possibilities are limitless. It's up to you to set them and then create your business accordingly.
Setting up your home for Airbnb
Now that you've decided how you'll actually rent out your home (or part of it) on Airbnb, the next step is to prepare it for guests. Here's how you can make sure your home is Airbnb ready.
Related post: 63 Amazing Ideas to Make Your Home Airbnb Ready
First, you need to make sure you have the basics to offer your guests:
- A comfortable bed
- Clean sheets
- Bedside lamp
- Clean towels
This will ensure your guests the main thing they need: a good night's sleep and a shower. The main thing you need to ensure is that the room is extremely clean. Indeed, cleanliness is one of the most important things to keep your Airbnb side-hustle going. It shouldn't be regular-home level clean, it should be hotel, professional-level clean.
Here's a printable cleaning checklist for your Airbnb listing. Now that your home is ready for the guest, let's see how we can find one!
Creating your listing on Airbnb
Once your house is ready, then you need to create your Airbnb listing. First, you have to create an account on Airbnb as a host (click here to get started). Fill everything out with your profile photo, phone number and all the information they as for. The more information you give, the quicker and easier it will be to get started.
When you're in, click ‘Become a Host'
When you get in there, click ‘Get Started' and start going through the wizard. Just follow the questions they ask you based on your property and the decisions you made above.
Getting your photos down
It's important that you put a little bit of thought into the photos, description and title. Right now you have no reviews, so this is what is going to attract your first guests. I usually recommend taking professional photos.
This will be how to maximize your revenue when you turn Airbnb hosting into your side-hustle.
Airbnb actually offers this service in many areas. Instead of paying the photographer, Airbnb will just deduct the cost from your future payouts over three bookings. To find out if it’s available in your area, log in to your Airbnb account and then you go to airbnb.com/info/photography. The cost depends on how many photos you need.
The photos are really important because it's the first impression you're going to make on your guests.
I also wrote an ultimate guide to your Airbnb photo section: How to Have an Insanely Good Airbnb Photo Section
Writing your description
If you want to turn Airbnb hosting into your side-hustle, you need to put your business hat on. What's more, businesses use business copywriting skills to describe their products and services on their website. Your description needs to be a little more than a literal description of your listing. To make sure people book my listing, I follow this 5-step formula:
- Don't use generic words
- Break your description into segments (different areas of the property)
- Define your Unique Selling Point
- Establish your voice
- Think like a guest
You should paint a picture of what the experience would be like for your guests. So, instead of just saying “we have one bedroom with a queen-sized bed,” you can talk about how the room comfortably fits a traveling couple who can enjoy the view over the garden. See where I'm going?
I also wrote a guide on how to write your Airbnb description: Write the Best Airbnb Description Without Being a Copywriter
Finally, your Airbnb listing title
This is going to be one of the most important steps. Along with the feature photo, the first thing people see is going to be the title. You want to make it pop and immediately attractive so people can go inside and click your listing. Here's my formula for writing Airbnb titles:
Try out a few different formulas and see which one would make you want to click the most. Airbnb lets you use 50 characters in your title. Use them all. But use them for value-adding information, so not something that's totally obvious.
Want a FREE list of 154 power words you can use to make your Airbnb title POP?
You can read more on my post about how to write Airbnb titles: How to Write the Best Airbnb Title That Gets More Bookings
Set up your calendar
Now your listing is ready, and you just need to set up your calendar!
Airbnb likes calendars that are updated regularly. In fact, the best way to get your listing to the top of the page is to update your calendar daily. That means you can just change the price by one dollar a night and then change it back. As long as Airbnb sees that you're actively updating your calendar.
You can set your price by looking at other listings that are similar to yours and in the same area. Since you don't have any reviews yet and are just starting out, you can only compete on price (and cool amenities/features) for now. So set your prices slightly lower and set a flexible cancellation policy to start, and as you start getting your first reviews you can slowly increase your prices.
Guest experience is important
Now that you're an Airbnb host, you're a part of the hospitality industry. Remember to make an effort to give your guests a good experience, because reviews are everything now.
What would you expect at an Airbnb?
If you can go the extra mile, great! It doesn't mean you need to go way beyond what's convenient or makes sense for you. You don't need to hold people's luggage just cause they said please, but you COULD recommend them a luggage storage service, because as a good host you'll know what to recommend your guests.
Give them towels, space, and most of all — a super clean home.
Now you're ready to start your Airbnb side-hustle!
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