These days it seems everyone is trying to get on board the Airbnb train, and for good reason. Founded in 2008, the room and house rental company has shaken up the travel industry by offering a much needed alternative to overpriced hotels. Consider it the updated version of couch surfing. The company reportedly had 44.8 million people using their services in the U.S. alone last year and is projected to have 86.5 million by 2021.
Which means, the time to turn your place into an Airbnb couldn’t be more perfect.
If you have an extra room or a second apartment/house, not only are you fancy AF, but you could be sitting on a potential jackpot. Tons of people are earning additional income by listing their space on peer-to-peer rental marketplaces like Airbnb. Some are even willing to stay at the homes of friends or family a few nights a month in order to rent out their own homes.
But for newbie users, it can also be confusing. A lot of people are under the impression that getting started is as easy as downloading the mobile app and, like magic, making money. But it’s not that simple and there are a few important things you should know before you start welcoming guests into your home, Airbnb style.
Before listing your space on Airbnb, you’ve got to lay the ground work. You’ll want to make sure your guests have a good time but are also respectful of your home. The best way to do this is by creating a folder of house rules, local attractions, your contact information, and of course, the password to your Wi-Fi network. Another important thing to keep in mind is the importance of posting gorgeous photos of your home to show off its best attributes. Airbnb actually provides photographers to come in and take photos of your rental space to make sure the images are high quality and appealing.
2The legal stuff.
It’s solely your responsibility to know the local laws in your area as it relates to peer-to-peer renting. You can for sure create a profitable side hustle by renting out one room or the entirety of your home, but this can blur lines because you aren’t paying hotel taxes. In places like New York and San Francisco, legislators are actively fighting against the usage of Airbnb.
3The tax stuff.
Speaking of taxes, depending on how much you earn by renting, you may receive a tax form from the marketplaces that list your property. And even if you don’t receive any documents, it’s your responsibility to report your earnings when filing your tax return.
4The time commitment.
Hosting is a huge time commitment, especially if your space becomes a popular spot for visitors. You need to stay connected to your phone and email to answer questions from potential renters and current renters. In some cases you may only have a few hours between a departure and arrival, and if you don’t have a reliable cleaning service, it will be your responsibility (and remember, renters can rate and review, so a subpar experience can directly affect your business).
5Your prices needs to be competitive.
There are so many great places to stay on Airbnb, so in order to stand out, you have to make sure your prices are competitive. Once you’ve secured your bookings, you can always increase the value of your rental with add-ons. For example, if the space that you’ll be renting is located near the beach, you could consider surf gear, coolers, and other items that your guests can use for an additional fee.
AirBnb can be a great source of additional income…just remember, it’s a lot of work, and you don’t want to take the commitment lightly. Best of luck to you, potential money-makers!