We are living in a “sharing economy.” Rather than buying everything we need many people have opted to share with others to save money. And a lot of people have found a way to earn some extra money sharing their possessions through sites like Uber, Spinlister and Airbnb.
Today we have several successful Airbnb hosts sharing their experiences and tips.
How Does Airbnb Work?
Airbnb matches those with available rooms in their homes or a vacant home with visitors traveling to the area. It’s free to register and list your property on the site and you get to decide your rental price. Once rented, Airbnb handles the payment and keeps 3% as their service fee.
Once registered as a host on the site, you will need to create your listing. Gina, who lists three properties on the site and earned $34,000 last summer on just her Southampton rental, provides this insight, “The process is pretty simple. Airbnb will send a photographer free to take pictures of the rental property.
“The most important part is to accurately represent your place. Creativity helps too. Keep in mind first and foremost that the people coming to stay have no idea about your place other than what they see on the internet and what you tell them. You need to approach the content description as if a renter yourself.
- After that, an awesome heading that is searchable. And like any content on the internet, update it frequently, testing headlines and blurbs to see what works.
- Pricing is important. Start low. Raise to the tolerance of pain. Take into consideration the strength of the $, the peso, and now, the Euro. Be prepared to negotiate somewhat. (About 10% of the situations.)
- Answer inquiries immediately. Airbnb gives you 24 hours to do this. The first 15 minutes is where the meat is, in my experience.
- Having the Airbnb app on the cell really helps.”
How Much Can I Earn as an Airbnb Host?
Our experts shared income ranging from a couple hundred dollars per month to several thousand per week. Location will dictate your price. Most experts use local hotel prices as a starting point. Airbnb also provides a calculator that can help though results may not be available if you live in a location where not much data has been collected.
Is Airbnb Hosting Safe?
Curt and Martha have been long been hosting visitors through the site and generally expect to earn $1,500 – $2,500/month in the spring and summer months. She has this to say about the safety of becoming an Airbnb host, “Airbnb has a lot of mechanisms in place that protect personal information such as phone #’s and physical addresses (until a reservation is in place). There are policies in place to help with refunds, cancellations and a lot of flexibility for a host to set their own terms within a variety of levels Airbnb provides. They also provide a Host Insurance program (quote directly from Airbnb site: ‘Effective January 2015, the Host Protection Insurance program provides insurance coverage of up to $1,000,000 per incident for Airbnb hosts in the US and, if applicable, their landlords, if a guest is accidentally injured anywhere in a host’s building or property during a stay. The Host Protection Insurance program also covers hosts for certain third-party claims of property damage.’
“Like anything else, you have to use your best judgement. The system has a lot of protections and guidelines in place to help you determine who your guests are and what they’re like thru an extensive review process. Make sure to read reviews about your guests from other Airbnb hosts to make sure you are comfortable with them. Use your gut, it can be a good judge of character as well. At the same time, you must take certain steps to protect your own valuables and privacy. So far, so good in our experience.”
Jenna Rose Robbins offers this advice if you are renting out a space which you won’t be occupying at the time of the visit, “I try not to go with guests who don’t have enough reviews. However, if I speak to them and they seem like they’d be good tenants, I’ll ask them to pay for a credit check ($30) and provide two landlord references. It’s just not worth it otherwise. I had one guy who claimed to be a corporate bigwig stay in my place and within days he had five others living there (against the house rules) and they were throwing parties. Luckily, I was able to contact his manager, so I put an end to that pretty quickly. I also make sure that my condo association’s rules are clearly stated in the listing so that there’s no confusion when a tenant moves in.”
Thibault has several rentals including one in Bali earning $7,000 per week on Airbnb. He recommends setting a price lower than your competitors until you have three positive reviews on your property. He also says, “Ask people to contact you. Your listing text should not be just a description. Speak to your target, use words like ‘Contact me now’, ‘Ask me now about my special rates for veterans’, etc.” Get more tips from Thibault on http://rentalpreneurs.com.
When it comes to pricing your rental, Steven from Villa Cappelli offers this advice, “I would think I good rule of thumb is to slightly under-price hotels in your area. That way you are offering a much more intimate, cozy experience for guest, but also at an extremely competitive price.”