Today’s guest post is written by Cara Berkeley, an investment property owner and blogger over at Penny Polly. Cara is all about helping you find new ways to save money, make money, and have fun doing it.
I earn $8,000 a month with my Airbnb side hustle.
My house is exclusively a rental property. Since I do not live in it, it can bring in bookings 24/7/365. But even if you are just renting out a room in your house, it is an ideal way to make extra money.
In truth, I don’t make $8000 a month every month. Some months are less, especially during the off season in January and February. Plus, I have a lot of expenses including taxes to the city and state, cleaning fees, the mortgage and general repairs.
But even after all the overhead there is profit. A lot of profit.
And, even if there wasn’t profit, the guests are paying the mortgage for me every month, essentially allowing me to purchase the home without using my own money.
So basically, what I’m saying is you need to start your own AirBnb business.
Related: How I Make $10,000 A Month With These Four Side Hustles
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Here are the best tips on how to start an AirBnb side hustle.
1. Check your local laws
Before you try to rent out your home on AirBnb you need to make sure it is even allowed in your city, and in your neighborhood.
Many cities now have rules about operating a “short term rental” property.
I live in Nashville, where ordinances have been passed that limit what areas you are allowed to have an AirBnb property in.
The last thing you want to do is purchase an investment home only to discover that short term rentals are not allowed in that area of town.
You also need to check your HOA if you live in a house with one. Sometimes they may ban AirBnb properties.
You might be required to get a city permit to turn your home it into a short-term rental. And, if you get caught running one without it you could get shutdown and face some hefty fines.
You may also have to pay local and state taxes. We pay a hotel tax each month to the city of Nashville. And, if you are making more than a specified amount per year, which hopefully you are, you will need a business license.
Do your research before considering a short-term rental property.
2. Design the space
The more stylish your space looks, the more bookings you will bring in. So, take the time to make it look like Chip and Joanna Gaines set it up!
This is actually a really fun part of starting an AirBnb side hustle. I suggest looking on the AirBnb website at other available homes, particularly popular ones to see what they look like.
If you aren’t the greatest interior designer, you can pick a look you like and just do your best to copy it.
And stylish décor doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Check local flea markets and garage sales for some inexpensive décor. Plus, you can buy extra pieces and re-sell them to make extra money.
Sometimes the homes with campy retro style or unusual furnishings are super popular listings on AirBnb.
Pick a style or a theme and stick with it. Whether it is retro, farmhouse, or modern, having a well-styled rental will help you pull in bookings.
3. Hire a professional photographer
The most important thing to potential guests when looking at AirBnb are the pictures.
They want something cheerful, modern and pretty. You may think you are a good photographer, but it can never compare to a pro. You should put your home in the best possible light.
Make an investment and hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your house. It is your first step in marketing your home.
Professional photos will draw more people in, get you more bookings, and more money.
4. Cross list your rental
Another tip for a successful AirBnb side hustle is to cross list the property. To increase the number of bookings you get you should list your home on more than website.
VRBO is another site I get a ton of bookings for the house. VRBO stands for vacation rental by owner. VRBO is actually better for getting more long-term bookings rather than just 2-day rentals.
You will need to sync your booking calendar between AirBnb and VRBO so that if it gets a reservation on one site for specific dates, it will then be blocked from booking on the other site.
I have learned the hard way that double bookings can happen if you are not careful and they are very painful to fix.
If you have to cancel a booking it can cause you to lose search ranking and incur a penalty fee. In one case, I didn’t realize I had double booked the house until a week from the guests arrival.
In order to make the situation right, I had to help find a new place for the guests and offer money to cover the additional expense of the only available bookings left.
I also have a listing on TripAdvisor. Another site where you can list your house is Booking.com, but I’ve heard they are bad about causing double bookings.
Cross list your property to increase your bookings.
5. Get good reviews
Make sure you are getting good reviews on AirBnb from your guests.
AirBnb and VRBO listings live and die by the reviews. Every guest that stays at your property, no matter what website they book through, gets the chance to leave you a review.
And, when new potential guests search for properties, they will look at those reviews before they decide to book.
If you have a low ranking or bad comments they won’t book your property.
Some sites like AirBnb keep track of how quickly you respond and “score” you appropriately. This score can affect how high you appear in search results, which in turn affects how many bookings you receive.
Whether you do the cleaning yourself or hire someone, you must make sure your house is sparkling clean each time a new guest checks in.
Not only does it affect the guests’ impression of your home, when it comes time to review your house they will rate the cleaning.
Do everything you can to keep guests happy. Make sure you always respond quickly to both your prospective and confirmed guests.
Author Bio: Cara Berkeley is a blogger, investment property owner, and full-time marketing executive.
She’s learned that thinking outside the box can make all the difference and she wants to share her tips and tricks on smart money management. She blogs at Penny Polly and is all about helping you find new ways to save money, make money and have fun doing it.
Starting your own successful AirBnb business is fun and profitable. I actually made enough from my first property to buy a second one.
If you have a spare bedroom or guesthouse, listing the space on Airbnb may be a great way to earn extra money each month. That money can even help you pay off your mortgage! Sounds like a great idea to me.
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