If you have a spare room or property, listing it on Airbnb is a no-brainer way to make extra money.
But what about those of us who aren’t so lucky?
I’ve got you covered – there are actually several ways to make money from Airbnb even WITHOUT owning property!
Airbnb has completely revolutionised the rental market in many cities and countries across the world. And you can tap into the multi-billion dollar business that is Airbnb as a side hustle, or even a full time job, even if you don’t have a room or house of your own to rent out.
Here are three top ways (and one bonus way!) to cash in on Airbnb.
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Airbnb is best known for short-term property rentals. It’s the go-to site of many tourists, and even business travellers.
But did you know that in 2017, Airbnb launched another strand of their business: Airbnb experiences.
‘Airbnb experiences’ are activities hosted by locals (like you!) in your home town. Common activities are things like walking tours, cooking classes and craft workshops, but there’s really no end to the kind of thing you can offer!
Experiences let visitors to your city experience life as a local. Or tourists and local residents alike might book an experience where they can learn something new, such as a surf lesson or an art class.
Who can run an Airbnb experience?
Airbnb experiences are a perfect way to earn extra money if you have have specialist knowledge, such as local history or a regional craft you can share!
But you don’t necessarily have to have special training or skills to run an Airbnb experience (although that will certainly help set you apart). You can share whatever you love about your city.
For example, if you’re into food, you could lead a culinary tour of your favourite hidden spots that typical tourists wouldn’t get to visit.
You set your own availability for your experience, so this is a flexible side hustle that you can offer around your job or studies.
You do not have to have guests in your home to host an experience (although you can if you want to – for example, a cooking class or dinner in your own kitchen).
What kind of Airbnb experiences can I offer?
Here are some cool sounding experiences I found browsing on the Airbnb site in my nearest city, London. You could lead any of these with no particular qualifications – just a little research and preparation:
- A tour of famous London markets
- A street art tour
- Tour of most popular Instagrammable photo spots
- Historical pubs tour
- A night out clubbing with guest list access to popular nightspots
Have a browse and see if you are inspired by any of the experiences already on the site!
You set your own fee for your experience. Airbnb charge a 20% service fee.
Airbnb property management service
There are increasing numbers of people listing their property on Airbnb. And there are also huge numbers of people who might have a spare room or property, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of renting it out (or don’t know how to get started).
You can help out these people – and make some decent cash at the same time! – by offering Airbnb management services.
There are many, many different tasks that you could offer to help out Airbnb owners. I’ve listed some ideas below.
You could specialise in one of the below ideas, or you could offer a complete Airbnb management service. Subcontract out certain tasks if you need to.
Some of these ideas can only be done in person, i.e. you would need to live locally to the property.
Here are just some of the services you can offer:
Airbnb allows hosts to add a ‘co-host’ to their property. The co-host can edit the listing, accept booking requests, message with guests, manage the calendar, contact Airbnb on the host’s behalf to resolve any issues, and so on, but they can’t see the original host’s personal or financial information.
This type of work can all be done remotely as a Virtual Assistant!
Of course, there are plenty of cleaning services out there already. But you could carve out space for yourself in the Airbnb niche by showing an understanding of the particular needs of Airbnb properties.
Fast turnaround and properly laundered bedlinens and towels are essential. You could also offer to prepare the property for guests with special finishing touches such as luxury toiletries, wine and chocolates, or writing the guests’ names on a welcome board.
Create welcome guides
When I’ve stayed in Airbnbs, it’s the little touches that make a difference.
One thing I always love to find is a folder of useful information about the property (wifi code, what to do with rubbish and recycling, where spare supplies are kept) and the area (taxi numbers, best local restaurants, recommend walks).
You can sell welcome guide templates on Etsy or Fiverr for hosts to fill in themselves, or create bespoke guides for an additional fee. An easy way to make money online with the help of Airbnb.
Other Airbnb management tasks:
- Meet guests for check in/out
- Property maintenance
- Schedule/manage cleaners and contractors
- Write and edit listings
- Take and edit listing photos
- Purchase and restock supplies (toilet paper, cleaning products, kitchen basics, etc)
- Interior design consultation
- Translation services
Airbnb rental arbitrage
Airbnb rental arbitrage is when you rent out a property from a landlord yourself, and list it on Airbnb for a higher fee. If you’d love to have your own property to list on Airbnb, but you can’t or don’t want to purchase, this could be an option to look into.
Rental arbitrage is the most risky of the options discussed in this post, which is why I saved it until last. But it’s also potentially the most profitable!
Is rental arbitrage legit?
This is totally legal, and it’s OK as far as Airbnb is concerned. However, you must always check with your landlord and/or mortgage provider, as some contracts may not allow subletting on Airbnb. You should also check with your insurance provider.
If you are looking to rent a property specifically for Airbnb, you should always be upfront about this with the landlord. This article has some great tips on having that conversation with the property owner. If you have trouble finding a landlord to agree with this, you could even offer a profit share agreement.
It’s also worth looking over the Airbnb responsible hosting guidelines. This page lists regional regulations affecting Airbnb in certain cities of the UK.
The main risk is that you might not be able to rent out the property for enough dates to cover the rent and make a profit. You should do your research thoroughly before getting into Airbnb arbitrage.
There are ways to mitigate this risk. For example, you could target long term rentals to minimise the time the property is empty. You should also make sure there is high demand for rentals in your area.
You could also live in the property so you don’t have to pay separate rent yourself (although it may make your property less desirable if there is someone living there, so factor that into your calculations).
You will also need funds upfront for the deposit and initial rent payments.
If you’d like to learn more, here’s a very detailed guide to setting up an Airbnb arbitrage business.
Bonus: refer friends
Sign up to Airbnb (as a host, or a guest) and you’ll get a unique referral link to share with your friends. For every person who completes a stay, you’ll get £15 credit, and for everyone who completes an experience you’ll get £8. Your friend will also get up to £34 off their first trip.
I’m listing this as a bonus way to make money on Airbnb because you get paid in travel credit, not cash. Although for a frequent traveller, this could be almost as good!
You’ll find your link under ‘invite friends’ when you click on your profile picture in the top right.
Have a room to rent out?
Of course, if you are lucky enough to have a spare room (or property!) you can rent out, you can make even more!
You don’t even need to have a whole spare bedroom to rent out on Airbnb.
Even a single place to sleep in a shared room (for example, a sofa bed in a shared living area) can net you almost £500 a month in London, according to the calculator.
Have you earned money on Airbnb?
If you’ve ever earned money on Airbnb, with or without property, please share your experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear how you got on!
Would you give any of the ideas in this article a try?