How much does it cost to start an Airbnb? Much will depend on if you already own a second home or have to purchase one. It can be cost-prohibitive, but there are other ways to get into the Airbnb business without owning a rentable piece of property. And if you play your cards right, you could end up earning enough to eventually purchase another property to use as an Airbnb. So what are startup costs and the other options for making money through this company?
How to Start an Airbnb
According to Hostaway, many people start out on Airbnb by renting out things other than entire houses or apartments. It’s common for hosts to list spare rooms in their homes; if you look hard enough, you’ll also see listings for things like Airstream campers, tents, docked sailboats and private campsites. Another option is rental arbitrage; airbtics explains that this is when renters convince landlords to allow them to sublease their properties to others.
Rental arbitrage can be a good way how to start an Airbnb with no money if you can find someone willing to work with you. Owners and renters who do this have to contend with a lot of extra red tape, including insurance. The landlord may or may not agree with this kind of plan initially; you may be able to come up with an agreement that benefits both parties. It will also depend on the original lease agreement, and should definitely be looked over by a real estate attorney before a final decision is made and the paperwork signed.
Once the legalities are dealt with, you can decide on decorating theme for the rental. Something near a beach will lend itself to light colors and nautical fabrics, but other popular ones include boho-chick, family friendly and farmhouse. The main goal is for the inside and outside to be convenient, warm and welcoming to appeal to the widest audience; think about its most appealing features (mountain view, just outside of a major city, playroom for the kids).
Costs Associated With Running an Airbnb
If you’re thinking about opening up your own Airbnb, there will be other ongoing costs that need to be considered aside from monthly mortgage or rent payments. The first is homeowners’ insurance, which can cost several hundred dollars a month; there may be a surcharge if you’re using your home as a vacation rental. Utilities, cable, streaming services and an alarm system also involve monthly payments; you might also want to install a smart door alarm and camera for safety reasons.
New furniture, appliances, rugs, linens and other things might be needed to outfit the Airbnb, too. It’s hard to determine the exact amount for setting up an Airbnb, but Projection Hub estimates it to be anywhere from $3,900 to $30,000 − not taking into account a down payment to purchase the home. And remember, you’ll also need to set up a great listing on Airbnb, which could involve hiring a photographer. And if you need a property manager and a cleaning service, those will also cost you money each month.
How to Start an Airbnb Management Company
You can still get into the Airbnb business even if you can’t get your hands on a property to rent; one way to do it is by becoming an Airbnb property manager. Many hosts live far away and/or don’t have the time to interact with their guests, so they hire help. Frugal Reality explains that you can do this by completing a property manager application on the Airbnb website and once you receive approval, you can create a listing for your services and market it to them. Once they reach out, you can negotiate the rates and get clients.
Airbnb property managers are responsible for oversight of the vacation homes, and one of the most important duties is to supervise the cleaning and maintenance. They collect payments, deliver and pick up keys if needed, and sometimes have to enforce rules like no-pet policies or no guests under the age of 18. And if any problems arise during a guest’s stay, property managers have to take care of them 24/7. These managers generally charge hosts 10 to 20 percent of nightly rates, plus any other applicable fees. To find out how to become one, visit the site’s Local Partners page.
Other Airbnb Services
Some people make money with Airbnb by providing pet services for people who don’t like leaving their pets at home when they travel. Hosts often hire house sitters too, which involves checking on the properties periodically to bring in the mail and deliveries, to check if the heat is working and to mow the lawn. These jobs can be a bit harder to find, and many property managers include this with their services. You can try reaching out to Airbnb hosts in your area, and post on the Airbnb’s Community Center to see if you can drum up some interest.
People who own cleaning businesses or want to start one up can also make decent money caring for Airbnb rentals. To be successful, you’ll have to market your services; if you have a website, add an Airbnb cleaning page and attract local hosts through effective SEO practices. A good strategy for this is to have a blog with helpful content that would appeal to hosts; one example might be “What to do When Guests Steal Your Linens.” Other strategies (also good for property managers and house sitters) is to join Facebook Groups for Airbnb hosts, create a Google Business Profile and to drop flyers in property mailboxes.
How Else to Start an Airbnb Business Without Money
Airbnb also has a page for people who don’t own or rent properties but are interested in co-hosting. This is similar to property management, but the responsibilities can be more varied. Co-hosts can create and manage listings, update calendars, message guests and manage reservations. They also prepare homes before guests arrive, welcome them in person and provide tours, fix any problems that arise and write guest reviews for listing owners.
People who own separate businesses can become Airbnb affiliates; they put ads on their own websites and in their places of businesses that promote Airbnb properties for rent. Information about this is also on Airbnb’s website. They also have a referral program; refer someone, and if they complete their first stay with your referral link you’ll get $40 per booking. This is a great way for real estate agents to make some extra cash when out-of-town clients are visiting to look at houses; travel agents and party planners also have an inroad for referrals.
Another creative way to earn money on Airbnb is to become one of their experience hosts. Instead of temporary lodgings, these hosts provide local activities that people can sign up for; they don’t have to be staying at an Airbnb to enjoy them, either. Customers enter their destination and date, and can then choose from the different offerings. If you want to sign up to provide this kind of service, just click up top where it reads “Become a Host.”
Want more advice on travel and travel marketing? Check out these FREE resources:
Best Quick Getaways for Busy Professionals
Harnessing the Dreamer's Phase of Vacation Planning: Marketing Tips for Hotels, Destinations & More
How to Grow Your Travel Agency Business
The Benefits of Having a Great Social Media Presence in the Hotel Industry
Top 10 Ways to Increase Hotel Bookings Through Digital Marketing
Winning SEO for Hotels and Resorts
Digital Marketing Strategies that Hotels Should be Using
Top Tips for Improving Hotel SEO
The Most Exciting Hotel Marketing Ideas to Increase Traveler Bookings Immediately
The 10 Best Amusement Parks in the United States for a Fun Vacation
11 Incredible Honeymoon Destinations for Newlyweds
Best Places to Travel on a Budget in Mexico
Best Places to Travel on a Budget in Europe
Best Cruise Line for a Family Vacation
Highest-ranked Family-friendly Resorts in 2022 in the Caribbean
Best Places to Travel on a Budget in the United States
How to Market Your Airbnb Online
Top Tips on How to Cruise on a Budget
What Excursions Top Everyone’s List on a Cruise
How to Get Airbnb and VRBO Bookings
Want a FREE SEO Audit of Your Site?
Get yours here. It’s chock-full of actionable intelligence that will help you boost your bottom line through powerful digital marketing techniques. Need help? We’re happy to assist!