Want To Airbnb Your Room For Extra Cash? Here’s What You Need To Know


It’s super easy to set up a profile on Airbnb as a way to earn some extra cash. After all, you have the space. But you want it to earn passive income — you’re not running a hotel here.

Although creating the actual listing is as easy as uploading some pics and writing a short description, here’s what first-time listers on Airbnb should know before opening up their homes to visitors.

Take bright photos.

Don’t half-ass the photos you use for your listing. You don’t have to be a professional photographer, but taking care to make sure rooms are brightly lit makes a difference.

Don’t use blurry photos or show a kitchen with dishes in the sink, either. No one wants to stay at that place.

Start low, work up.

Experimenting with Airbnb’s Smart Pricing function is a good way to start, but go with what feels worth it to you. If the hassle is worse than the profit, there’s no point in renting out your space in the first place.

If your rate is less than half the cost of a local hotel, you’re still offering a bargain for your neighborhood while hopefully claiming a bit of a cushion for yourself. Keep in mind that if no one bites, you always can reevaluate the price.

Rate and quality go both ways.

As you raise your rate, the quality of your guests will increase (conscientious humans are the ones willing to pay a bit more). But those guests also expect more. It’s a fine line between getting paid what you deserve and keeping expectations reasonable, but it’s okay to experiment to find the right balance for your home.

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Watch the market.

For stays over the holidays, you can charge more. Just pay attention to the changes in the market. Bumping up your price will still be a great deal compared to that hotel down the road’s holiday rates.

Protect your stuff.

This one is obvious. Don’t keep sentimental breakables in your guestroom, and make sure you have a safe for valuables. Most travelers are trustworthy (just like you), but there’s a teeny tiny possibility you might get a bad apple. It’s better to be safe and take away any temptation of snatching your goods to a visiting klepto.

Set boundaries.

You have to charge people for incidentals; otherwise, you risk people taking advantage of you. Monetizing your space will save you headaches when people ask if they can check out just a little bit late or if they can store their luggage in your closet for a few hours.

You can list those prices right on Airbnb to make it clear how things will go down.

Cleaning costs.

Don’t just hope you have enough money to pay for laundry. Calculate a realistic budget for washing sheets, towels and blankets, as well as keeping your apartment stocked with cleaning supplies.

You can choose to factor this into the rate per night or add an additional cleaning fee. But the bottom line is you should pay for cleaning from their money, not yours.

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Have extras.

Cut down on cleaning time by having several sets of sheets and extra towels. If you can do a big load of Airbnb laundry instead of rushed mini-loads, you’ll be a much happier host.

Duvet covers take a lot of time to wash, so consider using a washable blanket for a bed covering in the guest room.

Make getting in easy.

Stuff happens. Planes get delayed, traffic sucks. You don’t want to be chained to your apartment until your guests arrive. Luckily, there are cool gadgets to make this a non-issue. For example, get a combination lock box for key storage. You can put a set of keys inside and attach it to a railing, fence or mailbox outside of your building. Send the passcode and location to your guests on the day of their arrival. Boom. No need to change your Friday night plans.

Minimalism pays off.

You don’t have to have a decked-out apartment with fancy furniture, but people are drawn to clean spaces. Going with a minimalist design maximizes an impression of cleanliness. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s super trendy right now!

Know your sleeping plan.

Have an entire extra bedroom for rent? Lucky you. But if you’re renting a room you yourself usually occupy, determine your sleeping arrangement ahead of time. Your roommates/boyfriend/parents/bestie will thank you.

Speaking of roommates, have a blunt chat with those pals about Airbnb before deciding to rent out your room during vacation. If you’re off in Italy, it’s on them to solve any day-to-day problems with guests. That probably deserves a cut of the profits, too, even if the guest is technically sleeping in your bed.

If you live in a city with some animosity towards Airbnb (AKA most big cities), check your lease before renting your place out. Some landlords don’t allow renting apartments on Airbnb. Taking that risk is entirely up to you.