Side hustle was not in my vocabulary when my husband and I first thought of joining the Airbnb family as Hosts. However, we are so glad we got into it when we did. We love hosting people from different backgrounds; it fit perfectly into our already established schedule and adjusts just fine to changing schedules; it requires really low maintenance; and best of all required ZERO dollar start up cost.
Airbnb is an online platform that connects people looking for a long or short term accommodation with people who have a spare room or house. So, like a hotel, it offers accommodation solutions, but at a considerably cheaper rate.
We started using the platform in 2015 as a guest. Garrett and I were in a long distance relationship; he was in PA and I was in NC. We visited twice a month, every month, for about two years. When he wasn’t coming to me or me going to him, we met up half way. We were pretty creative with our accommodations – part because we enjoy a good adventure, part because we were being financially frugal. So, yeah, we camped out a lot. Airbnb quickly became a better alternative. We were able to find reasonable accommodations for as cheap as $28. It was easy to use, we didn’t have to sleep in a tent, we met new people, they fed us coffee and sometimes, breakfast. We loved it!
When we bought our home in 2017 it was almost a no-brainer! Of course there were a few concerns, mostly surrounding safety. Like most things, there’s always a risk right?. We had enough room to host, and no major reason not to after weighing the pros and cons so we took a leap of faith and went for it. We started hosting that summer and have hosted since then, with a few breaks here and there (another good thing being you can snooze your listing whenever you want). It has been very VERY worth it. We have not run into any safety issues (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!) but have taken measures to be as safe as possible. Plus Airbnb offers up to $1,000,000 in damages.
With a potential of up to $1,380 in monthly income (which is strongly dependent on location and season), this is one of the easiest – with as little effort as you would like to put into it – side hustle ever!
Should You Become A Host
Here are five things to consider before embarking on this side hustle.
Do you own your home and (or) have the space. You obviously do not want to buy a home for the sole reason of doing Airbnb. That will not be a financially or economically responsible decision to make because it does not guarantee a steady stream of income. If you already own your home or at the stage where you are ready to purchase a home with a guaranteed source of mortgage payment, then this side hustle may be for you! I have also heard of landlords allowing their renters to Airbnb the rental. If you are lucky your landlord may give you permission to Airbnb the apartment or house you are leasing. It never hurts to ask! However, you do not want to airbnb your rental without getting permission from your landlord first.
Are you open minded. You will meet many people from different cultures and backgrounds, with different beliefs. Political and religious conversations are very popular. If you are willing to entertain all of those, and can remain courteous when they vary from yours, then this may be for you.
Are you a risk taker. Being a host is not a big financial risk, all things being equal. For us, we did not have to buy a new bed or anything when we started, but had to buy some bathroom essentials for the guests. However, the biggest risk of opening your home to strangers is theft of or damage to property. The good thing is you can customize how you want to approve guests in a way that makes you comfortable; your reservation policy can be as strict (ask for government I.D, have previous reviews from other hosts, etc.) or as liberal as you like. Airbnb also offers up to $1 million in damages.
Are you clear on the laws in your state and city. Especially regarding taxes; occupancy and income tax. State laws vary in degrees and is not readily available or clear when it comes to Airbnb and other short term stays because they are relatively new services. Ask a tax adviser if unsure. You don’t want to owe Uncle Sam!
Are you customer friendly. You want to try your best, within your means of course, to ensure that your guests have a good experience from check in to check out; this includes your cleanliness. This is especially important because guests are able to leave public reviews after their stay. Good reviews lead to potentially becoming a super host. Being a super host is a good thing for many reasons.
There are a few cons to Airbnb but there are also some pretty good pros. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section on what you think about being an Airbnb Host!