With over 5.6 million Airbnb’s worldwide, you probably know of someone who hosts on Airbnb. For some, hosting can be a lucrative side hustle, and others may even turn it into their full-time job!
That said, we can’t all afford to own property. But does that mean that we should miss out on making money? No!
If you can’t afford to purchase property, or it’s just not something you’re interested in doing, there are many other ways to make money with Airbnb.
1. Rent your rental
The idea here is that you rent a property with the intention of listing it on Airbnb.
So, you rent a property long-term (say you have a one-year lease) at an agreed-upon rate with the owner and then you pull a profit by posting the property on Airbnb for a rate that will cover your rent and then some! This is also known as “rental arbitrage.”
This one isn’t for everyone, though, since you’ll have to ask your landlord for permission before you sublet their place. If your landlord isn’t thrilled with the idea, you can offer to give them a cut of your profits – this might help to get the deal done.
Sam Friedberg, an experienced Airbnb property manager, notes that rental Arbitrage, while a good money-making opportunity, just isn’t possible in most places.
“Most landlords don’t [allow it], some will if they are convinced it’s a good deal. It requires an individual one-to-one sale to get them to agree. I’ve only done it by referral or with close friends/relatives. Nobody has a “list” of places that “allow” rental arbitrage – and if they did, and the opportunity there was good, they’d keep the list for themselves. There are some internet courses available (at varying price points) that teach people how to approach landlords to allow rental arbitrage.”
Many big cities like New York have made it near impossible for renters to sublet like this. So, definitely make sure you have a conversation with your landlord, so you can understand their opinion, as well as your state’s laws.
2. Property management
You might not own property, but that shouldn’t stop you from managing someone else’s. There’s a market of homeowners who want to get their properties up on Airbnb but just don’t have the time, or skill, to do it successfully. Here’s where you come in.
If you have the time, you can be responsible for listing the properties, communicating with the guests, dealing with any issues that arise, and ensuring the property is properly cleaned and ready for new guests. Essentially you take over all of the responsibilities other than paying the mortgage. Friedberg also explains:
“Property management (often arranged as co-hosting) carries less risk and also less reward than rental arbitrage for the Airbnb entrepreneur. Rental arbitrage also typically requires signing a lease, which is legally binding, even if things go south from an Airbnb perspective. But if it’s a good situation, the profit potential with arbitrage is higher.”
So, how do you make money? Well, you and the homeowner agree on a fair percentage. Typically Airbnb property managers charge around 20% to 30% of the per night rate.
The amount you charge should also vary depending on factors like the location of the property (is it close by vs. out in the boonies), and the type of services that are being offered to the guests.
Those who live near higher-priced rentals can make a pretty penny, for those who live in more rural areas, however, the travel and work may not be worth the cost. Make sure to do the math beforehand!
3. Airbnb affiliate
If you run a website that brings in a minimum of one million visits per month, or an app that has over one million opens per month, then you can be an Airbnb affiliate.
The affiliate program has a much higher barrier to entry than most of the other options on this list but if you have a popular website or app and an audience that could benefit from Airbnb’s offerings – why not give it a try!
Airbnb offers two ways to become an affiliate:
- Guest affiliate program. Feature Airbnb properties on your site and earn a commission for every booking that you are responsible for.
- Host affiliate program. Highlight Airbnb hosting opportunities on your site and earn a commission for every new host that you have a hand in signing up.
Read more: Can Airbnb Hosting Make Homeownership More Affordable?
If you’ve ever booked a stay through Airbnb then you’ve probably seen a charge for the “cleaning fee.” It should come as no surprise that once a guest departs from an Airbnb rental, someone has to come in to change the sheets, clean the bathrooms, and make sure the space is shiny and neat for the next guests. You could be this person!
While some Airbnb hosts are very hands-on and choose to do the cleaning themselves, many are looking to hire someone to do this work. A lot of hosts own properties all over the world and need reliable people to keep their rentals in tip-top shape. In fact, Friedberg notes:
“Most housekeepers are paid a flat rate based on the size home (possibly more for cleaning up after pets or extra messy guests). It probably ends up in the $15-$40/hour range, even though most aren’t paid by the hour.”
You can find these opportunities in a variety of places. Check job boards (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.), post on social media, ask any hosts you know if they’re looking for cleaners, or, go the old-fashioned route and post flyers around your town.
5. Airbnb experience host
If you’re not interested in becoming a property host, Airbnb offers another opportunity to host called an “Experience Host”. In this role, you can earn money by leading guests through an amazing experience.
Whether you lead a bike tour through your city, take a group of guests on a backcountry skiing adventure, or treat them to a culinary experience they’ll never forget – the choice is yours.
In my opinion, this is one of the best ways you can make money with Airbnb because you are getting paid to do something you love.
If you’re interested in becoming an Experience Host, you need to go through Airbnb’s three-step process.
- Learn Airbnbs Experience Host expectations. They want to see your passion with a unique, fun, and immersive guest experience.
- Submit your experience. Provide a description (what is it, what will the guests do, how long with it take, etc.) and even some pictures so that the Airbnb team can get a good understanding of the experience you want to offer to guests.
- Sit back and wait. The Airbnb team will review your proposal and get back to you with a yay or nay.
6. Airbnb house-sitter
What happens when an Airbnb host wants to go on vacation? Who’s going to take care of things while they’re away for a few weeks or months?
Enter you – Airbnb house-sitter extraordinaire!
As an Airbnb house-sitter, you are responsible for taking care of the hosts living space while also managing their Airbnb rental. This is a pretty sweet deal – especially if you’re looking for a cheap way to see a new place.
This situation allows you to travel to a new destination, stay for free and also make some extra spending money – win, win, win!
It’s important to note here, though, that these jobs aren’t the easiest to come by. Some people post right on Airbnb, but you can also Google house sitting in your area to find some opportunities.
7. Airbnb co-host
The co-host feature is great for those people on Airbnb that own property but lack the time required to set things up and manage their listings.
Airbnb allows hosts to include a “co-host.” A co-host is someone that the property owners add to the listing that has permission to help with particular tasks like communicating with the guests, posting the listing, managing listings, restocking supplies, and so on. It’s up to the host and the co-host to decide who does what and how they are going to split the profits.
If you are interested in becoming a co-host you can reach out to someone you know who is currently a host and ask if they want to add you as a co-host. Suggest how you can help to make their lives easier and then agree on a rate.
Or, if you know someone who has property and is thinking about becoming a host but hasn’t had the time to do so – offer to do it for them and get them to add you as a co-host.
Owning your own property is not a prerequisite when it comes to making money with Airbnb. As you can see, there are many different ways to turn a profit without taking on a mortgage – and a lot of them are super fun (experience hosting, house sitting…yes please)!
So, what are you waiting for? Pick a job that best suits your skills, abilities, and the level of effort you’re willing to invest and start making some money!
- Look Before You List: Is Being An Airbnb Host Worth It?
- Side Hustle Ideas: 35+ Ways Anyone Can Earn More Money On The Side