Shampoo & Booze 29: What Is It Like Running an Airbnb Business?

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This week you can listen to Ryanne and I argue over how much work it takes to run a rental. From my point of view, 90% of the work is done up front:
  • Research to make sure a place you already own is worth renting, or choosing the right place to buy.
  • Compare what other people are getting in nightly rates to make sure the 1% rule works for that property.
  • Renovations. This is often the biggest job. We can't stress how important it is to invest in a property up front to make sure it's appealing to renters AND that everything works so you don't lose business fixing leaky rooks, broken pipes, and HVAC.
  • Take nice photos and write a clear, inviting description for your Airbnb page. Having invested in a property, why would you not spend a good deal of time making sure the page people see is thorough?
  • Think through the check-in and check-out process when a guest comes. Know what to expect. Have a list of people to call if anything goes wrong (Plumber, internet, HVAC person). 
As Ryanne reminds me, it's not all passive income once the place is rented. There's cleaning and maintenance which can be an incredible amount of work if you do it yourself (like we do now!)  But if you've done your work up front, the renting part is the easier portion. And if you hire someone to clean for you, it's even less work.

Question: If you currently run an Airbnb, was it more work than you thought? Better or worse?

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  1. Hi you two. I am an avid student of yours since I am about to start converting an 1876 farmhouse to an Airbnb. It does have some annual activities such as the Appel Farms Folk Concert and a Rodeo. There is also some great antique ing, a Nordic settlement that Royalty visits in a neighboring town every so often, Wheaton glass, and the usual drive to tourist traps in the tri state area. other hosts in the area only have maybe 5 weeks of the entire summer booked for $60 private room a night. However there descriptions suck, and those that don't seem freakishly over controlling, with very forced hostage like review. (Maybe human sacrifices or Airbnb tourists used as prey for bored farmers? ) I dunno. So if I go ahead, the whole house needs rewiring, for starters. Any other tips for deciding if a location will work? What's the top 3 things that people that stay with you appreciate? How do u like that metal roof? Finally, I think I said this, but the Grand Designs with the old couple that barely speak French that turned a pile of gentrified rocks back into a beautiful French country farmhouse, is incredibly inspiring. But ohhhh the agony of defeat and train wrecks on that show. I sure hope I learn from that show, and you two. Peace!

    1. Before you make any serious renovations, it is smart to make sure it'll rent. Sounds like you've done the research and rentals already exist. I'd just make sure their calendars look full.

      Our guests mostly compliment us on all the details we provide. Cooking oil, sugar, spices, creamer, coffee, charcoal, condiments, lighter fluid, cooking gear. It sounds like a lot to provide, but it's all really cheap. And for the guests, its stuff that they don't need to buy just for a couple night's use. Makes their stay feel luxurious.

      And yeah, we love the metal roof. Looks good and we know it'll last our lifetime.