Shampoo & Booze 52: Do I Charge Friends And Family to Stay At My Rental?

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Our friends, Mikey and Wendy, just started their own Airbnb rental. We know how much work they put in to build this place from scratch. It looks awesome!

Since they're just starting, Mikey asked a good question: how do you handle friends and family who want to come stay? Can they stay for free or just a discount? Do you put a limit on the number of days they can stay? How do you have this conversation when your rental is a business?

Our family and friends know our rental is a business we depend on. So we definitely let family stay for free (because we love them!), but they know that staying for long periods of time would mean we would lose a lot of income. Friends know we give discounts but staying for free isn't possible. We sometimes barter with friends for a free stay which is fun because we get some work done.

With summer vacation starting, it's just the beginning of the height of our rental season for the Farmhouse. We're booking 20+ nights a month. Feels great. On the other hand....after a three month hiatus on our River House renovation, we're just now starting work again. Our goal is to get it done by August 1. Cross our fingers!

We were mentioned on a couple blogs recently: Fashionably Broke and Lodgify. There are some links to some other good podcasts we hadn't heard from. 

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!


  1. Ya the dome is pretty cool that Mikey and Wendy did. Jay and Ryanne sell on Ebay, Mikey and Wendy sell on Ebay. Jay and Ryanne do get the picture. lol You guys have some influence.

  2. I logged out and back in --let's see if it will let me leave a comment now.
    I feel ya'll's pain about hiring workers. When I bought the property that I am currently making an AirBnB, it had not had upgrades since the 1950's. I found a GREAT electrician (who wasn't still around when I tried him recently) and, I thought, a good handyman type who was good at everything, but he disappeared on me - though I finally found a guy through a flooring recommendation and he does it ALL. He isn't perfect but he is efficient, inexpensive and he will move garbage, paint, do minor plumbing, move appliances. He's honest which is one of the biggest things. Judy

  3. do you create a discount code to post? I emailed airbnb a few times, haven't heard back. I see how to send a special offer in an airbnb message. I just can't seem to find how to create the code to be used on websites and such.

  4. I'm a new host, 5 completed bookings now. I thought I'd have a lot more to go on when screening guests; only 1 of the 5 had any reviews. If I require ID verification in the future, do you think it cuts down on your bookings? I'd love to have more to go on then an occasional facebook match and a photo that is only a big letter, not a photo of the person. That being said, I've had pretty good guests, i just needed to get started and get some reviews, which I now have. Any thoughts on verifications and vetting guests?

  5. Does anyone have a source of wrapped medium sized hotel soap? I like the round ones with bumps. I cannot find any so I have been using full bars of Dial costing me about $1.

    1. we use shower gel in a pump. that way you just fill it up when it gets low rather than throwing away soap each time.

  6. Regarding your comment on people requesting a vacuum; It might be an etiquette thing. Growing up, my parents made sure we tidied up on the last day of our stay. They felt this shows respect and gratitude for staying in the rental.

    Present day, I LOVE having a vacuum when traveling. Toddlers are crumbs kings. I’m constantly sweeping, vacuuming and scrubbing.