Clever ways to make extra cash on AirBnB

AirBnB does not need an introduction – it’s one of top 10 startups in the world, and is well-known. But many people who live in an apartment (own or rent) can make some extra money, and don’t even know it. Here are some clever ways you can make money with your apartment, while still living there full-time.

airbnb Although I’ve used AirBnB (link gives you $25 travel credit) for a couple of years now (to rent a place when we traveled) I never thought of renting out our place – it just never crossed my mind. Enlightenment came recently, when my neighbor rented his apartment (same as ours) for 10 days for $2300 – whaaat? Yes! He went to visit friends in California, and put his apartment up on AirBnB and lo and behold – it was taken by a family that came to visit their daughter in college. $230 / day – wow! That’s how much higher end hotels go for in Boston. That $2300 covered his stay in Cali and paid for car rental and then some. That also covers his mortgage and part of condo fees.

So I started thinking about doing it, and there were several obstacles, that in my mind would never let us rent our place short-term. But those were all in my head. So let’s dive deep.

How to make money with AirBnB part time

AirBnB Apartment

AirBnB Apartment

We live in our apartment, so renting it requires us to move out! And while this is a huge inconvenience, I look at it philosophically. We wanted to do a couple of small road trips – go hiking in New Hampshire or visit New York for the weekend. Basically our place would be empty any way – why not make couple of bucks with it? But that is if you have a big family. Many people don’t.

If you are a college student or a young professional, living close to a touristy place you can make AirBnB pay your rent or cover part of the mortgage (at least in the summer). For example – you have an apartment all to yourself. Go to your girlfriend’s / boyfriend’s place for the weekend (you probably do it anyway), and rent the place for $150-200 / night. That is $300-400 every weekend. If you have a nice apartment in big city, $250-300+ per night is not unreasonable.

Even if you rent your place (from a landlord) you can still do this part-time – just make sure your landlord does not find out – it may violate your lease terms and get you kicked out :)

I know a guy who owns a rather small place (in terms of square feet / meters) but it is 4 floors of 2 rooms on each floor with a spiral stair in the middle. Its location is SUPERB – Boston North End 30 seconds walk from Hanover street (where ALL tourists in boston go). So he turned his place into full-time AirBnB motel – how is that for a business idea? He probably quit his day job by now. Just to talk numbers – ABB roof in North End goes for $200 / night. Hotels there start from $300. With 5-6 rooms rented 20 days / month, he should be grossing $20000-25000 a month!

Sure not everyone has a place like that and a location like that, but you can still make it work out – it does not have to become your full-time income.

What you need to be able to rent you place well?

Location, location, location! The golden rule of real estate applies to AirBnB much more than you can imagine. Your apartment must be located in or close to a place where a lot of tourists come. I live in Boston area, so on top of many tourists that come to town, there are over 20 colleges and universities in town. So we also get a lot of parents, alumni and people related to education coming to boston on regular basis. So we meet the “demand” criteria.

Ease of access Although we are don’t live in downtown Boston, our place is right next to public transit, so it’s easy for out-of-town folks to get around. A 25 minute trolley or bus ride gets you to Boston Common / Downtown, Harvard / MIT campuses, etc. There are also a bunch of restaurants and bars around, as well as two supermarkets, a pharmacy and a gas station. So our visitors can get most things they need fairly easy.

Clean up the clutter Now the only limiting factor is us (my family) and our apartment. Because it’s our primary residence, we have it filled with our everyday belongings, clothes, stuff, our cat, etc. So we needed to clean up the place and remove most of the stuff, to make the place rentable, as well as fix things here and there.

And that is exactly what we did. As it turns out, we did not need half of our stuff, so we either donated it, gave it away, or trashed it. Now the place is much “spacier”, it’s easy to choose what I’m going to wear today, and we are ready for AirBnB.

Bottom line – you can use your apartment to make supplemental income from AirBnB, whether you own it or rent it, if you are willing to vacate the property for a weekend or two every month, or if you are traveling somewhere. Just clean it up, put it up on the website, make some nice pictures, make your apartment “available” and wait for the rental requests to come in!

Happy renting!