One obvious answer to why I started hosting an Airbnb is simply because I was looking to invest in real estate and gain passive rental income. Yes, this is all true, but surprisingly not what gave me the idea. The truth is, we simply ended up with an extra bed and a spare bedroom. Then one day we realized that we had this nice guest room and hardly any visitors—what a waste!

At the time, my girlfriend and I were renting a three bedroom home. I should probably recommend getting the okay from your landlord before listing on Airbnb. Not to say, that’s what we did necessarily, but that could be risky. I trust my readers to know what’s best. 

Overall, I think starting an Airbnb rental was one of the best decisions we ever made! Granted, my partner and I were both fully invested in the idea, we had the space, no kids, and could definitely use the extra income. It’s important that you consider all the pros and cons of hosting an Airbnb before you get started.

Meeting awesome new people and making a little extra income on the side is fantastic. Keeping up with the schedule, communicating with guests and cleaning the space—not as fantastic. You just have to consider what would make it worth it to you.

So, How much money we talking?

Curious to know how much moolah you could potentially make by hosting an Airbnb? Here’s a cool handy calculator to help you find out your potential earnings.

This estimate is based on average prices for listings in similar locations, listing type and guest capacity. How much you actually will make will vary with your pricing, type and location of your listing, actual occupancy rate, season, demand, local laws, and other factors.

Generally, there are three main types of Airbnb hosts:

1. Those, like myself, who want to make a few extra bucks with their available space.

This is one of the more relaxed ways of hosting an Airbnb. Once you have your listing all set up, you can choose your availability settings straight from the Airbnb app/website.  Here you can change your preferences on how often you would like to host, price, whether or not you allow children or pets, etc.

Of course, the extra income with this type of listing won’t be substantial, but it is a great way to meet people from all kinds of interesting places. You also may have the option to raise your prices a bit higher than other listings in your area. Think quality vs. quantity.

I recommend becoming a host with this relaxed mentality—at least to start. It’ll help you get to know your market and pricing, understand the type of guests you’re likely to attract (e.g. students, families, solo travelers, etc.), get a feel for the process, solicit feedback to make your listing even more attractive, and get a few great reviews under your belt before the guests start flooding in.  

2. Those, also like myself, who want a stable source of secondary income.

This type of hosting is a little more demanding than the occasional guest here or there because you’re ultimately in it to make income. Finding that perfect balance between your actual job, daily activities, and managing your Airbnb is a must. You’ll need to have some availability throughout the day to communicate with guests as they make new reservations, check-in or have questions.

I highly recommend installing an electronic keypad on your door that will allow guests to check themselves in with a four-digit code. Oftentimes you can easily change the code between guests and set multiple codes so you don’t forget your own if you also use that door—big plus. 

The other big time consideration is managing the space. This is where you’ll really need to plan. Say you’ve set your check-in time to 3:00 PM and check-out is at 11:00 am. Airbnb allows you to select if you would like to block a day between each reservation for prep time.

However, if you have back-to-back bookings, you’ll have to wait for those inevitable guests that wait right until 11:00 to leave before you can get in, clean the room, set it up, etc. before your next guest arrives at 3:00. This can be near impossible if you’re working a full-time day job outside of your home.

This only becomes more complicated if you’re managing a listing outside of your home or renting an entire place!

3. Those who are building a serious Airbnb business that will eventually become their main source of income.

Turning Airbnb into a full-time job is a possibility. I can’t say I relate to this one as much since I don’t necessarily plan to do Airbnb forever, unless I somehow end up with several rental properties where Airbnb just makes more sense rather than long-term rentals.

Furnishing and maintaining the space are two major considerations. Most people who make a business out of managing Airbnb listings have multiple properties in great locations and accept guests for stays longer than one night.

If you own a furnished apartment in a major city or near the beach, for example, Airbnb is an excellent option.  I’ve seen some really awesome listings all over the world where you can sleep on a boat, in a castle, or a teepee in someone’s backyard. I’m starting to think I should invest in all of these!

As you can probably tell, I’m a major fan of Airbnb in general, and hosting has got some serious perks. Do your research, but don’t be afraid to try it out!

Set realistic expectations, do your best, and be kind to yourself. Once you get into your groove as a host, you’ll become more efficient and find ways to save time and energy without lowering quality of service.