AirBnB

Is AirBnB a Good Way to Make Some Extra Money?

We are always looking for new ways to bring in some extra cash around here. After all, having 5 kids can really test our budgeting and frugality skills!

When some friends mentioned they had been putting their houses up on AirBnB, our ears perked up. Could putting up our extra rooms on AirBnB be a good way for us to bring in some extra money?

AirBnb Situations

Since we are a blended family, we have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms that go unused half of the time. Was there a way to make that work for us in an AirBnB scenario?

When we first started looking into AirBnB, we found that there were a few different ways people were doing it.

Shared Space

This is the category that we figured we would fall into, simply because we have the extra rooms. But, as we also live here, it would be considered a shared space. The house rules for a shared space can be a bit stricter, since guests will be on the premises at the same time, and in the same space, as the hosts.

Entire Guesthouse

Most of the listings we found in this category were usually a completely separate space, such as a converted garage. Some listings showed a basement with a separate entrance and their own kitchenette, so that guests would not really be sharing space with the hosts.

Renting the Whole House

This is the category that could bring in the most money, because guests would not be sharing with the hosts at all. Most listings for the whole house were not open all the time, but only when the guests were away.

Some people I know will rent out their entire house and if it gets rented, they will go stay with family or go on a camping trip for a few days. While this option sounds great, especially because we have a fairly decent sized house and an in-ground pool, we weren’t comfortable with it.

Bed and Breakfast

We didn’t have a whole lot of luck finding many people actually offering breakfast to their guests. However, there were a smattering of listings that did, so that was helpful when we were looking at pricing.

Offering breakfast is really what we were the most interested in doing, because food is a huge part of our lives. We had considered opening a bed and breakfast a few times, so this option seemed like a chance for us to try it on for size without too much risk.

Pricing

If any of these options sound like something that may be of interest to you, I suggest you do some market research on AirBnB before creating a profile. AirBnB will suggest what your space should be listed as, but we found that the pricing is pretty low.

Here are a couple examples of suggested prices in our area:

  • One room, that sleeps 2, and offers the use of a full bath – $17.00 per night
  • All 3 rooms, that sleep 6 total, with 2 full baths – $30.00 per night

We were guessing that their algorithm didn’t account for the fact that we were serving coffee, tea and a full gourmet breakfast. But even without that, the prices seemed pretty darn low to us.

AirBnB Breakfast Display
Breakfast Display

So we dug around a little bit more and found that there were 2 other people offering breakfast to their guests in our area. Each of them only had room for 2 guests and they were both shared spaces, like ours. The breakfasts they were serving appeared to be more of the continental style breakfast, as opposed to what we were offering. But both of the other listings were going for $54.00 and $57.00 per night for one guest plus an extra fee for each additional guest.

Finding these two listings just confirmed that the prices we started at were much too low for what we were offering.

AirBnB Breakfast for 2
AirBnB Breakfast Frittata, Roasted Potatoes and Fruit Display for 2

Making money

Overall, we started getting bookings within 24 hours of our initial posting. We were pretty thrilled with the response rate right out of the gate!

But, after we had our first house-guests stay, our opinion of it changed a bit. We didn’t account for just how much WORK would go into getting everything ready and then having to clean up again. It was A LOT of work for us, especially in relation to how much money we made.

Our first two bookings were at a much lower price point. Plus, we accidentally forgot to add the option to charge for for additional guests. So we ended up having 4 people stay with us for the night, and they only paid a grand total of $27.00 for the whole thing, which included breakfast!

As soon as they booked, we realized our mistake and changed the listing immediately. Basically, we lost money on that one, but we learned a valuable lesson.

We enjoyed having house-guests and making some extra money, but we simply have to charge much more to make it worth it for us. What we are offering isn’t the standard AirBnB fare, so this side hustle isn’t worth it for us at the lower rates.

That being said, renting out a room, or part of your house, could definitely be worth it if you don’t mind having house-guests and a bit more extra cleaning. If you choose to offer breakfast though, make sure to charge more to adequately cover your costs, otherwise you may just be losing money.

3 comments

  1. Jellina TS says:

    It’s good money but I am a bit on the fence when it comes to Airbnb and similar sites. Of course, it can be a passive source of income if you do it right but when I compare the money I get if I rent full-time vs. to someone on Airbnb for a weekend. The upkeep costs is always the higher in the latter, which is why for me it is 12-month lease any day. What do you think?

    • Shanah Bell says:

      As a real estate investor also, I personally enjoy the perks of passive income from a 12-month lease more than we did with AirBnB. That being said, we wanted to try AirBnB at our primary residence, so a 12-month lease wasn’t on the table as an option. However, after trying AirBnB at our home a few times, we have made our account inactive because you are correct about the upkeep costs, as well as the time involved. Plus, we had a few people who did not honor the house rules. And as people who were home while AirBnB guests were staying with us, we really didn’t appreciate that.

      • Jellina TS says:

        Yes, that’s what makes Airbnb unsuitable for me. We have two extra room that we built with a separate entrance with this in mind, but some people just don’t honor the rules and it makes the whole setup difficult. Guess we could be choosy and have stricter rules and still expect people to visit.

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