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Hey All, and welcome back to another instalment of my Work Anywhere series. I wanted to mix things up a little this time and focus on a job that doesn’t involve only computers to get the work done. Introducing Airbnb. Many of you will know that while travelling for the past year, I’ve relied on Airbnb a lot for finding great value accommodation offered by local people, not just large hotel chains.
Airbnb isn’t just a great way to find value accommodation though – it’s also a great way of making an extra income. I reached out to my fellow fab money blogger Lily from The Frugal Gene, who currently brings in over $50,000 from 3 Airbnb rentals every year.
What You Should Know First
As Lily mentions towards the end of this article, Airbnb can be a fantastic way to make extra income, but relying on it as your single source of income may not be the best idea. You’re taxed like regular income, have to search hard for an insurance policy that will cover you, and not all guests will be happy with your house – no matter how lovely it is!
If you already have another side hustle on the go, renting out your home or spare rooms on Airbnb can be a great means of supplemental income. Read on for the full interview with Lily who will show you how to get started and what to expect!
Sign up as a host on Airbnb here, or to find great value accommodation for your next trip!
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How I Make $50,000 from Airbnb Every Year | Interview with Lily
1) Thanks so much for being a part of the Work Anywhere series! To start off, could you introduce yourself and explain what it is you do?
I’m Lily, a 26-year-old Airbnb host. My husband and I live in Seattle, Washington and we’ve been hosting AirBnBs for the past 2 years. He is an engineer and I am also a freelancer and blogger.
2) How did you get into Airbnb hosting?
It was just an idea that I had. I naturally like to scrimp and save – hence the frugality gene. It was painful to think about paying the mortgage interest monthly when it doesn’t even hit the principle. Plus, we’re not planning for a family anytime soon. We had 3 large spare bedrooms going to waste so it seemed like a good match. 2 years later, my husband and I still have no desire for children and yeah – the extra income has been great.
3) How much time do you spend on Airbnb hosting each week?
A common misconception about Airbnb is that it’s taxed like passive income. It’s not. It’s classified like regular income because there’s more work that goes into it than most people assume. These are vacationers and they will judge your house with the same standard as a hotel. My time is about standard to a hotel maid who spends a few hours everyday running from room to room with two types of vacuums!
4) Did you always want a non-office job?
I don’t mind a boring, standard 9 to 5 office jobs but I crave the privilege of working by myself and not having to deal with a boss or a commute. I’ve always wanted to work for myself and have my own little bed and breakfast someday. I just didn’t think I would be able to reach that in my 20s. I was thinking that managing a bed and breakfast was a thing for those nearing or post-retirement.
I crave the privilege of working by myself and not having to deal with a boss – or a commute.
5) What are the highlights/downsides of what you do?
As an introvert and overall late riser, I like being able to work alone and wake up late. I wake up around 10:30 AM since AirBnB guests usually leave around 11 AM.
The downside is that it’s always painful to hear criticisms about your own home. A good host puts their heart into it but it’s very hard to oversee every little thing. Some guests can be demanding especially if you are a Superhost like me. A majority of guests do not read or even know which room they booked so it’s up to the host to repeat the check-in process.
6) What advice would you give to anyone else looking to become an Airbnb host?
Dip a toe into the game first and make sure you are OK with it all. It can be awkward; it can be inconvenient and it can be frustrating too. It can even cause arguments between you and the spouse (happened a few times with us). But if your property is designed for it and you are in a desirable location, it’s good money.
7) Freestyle – any other tips/information you’d like to give people looking for jobs outside of the traditional 9 – 5?
Diversifying your options beyond AirBnB is a good idea. I maintain other side hustles in case Airbnb becomes illegal or shut down in our city. Airbnb is not looked upon with favor in many places. It is currently illegal in New York. They’re passing things to block it in San Francisco and limiting it in Seattle as well.
A lot of newcomers see the money and they think it’s a flawless concept. Do your homework. It’s taxed as active income. It takes work to clean and spoil your guests. There are literally strangers in your home. There are liabilities for the homeowners since a “commercial” property makes you void from the vast majority of insurances. There are lots of risks involved for those unprepared.
Overall the topic is much more complex than it seems – it took me a year to get used to it and I’m still learning because the app changes and new features are always being added. I would recommend you to read my series on AirBnB if you want more detail on the details of the vacation rental game.
Would you consider renting out your home on Airbnb? If so, you can sign up as a host here. As an extra bonus, you’ll receive $25 in travel credit, and Airbnb will also give me some credit for referring you – win-win!
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
What a great interview! I’ve been wanting to ask Lily almost the same questions about AirBnB but haven’t had a chance to. I love the idea of taking advantage of the empty space in our house to make extra income. It also comes with lots of flexibility and, yes, hard work. 🙂
The Wallet Moth says
Thanks Ms FAF, Lily’s side hustle game is super impressive! Yes it sounds like hard work is involved, but if you have the space then it can be a great way to supplement your income!