The rise of Airbnb has seen normal people turning their homes and other properties into successful businesses with huge profits. But even if you don’t own any property, it can be easier than you think to get in on this game! In this article, I’ll answer the burning question; how to make money on Airbnb without owning any property?
With a couple of years of Airbnb hosting experience, I’m excited to share some of my insights with you! During my time as a host, I’ve learned various different ways to make money on Airbnb by being part of various online host communities and working directly with companies that help me to run my Airbnb. Now, let’s get right into it and cover a few direct and indirect ways of making money on Airbnb without owning any property.
5 ways to make money on Airbnb without your own property
1. Rent to Rent
If you want the full responsibility (and benefits!) of Airbnb hosting or are an aspiring property investor keen to make money to later invest in your own property portfolio or a BRRR project, rent to rent can be a great option for you.
Rent to rent is where you secure a property by offering a landlord a fixed-term guaranteed rent, usually for around 2-5 years. Then, you will legally rent the property out as serviced accommodation on Airbnb for an increased profit. In the UK property investor communities, this strategy is often referred to as R2SA, i.e. rent to serviced accommodation.
People often mix rent to rent with subletting – so let’s make things clear. This is not the same as renting a property with a standard lease and pretending you’d live in the property yourself. Instead, you will need to be clear with the landlord or agent on what you intend to use the property for. Also, instead of a standard tenancy agreement, you would use a different type of legal agreement. The most common contracts used for rent to rent are commercial lease agreement and management agreement.
Finding a suitable property and setting it up as an Airbnb takes some initial time and financial investment. But once you have the property up and running, most of the work can actually be automated or outsourced. This then provides a great opportunity to make passive income.
Why would a landlord let me rent out their property on Airbnb?
Obviously, not all landlords would be happy with this type of arrangement. However, there are also many tired or accidental landlords (e.g. due to inheritance or moving houses), that just want their monthly rental income without having to get involved with managing the property. With rent to rent strategy, you would usually offer a longer lease than normal tenants sign up for. This can be a great incentive for landlords that are not keen to find new tenants every year. Never mind taking the risk of not finding new tenants quickly enough.
Most people doing the rent to rent strategy also offer landlords full management of the property. This means that they would organise any required maintenance themselves. And perhaps even do some decorative work to improve the standards of the property.
A co-host is someone who helps the main host to take care of their Airbnb property and guests in return for a percentage of the income. As a co-host, you would take on agreed hosting duties and assist in making sure the Airbnb runs smoothly.
If you don’t own a property and are not interesting in taking full responsibility for managing someone else’s property, co-hosting can be a great option for you. This allows you to make money on Airbnb without owning property while being able to decide how involved you want to be. Therefore, co-hosting can be a lucrative side hustle or even a job, depending on your tasks and the number of listings you are managing.
It’s completely up to you and the main host to decide how to divide the responsibilities and income. Co-hosts usually help with some of the following tasks:
- Communicating with guests before and during stays
- Greeting guests on check-in (if self check-in isn’t provided)
- Handling and optimising listings and booking requests
- Organising cleans
- Restocking essential supplies, such as soap, shampoo and toilet paper
3. Airbnb property management
Offering Airbnb management services is essentially the next step from being a co-host. Property management could be a good option for you if you have a lot of time, or even want to build a business around this. This way, you get involved in Airbnb without the risk of investing or renting a property.
Offering Airbnb management services is a great way to make money on Airbnb without actually owning any property. There are many people who want to list on Airbnb, but simply don’t have the time or the resources to look after their property. This is where you would come in.
Having previously had a management company helping me with my Airbnb, I can tell you this can be a very profitable business model when done correctly. Typically as a property manager, you will receive between 15%-25% of the booking amount for your efforts. So if the Airbnb you manage makes £2,500 a month, you would earn £500 with an average commission of 20%. You could also easily increase your earnings by managing more or higher income properties.
In addition to great earning potential, this is also a very low-risk option compared to owning an Airbnb property or using the rent to rent strategy. As a middleperson you don’t need to worry about regular running costs for the property such as mortgage/rent, utility bills or maintenance costs. You will get paid your fee based on the total income the Airbnb property makes regardless of whether it’s making a profit to the host or not.
4. Rent out your spare room on Airbnb
Renting out a spare room on Airbnb is a common way for homeowners to make some extra cash. However, you don’t necessarily need to own your property to be able to do this. If you are a tenant with some extra space in your home, check with your landlord if they allow you to rent out a room on Airbnb.
Again, it’s not guaranteed your landlord will allow you to do this. However, if you have a good relationship with your landlord and they know you take good care of the property, it can certainly be easier to suggest this. It’s also worth doing further research on the Host Protection Insurance Airbnb gives and other measures you would have in place before trying to negotiate this with your landlord.
In addition to this being a great way to make money on Airbnb without owning a property, the income is also tax-free: If you’re renting a spare room in your home, you can earn as much as £7,500 a year tax-free with the Rent a Room scheme.
5. Airbnb Experiences
If hosting guests or managing properties is not your cup of tea, Airbnb also offers another money-making opportunity: hosting experiences. Experiences are offered on Airbnb by people who have something they want to share with others, so they become experience “hosts”.
Experiences that are commonly offered are things like cooking lessons, guided city tours, food and drink tasting, photography sessions and so on. However, only your creativity is a limit here as people are always looking for unique and original activities to explore!
Do you know all the bars in your local area? Why not offer pub crawls!
Are you good at dancing? Perhaps you can organise online or face to face dance lessons.
Or do you know the best Instagrammable photo spots in your city? Take tourists on a photo tour!
Or do you have any other skills or things that you own that could help create unique experiences whether face to face or online?
As an Airbnb Experience host, you can set your own prices, terms and availability. Therefore, this can be a very flexible way to make money without having to own or getting involved with properties at all!
Other ways to make money on Airbnb
In addition to the above five ways to make money on Airbnb without owning property, there are also a couple of indirect money-making opportunities. If you’re not keen to get involved with the property or experience side of things on Airbnb, here are a couple of other ideas to consider:
6. Offer cleaning and/or linen hire services
Cleaning and linen hire are the main jobs that serious hosts outsource. The pay rate of a cleaner can vary based on the property and area. You can either set your own price per hour and per room, for example. You can also charge extra for providing supplies such as toilet paper.
7. Provide furniture & staging hire
Airbnb properties with a unique and stylish interior tend to get more bookings and therefore make more money. However, many hosts don’t have much money to spend on quality furniture and decorative details in the beginning. This is where you can step in by providing furniture hire with a monthly fee.
8. Offer interior design services
There are also hosts that understand the importance of Airbnb interior decor and are ready to pay for it. Even so, many hosts might lack time or eye for a good design. Hence, they might need someone else’s help to make their property as aesthetically appealing as possible. While you don’t necessarily need to be a professional interior designer to make money from this, you should have some proof of your skills. If you have decorated your own home to a high standard, you might use that as an example to get your first gig.
9. Become an Airbnb photographer
Have you ever booked an Airbnb/hotel simply because it looked good on photos? Photos are naturally the first thing potential guests see when looking for a property. This means professional photos can make a massive difference in grabbing guests’ attention and making the decision to book. Yet many listings only use average phone photos. This can therefore be a great money-making opportunity for you if you have the skills and equipment to take and edit good property photos.
10. Become a virtual assistant
Make money on Airbnb without owning a property
Making money on Airbnb or offering services to existing hosts can be much easier than you would imagine. Many people believe you need to own a property to run an Airbnb, but you now know that is not the case.
You’ve now discovered that there are various ways to make money on Airbnb without actually owning any property. Some of these strategies are a little harder than others and can require some time and money, to begin with. But if you’re prepared to hustle hard, you might soon be able to quit your daily job and make a business out of Airbnb. All these strategies are also suitable side hustles or part-time jobs if you just want to earn some extra cash on the side.
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It’s time to get cracking! What Airbnb strategy will you use?