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10 Ways to Make Money on Airbnb Without Owning Property

How to make money on Airbnb without owning property
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The rise of Airbnb has seen regular people turning their homes and other properties into short-term rentals and creating successful businesses with huge profits. But even if you don’t own any property, getting in on this game can be easier than you think! In this article, I’ll answer the burning question; how to make money on Airbnb without owning any property?

With 5+ 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 ways to make money on Airbnb by being part of various online host communities and working directly with companies that help me run my Airbnb. Now, let’s get right into it and cover a few direct and indirect options that are the best ways to start an Airbnb business without owning any property.

5 ways to make money on Airbnb without your own property

1. Rent to Rent / Rental arbitrage

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 (UK) or rental arbitrage (US) is the practice of renting out a long-term rental on a short-term basis. Typically, a tenant will sign a long-term lease agreement and then list that property on various online platforms such as Airbnb or VRBO.

You typically secure a property by offering a landlord a fixed-term guaranteed rent, usually for around 2-5 years. 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 or rental arbitrage 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 agreements and management agreements. Like any Airbnb host, you will also need to make sure you follow any local laws or regulations related to short-term rental businesses.

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 be automated or outsourced. This then provides a great opportunity to make passive income.

Related: How to automate your Airbnb business

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 long-term rental lease agreement. This can be a great incentive for landlords who 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.

Related: How to Invest in Property with Little to No Money

2. Airbnb co-hosting

An Airbnb co-host is someone who helps the main host 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 interested 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 full-time 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. Airbnb 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
Make money on Airbnb: Co-hosting

3. Airbnb property management

Offering Airbnb management services is essentially the next step from being a co-host. Becoming an Airbnb property manager 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. Many people 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. An Airbnb property manager is typically responsible for:

  • Managing property listings and bookings
  • Guest communication
  • Providing great guest experience from check-in until checkout
  • Organising and tracking cleaning and maintenance tasks
  • Building relationships with homeowners

You could also provide further Airbnb consultant services such as:

  • Interior design help
  • Managing guest reviews
  • Marketing on the Airbnb platform and other short-term rental platforms

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 short-term rental 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 or Airbnb arbitrage strategy. As a middle person, you don’t need to worry about regular running costs for the property such as mortgage or 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 for the host or not.

Related: What to know before starting your Airbnb business

4. Airbnb your spare rooms

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 in the UK. 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.

Make money on Airbnb_ Rent a spare room

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 in person 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 get involved with properties at all! 

Make money on Airbnb_ Experience Host

Other creative 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 too keen to become an Airbnb host yourself, here are a couple of other ideas to consider to make extra income:

6. Offer linen hire or services

Cleaning and linen hire are some of the main jobs that serious hosts outsource. The cleaning fees 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 toiletries or toilet paper. Airbnb cleaning service can be a great way to earn extra money but it can also be hard work. It’s worth remembering that when it comes to the short-term rental market, the cleanliness standards are often higher compared to regular residential cleans.

7. Provide furniture and staging hire

Airbnb properties with unique and stylish interiors 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

Many hosts understand the importance of Airbnb interior decor and are ready to pay for it. Even so, many hosts might lack time or an 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 or a hotel simply because it looked good in 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 for Airbnb hosts

Offering virtual assistant services for Airbnb hosts can be a great way to make money online and fully remotely. In addition to cleaning, guest communication and customer service are often the most time-consuming tasks when running an Airbnb. This is therefore another job that time-poor hosts and property managers often outsource to virtual assistants. The tasks of a virtual Airbnb assistant can vary depending on the host’s needs but usually, these tasks would include communicating with guests, arranging cleans between guests and managing listings, calendars and prices.

Conclusion: Make money on Airbnb without owning a property

Owning property isn’t the only route to Airbnb success. You’ve just explored numerous innovative strategies to make money on Airbnb without owning a property. Remember, some approaches require more effort and initial investment, but dedication could turn Airbnb into your side hustle or full-time business.

So, choose your strategy, unleash your entrepreneurial spirit, and experience the flexibility and freedom Airbnb offers. Plus, claim my referral bonus when you’re ready to host! Which exciting journey will you begin first?

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31 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make Money on Airbnb Without Owning Property”

    1. Thanks for your comment, Carolyn! Personally, hosting (I started with a spare room) is the best option for me as I’m a big fan of passive income 🙂 (but as we learned above, you don’t need to own a property to host). This is why I work with companies that can help me with cleaning, linen hire and small maintenance tasks. I’ve also paid for a management company in the past and looking to get a virtual assistant in the near future. I’ve also considered the rent to rent route and even found a landlord who was happy to go ahead but unfortunately, the deal fell through as he found out they don’t allow short-term lets in the building. Rent to rent is not the easiest route as there’s a lot to consider but I also know people who have built a successful business around this model. So there’s definitely money to be made there for those who are ready to put in the work! 🙂

  1. Co-hosting sounds like a great way to enjoy a new place, while making a little extra money! I hadn’t thought of this as an option that I could make money on before. Thanks!

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