Earn Money While You Travel..10 steps to hassle-free Airbnb
Airbnb has been working well for us for a few years now. It’s been a brilliant way of making more money! It pays for our holidays and more.
When we started looking into putting our house on Airbnb we wanted to make sure that we did it properly.We definitely wanted to be fully insured. It was really difficult to find out some of the things we wanted to know about the process. Most of the questions that I wanted to know about how to Airbnb your house just weren’t answered online..
We’re not experts, but we’ve learnt a lot along the way about Airbnb. I’ve put together 10 tips to hassle-free to Airbnb that could help you to make thousands!
1. Permission. Check with your mortgage provider. Some don’t allow you to do this type of thing…unless you pay them more money!
2. Insurance. If you’ve made it past #1 and are still up for it…get insured! We use a company that was recomended to us by a friend. When we started looking, there were barely any insurance companies that allowed airbnb type letting. Now, there are lots. After a few hours comparing policies this year we stuck with Intasure as they were still the cheapest for us.
3. Get online. Upload your profile to the Airbnb site as a host (do it through my link for £25 credit).Include lots of lovely pictures to attract bookings.
4. Settings. Use the Dashboard Calendar to select the dates that your property is available and how much you charge. We ignored the ‘recommended’ price per night for our property. It was way too low and would barely have covered the cleaning charges. Adjust specifics like the minimum number of nights someone can book. Guests now have to book a minimum of three nights as it means we get a lot more bookings that way.You can also choose to allow Instant Bookings or ask guests to message details prior to confirming a booking.
5. Welcome Packs. With so much choice available you need good reviews to attract further bookings. Think about how you can help guests to have a good stay. We have a Welcome Pack for guests which includes a few locally made treats and an Welcome Booklet. The Welcome Booklet contains quite a lot of detail as we’re usually out of the country when we Airbnb. We include simple instructions about how to use the oven, dishwasher etc aswel as a few local outing recommendations. (I’m happy to share ours if you send me a message).
6. House Presentation. Get your house ready! I couldn’t find any guidance on how we should present our house for guests. In the end, we left it the way we would have liked it if it were our holiday house. I’ve heard stories from friends who’ve stayed in properties where medication had been left in the bedside cabinet and washing up in the sink! If you’d rather clear your house of most personal possessions, like us, then you could try these ideas:
- Get rid of as much ‘stuff’ as possible! It really is an amazing way of decluttering. Especially if you have children who grow out of their clothes every few months!
- Find somewhere to store the things you want to keep ‘hidden’:
- the attic
- a locked spare-room that guests won’t access
- a large built-in wardrobe
- Start packing what you can as early as possible. It gets easier the more you do it but it still takes work…especially with kids around. My boys can empty several boxes faster than I can fill one!
- Leave board games, toys, dvds, books for guests to enjoy (if you’re happy to). It’s less for you to store.
7. Special Purchases.
- Buy double! It makes quick change-overs so much easier if you have double the amount of bedding and towels that you need for a full hour!
- Mattress protectors…don’t ask…just buy them!
8. Cleaning! Work out who will do your change-overs and how long they’ll need. If we’re staying closeby then we do it ourselves but if we’re travelling we pay a local cleaner to do it for us. Make sure they’re good as reviews are super important! A dirty house won’t get many good reviews. Our cleaner is a total perfectionist which is brilliant. If your cleaner does washing and ironing too…perfect! If not, you’ll need to find someone who will or you’ll have to tell guests to bring their own. It’s worth asking family or friends that live closely first as they may like to make some extra cash. Make sure the hours are logged and invoiced as you’ll be able to deduct it as an expenditure when you declare your earnings for tax purposes. (Tip- Leave a simple info card stuck to your bin to let guests know which items are recycled in your area. You’ll always get a few that put last nights dinner in with recyclables but most will get it right.)
9. Local Contact. If you’re going to be out of the country when you’re guests arrive then it may be helpful to have a local contact arranged. Just for emergencies. We had the immersion water heater ‘stop working’ for the first time ever! It helps to have someone in your home country that can call professionals or buy a new microwave, if guests report issues to you. (Please note the use of inverted commas! Bonus tip…Guests will fiddle even if you ask them not to so lock/gaffa tape control boxes).
10. Declaring your millions! OK more realistically thousands! If you earn less than £1000 you won’t need to tell HMRC (unless you’re self employed). If you make between £1000 and £2500 you need to speak to HMRC about paying tax via PAYE. Earning over £2500 means that you must register for Self Assessment. If you have joint ownership of your house then you both declare half, if the house is in one partners name they declare all airbnb earnings (that’s what HMRC advised me anyway). Remember to keep track of expenses that you can claim back…cleaning charges, welcome packs etc. We now also record water and electricity meters when we leave as our guests used double the water we use!
When your final guests have left, reflect on the process. Did you enjoy your Airbnb experience? Did you love sharing your home with strangers or did you feel like it was too much? How did your children take it? Our eldest son was absolutely fine until we returned from France to do one last change-over ourselves. He saw the new guests in the house and their little boy playing in HIS house! This proved too much for a toddler to handle! They’re supposed to be possessive after all! He was OK and loved staying at Granny’s house…but this was perhaps something we should have predicted!
I hope this helps you make some extra cash from your house!
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