Our workshop is for a person considering starting a short-term rental business, particularly on Airbnb. It was developed for people who have a property to rent, or who already own an income property and want to maximize their rental profit.
My husband and I kind of stumbled into the Airbnb business a little over four years ago. We had just purchased a small five-unit residential building in Washington, D.C., and were renovating it slowly as tenants departed. During that time, I visited my best friend in New York and she told me about renting her apartment on Airbnb when she and her husband went on vacation.
I’d never heard of Airbnb, but after I checked out the rentals in my area and did the math in my head, I was ready to try it with the smallest unit in our building.
We rushed into it headfirst without really knowing much about what to do. Thankfully, my friend and her husband were an invaluable and very generous resource. By the time we were starting out, they were already experienced hosts, and their help and guidance was priceless.
Starting an Airbnb felt like the largest financial risk we had taken in a long time. Not only were we keeping one apartment off the rental market during the time it took us to set up the rental, we really didn’t know what to expect.
The first thing we had to get over was the fear of making that huge initial investment and not seeing an immediate return. Every time we shelled out more money for a piece of furniture or a set of pots, I prayed that this experiment would work. When we signed the two-year-long cable and Internet contract I almost backed out of the whole thing. Thankfully, we didn’t.
It took us about two months to set up our first unit and there was a lot of guessing and worrying. We made quite a few mistakes, which I’ll share with you in this workshop, so that you can avoid them.
We learned a lot during our first six months as hosts. We worked a lot, but also made more money than we ever thought we would.
Today we run four successful full-time Airbnbs in Washington D.C. and are getting ready for a new one in Greece. We’ve been awarded Superhost status since our first quarter as hosts and have kept it for every single review period since. It has been quite a journey and we continue to learn about hosting.
In this workshop, I will be focusing on Airbnb, since it is the platform that we use and it is the leading short-term rental service on the market. However, you can easily adapt the principles set forth in this manual to any kind of short-term platform like HomeAway and VRBO.
We’ve seen a lot in the past four years, after more than 1,200 guests (not all guests leave reviews). We don’t have all the answers, but we’d like to share our insights and experience. We’d also love to hear your feedback and about your experiences as a host.