As an entrepreneur/freelancer it’s not always easy to have a consistent income … and over the years I’ve had a couple times where I needed to supplement my income. My favorite way of doing this is by renting out my guest room on Airbnb. I’ve learned a lot about how to be a good host, but also about how I can rent out a room without it being a burden on me or my time. So here are my Minie tips ;-)
By the way, aside from doing this in my own home, I also run an Airbnb host service in my city and a service which manages guest communication for remote holiday homes. So below is a combination of everything I’ve learned in my own home but also in my business.
Key lockers are the most amazing thing ever
Checking in guests can be a real hassle. Delays are inevitable and it’s stressful for both me and my guests to arrive at a specific time.
Of course I prefer to greet my guests personally, but I might also want to go climbing or have dinner with friends at the time they’ll be arriving. So for those occasions I’ve installed a key locker near my front door. Now whenever a guest arrives at an inconvenient time or is delayed and I really need to leave, I just put the key in the locker and send them the instructions.
A few extra tips:
- Get a key locker with buttons instead of dials. Guests always forget to rearrange the numbers after taking their keys, which makes it easy for anyone to pass by and see your code …
- Install your key locker in a location that’s not super visible, but make sure you can clearly explain to guests where to find it.
- Formulate a standardised message you send to your guests with instructions on where the locker is, where their room is and any other things they might need to know about your house.
- Do make sure you’re available by text/phone around the time they check-in. And make sure they have the correct address + a description of your house (or maybe even a picture). You won’t believe how difficult it is for some guests to find the correct house …
I use the Kidde AccesPoint, which you can easily buy on Amazon. My dad installed it for me, but it didn’t seem that difficult if I had to do it myself ;-)
A house manual
Since I occasionally do key locker check-ins it’s important to have a house manual so my guests can find everything they need during their stay. (I have had guests where, due to busy schedules, I never actually meet the people staying at my house.)
So I’ve created a Google Doc which I send to guests beforehand that answers most of the questions they might have.
My manual includes these things:
- My address, directions and a description of my house (it even has a picture of my house)
- Info about my house:
- Wifi password
- How to operate the central heating
- How to recycle
- What guests can and cannot do/touch/use/eat (My guests are free to use coffee, tea, cereal, milk spices, olive oil and towels. I do ask them for a contribution if they want to use my washer for example.)
- Info about things to do. I have a list of my favourite restaurants, cafes, etc.
- Info about grocery stores and bakeries nearby.
- Public transportation routes and how/where to park in my city, etc.
Basically, anytime you get a question from a guest that is not in your manual yet, you add it. That way the next guest won’t have to ask the same question.
I put up extra signs
Even though I have a clear manual that tells guests everything they need to know, I find that sometimes they forget things or just haven’t read it. And there are a few key things that I want people to know about my house. For those things I created specific signs that I put up around the house.
For example: my bathroom floor is made of bamboo and isn’t supposed to get really wet (I know … I maybe shouldn’t have put it in my bathroom). People always forget to wipe down the floor after they’ve had a shower so I’ve put up a sign there to remind them. The same goes for how to recycle (people can never remember) or how to use my coffee maker (it’s a French press which needs some explanation).
I pay attention to my bathroom schedule
I only have one bathroom/toilet in my house and for some reason this is the thing that ‘bothers’ me most when I have guests. It’s little things like waking up and having to go to the toilet immediately, but finding out my guests have just woken up and are taking a shower. Or when I want to take a shower because I need to head to work, but my guests are taking a ridiculously long time in there …
This might not apply to everyone but it’s something I do struggle with. So I’ve grown used to leaving to work a bit late (I have a flexible job anyway) or getting out of bed immediately when I wake up so I can go to the toilet quickly.
Having guests in my house can be a burden at times, but for me it’s still the best and easiest way to earn a little extra money when I need to. The room is empty anyway, so why not make use of it?
If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, you can sign up here and receive $10 after you host your first guest.