It’s easy right? The website makes it easy. Easy money. It’s not just easy its fun. Right? Think again.

Late night arrivals

It’s 1:30am on a weeknight. You have to get up to go to work at 6 and you need to get some sleep. Your still waiting for that couple from somewhere in southern Italy who said they would be arriving at 10pm. It’s a hosting rule of thumb that guests always arrive at least an hour later than they say they will. It’s not surprising. If your new to a city or town your not going to know the quickest way from A to B and the chances you will seriously underestimate the time it takes to get from the airport to a hosts house in the dead of night is high.

It’s a well known fact people act differently on holiday compared to when they are at home. Having a few drinks on a wednesday night seems normal. Getting out of bed at three in the afternoon and cooking breakfast is your right as a paying guest isn’t it? When you sell your spare room to a paying guest your selling your life too. It wasn’t long before my airbnb guests were banned from all areas of the house expect their bedroom and the bathroom.

A cheap alternative to a hotel

Airbnb is a cheap alternative to a hotel right? Well that’s the way I look at it. I don’t charge hotel prices but a guest gets pretty much the same as what a hotel provides – a comfy bed to sleep in and a clean bathroom to wash in. A little kettle and some instant coffee is about the closest you get to a kitchen in a hotel room and that’s about as much as i’m going to provide too.

Don’t use my kitchen

The kitchen is the most contentious part of the house between airbnb host and guest. You come home after work and it’s time for your dinner. But the spanish couple who are paying £35 a night have commendered the kitchen to cook their smelly food and are about to use your best crockery to eat it off. The fridge is filled up with bags of food and one of your yoghurts seems to have gone missing (or did I eat it yesterday I can’t remember?). This isn’t my house it’s someone else’s! I’ve sold it for a song.

But its easy to get rich from Airbnb!

How to get rich using Airbnb? You can buy this book from Amazon and learn the secret.

Some of the subjects How To Get Rich Using Airbnb covers include:
• How to make not just a professional but a killer profile and listing
• How to make your listing appear in the top of the searches and listings
• How to operate your Airbnb like a professional and profitable business
• How to provide a great service to your guests to make more money
• The author has made over £20K – $30K in a suburban location. You could too!

Or instead of wasting your money and buying the book you can do some simple maths. If a big name hotel is charging £80 a night to stay in a central location with a professional round the clock service, and without the added worry that your breaking the house rules for staying out late and forgetting to take your shoes off, then you can be very sure nobody in their right mind is going to pay you more than £40-£50 a night no matter how many five star reviews your listing has.

Occupancy rates falling short of 100%

Unless your property is in the most desirable part of town then your are going to fall short of that 100% occupancy rate your expecting. Unless your willing to really cut your prices your going to have a 80% occupancy rate at best. Take into account the expense of cleaning sheets, towels, proving little nik naks for the guests your profit is starting to look wafer thin.

24 hour job

It’s a 24 hour job. Guests might need to check-in or out at ungodly hours to take advantage of cheaper early morning or late night flights. If you’ve got a full time job and a guest wants to check-in at 3pm then your either going to need to rush home or pay a professional Airbnb greeter to do it for you, you can’t rely on your auntie Vera to do it for you every other day not for ever.

A lifestyle choice?

It’s a lifestyle choice being an Airbnb host. “I like to meet new people and sit and chat with them and show them English tea and stories of the old town etc etc.” Yes some of my guests are very lovely people who i’ve had dinner with and had some interesting conversations washed down with that bottle of local wine they brought with them from that small town near somewhere I have no idea where it it. However most of my guests get up, wash, and go out to see Big Ben and come home late into the night. Fine by me but it’s a lifestyle choice closer to being a stay at home mum whose kids are at school all day – Jeremy Kyle and snacking on crisps out of boredom.

Will it work for you?

Don’t get me wrong I like my airbnb business because it works for me. My wife is at home all day and greeting guests and changing sheets gives her something to do. The income from the rooms although not mind blowing does help a lot towards the mortgage and pays for the upkeep of the house. It’s a fair alternative to letting out a bedroom to a full time lodger. With airbnb guests you can ban them from using the kitchen and thats fair. Also you can block off the calendar on those dates your mum is visiting. It’s not a easy ride to riches or a great lifestyle choice but it works for me and i’ve no intention of stopping now.

Some more reasons not to host can be found here.

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