How Much Time Will It Take to Host On Airbnb?

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So you’ve been hearing from a friend that she’s making some effortless cash listing her unit on Airbnb.

But how much time does it really take to host on Airbnb?

Let us explain…

Time vs. Profits

If you want to host on Airbnb, especially if you want to do so profitably, you must be able to execute on a number of expectations that Airbnb guests have come to expect.

These can include:

  • Near real-time communications with guests
  • Clear and transparent communication
  • Smooth check ins and check outs
  • Clean and neat rooms, bathrooms, couches, beds, kitchens, etc…

Fulfilling all of these expectations takes money, time, or both, regardless of whether you’re a single unit host or a full time host of multiple units.

Deciding on which to optimize for will depend on what kind of host do you intend to become.

Single Unit Host vs. Full Time Airbnb Host

If you’re just looking to make a few extra dollars by listing your own place from time to time, you’ll be spending less overall time as a host on Airbnb.

But you spend more time on your single unit than a full time rentrepreneur (our term for full-time hosts) would on a single unit who is looking to build a portfolio of Airbnb units.

While the full time rentrepreneur is trying to maximize their total profits per hour of time spent managing their entire portfolio, a single unit host is just trying to maximize the total profits for that one unit.  See the difference?

As a full-time host looking to expand, you are looking at things such as automation, pricing companies, or Airbnb cleaning services.

One Unit Example

Let’s say you’re listing an extra room you have in your apartment on Airbnb and trying to book as many days as possible.

If you are in a relatively popular city and you have a great listing, you should be able to achieve 20+ nights booked every month.

Let’s assume 21 days booked at 3 nights per stay to make a total of 7 stays a month.

These 7 stays require check ins, check outs, cleaning, and possible emergencies (e.g. locked out).  Let’s say the check-in’s and check-outs are on average relatively smooth and so they in total take at most an hour combined.

Assume you need another 2 hours to get the unit clean and ready for the next check-in.  The check in and check outs along with cleaning already take up 21 hours a month.

Also this does not include the time required communicating with the guest before they book (and time that you use to communicate with guests that end up not booking with you), or time you need to spend researching and updating your listing on a regular basis–another 10-20 hours.

Adding all these up, you could easily be spending 30-40 total hours a month managing your Airbnb unit.

Of course, you could just make your listing and pricing once and then forget about it, but you’d be leaving profits on the table.

Dedicated Units

And if you decide to set up a dedicated unit that is not your primary residence, you’ll also need to factor things like commute time.  However, hosts who focus on dedicated units usually intend to operate multiple units, and thus are more inclined to utilize 3rd party maids for cleaning and build systems to automate check ins and check outs.

With automation of check ins, check outs, and cleaning, the same unit would primarily require the host’s time for guest communications and bookings (in this case 10-20 hours/month for the unit).  While this reduces each unit’s profit potential, it will free the host up to pursue more units, which will allow the host to ultimately make more money for each hour put in.


On an average month, how much time do you spend in total as a host on Airbnb?  Share below!

Have questions about your Airbnb unit?  Contact us here.

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

2 Comments

  1. Irene Lam
    December 8, 2014
  2. Pierre
    August 29, 2016

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