In another post I talked about turning your house in a hotel room. I always hate it when I read stuff like that on the internet but don’t get any real data to help me decide if it really is doable. So I though I’d go into more detail about how I ran it and the money side of things.
The room we used was downstairs in a two story house. We built a wall and added a door in the back hallway to block guests from coming into the rest of the house. We bought wood to frame the wall and mounted in the door. Then we put sheet rock over the frame and painted it. All the materials were purchased at Home Depot for under $300. I’m not sure of the actual numbers, but the door was less than $100.
We bought lower cabinets and a sink and plumbing for the kitchenette. A friend had some extra counter-top that we cut to size. The counter-top was longer than the cabinet so that we had space for the mini fridge under the counter-top. Instead of putting in upper cabinets, we installed a cheap shelf which saved a lot of money. Luckily a friend had a plumber who owed him a favor, who installed the sink.
There was already an attached bathroom so we didn’t need to do anything to that.
We painted the bedroom and hallway. We used a light blue for the bedroom and a cream color for the hallway. We used paint colors leftover from other painting projects in the rest of our house so we only had to buy one can of blue paint.
As for the furniture, we luckily already had a king sized memory foam mattress. We had purchased it from Sam’s for about $600 for ourselves, but I was too sensitive to the chemicals so it didn’t get used long. We bought an expensive cover for around $30-$50 that protects from allergens and bugs.
We changed the locks for the back door so that we could give guests that key. They never went through our front door. We also made some adjustments to our back gate so that the gated area for the dogs was separated from the back entrance.
Other items we purchased:
Foldout bed frame – $90
Microwave – $60
Minifridge – $160
Futon – around $200+
TV stand – around $30
TV – around $200
Comforter set – $50
Other small items were purchased such as:
Towels, hand towels, and washcloths
Extra sheets and blankets
Most of the items were from Walmart, although we also shopped at Sam’s and the dollar store. Sam’s has super plush towels and washcloths that were inexpensive. Those and the comfortable mattress were mentioned a lot in the reviews.
Overall we spent about $2300 total. Sorry I don’t have exact numbers. It got difficult to keep up with!
Once we finished putting the room together, we took pictures and posted it on Airbnb. We live about 5 minutes from the beach so in a high tourist area. We opened our room in early March. Our rate was $60 per night for 2 people, and $5 additional for each extra person. We never took more than 5 guests per night. We had an extra twin mattress on hand if someone had 5 guests, but it was usually only 2-4 people. If someone messaged us because they had small kids, we usually didn’t charge the extra $5 for kids. Airbnb took a few dollars per night from the rate plus charged their own fees. So we saw most of that $60-$75. We were open March through September and made over $6,500. We ended up selling the house which is why we closed it down. Most of the money was made in May, June, and July. Almost every single Friday and Saturday night was booked and many weeknights. I had a part-time job 2 days a week so I had to block off days sometimes so that I didn’t have a check in and a check out on a day I was at work. In September our bookings slowed down significantly so we lowered our base rate to $50.
Actually running the room did take some work. I had to clean as thoroughly as possible between guests. I tried to clean as if I were the one staying there! I made sure things were sanitized even if it didn’t “look” dirty. Check out was at noon, and check in at 3:00 so it was a short 3 hour window between guests. It only took maybe an hour or so for the actual cleaning, but I also had to be home to do the laundry. A second sets of blankets would have been a smart investment. At first I was home when guests arrive to show them around the room. After a few months I started sending directions for guests to let themselves in so I wouldn’t have to sit around waiting for someone to arrive. I also made a binder with helpful tips for the room such as where to park, where the extra towels were, TV channel lists, Wifi password, etc. For the convenience of the guest, I also listed local tourist spots with prices and menus of restaurants near the house. The binder made it easier for me because it was a good way to give information without trying to remember to say everything when someone checked in.
Airbnb has a phone app to run the hotel room, and you can also use their website. I did get a lot of messages for bookings. Those messages were 24/7. So if you’re a light sleeper, don’t have your phone near you when sleeping or it will wake you up! Overall it was great meeting people from all over the world. Most guests left the room in great condition. There were a few times when there was a strong alcohol smell. We learned not to keep air fresheners in there though because some people are sensitive to the chemicals. If the smell was really bad I would put a little bit of Pine Sol in hot water in the sink for a few hours. Other than that there was no damage from any guests. The worst thing that happened was someone didn’t check out at 12:00 and I had to call him and make him leave lol. At first it was a little strange to have people in our house, but once the money started rolling in we didn’t care. Since my family was upstairs, we weren’t disturbed at all by guests making noise. If anything they probably heard us making noise, which is why we put a sound machine in the room.
You can set your airbnb room to have a minimum number of nights for a booking. You can also set it up to have 24 hours in between a check out and check in. I didn’t do any of that since I was home most of the time to manage things. But if you work full time you may need to use some of those features.
Overall it was a good experience. However I was ready for a break by September! It was a lot of work!