How To Become an Airbnb Host

Below, you will find the following (so read it all or skip to the part you need the most):

  • Hosting is Awesome & Easy
  • How Much Dough You Can Earn
  • Are You Nervous To Host? You Shouldn’t Be!
  • FAQ’s
  • Tips and Tricks for Being a Superhost
  • Brock Will Look at Your Listing & Give Feedback (Winning!)

If you’ve never visited Backpack With Brock before: Welcome! In a nutshell, I, Brock, have been travelling around the globe for six and a half years sharing my adventures through videos, photos and text on this site with the hope of encouraging and helping others to explore the world.

During these travels to 79+ countries, I have stayed in a ton of Airbnbs. More than I can count! Why? Well if you’ve never used Airbnb before, essentially you are booking someone’s space. Instead of a hotel, you might end up in a cute little cottage, a castle, a trendy loft in the city, a house boat…you get the idea. Usually cheaper than a hotel, a unique space and way more fun.

But this post isn’t about staying with Airbnb, it’s about hosting with Airbnb.

Not only have I stayed with Airbnb but I have been a host as well and LOVED it. Seriously though. Ask my friends, I had way to much fun with it.

Hosting is Awesome & Easy

As I’ve said a few times already, I have been a host in the past and had such a fun time with it. Welcoming people from all over the world, making your place cozy for them, telling them about what spots in the city they should check out and of course, getting paid to do so. We even went for dinner and drinks with a couple of our guests (although you definitely don’t have to do that, they were just really cool).

Setting up your listing and booking your guests is pretty straightforward and the website makes it easy to do. You can list your whole place (you’re not there), a private room in your place (you are there), or a shared space (ex. a couch).

You get to pick your nightly rate, if you want to have a minimum number of nights and screen inquiries so you only have guests you feel comfortable with. I had 10 different guests over a period of one month and every visitor was superb!

Airbnb Earnings TorontoHow Much Dough You Can Earn

When I was a host in Boston, we Airbnb’d one private room in a 3 bedroom apartment and made about $3000 USD in one month.

Naturally there a million and one variables here and it really depends on the space you have, your price, and so on. That said, I used the little Airbnb calculator on their site and took some guesses factoring in my own experience to see what you might earn in Toronto.
Another strategy is to go on their site, and search for places like yours and see what people are listing them as.

Entire Place: They say $1215 for the week for 2 guests but if you could just do the weekend, I’d estimate $130 a night. That said, if you can host on a long weekend (August Long Weekend and Labour Day Weekend) you could likely charge double that per night. If your space can hold 4 people or more, that number could be $500+.

Private Room: They say $428/week for 2 guests. Again higher for long weekends and if you can host more than 2 people in your space.

Shared Space: For 2 people – $400. This is the lowest amount of course but if you only have a pull out couch, that’s not bad money.

As I said, the variables of where you live, private or entire home, how many people it will hold, how many beds and so on really influence the amount you can charge but there’s serious money to be made in the Toronto market right now as they don’t have enough hosts. And honestly, if you try it out and it doesn’t feel worth the money then you just don’t do it again right?

I have two friends who rent out their entire condo near Trinity Bellwoods whenever they spend the weekend away. It will hold 4 people and they make between $150 and $200 per night. I just checked the August long weekend: there are only 7 ‘Entire Homes for 2 people‘ left for under $250/night and only 4 ‘Entire Homes for 4 people‘ left for under $500/night. Who want’s to make $1500 this weekend?

When you set up your listing, Airbnb has a list price suggester to offer insight on what to charge for your place per night.

Are You Nervous To Host? You Shouldn’t Be!

Being nervous or weary to host is natural. What if they break something? Or worse, what if they trash my place? We’ve all heard stories. But I think it’s important to remember that people in general, especially a person travelling with something like Airbnb, are respectful. They recognize that they are in another person’s space and that there are consequences if they are a crappy guest. Not only does a guest get to leave a review, but the host does too. If a guest gets bad reviews they will have a hard time booking future places. And in the event something does break (accidents do happen) you can have a security deposit on your listing to cover it. If it’s a rare serious situation, Airbnb also has a substantial insurance policy.

With all that said, you have the ability to screen all your guests before accepting their booking. If you need to know more, ask questions. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t accept the booking. No questions asked.

Again, I had about 10 different guests and no issues whatsoever.


The Room I Rented Out on Airbnb


How to I qualify for the $200 bonus?
To be eligible for the credit you must: be a first time host, the place must never have been listed before, be within 40km of University and Dundas and complete a qualifying reservation before Sept 30th, 2016. (Qualifying reservation = 1 night, min $50/night excluding cleaning fee & taxes).

How often do I need to host?
You can host as often or little as you like. Many host when they are out of town, essentially paying for their vacation. If you have a spare room, you can host while you’re there and it’s convenient for you. I even stayed at one Airbnb where the host would stay at their girlfriend’s place whenever they booked their place, and she’d stay at his when her place got booked – if they both booked, they’d headed out of town for a citybreak!

What do I need to have to be a host?
If you have a place, you can be a host. You just outline in your listing whether you have A/C, wifi, parking, how many beds, etc. As mentioned above, you can rent your whole place, a room in your place while you’re there or a even shared space. (Some people are on a really tight budget so will share a space if it saves them money).

How do I get paid?
Getting paid is pretty simple. You can have it transferred to Paypal or directly to your bank account. The money is placed in your Airbnb account the day after the guest checks in.

Where do I sign up?
I’m glad you asked. You must click this link right here to get the $200 bonus when you sign up.

How do I exchange the keys if I am not in town?
If you will leave before your guests arrive or will get home after they need to check out, here are a few tips for exchanging keys. You could leave them in a hidden spot, you could get a lock box to put on a fence near by, have a friend meet them to pass them off or there are services that will arrange it for you.

If I’m new, how can I increase my chances of being booked: First time out the gate can be tricky but to speed it up, you can turn on Instant Book (guests can book without sending an inquiry, just like booking a hotel) and/or check the prices of similar listings and put your price a bit lower. It’s worth charging a little less for your first couple bookings to build up some positive reviews. Oh, and fill out your profile. A clear picture of you, description, hobbies, etc. Let your guests know who you are. They are more inclined to book if they aren’t scared youre an axe murder. Also, don’t be an axe murderer – you’re reviews will be TERRIBLE.

Tips and Tricks for Being a Superhost

So, not only was I a host but I managed to become a SUPERHOST! Yes, that is an actual badge they give to their best hosts. Here are a few things you can do to become a Superhost or minimally ensure your guests have a great stay and leave you a positive review.

24 Hour Response: Many people book accommodation last minute so waiting for a response from a host is dreadful. Try to respond as quickly as possible and be sure you always respond within 24 hours to eligible for Superhost status.

Info Sheet: I like to leave a little cheat sheet with everything the guest might need to know. Your contact info, wifi password, emergency number, how to use the coffee maker, etc. Take that a step further and include some nearby restaurants, bars, a grocery store and so on. You only have to type it up once but it is extremely helpful to all your guests.

Good Directions: When you’re travelling, especially far, nothing is more frustrating then getting to your destination and the directions not being clear or even right. Be thorough in your description with landmarks and streets and make sure you include your contact info in there too.

Thoughtful Gestures: It really is the little things that count. I always tried to put fresh flowers on the night stand. Or, when two guys said they were coming to check out the local breweries in town, I picked up a couple craft beers to welcome them with. Yes, you’re spending a couple dollars from your budget but these little gestures can make a world of difference. Not only is it out of the norm so the guest is pleasantly surprised, but if something goes wrong on your end (A/C breaks, dog is barking too much, neighbourhood has an unexpected and loud street party) those little gestures tend to soften things over.

Brock Will Look at Your Listing & Give Feedback

As a big believer in this sharing economy, and the opportunities it provides us both as guests and hosts, I’m going to step this up a notch. If you are thinking: ‘Ya, I want to give this a shot‘ but are still a bit nervous and unsure how to make your listing rock, I’ll take a look at it. I can’t trouble shoot every issue (Airbnb has resources for that) but if you put your listing together (title, photos, description, price, etc.) and send me an email here, I am more than happy to look over it and offer any insight I can to help improve your listing and increase your bookings. (I realize this could backfire if I get a thousand emails but we’ll take it as it comes! Shoot me a message!)

And I’m going to wrap it up there. I’ve been travelling for 6.5 years and constantly advise people that renting out your space on Airbnb is one of the best ways to help fund your adventures. It’s straightforward, can be a lot of fun and earns you money on something you already have.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments below or by sending me an email through the contact button above.

One more time for good measure, you can sign up right here.

And if you do list, regardless of whether you need feedback, send over your listing! I’d love to see it and often have readers visiting the city asking where they should stay!

Happy Hosting!

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