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How to Make Money on Airbnb without Owning Property

How to Make Money on Airbnb without Owning Property

The vacation rental industry plays a major part in the travel ecosystem these days. What started as a niche product for family reunions or vacations with groups of friends has turned mainstream, with booking sites like Airbnb offering millions of vacation rental properties around the world.

In the US alone, the vacation rental industry’s total revenue is estimated to reach $13.3 billion with a roughly 10% year-over-year vacation rental market growth rate, the industry will be close to $20 billion in 2025. If you want a piece of the pie for yourself here’s how you can without even owning a property.

Airbnb Rental Arbitrage:

Airbnb rental arbitrage is essentially a business model that is based on subletting another person’s property via a sublease agreement and renting it out as a short-term rental in OTAs such as Airbnb. In a nutshell, it is taking property from the long-term rental market and renting it out in the short-term rental market.

As easy as it sounds there are a few legalities to be considered when going ahead with the rental arbitrage model.

Pros and cons of a rental arbitrage model:


  • Highly scalable business model.
  • Little investment is needed upfront as you don’t have to buy the property.
  • Lesser risk than operating out of your own property.
  • Less bookkeeping to do as most taxes and fees will be taken care of by the property owner.


  • Rent can be high
  • Highly liable for property damage even if the damage was done by a guest
  • You will need highly detailed lease agreements which can be expensive
  • Not all areas allow rental arbitrage as more and more cities are updating laws that make rental arbitrage difficult.

Become a cohost:

Become a cohost An Airbnb cohost is someone hired to manage a listing or multiple listings. Co-hosts take on responsibilities for maintaining the property on behalf of the Airbnb host. Some responsibilities taken by hosts are:

  1. Confirming bookings
  2. Communicating and responding to guest queries
  3. Supervise processes such as check-in, check out, cleaning, repairs, and maintenance.
  4. Writing guest reviews
  5. Update calendar
  6. Communicate with Airbnb

Pros and cons of becoming a cohost:


  • Flexible work hours
  • No need for any kind of licensing


  • Income will be a percentage therefore it can fluctuate
  • Not as profitable as being a host

Host an Experience:

Launched by Airbnb in 2016, Airbnb Experience is essentially a workshop of sorts and is aimed at bringing local flavor to travelers who use Airbnb. While this used to be a strictly physical experience as of April 2020, people were also able to host online.

However, Airbnb takes its experiences seriously and any ideas presented will go through a thorough vetting process before it is approved.

Pros and cons of becoming an Airbnb Experience host:


  • Make money through your hobby.
  • Can be offered from the comfort of your home.
  • Can be timed at your convenience.


  • May need to have a business license depending on the type of Experience
  • Strict rules to follow in certain aspects
  • Need to be an expert in your chosen field to be considered as an Experience host by Airbnb

Become a Property Manager

Short-term rental management refers to the supervision and administration of short-term rental properties. The person in charge of managing these rentals has to complete a long list of daily tasks that involve operations such as:

  1. Managing the needs of property owners
  2. Confirming bookings
  3. Communicating with guests
  4. Supervising the check-in process
  5. Marketing
  6. Property inspections
  7. Organizing cleaning and maintenance tasks

Pros and cons of becoming a Property Manager:


  • Flexible work hours
  • High demand for property managers means you will always have work
  • Can work on more than one listing at a time


  • Managing multiple rentals can be tiring
  • Most hosts expect vacation rental managers to have some kind of educational backing.

Start an Airbnb Cleaning Service:

Start an Airbnb Cleaning Service Cleaning is typically one of the first tasks that hosts outsource and therefore starting a cleaning service means you will not have a shortage of work as long as there is a good amount of short-term rentals in your area. When considering this option make sure you have done your research not only on your competition in the area but also on any state requirements, such as insurance and licensing, and what the standard cleaning costs are. Make sure to factor in expenses as well. Examples of expenses involved in this type of business are cleaning products, equipment, labor, and marketing.

Pros and cons of starting an Airbnb cleaning service


  • Ample amount of work as most property managers outsource cleaning.
  • For the most part cleaning services are easy to set up
  • Does not require any kind of educational qualifications
  • Has a relatively low start-up cost


  • You will need to do your own marketing
  • Need to find reliable workers as part of your team
  • Need to comply with times set by property managers

Become an Airbnb Photographer:

Become an Airbnb Photographer Becoming an Airbnb photographer is a creative way to make money. To list yourself as an Airbnb photographer you can become a freelance marketplace listing photographer and get listed by Airbnb or advertise your services using platforms like Fiverr and Instagram. To get listed on Airbnb you simply read the role overview and fill out this form.

Pros and cons of becoming an Airbnb photographer


  • Flexible work hours
  • Opportunity to meet new people and travel to new places
  • It is another means of making money using your existing skills


  • You will need to do your own marketing.
  • Equipment is quite expensive.
  • May need to adjust to property owner’s/manager's timelines.

In conclusion

It is now easier than ever to earn with Airbnb even without owning a property. Whether you are looking for a side hustle or a full-time job there’s something for everyone in the vacation rental industry. Some of these strategies require more planning, strategizing, and financial investment than others. However, with hard work and commitment, you can make a decent living.

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take in pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!