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October 1, 2022

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in 6 Easy Steps

So, you’ve heard the stories of homeowners earning a generous income thanks to their AirBnB-style rental. Plenty of people have successfully rented out their homes on a short-term basis, allowing more guests to visit in a short amount of time. You’re ready to spruce up your home, add some amenities for guests, and list your rental.

We’re here to guide you through each simple step of listing your home and starting your short-term rental business. Before you know it, you’ll be managing guests’ arrivals, requests, departures, and cleaning. Follow these steps, and you’ll be running a successful short-term rental business with plenty of great guest reviews in no time.

Be Realistic About Your Listing

We don’t all live in New York City or kitty-corner to the Eiffel tower, so don’t be unrealistic about the kind of guest traffic your listing will receive. If your rental home is located in an urban centre, you’re in luck because it’s likely surrounded by attractive amenities like transportation and dining already.

If your rental home is located in a suburb, try to put yourself in your renter’s shoes. There are still plenty of reasons someone may want to spend several nights in your home. Is your home near a highway or a popular route? Your rental spot could be the perfect stop along someone’s road trip or cross-province trek to visit family.

Taking this in stride, you may find that pricing your rental home as if it was in the middle of Times Square when it’s in a rural area may not invite too many visitors. Start by leaning into the aspects that make your rental space attractive. Style it like a country retreat if you are in a rural area. If you’re on a convenient route, provide amenities that would make any long-haul driver relieved to see at the end of a long day.

Make Sure You Understand The Charges of Listing Your Property

Now it’s time to decide where you want to list your property. Depending on where you live, you have your pick of various online platforms, like Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeStay. Conveniently, you can list your rental spot on multiple websites for more exposure.

Start by understanding each platform’s upfront costs and the cut they’ll take when someone agrees to stay at your place. Some websites will charge you to list your rental, while others will only take a percentage per-night stay. Airbnb has a page dedicated to factoring in fees in your total price for your listing.

Reviewing and comparing the costs of listing your rental will help you determine the right rental price for your place. If you’re choosing to rent your home outside of an online paid platform, you can also use the data from your online listing to see which is making you a better profit down the road.

There’s No Such Thing as Showing Off Too Much

When it comes to short-term rentals online, there’s no such thing as showing off too much. Like any purchase, guests want to know precisely what they’re paying for, and there’s a lot to consider in a home-away-from-home.

Next, you’ll want to take pictures of handy spots to make your guests’ experience of checking in and out easier. Start by taking as many photos as possible of the interior of your rental space. Imagine your pictures as a home walk-through, so take photos of the entranceway. If your front door or street address isn’t visible, snap a picture of the exterior of the building, so guests know what to look for.

You may also want to take pictures of any items you’ll describe in your listing, such as an electronic lock on the door, where the WiFi modem is located, and pertinent information like phone numbers and internet passwords.

Make Choices About Valuables

Choosing what to do with valuables will depend on whether you are renting out your primary residence or a second home. If you own a second home, you can be picky about how to furnish it. Valuables are also relative, so it depends if your valuables are delicate decorations or amenities like a Dyson hairdryer or fan.

At the end of the day, remember we’re human, and accidents happen. Just imagine what repairing or replacing the valuable item would entail if something happened. Some, like a leaky air conditioning unit, are unavoidable. If you have sentimental or priceless valuables, it may be best to secure them or remove them before renting out your home.

Check Off Your Insurance To-Do’s

Before you list your rental, be sure to do a once-over on all your insurance options and the restrictions from your strata or managing company. Your strata should have clear information about the limits regarding renting out your unit if you live in a condo or townhouse.

Likewise, ensure your rental insurance covers emergencies like flood and fire damage, among other things. We all hope these problems won’t occur in these cases, but it’s good to be prepared.

List It and Celebrate

Congratulations! Hop online, list your rental property, and celebrate! You can closely monitor the traffic coming through your listing to check on the interest level in your property. It’s helpful to keep track of the times of the year your listing is booked so you can collect beneficial intel on your listing. Perhaps there’s a nearby festival your space is close to, or your home gets the most traction in the summer. All these factors can help you plan for your future income from your rental property.