So You Wanna Be an Airbnb Host? Part 4: Ongoing Maintenance

After you get a few reviews and bookings, you’ll need to figure out how to keep the gravy train rolling. But, good news – the hard parts are over!

If you found a place, set it up, and listed it on Airbnb’s site, that is easily 90% of your whole Airbnb journey. The rest is just pruning and perfecting.

airbnb hosting

Your Airbnb calendar will be your lifeline

This is the part where you can be hands-off, travel, drop things off here and there. Basically, the whole reason you started this whole crazy thing: to have mostly passive income roll in.

Airbnb Hosting Index:

This series is meant for peeps who want to list an entire home separate from their primary residence on Airbnb.

Stock it up

From here on out, your life is mostly going to consist of cleaning supplies and toiletries. I leave shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for my guests.

And my top cleaning purchases are:

  • TP
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Green spray
  • Garbage bags
  • Hand soap refills
  • Dishwasher tablets
a group of objects on the floor

My Airbnb “overflow” *crying laughing emoji*

I stock up like a crazy person. I probably have a 6-month supply of toilet paper in my places. I use discounts from Boxed, Amex Offers, office supply stores, and shopping portals to generate points and miles on these purchases. And I have more overflow at home.

Basically, I check in on my places once every 6 weeks or so. I go through and make a list of what’s running low (on Todoist), then head home and order those items. The next time I go, I take them with. And repeat.

I like this system because it’s extremely low-maintenance. An hour every 6 weeks is nothing. And sometimes, I go more just because I like to check in, or happen to be in the area.

To stock up is divine. You’ll save yourself a lot of running around if you get everything you need in one shot.

Find reliable help or clean it yourself

When I had 4 Airbnbs in New York, I was such a nut about keeping them clean that I did them all myself. Yes, it sucked, but I didn’t want to trust a cleaning person.

One day, I cracked under the pressure of it all and called a number a friend gave me. I met with a wonderful lady named Patricia – and she became my go-to cleaning person slash lifesaver.

I paid her $60 a pop, which was a great price in NYC. But it was so worth it because I got to be even more hands-off.

In Dallas, I didn’t even try. I hired a cleaning service from the get-go. The first few times, I’d swing by after and do the “white glove test” to make sure everything was up to my standards. After trying out a few different housekeepers, I found one I liked.

My places usually book up a month or two in advance. So every 3 or 4 weeks, I’ll sit down and type up a list of the dates I need the places cleaned and text them to my housekeeper. This takes me probably 15 minutes a month to schedule the cleanings. It’s so easy.

Use email templates for Airbnb hosting

Beyond that, all I have to do is send pre-written template emails to the guests for check-in and checkout.

a screenshot of a computer

Saved messages are king

These take me a few seconds to send from the Airbnb app. So little time that I really don’t even count it.

I recommend setting up templates for:

  • Check-in
  • Checkout
  • Wifi info
  • Directions from airport
  • List of places to do/see in the area

Write them once, then never again. So easy.

Sometimes things mess up

Not to make it all sound effortless. It’s mostly smooth. But things do happen.

I’ve never had anything too major come up. Mostly annoying things like someone forgot their watch, or took the key home by mistake. Or stained the comforter so now I have to wash or replace it. Stuff like that.

a city with tall buildings

Nah, I don’t mind heading to downtown Dallas. Find a place you don’t mind going when the going gets tough

That’s why I recommend finding an Airbnb reasonably close. What’s reasonable is up to you. One of my places is 5 minutes on foot; the other is 10 minutes driving. In New York, they were 45 minutes on the train.

I’d say an hour or less, to be on the safe side. Pick a place you don’t mind popping by. Or a place that’s near family or friends just in case you can’t drop everything and run in.

It doesn’t happen a lot, but, ya know, it’s probably gonna happen a time or two. If your housekeeper can help you deal with little things, like replacing light bulbs or refilling the hand soap, even better.

You’ll hit a groove that feels good. Most of the time, things are good. But every once in a while, there’s an issue. Just be open and responsive. Oh, and any time something happens, it will definitely be at the worst possible time. Of course. Just roll with it, life continues. 🙂

Bottom line

Now you’re to the good stuff, congrats! Ongoing maintenance is pretty simple. Figure out how you want to handle yours cleanings. Stock your place with cleaning supplies and toiletries. And consider that at some point, you’ll have to run in to fix an issue.

Email templates built right into Airbnb’s messaging system are a godsend: use them. And decide how often you want to go in and check on your place. For me, a good schedule is every 6 weeks or so. Sometimes once a month.

And I highly recommend just hiring a cleaning person. A good one is worth their weight in gold. That’s pretty much it… most of the time, sit back and let it happen. Trust the process. It’s one you built, after all. Let it ride.

Anything else you want to know about my ongoing Airbnb maintenance? Ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to help!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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    • I get a travel credit, but not a commission. I have my link at the bottom of the post coming out tomorrow if you want to use it. 🙂 Thanks as always if you do! Truly appreciated.

  1. Just caught up on this series – very interesting. Appreciate the insight and find it very interesting. One question – sounds like you are primarily doing AirBnB on rented properties, not owned properties, correct? Would your thought process or strategy be different for owned real estate? And have you had problems finding places where your landlord was OK with subleasing?

    • You’re correct. It’s even easier if you own – you don’t have to worry about anyone else getting into your biz.

      I haven’t any issues so far – but I don’t exactly advertise what I’m doing, either. Just keep it clean and have an exit strategy and you’ll most likely be fine.

  2. Interesting series and looking forward to your next part as I’m a CPA and have had a few clients rent their places on airbnb. (Feel free to reach out if you have any tax questions). For those it’s easy and I always tell them to do no more than 14 nights unless they plan to rent for more than ~18 as otherwise the taxes will make the extra 2-3 nights not worth it.

    Also very interesting that you rent out apartments/condos and then flip them on airbnb. I’d think that’d be more risky/difficult, but curious to see how the economics compare vs owning and doing airbnb.

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