Cities Journal

Make Money Hosting Travelers

In this economy, it’s the rare person who doesn’t need some extra money. Jobs are scarce, and it’s often easier to create a job for yourself than it is to go out and find one.

While some people struggle over the ins and outs of starting their own business, others simply find something easy to do with a big market to dip into, and jump in feet first. One of the easiest ways you can make a full-time income on a part-time basis as your own boss is in the travel industry.

Catering to travelers is the key here. People go places and they need cheap, safe accommodations. You have a place to live and an extra room. Put the two together, and you’ve got yourself a money-making business. Here’s how to do it the right way.

Be Prepared for Host Duties

Before you start renting out your spare room to travelers, be sure you’re ready to take care of that room (and the rest of your house, while your guests are there) as if it were a hotel. You’ll need to make the bed for your guests every day, and do a bit of cleaning up, such as emptying trash cans. You’ll also need to do laundry on any towels and washcloths your guests use, and wash and change the bedding at least every three days.

You’ll need to keep any areas of your house that your guests may use extra clean and free of debris, so they don’t injure themselves on a slick floor or on a nail sticking up from a floorboard. Your guests can use your laundry facilities to wash their clothes for an additional fee.

Doing Your Due Diligence

Some people find the prospect of renting to strangers a bit intimidating. After all, these are people who will be staying in your home, and you don’t know them. There are two ways to approach this to make the experience safer and more relaxing for you.

One is to put ads out on different message boards that cater to travelers, and correspond via email with potential renters.

During your initial emails, you can ask for enough information on them to run a background check. You can choose to not rent to people with violent criminal histories or anything else shady that you don’t like, but only as long as you don’t discriminate because of race, gender, or religion. You should also talk to the potential renter on the phone (you call them) at least once before they arrive.

The other way to do this is to go through a rental matching service. There are several of these online that match up your room with potential renters. These companies do all the vetting for you, and even collect and distribute your rental fees on your behalf.

A lot of them even have small damage coverage plans that will pay for any damages or thefts of your belongings that may occur during a rental. Even with the vetting, the final say on who gets to rent your room is always yours.

So, can you really make decent money renting a room in your house out to travelers? The answer is yes. According to MSN Money, people who are doing this are making anywhere from enough to cover their mortgage payments to five figures a year. Some have even quit their regular jobs and started renting out their spare rooms full-time.

There is also the added benefit of getting to meet a lot of new and interesting people from around the world, and sometimes, even to make lasting friends.

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