Understanding AirBnB Hosting Costs

So, you’ve decided to become an AirBnB host!  A critical factor in the success of an AirBnB hosting business is fully understanding the AirBnB hosting costs associated with running a short term rental.  In this post, I will go over all the costs you need to consider when pricing and operating your AirBnB listing.

Initial AirBnB Hosting Costs

When getting your spare room or other space ready to list on AirBnB, it is important to understand how much you will have to spend (if anything) to be prepared for your first AirBnB guest.  Many new AirBnB hosts already have guest rooms put together in their homes and are all ready to host, but other may have empty rooms with the tremendous revenue potential.  So what do I need to get my AirBnB listing off the ground?

AirBnB Hosting Costs - Bedroom

  • Bed, Sheets, and Pillows – Duh!  I know that some AirBnB hosts rent out couches as well, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume you are preparing a guest room for AirBnB guests.  Make sure you’ve got a comfortable bed so your guests can rest well during their vacation!  It is difficult to estimate a cost of this set up.  You probably do not need to go all out with a bed set, but avoiding something obviously cheap is a good idea here too.  Also understand that your bed will not last forever!  You may have to repair or replace so allocate a little extra margin in your pricing system.  I choose the make the assumption that these items will last 200 days, so I include 0.5% of the bed cost into my cost tally.  This is very much on the conservative side for my AirBnB setup.

This is really the only ‘must have’ to get your listing going.  There are numerous additions you can make to your AirBnB hosting operation, such as a desk, chairs, couches, and other home amenities, but a bed set is the minimum.

Operating Costs for AirBnB Hosts

There are some key ongoing costs that AirBnB hosts must understand, especially when setting your AirBnB listing price.


ElectricityAirBnB guests will consume electricity, water, and gas (if your home uses gas).  Most AirBnB guests are cognizant of your energy bill and won’t leave all their electronics running and the lights on, but not all fall into this category.  Overall, in my years of hosting, I estimate that the utilities in my AirBnB hosting costs to be $2-$5/day (depending on the season).


Bathroom SuppliesAs an AirBnB host, you will be providing AirBnB guests with consumables and cleaningproducts such as toilet paper, trash bags, tissues, soaps, shampoo, air fresheners, disinfectants, cleaning cloths, laundry detergents and maybe a few other items.  Again, most AirBnB guests are not intentionally wasteful, of your bathroom supplies, but some go through products faster than others.  I allocate approximately $4-$5/day for this category.


Cleaning ProductsUnfortunately, you will have to perform some maintenance.  You could have repaint, fix the plumbing, repair doors, or any other number of things.  It is an absolute necessity as an AirBnB host to keep your home in tip top shape.  Being proactive about fixing things around the home will save you money and heartache down the road.  I allocate approximately $5/day for this category.


Not all AirBnB hosts offer breakfast.  Those that do often offer a variety of grab-and-go type foods such as granola bars and juice.  If you choose to offer breakfast, shoot for a budget of $5/day or less.  If you like to do the full service bed and breakfast, then budget accordingly!

All in all, a rough estimate of $11-$15/day with the optional $5/day for breakfast is a reasonable estimate for your AirBnB hosting costs.  As you gain more experience as an AirBnB host, you will be able to get a feel for what your AirBnB listing truly costs.

AirBnB Host Time Commitments

Being an AirBnB host costs time as well.  Here are the major time commitments associated with being an AirBnB host.

Responding to AirBnB Inquiries and Other Messages

As an AirBnB host, you will be responding to AirBnB inquiries, sending hosting information, answering questions, and writing review for AirBnB guests all the time.  I have gotten my system down quickly, and the average AirBnB booking costs me about 20 minutes in communication time.

Cleaning your AirBnB Guest Room

Many AirBnB hosts choose to do all the home cleaning themselves, myself included.  With years of hosting under my belt, I have a cleaning system that is super fast and effective.  Initially, I was spending approximately 90 minutes to prep my guest room and clean the house.  I have figured it out and now only need 30-40  minutes on average to prepare for the next AirBnB guests.  If you opt to hire out your cleaning services, make sure you account for them in your costs!  There is also a cleaning fee option with AirBnB, so you can price it into your AirBnB listing on a per stay basis very easily!

Interacting with Your AirBnB Guests in Person

This is really one of the coolest parts of being an AirBnB host!  I truly enjoy meeting and getting to know my AirBnB guests.  They all have interesting backgrounds and stories as well.  Some guests have come and gone without many words and others have sat and chatted with me over coffee for hours.  It’s hard to pin down exactly how long I’ve spent interacting with guests, but I really don’t consider this part of ‘the job’ per se.  I consider it a refreshing perk of hosting with AirBnB!

Overall, I consider that each AirBnB stay will cost me about an hour of work. But you may want to budget more time as you get started.  The more you host with AirBnB, the better you’ll get and the less time you’ll need! That’s a nice general overview of the basic costs and time associated with being an AirBnB host.  I included my numbers as a reference point to get you started.  Keeping track of your time and expenses will help you get a better feel for your AirBnB hosting costs.

Stay tuned for more posts going into detail on the best products for your AirBnB hosting business!
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