How to Start an Airbnb

Start an Airbnb

How to Start an Airbnb That You Manage Remotely (In Just 7 Steps)

If you’re considering managing your Airbnb remotely, this blog post is for you. How to start an Airbnb & manage it remotely

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I'm Sabrina, an Airbnb host coach who knows starting your own short-term rental biz can quickly get waaaay too complicated. But it doesn't have to be. I help first-time Airbnb hosts like you go from overwhelmed 
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So, you’ve decided to start an Airbnb – congratulations! You’ve just taken a huge first step towards financial freedom.

If you’re considering managing your Airbnb remotely, this blog post is for you.

Maybe you already own property that would be perfect for an Airbnb but isn’t located near you.

Or maybe you found a great real estate investment, with great revenue potential, in an area other than where you live.

Or maybe you travel a lot and want to make sure you can keep your new Airbnb business running when you’re not at home.

Whatever the case, you need to know how to start an Airbnb that you manage remotely.

The step-by-step guide below will help you do just that. (Take it from me, an Airbnb Superhost who’s managed her Airbnb remotely since day one.)

How to Start an Airbnb That You Manage Remotely

Airbnb Living Room
The main floor of my Lake Tahoe Airbnb | The Realist

Setting up a remote Airbnb is a lot like setting up any other Airbnb.

So, start by following this 7-step guide to setting up a typical short-term rental. You’ll need to do all the things in that list in addition to everything below.

The following is essential if you want to successfully manage your Airbnb remotely:

1. Install a keyless entry (and make sure it works!)

A keyless entry is an absolute MUST if you’re going to be managing your property remotely.

Having a keyless entry rather than a physical key will make your property more secure for two reasons:

  1. Your key can’t get lost or stolen
  2. You can ensure only people you want having access do (by setting and deactivating different codes for different guests)

The hands-down BEST keyless entry I’ve found is the Kwikset keyless entry.

In my experience, the Kwikset is incredibly reliable and works well (which can’t be said for all keyless entry devices.) I can always connect remotely to view and edit guest codes. I can easily see when the batteries need to be replaced. And my guests haven’t had any issues at all.

I highly recommend getting a Kwikset (trust me, you don’t want be woken up by a guest at 3 AM because your lock isn’t working…which is exactly what happened to me with my old keyless entry.)

Recommended: Kwikset Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock Keyless Entry Deadbolt

Airbnb Hosting Tip: Even with a keyless entry, a lockbox with backup keys is crucial. You should also consider getting a Ring doorbell (so that you can monitor who’s coming and going, if necessary) and a Nest thermostat (to turn down your heating/cooling when guests aren’t staying with you.)

2. Plan for how you’ll restock supplies

If there’s anything I can say with 100% certainty about your Airbnb, it’s this: you’ll need to have a lot of supplies on hand, and you’ll need to restock them often.

That’s even more true if you manage your Airbnb remotely because you can’t just run to the store whenever you need something.

So, you need to plan ahead.

Two important questions to ask yourself when planning for how you’ll restock supplies:

  1. How will you know when items need to be restocked? (like shampoo, toilet paper, hand soap, dish detergentthe list goes on and on)
    • Your cleaners should let you know when items are running low. You’ll also want to do a thorough check yourself during your regular property maintenance checks (which we’ll talk more about below)
  2. How will you get those new items to your Airbnb?
    • It’s a good idea to make sure you know WHERE you’ll order these items from
      • For example, I know exactly which items I order from Costco, Walmart, and Amazon. Not every retailer will have what you need in the right quantity and for a reasonable price. (You’re probably going to want jumbo sizes of everything)
    • Also make sure you know HOW you’ll get those items
      • Do these retailers deliver to your area? Can you get them delivered to your cleaners, rather than bothering your guests with a delivery?

These might sound like small details, but figuring them out now will save you a huge headache down the road (and help you maximize profits!)

Recommended: 100+ Essential Items for Your Airbnb (Complete Furniture & Supplies Checklist)

2. Make sure you have plenty of storage space

Before you open your Airbnb, take the time to stock up on as many items as you can.

When you do, you’ll quickly figure out how much storage space you need (hint: you’ll need A LOT)

Before your Airbnb is ready for your first guest, you need to have a plan for where everything you DON’T want your guests to have access to will go (e.g. backup soap, linens, batteries, etc.)

Moreover, your storage areas need to be clean and organized so that your cleaners can easily find exactly what they need.

(Your cleaners don’t have time to go searching for that extra AA battery in the back right corner of your storage closet. The easier you make life for them, the more likely it is that everything you want to get done will get done.)

So, think about where the best places are to lock up backup supplies. Consider adding a keyless entry to your storage closet to make life even easier for your cleaners.

And don’t be afraid to add locks to other closets and cabinets to make sure you have plenty of storage (so long as your guests have plenty of space for their things, too!)

Recommended: Where to Splurge & Save: Airbnb Furniture & Supplies

4. Find a good local plumber

Next, prevent any major disasters from unexpectedly popping up by hiring a local plumber you can trust.

Have them stop by for a thorough preventative maintenance check before your first guest arrives.

And, make sure to address any small plumbing issues that are already popping up. Maybe your garbage disposal doesn’t always turn on. Maybe a toilet is starting to leak a bit.

Addressing these minor issues now can save you tons of money down the road (and help you avoid negative Airbnb reviews!)

Trust me, peace of mind is crucial when you’re managing an Airbnb remotely.

Since you’re not there to check on these things yourself, you might often be worried that a pipe is going to burst or your water heater will go out. It’s worth the upfront investment to have everything checked out by a professional before you leave your new Airbnb.

Plus, this is a great opportunity to start building a relationship with a plumber you trust. You may need to call them in an emergency later down the line!

Recommended: Rental Property Maintenance: Don’t Miss Out on These Crucial Steps

5. Find a good local handyman

Similarly, try to find a good local handyman.

You might be surprised at just how many small things break at your Airbnb once guests who are unfamiliar with the property start spending time there.

For example, just a couple of months after opening my Airbnb, a door handle needed to be replaced; two towel rods came loose; my blinds broke; and two sliding doors came off their tracks…just to name a few.

Having a handyman who can stop by and address all these issues so they don’t impact other guests is essential.

Better yet, take time to actually live at your property while you’re setting it up. You might notice a lot of things that you won’t know needs fixing if you only make quick day trips!

Recommended: 10 Property Maintenance Mistakes Successful Airbnb Hosts Need to Avoid

Airbnb Host Tips
My Airbnb kitchen | The Realist

6. Plan to visit at least every 6 months (more often, if possible!)

Even after you do all of the above, there’s no replacement for you visiting the property yourself.

In fact, planning regular visits might be the most essential step in this entire list.

That’s because there’s just no substitution for it. No one will ever notice all of the small details you notice.

Even if your guests do a great job telling you privately about small things they recommend fixing, you’re not going to hear about everything that needs your attention.

You can read about everything that I found my first time visiting my Airbnb six months after opening it. (I was BLOWN AWAY by everything that needed to be fixed!)

Addressing these issues will help you get more 5-star reviews and avoid any potential disasters.

Recommended: Rental Property Maintenance: Don’t Miss Out on These Crucial Steps

7. Brainstorm potential guest issues and how you’ll handle them

Lastly, take the time to brainstorm any potential guest issues that we haven’t covered above. Make a plan for how you would handle those issues remotely.

For me, the most common problem I run into is needing to replace my parking passes. Since my Airbnb is a condo, every guest who parks in our shared lot is required to put a parking pass in their windshield. And, it’s common for guests to forget to put these parking passes back in the Airbnb before checking out.

To prevent this from happening as much as possible, I tell guests on three different occasions that they need to replace both passes otherwise there will be a $50 fee (see my Airbnb messages and house rules.)

Unfortunately, I’ve still had a few guests who forget to put them back (I don’t blame them, it happens to me when I stay there, too!)

When that happens, I do enforce the $50 fee, because that’s really how much my HOA bills me for each new pass.

Thankfully, my condo’s property manager is fantastic and will drop off a new pass inside my condo because I can’t go pick it up myself. Without that, I have no idea how I would replace those passes.

Make sure you have a plan like that for anything that’s likely to go wrong while you’re away.

Recommended: Everything You Need to Know About the Airbnb Resolution Center

Takeaway

Now you know how to start an Airbnb that you’ll manage remotely!

There’s not too much to it, but doing all of these things in advance will really help you succeed as you manage your property from afar.

Happy hosting!

Recommended: Kwikset Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock Keyless Entry Deadbolt

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Disclaimer: All content on this website is for informational purposes only. You are taking all provided information at your own risk. We are not financial, real estate, legal, investment or other professionals. Nothing on this website should be construed as professional advice. We will not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature. Additionally, we are not agents or employees of Airbnb. For more information, read our disclaimer.

Any questions about managing an Airbnb remotely? Let me know in the comments!

add a comment

  1. Crisa says:

    Talk to me about your choices for a cleaner when managing remotely, please. Did you go with a service, an individual you know, friend? How do you ensure they’re doing the job well? What happens when a guest really trashed your place?

    • Sabrina Anne says:

      Hi Crisa! When looking for Airbnb cleaners, definitely go with a professional company – ideally a small, local one. To ensure they’ll do a great job, check their reviews online. I also recommend hiring them before you take your listing photos, so you can personally see their work before you go live and provide feedback. Some other things that help are asking if they have short-term rental experience and providing photos of what each room should look like when they’re done. That said, it’s crucial you treat your cleaning crew well and understand that mistakes DO happen, even with the best cleaning crews. I have SO MUCH more to share about successfully finding and working with cleaners, so I’ll create a blog post on this topic soon. Follow me on Instagram for more tips – I share tips like these often!

  2. Iuliia says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m planning to start my first Airbnb and your notes are very helpful.

  3. Mark says:

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

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I made $85,000+ my first year Airbnb hosting. Now, I’m sharing all my Airbnb hosting tips so you can build your own insanely profitable business.

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