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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

I'm Sabrina, a short-term rental host coach who knows starting your own Airbnb 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 to "Yes!! Another  booking!"
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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.

But what happens if the perfect property to help you achieve your dreams is nowhere near you? Maybe you already own property that would be perfect for an Airbnb but it’s hundreds of miles away. Or maybe you found a great real estate investment in a vacation town far from 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.)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I’m not affiliated with Airbnb in any way (other than being an Airbnb host, of course). Read my full disclosure policy here.

How to Start an Airbnb That You Manage Remotely

Pro Tip: Starting a remote Airbnb is a lot like starting 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.

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

A keyless entry is an absolute must-have if you’re managing your property remotely because it allows you to remain in control of who has access to your property at all times. No matter where you are in the world, you can see exactly who has been entering your property and you can even change who has access at any time. Plus, unlike a traditional lock and key, you’re not giving your guests a physical key that can get lost or stolen, which would be a huge headache for you to deal with from afar.

I’ve found both the Kwikset keyless entry and Schlage Encode to be super reliable and easy to use.

Pro 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 a plan for exactly how to restock them. That’s even more true if you manage your Airbnb remotely because you can’t just run to the store whenever you need something.

How will you know when crucial supplies (like shampoo, toilet paper, hand soap, dish detergentthe list goes on and on) need to be restocked? Hopefully your cleaners can let you know when items are running low. You’ll also want to do a thorough check yourself during your regular property maintenance checks.

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 (not every retailer will have what you need in the right quantity and for a reasonable price) and 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)

3. Make sure you have plenty of storage space

Before you open your short-term rental, be sure to stock up on all of your backup supplies (the items that will need to be refilled as guests use them). When you do, you’ll quickly figure out how much storage space you need (hint: it’s a lot!).

You’ll want to keep this space clean and organized so that your cleaners can easily find exactly what they need and you can easily keep track of items that are running low. You’ll also want to ensure that your storage spaces are locked so only the people you want to have access do.

Pro Tip: Your storage closet is another great place to add a keyless entry so you can remotely control exactly who does and doesn’t have access.

4. Throughly check all plumbing

Plumbing issues like leaks, frozen pipes, backed up toilets, and broken hot water heaters can quickly become huge disasters at an Airbnb. Prevent as many issues as possible by doing a thorough check of all plumbing at the property before your first guest arrives. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, ask a local plumber to do a preventative maintenance check for you (this is also a great time to start building a relationship with a local plumber who can quickly respond to issues when you can’t).

This is the time 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!).

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.

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 for regular property visits might be the most essential step in this entire list.

That’s because there’s just no substitute for visiting your property yourself. 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: Short-Term Rental Property Maintenance: Your Step-By-Step Guide

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


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.

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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. 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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