What does it take to operate an AirBnB?

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Thinking about renting out your home on AirBnB but not sure what it takes to set up an account?

One Memphis man we talked to has had so much luck with his AirBnB, he just bought a second property he plans to rent.

“The benefits far outweigh any downfalls or concerns I would have had,” says JR Parsons.

Parson’s rents out a downtown Memphis condo. It is a decision he doesn’t regret.

“I’m getting about three times what I was getting when I had a longer-term renter,” he says.

Parsons says last month it was booked all but two days. He says he has it set up so it’s low maintenance. A property manager handles the cleaning and inventory. He’s also made a website for visitors with basic information about good local restaurants, bars, and nearby attractions.

“We actually have a manual of how everything works in the unit itself. A lot of the questions are the same questions, so you can anticipate those before they are even asked,” says Parsons.

Thanks to smart technology, he can adjust the thermostat and reset the locks when guests come and go. He said that means his side business almost runs itself.

“I’m fortunate that I don’t have to go down there but once every six months if I want to,” says Parsons.

Downtown Memphis resident Kristy Macon is considering opening an AirBnB in her home. We sat with her while she went through the process.

“I’m thinking more of renting it out if I’m not here, so if I’m not here and this space is empty, it could just as easily be utilized and making money,” says Macon.

The AirBnB website asks you to decide how much you want to charge, when it is available, and how many people you want in the house. It allows you to establish rules. The list of options goes on and on.  Then you upload pictures, and in a relatively short amount of time, your listing is complete. 

Macon thought the process was fairly easy.

“You’re in control of the whole thing, the whole time and it’s easy. It is so easy you just follow the prompts on the website,” she says. “There weren’t really any surprises on it.”

While Macon waits for her first booking, Parsons bought a second downtown unit to rent out. If you’re thinking about it. He offers a few tips.

First on his list, “location is probably your most critical element. I think you need to be where the activity is.”

Second, Parson says while AirBnB gives you insurance, he says spend the additional money and get your own. “If there is a loss and AirBnB doesn’t cover it with the policy, then you are stuck with it,” says Parsons.

And finally, Parsons says set the bar high – don’t let just anyone rent your unit. There are ways to screen out potential troublemakers.

“Ultimately I’m still responsible for my guests that are there,” said Parsons.

And trouble can happen. Last month, five people were shot and killed at an authorized AirBnB rental house party in California. Wednesday, the head of the company announced new safety measures were being put in place to better protect renters hosts and neighbors.

Thursday on Local 24 News at 10PM, from wild parties to prostitutes – we show you some Airbnb rental nightmares.

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