A Logan Circle apartment Adam Falla rents on Airbnb.
Whether users are renting out entire apartments or a spare room, using Airbnb, the temporary room/apartment-renting website phenomenon, can bring in a good amount of extra income each month. But for some, the site has become a full-time job and a starting point for launching businesses that help users manage their listings.
Adam Falla, a DC transplant from United Kingdom, is one such user. After renting an apartment on the service, he started helping friends with their listings, and has since founded a service, Air Clean ‘n Sheen, that helps launders towels and linens and cleans listings.
“I just started hosting with one apartment and obviously I was intrigued,” Falla told UrbanTurf. That led to hosting another apartment “more full-time,” and he quickly realized just how much work he’d gotten himself into.
“People see they can be making all this extra income, but you get into it and in many ways you’re doing the work of a full-service hotel,” he said.
Though Falla knows so-called super-users — hosts with many properties making a full-time living off the site, and often skirting regulations and co-op or condo rules to do so — he believes most of Airbnb users are people who are either renting their own home or have just one property they’re renting. And those people don’t necessarily have time to manage the listing, which is where Air Clean ‘n Sheen comes in.
Falla started the service in DC and after a year manages cleaning for about 50 properties. He expanded to Austin a month ago, where the company now manages 10 properties. Air Clean ‘n Sheen has five full- and part-time employees. Falla says his product is unique. His company hires its cleaners direct and owns all its own linens.
“We’re a cleaning company,” he said. “We haven’t come across another cleaning company that’s specifically tailored to just service short-term hosts like we are.”
Falla’s company is one of many such services aiming to take the headache out of Airbnb hosting, especially for the site’s more casual users. Services usually target cleaning, handling guests or both. Earlier this year, UrbanTurf spoke with resident Josh Haave, who founded a company called Airhostr that, in exchange for a 20 percent cut of a listing’s profits, would handle everything to do with a property, from corresponding with guests to handing off keys to arranging cleaning through a contract service.
National services like Guesty also handle correspondence for users, and Airbnb itself has experimented with a service called Handy, which arranges cleaning services for properties in some markets for a fee. Air Clean ‘n Sheen focuses only on cleaning, and on his Airbnb profile Falla himself says he uses Guesty to handle correspondence with guests at his DC properties.
“There’s a lot of work involved, and normal people are hosting,” Falla said. “They’re willing to pay for help with that.”
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/making_a_living_off_airbnb_new_companies_sprout_up_to_manage_listings/9298
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