A Day in the life: Airbnb host

So today’s a Monday and my week starts as so many do with admin. The boring bits. Check prices, calendars and accounts and deal with the background work of managing properties. This week’s it’s all done on the sofa, sometimes I’m lucky and it’s done from a sun lounger, this time I’m in my fella’s car as he’s driving us between homes.

I don’t get started until 12 most days, waking 8-9, drinking tea in bed or going for a run, maybe some admin but not until 10 at the very earliest on a bad day! I’m not a morning person is a big understatement, I hate them, I can’t speak till I’ve had 2-3 strong Yorkshire teas, I can’t think till I’ve eaten & I try not to eat in the morning so the early start was my single biggest problem with a real job. No matter how they promised flexible working they never delivered. A 9 am start meant a 7 am alarm which for a fair few months of the year is before dawn! Just agony for night owls. My mentally most active hours are 3-7 pm. For too many years I was essentially being forced to sit at a desk achieving nothing for hours until I actually felt alert enough to think straight.

My work consists of three elements, cleaning, maintenance and admin. As I don’t usually have a change over every day, 2-4 times a week is about average, I do my admin mostly on those same days. Squeezed around my physical clean and often in my car or for invoicing or accounts etc a few hours once my place is ready at home 5-7 which coincides with when I feel most mentally productive. The great thing about being self employed being that you can flex your work day like this and it really does make it feel less like work. Okay so does the wine/beer/chocolate/nicotine that might be served up to support the more complex stuff!

My average working week is probably only 16-20 hours. I’m firmly of the belief that this is the optimal for everyone. But finding jobs on those hours that pay even half a wage is like finding hen’s teeth. For 18 months I did a 2 hour commute each way for just £21,500 for the Nirvana of a 21 hours a week…

12 hours of cleaning and a few hours each week of admin and maintenance. Ahh yes maintenance the invisible Airbnb host skill. Maybe bigger posher hosts than I have a contract with a maintenance company. Here in sunny Folkestone finding someone to do a good job at a reasonable price is beyond difficult especially if you’d rather they weren’t sexually inappropriate or utterly useless.

So my first point of call to fix anything is give it a go myself!

  • Tighten that screw that holds the shower head up
  • Reattach that pull switch cord
  • Something has run out of batteries/bulbs
  • Something damaged needs repair or replacement
  • Something is leaking

I’ve re-wired aerials, fixed wobbly legs, removed thermostats. You get to a point where you’re prepared. At first it was daunting, thank god for YouTube tutorials! I now have a toolkit at all my properties and a fair few loose tools floating round my car. It’s really quite satisfying knowing the difference between a spanner and a monkey wrench or learning how a certain boiler can be safely fiddled with to bring it back to life for a few more weeks. But mostly it’s the incredulous look I get from any contractors I hire for bigger jobs as I am up and down ladders and generally demonstrating my ‘Rosie Riveter’ credentials!

So yes it’s part-time, it’s potentially very lucrative, it’s fantastically flexible and really suits anyone who didn’t thrive in the corporate prison. It’s changed my life in so many ways.

Daily schedule:

  • 8 am zzzz
  • 9-11 am Yorkshire Tea & memes
  • 11-12 checking diary’s and liaising with guests.
  • 12-4 pm changeover (Wednesday only this week so far!)
  • 4-5 pm supplies supermarket, cash and carry, home bargains, pound land. I love that shopping is part of my job!
  • 5-7 pm admin if needed maybe accounting or something to do with property sales/purchases. Hopefully no more than once a week!
  • 7 pm onwards – that’s my time! That’s wine time!

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