How To Become Financially Independent on Airbnb Without Owning Property

As a licensed real estate broker, I’ve always aimed to diversify my income beyond just selling properties. I’m interested in passive income, like what you get from rental properties, but the cost of buying more properties is a big hurdle. This led me to explore other options.

Self-development courses were a game-changer for me. They showed me how to start an Airbnb business without owning property. These courses covered essential topics like property management and customer service, giving me the tools I needed to venture into the short-term rental market.

Thanks to these courses, I learned how to manage Airbnb properties for others, using skills that weren’t directly related to property ownership. This approach has opened up a new income stream for me, proving that with the right knowledge, you can find innovative solutions in the real estate field.

Wondering how I did it? Here’s what I learned from the experts.

Exploring the Airbnb Without Property Ownership

1. Rental arbitrage

Potential income: $1,000 to $2,500 per month, reaching a six-figure income within 12 months if scaled properly.

Rental arbitrage is a strategic approach to earning income on Airbnb without owning property, where individuals lease properties long-term and sublet them as short-term rentals. 

This method capitalizes on the difference between the monthly lease cost and the potential short-term rental income. 

Successful rental arbitrage requires meticulous market research to identify high-demand locations, negotiation of lease terms that permit short-term subletting, and full compliance with local short-term rental regulations. 

Nate Johnson offers this smart tip.

“You don’t need to own property to make a buck on Airbnb - you just need innovative solutions. Airbnb rental arbitrage is the practice of renting properties just to sublet them on Airbnb. In other words, if your income exceeds your rent and company expenses, you can begin to earn money by advertising a property on Airbnb.”

Nate Johnson, Real Estate Investment Expert & Product Manager, NeighborWho


  • Higher potential income: One of the primary advantages of rental arbitrage is the potential to generate a higher income compared to traditional long-term leasing. By renting out a property on a short-term basis, you can often charge a higher nightly rate than you would for a monthly lease, especially in high-demand tourist or business areas. 


  • Regulatory and market risk: A major disadvantage of rental arbitrage is the susceptibility to regulatory changes and market volatility. Many cities and local governments are implementing stricter regulations on short-term rentals, which can include limitations or outright bans, licensing requirements, and increased taxes. 

Consider the insights shared by G. Brian Davis.

“Finally, beware of the risk of city laws outlawing Airbnb. You typically only see this in regulation-heavy cities, but you have to take this risk into account as you scout the right city to operate in.”

G. Brian Davis, Founder & Real Estate Geek, SparkRental

Meanwhile, check  this article on how to create an Airbnb business plan.

2. Property management

Potential income: $57,810 per year or $28 per hour

Offering property management services for Airbnb hosts opens a lucrative avenue for those skilled in hospitality, organization, and communication. 

As a property manager, you take on the responsibility of ensuring that the property achieves its maximum potential on platforms like Airbnb. 

This role encompasses a broad range of tasks, from creating and optimizing property listings with attractive descriptions and professional photos to engaging with guests from the point of booking to post-stay reviews. 

Dr. Mark Poole offers his insights about having great photos for the Airbnb property. 

“Consider having a professional photographer to take pictures to show the property in the best light.”

Dr. Mark Poole, Founder, Smarter Property Investment

Effective property managers also coordinate the logistics of guest check-ins and check-outs, manage cleaning and maintenance schedules to ensure the property remains in top condition, and handle any issues that arise during stays. 


  • Steady income and diversification: Property management for Airbnb hosts offers a steady stream of income through management fees, which are typically a percentage of the rental income. This provides a more predictable revenue model compared to the fluctuations of direct property rental or arbitrage. Additionally, it allows for diversification, as you can manage multiple properties across different locations and types, spreading the risk and increasing the potential for income. 


  • High demand and operational challenges: The primary disadvantage of offering property management services is the operational complexity and the high demand it places on time and resources. Managing several properties requires a significant amount of coordination, from scheduling cleanings to handling emergency repairs and dealing with guest communications at all hours. This can lead to a high-stress environment, especially during peak travel seasons or when unexpected issues arise. 

If you are interested in property management, it’s best to take property management courses first.

Mike Falahee shares his thoughts about property management.

“You can partner with property owners who lack the time or expertise to manage their listings effectively. Offer to handle guest communication, cleaning, and maintenance in exchange for a percentage of the booking revenue. By providing excellent service and maximizing occupancy rates, you can earn a steady income stream without the upfront investment of property ownership. This approach allows you to leverage your skills and time while tapping into the lucrative short-term rental market.”

MikeFalahee, Owner, Marygrove Awnings

3. Airbnb Experiences platform

Potential income: $20,000 to $150,000 per year

Hosting Airbnb Experiences offers a unique opportunity to monetize your passions and share your expertise with a global audience. 

Whether you’re an expert in local history, a gourmet chef, an outdoor enthusiast, or an artist, you can design an experience that showcases your skills and offers guests an unforgettable insight into your world. 


  • Personal fulfillment and community connection: One significant advantage of hosting Airbnb Experiences is the personal fulfillment that comes from sharing your passion and expertise with others. It offers a platform to connect with people from around the world, allowing for cultural exchange and the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. 


  • Time commitment and scalability issues: A major disadvantage of hosting Airbnb Experiences is the substantial time commitment required to plan, organize, and execute these experiences. Unlike digital or passive income streams, experiences require the host’s physical presence and active participation, which can limit the number of experiences one can offer. This can also impact scalability, as growing the business heavily depends on the host’s availability and capacity to deliver more experiences or cater to larger groups. 

Jonathan Rodgers shares the same perspective. 

“Start by offering unique experiences, such as local tours or workshops, to generate income.”

Jonathan Rodgers, CFA, BestDaily

4. Co-hosting

Potential income: 10-20% of the nightly rate without cleaning the property

Co-hosting on Airbnb allows individuals to share the responsibilities of hosting, making it an ideal solution for property owners who may not have the time or expertise to manage their listings effectively. 

By stepping in as a co-host, you can provide invaluable support in optimizing the listing’s visibility, setting competitive prices, and ensuring the space meets Airbnb’s quality standards. 

Co-hosts often play a crucial role in problem-solving and crisis management, addressing any issues that guests might encounter promptly and efficiently.

Here’s what John & Fin Kernohan have to say about being a co-host.

“Co-Hosting is a great way for those without properties to become successful AirBnB Hosts... we are BIG supporters of this option for short-term rentals through the AirBnB platform. In fact, of our 8 unique stays here on our 16-acre homestead in Middle-Georgia, 5 are actually owned by different individuals and a company who had the structures, but not the properties to host them on. We do all the work, manage & maintain the units, and are involved in all guest activities & interactions. All the owners of the structures do is sit back and collect their monthly percentage of the incoming rental fees.”

John & Fin Kernohan, Airbnnb Superhost and Airbnb Ambassadors, United Tiny House Association


  • Flexibility and shared responsibilities: The primary advantage of co-hosting on Airbnb is the flexibility it offers and the sharing of responsibilities. This arrangement allows property owners to benefit from the expertise and availability of co-hosts, who can manage day-to-day operations, guest communications, and emergencies, thereby ensuring a high-quality guest experience. 


  • Potential for conflicts and revenue sharing: A significant disadvantage of co-hosting is the potential for conflicts between the property owner and the co-host regarding expectations, responsibilities, and income sharing. Clear communication and agreement are crucial to defining roles and financial arrangements, but misunderstandings can still occur, potentially leading to disputes. Additionally, the income from the property must be shared, which could result in lower earnings for the property owner compared to managing the property independently.

5. Consulting

Potential income: $61,000 to $82,460 per year

As a consultant for new Airbnb hosts, you leverage your expertise to guide them through the intricacies of creating and managing successful listings. 

Your role can significantly impact their ability to attract bookings by advising on best practices for search optimization, compelling property descriptions, and professional-grade photography that showcases their space in the best light. 

Additionally, you can offer strategies for setting dynamic pricing models that reflect market demand, seasonality, and local events, ensuring they maximize revenue without sacrificing occupancy. 


  • Expertise leverage and high demand: The advantage of becoming a consultant for new Airbnb hosts lies in the ability to leverage your expertise in a niche market with high demand. This role allows you to impact others’ success significantly while capitalizing on a growing market of individuals and investors entering the short-term rental space. Consultants can command premium fees for their knowledge, advice, and strategies, which can significantly enhance a host’s ability to generate income. 


  • Continuous learning and market evolution: A key disadvantage of consulting in the rapidly evolving Airbnb and short-term rental market is the need for continuous learning and adaptation. Regulations, platform algorithms, and market dynamics can change swiftly, requiring consultants to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly. 

6. Cleaning Services

Potential income: $30,000 to $60,000 per year

Starting a business that specializes in cleaning and turnover services for Airbnb properties taps into a critical need, as maintaining impeccable cleanliness is directly linked to guest satisfaction and the success of a listing. 

By offering thorough, reliable cleaning services, you ensure that properties meet or exceed Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean protocols, a standard set to ensure the safety and comfort of guests especially in the wake of health concerns. 

Additionally, your services can include restocking essential supplies, conducting minor maintenance checks, and ensuring that each property is meticulously prepared for new arrivals, adding significant value to your offerings. 


  • High demand and repeat business: The advantage of specializing in cleaning and turnover services for Airbnb properties is the consistent high demand and potential for repeat business. Cleanliness is a top priority for hosts and guests alike, making it a non-negotiable aspect of the short-term rental experience. 


  • Operational challenges and scalability issues: One significant disadvantage is the operational complexity and challenges associated with scaling a cleaning service for Airbnb properties. Managing a team of cleaners, ensuring high-quality standards across multiple properties, and coordinating schedules to meet tight turnover times can be logistically challenging. 
Remember, success on this type of business hinges on understanding your finances and effectively managing them with tools like Xero. This approach not only streamlines operations but also empowers informed decision-making, paving the way for a profitable venture.

Recommended Courses

1. Personal Finance: Master Your Finances in 30 Days

Personal Finance: Master Your Finances In 30 Days is a dynamic course designed to empower individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to take control of their financial destiny. Over the span of just one month, learners are guided through a series of expert-led modules that delve deep into the fundamentals and complexities of personal finance. 

The course provides detailed insights into analyzing financial statements, making informed decisions that positively impact your financial health, and constructing a resilient asset portfolio. It also uniquely integrates less common topics like the Beta Investment Strategy and the incorporation of alternative investments, making it an invaluable resource for anyone looking to not just manage but excel in managing their finances.

From my perspective, the most compelling aspect of the course is its commitment to actionable outcomes. The structured timeline promises tangible results in 30 days, which is incredibly motivating. It also outlines clear, achievable steps to not only understand your finances but to actively improve and master them. The inclusion of various asset classes and the focus on building antifragility in your financial life prepare you for any economic conditions.

Who is this course for? 

Whether you are an accountant seeking to hone your professional skills, a business owner looking to better manage your company’s finances, or simply someone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of financial concepts and applications, this course has substantial value to offer. It is particularly beneficial for those at any stage of their career, from beginners to those nearing retirement, who are committed to achieving financial independence and security.

2. Secrets Of The Sharing Economy

This educational program demystifies the mechanisms behind the sharing economy and provides practical strategies for leveraging underutilized assets for financial gain.

The course is particularly valuable as it breaks down complex concepts into actionable insights that can be immediately applied. Learners will discover how to transform items that are seldom used into sources of income, which is especially beneficial for those looking to enhance their financial stability without making significant upfront investments. It also offers guidance on living a savvy lifestyle by maximizing the potential of sharing economy platforms.

With no prerequisites required, it opens up opportunities for a broad audience, from employees looking to supplement their income to those struggling financially who need innovative ways to improve their economic situation.

I find this course to be a crucial resource for anyone aiming to make the most out of the sharing economy. It not only teaches how to generate side income but also fosters a mindset shift towards more sustainable and community-centric ways of living and earning.

Who is this course for? 

“Secrets of the Sharing Economy” is for anyone—from those just starting their careers to seasoned employees looking for additional income streams. It’s particularly suited for individuals facing financial challenges, as it offers them tools and strategies to potentially turn their situation around through the innovative use of assets they already possess.

3. How To Get Out Of Debt, Improve Finances And Build A Future

The course provides an extensive guide for individuals aiming to overcome debt and enhance their financial situation. Led by Rod Warren and Dave Espino, this program combines biblical financial principles with practical strategies to help learners not only escape debt but also to create sustainable income streams.

Rod Warren brings an energetic approach to teaching financial freedom, using lessons derived from biblical truths. His method involves assessing personal financial situations, altering detrimental financial habits, and establishing positive ones. 

Dave Espino adds significant value by introducing methods to monetize personal skills and experiences. His segment on “Monetizing Yourself” covers five main strategies to generate income from home, making this course especially relevant in today’s increasingly remote-working world. 

It caters to those who appreciate faith-based teachings, making it distinct from more secular financial courses. Additionally, the course is structured to not only get learners out of debt but also to empower them with the skills to avoid falling back into it, thereby promoting long-term financial stability.

Who is this course for? 

This course is for anyone who seeks a comprehensive, faith-based framework to not just escape debt but to thrive financially. It’s designed for individuals at various stages of their financial journey, especially those who value integrating their faith with their financial decisions.

Other Expert Insights

1. Andy Kolodgie, CEO and Co-Founder, Sell My House Fast

“Using Airbnb to achieve financial independence without owning a property requires creativity and resourcefulness. Become a highly sought-after property manager or co-host and provide your skills in return for a portion of the rental money. As an alternative, consider long-term rental arbitrage through short-term subleasing of the property and lease negotiations with landlords. Explore specialized markets such as providing cleaning services to hosts on Airbnb or starting an affiliate program for products that are relevant to hosts on Airbnb. To appeal to travelers, embrace virtual encounters or provide distinctive online training. Recall that success depends on adhering to regional laws and making a dedication to providing top-notch service.”

2. Loretta Kilday, Senior Attorney, Debt Consolidation Care

“Airbnb is a common platform in which individuals can achieve financial independence without acquiring any property. This, I believe, is possible when coupled with the appropriate approach as well as rental arbitrage, where you rent out and then sublet properties or act as a co-host for

others’ properties, which will enable one to tap into the lucrative Airbnb market. Furthermore, this also presents an opportunity to make money by giving unique experiences or specialized services such as listing photography. Essential to success is transparent communication with homeowners, outstanding guest experiences, and intelligent use of automation tools to run operations efficiently. You must, however, begin small, adapt quickly, and scale smartly while keeping an eye on the market trends and local regulations.”

3. GustavNicholson, Editor,

“One game-changing approach? Collaborating with property owners under a co-hosting arrangement, where I leveraged my marketing and blogging skills to elevate their listings’ visibility and appeal, splitting the profits without ever holding a key. This strategy not only capitalizes on the shared economy ethos but also underscores the importance of digital prowess and partnership in the quest for financial independence. It’s a path less trodden, but for those willing to invest in their digital skillset, it’s remarkably rewarding.”

4. Alyssa Huff, Real Estate and Financial Expert, Owner, ofsellhouse

“Invest in personal growth: Keep evolving your skills in hospitality, guest relations, marketing, and property upkeep. Whether it’s enrolling in courses, attending workshops, or joining industry groups, staying ahead ensures you’re at the top of your game.”

5. Riley Annen, Property Investor, Companies That Buy Houses

“Financial independence isn’t just about making money – it’s about managing it wisely. Set clear goals, track your income and expenses diligently, and make savvy decisions to stay on track. Did you know that according to Airbnb, 73%* of hosts credit hosting with helping them afford their homes?”

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Is it legal to operate an Airbnb rental without owning the property?

Yes, it is legal to operate an Airbnb rental without owning the property, but you must have explicit permission from the property owner and ensure compliance with local laws and regulations regarding short-term rentals. It’s crucial to have a clear agreement with the landlord and to adhere to any local licensing or registration requirements.

2. What are the key factors to success in Airbnb property management?

Success in Airbnb property management hinges on excellent customer service, effective communication, meticulous attention to detail in property maintenance, and strategic marketing to maximize occupancy rates. Additionally, understanding and implementing dynamic pricing based on market demand and seasonality can significantly impact revenue.

3. Can I offer Airbnb Experiences if I’m not an expert in any field?

Yes, you can offer Airbnb Experiences even if you don’t consider yourself an expert. Experiences can be based on any interest or hobby you’re passionate about and willing to share with others. The key is to create engaging, unique, and memorable activities that provide value and enjoyment to your guests.

4. What are the challenges of co-hosting on Airbnb?

Challenges of co-hosting include managing expectations and responsibilities between the host and co-host, ensuring clear communication, and dividing income fairly. It’s also important to maintain consistent service quality and manage the property efficiently to provide a seamless guest experience.

5. What are the initial steps to start a cleaning service for Airbnb properties?

To start a cleaning service for Airbnb properties, begin by researching the demand in your area and understanding the specific needs of Airbnb hosts. Then, develop a business plan, obtain necessary licenses and insurance, and invest in cleaning supplies and equipment. Marketing your services directly to Airbnb hosts and property managers is also crucial.

Key Takeaways 

Achieving financial independence on Airbnb without owning property presents a unique and lucrative opportunity for individuals looking to diversify their income streams. Through strategies like rental arbitrage, property management, hosting Airbnb Experiences, co-hosting, consulting, and offering specialized cleaning services, one can tap into the booming short-term rental market. 

By following the outlined tips and strategies, aspiring entrepreneurs can navigate the complexities of the Airbnb ecosystem without the need for substantial upfront investment in property ownership. The key to prosperity lies in leveraging your skills, understanding market demand, and delivering unparalleled value to guests and property owners alike. 

To truly excel in this venture and ensure a competitive edge, consider enhancing your knowledge and skills with the Skill Success All Access Pass. This platform offers access to over 3,000 courses, covering everything from the basics of Airbnb hosting to advanced strategies for maximizing income and guest satisfaction. 

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

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