Working as co-host and managing other owner's properties

10 Replies

I've been hosting for over a year now and have two properties i run and have enjoyed it quite a bit. I've wanted to expand the number of listings i manage, both by buying more properties but also co hosting. 

For any successful co hosts out there, what marketing pipelines did you use to acquire more clients?

My tenants are contractors working at a refinery in my town.

They have to pass a drug screen before they can enter the gate to work.  I give them the pre-employment drug screens at a clinic.  Each one gets a nice metal pen with my advertising.  I also have a billboard on the fence in their parking lot at the refinery.  I have sent flyers, business cards and a cover letter to every refinery and welding school in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.  I had calendars of scantily clad women doing construction printed, I sent them to every company that I had their contractors renting from me.  There is a magnetic sign for furnished houses on both side doors of my truck. The liquor store by the refinery also gives away my personalized pens.  I put or bump up an ad every day on Craigslist. For non-refinery workers that I give a drug screen to, I give them a pen and tell them they get a commission of 1/2 of the 2nd weeks rent if they refer someone to me.

That's about it.

I would love to understand how this is possible without a property management license. I understand it is 100% legal to manage your own listings without such a thing, but to manage another persons property without a license seems like there could be an issue. Perhaps someone with more experience can tag into this?  

Originally posted by @Ben Hooper :

I've been hosting for over a year now and have two properties i run and have enjoyed it quite a bit. I've wanted to expand the number of listings i manage, both by buying more properties but also co hosting. 

For any successful co hosts out there, what marketing pipelines did you use to acquire more clients?

 Hi Ben,

I've signed up to act as a "Co-Host" on Airbnb but so far I've had no one contact me to help host their property.

But I do have my own "Marketing/Booking Management" service which manages the listings, inquiries & bookings for my clients' properties. I do not manage the property itself, though.

@Chris Armstrong asks if a license is needed to manage other people's properties. In CO where I live a full-service property manager does need a license to manage other people's properties. But since I am not a full-service property manager and most importantly, since the travelers' payments go straight to the client and not to them through me a license is not required.

All of my clients have come to me via word of mouth or by referrals. I am pretty particular about who I accept as a client so I don't advertise or market my service on a broad scale; I am sorry I don't have any recommendations for you for that. But if you are doing a good job managing your own properties there may be other owners with properties in your area that might be willing to allow you to help them manage their reservations. I would start by talking to other VR owners in your area, especially if it is the norm for people to hire full-service property managers. They might be interested in keeping more of the revenue by letting you manage the advertisements & bookings for their properties while they take care of the housekeeping & maintenance of the property themselves.

You might also contact some local real estate agents and let them know about your service and ask if they'd keep you in mind if they sell a property to someone in your area who plans on using it as a short term rental.

Another thing you might consider is joining your town's Chamber of Commerce. Your business might receive some perks like advertisement opportunities in the area publications or media.

I hope this helps, and good luck to you!


@Ben Hooper Co-hosting is great for building up your clientele for more co-hosting but wouldn't you rather jump into subleasing and just host the places yourself? Same work but more pay. My wife does consulting where she will co-host for a percentage of the hosts earnings but we use that money to stockpile furniture for future projects.

At this point in time Airbnb is actually keeping people being backed by LLC's/Corporations out of co-hosting by not allowing you to be working under a company so your payout method will go directly to you and not to an LLC. Also if you have a real estate license and you choose to co-host you will be putting more liability upon yourself because of all the taxes and fees that go along with property management from a licensed stand point. If you are looking to be an Airbnb co-host you might want to stay far away from licenses as possible.

@Myka Artis, have you subleased just for short term rentals? It seems like most landlords are against it. What points seemed to win them over to let you lease it and put it up on short term sites?

Most landlords are against it because they are unfamiliar with it and a lot of the people that are trying to do it don’t have a short term rental portfolio to prove themselves. It sounds like you have one and you can use this to your advantage. You can get in touch with landlords and offer them incentives like a percentage of your proceeds or a couple hundred dollars extra than their normal rent. If you are able to find properties that have for rent signs that have been sitting for awhile these owners are desperate and will usually let you sublet their places with you paying the normal rent each month.

@Ben Hooper I'm with @Myka Artis on this.  The upsides for the owner include limited appliance use, less wear and tear, and no long term tenant to have to throw out which I think outweigh the potential downsides.  You'll have to find an owner who is willing to do this, maybe only one out of 100 will agree but it is a far superior model.  The co-hosting strategy is good to get your feet wet but I think you'll quickly find out its not worth the money unless you have a team in place to take care of all the work.  I went from 0 to 10 properties in less than 4 months and found out that I no longer had a social life and was glued to my phone.  Leasing or owning the properties actually ends up being LESS work for way more pay.  Just my 2 cents :)  

@Tyler Work Thats interesting to hear, i would think using some of the tools out there would help co hosting scale. I've had the same thought about owning instead of hosting as you, and thats definitely the longer term plan, just need to find investors to work with since i don't have cash reserves to do down payments :)

What took up most of your time cohosting? I'd assume messaging people would be frequent but easy with saved templates, and turnover would be the biggest point of management. 

@Ben Hooper you would think, right?  I use automated messaging, pricing, and scheduling software that does scale well but you still have to respond to individual guest inquiries, schedule (and deal with) cleaning & linen services, and respond to clients who are constantly second guessing what you do.  I think co-hosting can work but you have to be VERY selective at who you choose to work with and don't be afraid to charge 20%+ even if that is what your competition is charging.  Do a thorough analysis and inspection of every property or you could be dealing with chronic issues from neglectful hosts (i.e. AC constantly runs out) that will affect reviews and hurt revenue.  To answer your question directly, corresponding with clients takes up most of my time.  You have to coach them on insurance, pricing, communication, and everything in between.  If you remove the client and rent the property directly, you remove the part of the business that eats up the most time and allows you to relax and run your business how you want it.  It is no coincidence that the properties I own/rent perform the best and have the best guest experience, by far.  Would be happy to share what automation tools I use to help you get started!  

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