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Posted about 11 years ago

3 Innovative Income Streams for Landlords

Landlords can now offer their services to more people than just their tenants. Boutique hotel, Wi-Fi distribution, and buyer’s club opportunities are wide open to apartment owners of all sizes. Here is how you can get started developing these income streams:  


1.   Tap Into the Hotel Market

Repurposing one or more of your units as a hotel room might be quite lucrative. If your building is in a metropolitan area or near a popular tourist district, you may be able to charge hotel rates instead of apartment rates. Get started by placing an ad on . That is all it takes for your furnished unit to be considered by travelers looking for alternatives to a hotel rooms. Airbnb and other peer-to-peer websites are quickly growing in popularity as people look to share resources and save money.

Alternative hotels attract people looking for comfortable homes away from home where they can save money by cooking for themselves and not paying for a housekeeper. Since airbnb manages your calendar, making it possible for travelers to effortlessly book weeks at a time, the offering should be pleasant for your guest and lucrative for you. Add keyless locks (either a simple combination style or Wi-Fi supported locks) to your doors to simplify the check in/out process.

Reframing how you rent your unit(s) could be an easy way to create more money with your existing asset.

2.   Tap Your Wi-Fi Profit Center

It’s time to take a fresh look at providing Wi-Fi to tenants and surrounding neighbors. Technology is always changing. Now you can install a cloud-managed router that allows multiple users to have their own password-protected accounts and share one broadband access point. These smart router devices intelligently manage bandwidth to direct any unused capacity to whoever needs it at the time.


How does this help you make money? You simply charge a small monthly fee for a newsletter and give subscribers complimentary Wi-Fi access. Structuring yourself in this manner allows you to operate just like a Starbucks or any other business that gives complimentary Wi-Fi to customers.

Super charge your tactic by extending your “newsletter” service to surrounding neighbors. If the neighborhood is densely populated or if you have a powerful Wi-Fi signal, you should be able to generate a sizeable cash flow.


3.   Tap Into the Collaborative Economy

All too often we pay market rates because they don’t collaborate with neighboring landlords or homeowners. A number of profitable opportunities exist for those willing to assemble a buyer’s group. By coordinating neighboring property owners to negotiate group rates on reoccurring expenses, a typical landlord can become an association manager worthy of compensation.


For example, one savvy landlord collects money from her neighbors for landscaping services and pays the gardener $75 less than she collects. She plays the middleman. This same tactic can be used for weed abatement, gutter/window/carpet cleaning, snow removal, etc. The potential deals are endless, but the principle is the same. If your surrounding property owners need a reoccurring service, then you have an additional income opportunity.

Landlords Are Not on Fixed Incomes

Landlords can create additional income by creating savings for travelers, their tenants, and surrounding neighbors. It’s just a matter of extending existing services into new markets. This mindset will help you grow your cash flow even ESPECIALLY during recessionary times.


Al Williamson collects cash flow ideas for landlords. Follow his at

Comments (8)

  1. Matty M happy to inspire. Please don't forget to share the results of your brainstorm. Thanks for chiming in.

  2. Hi Al, The first thing that popped into my mind as well was zoning for nightly rentals with airbnb. However, I love your post. It definitely got me thinking. Thanks ~Matt

  3. Hi Al, Great ideas for ways for landlords to make some extra money. Enjoyed the post! mck

  4. I think cities should allow it. Taxing it like SF might be a bit onerous. There is obviously a demand, and there are many ways around the existing laws. Eventually they will have to address it, like issuing a license. The neighbors could attend the licensing hearing and block it if they had some real issues against it. Enough complaints, you lose your license. Just one possible way to handle it.

  5. Kevin Dickson thanks for chiming in. Yes, gotta look out for gvt. Add San Francisco to your list; the city wants to tax airbnb host. The hotel lobbyists are good at their jobs. Never the less, peer-to-peer opportunities will continue to grow. We landlords just need to figure out how to harness it.

  6. Airbnb is awesome. Personally, I love everything about the concept. Landlords should be pretty careful about it, however. Denver's zoning code doesn't allow this type of use, and some owners were forced to stop operations last year. NYC even passed a law against it Even in Denver and NYC, though, it would still be legal to have a short term "roomate". That means if you are on site, it's OK. Even if the rental is a carriage house in back, that may be OK. The primary way you get busted is by really nosy neighbors calling it in. If the city officials get too many complaints, however, they will start monitoring airbnb and find you that way.

  7. Dave Meyer all the airbnb places that I've used have be self-managed. I did notice that some hosts were very systematic (cleaning staff, etc) and almost had fully booked calendars. They were nearly turnkey. Also, the collaborative economy is really easier than ever to tap now that we have email groups and social media. It took a little effort to get the contact info of the owners surrounding my rental, but hopefully I'll be able to convert that effort into money by creating savings for them. Will report back to you. Thanks for commenting Sir.

  8. Al: Some great food for thought - as always! I toyed with the airbnb concept briefly myself, but the time involved with short-term stays, yikes...perhaps there's a business opportunity...has anyone started airbnb property management? Love the collaborative economy approach, what better way to get everyone good pricing and be able to offer the contractor a group of customers.