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Couple Earns Over $20K Listing Tiny Home On Airbnb


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Couple Earns Over $20K Listing Tiny Home On Airbnb

With a bit of hard work and a whole lot of dedication, Jilan and Josh Wise were able to collect a hefty profit in less than a year by listing their tiny home on Airbnb.  The Las Vegas couple lived in the less than 200-square-foot abode, lovingly referred to as the ‘Blue Baloo’ with their two kids and two dogs for about two years before moving into a traditional home. 

Unwilling to part with the tiny home, the duo parked the unit in the backyard of their new Las Vegas home and decided make some extra cash by listing the Blue Baloo on Airbnb. Their efforts paid off when they ended the 2019 year off with $21,000, after expenses.

Preparing their tiny home before listing

The Wise’s tiny home was designed by Josh.  He put his master’s in architecture to good use, constructing an off-grid home complete with two loft bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room.   Aside from a few additions, there weren’t any major projects or renovations required to make the Blue Baloo ready for renting.  

“Everything was nice and taken care of, and because we are the way we are, we didn’t have to buy a lot of extra stuff,” Jilan said. 

Instead, the couple spent about $1,000 on household items like water filters, towels, hand towels, and rugs, plus small furniture items like a small fireplace and a bookshelf.

How they became Superhosts on Airbnb

Within a month of listing their tiny home on Airbnb, Jilan and Josh had bookings each week, especially on the weekends. They made $1,200 their first month in February 2019 and also earned Superhost status. They hit peak earnings in May 2019 with $3,700. Per month, they pulled in at least $2000. They maintained a Superhost badge and a 4.9-star rating throughout the year.

“We wanted as many people in that tiny house as we could because it’s an introduction to this lifestyle that we believe is the future of housing,” Jilan said. “It was totally worth it. The people that we met were amazing.”

There were a number of factors that contributed to the Wise’s success, most of which were attributed to the couple’s savvy business tactics. The following bullet points detail these strategies.

  • “Some of the success came from keeping it affordable,” Jilan said. “I don’t remember a weekend that we didn’t have somebody stay with us. It was a constant flow.” The Blue Baloo could be rented out for $95-$125 per night, with an additional $25 cleaning fee.  
  • Unlike many hotels and resorts, the rental had no minimum stay requirement. If staying one night, guests checked in at 3-4 PM and checked out the following day at 11 AM. Besides eliminating customer restraints on reservations, overnight stays allowed for quick turn-around times, giving plenty of hours for the couple to tidy up before the new arrival.
  • Speaking of cleaning, the Wise couple made sure to thoroughly clean the tiny home from corner to corner and top to bottom, ensuring that items were back in their original spots and organized.
  • It was key to stay on top of customer inquiries. Utilizing the Airbnb host app, Jilan made it a point to immediately respond to customer questions or reservations. Interested parties received instant replies from a helpful, reliable host. People don’t like to wait when they are making plans.
  • It’s the little things that matter and the couple took measures to acclimate their guests to the area and showcase special businesses. They created a local guide that included bars, restaurants, and shops tourists might otherwise glance over. Their intent was to not only introduce guests to the “local scene” but also helped boost the local economy.
  • To personalize each stay, Jilan and Joah created welcome gifts as well. These included anything from wine and chocolates to “hangover kits.”
  • Providing a tiny home as a getaway is a unique experience for many. Jilan mentioned that several of the guests were interested in the tiny house movement and wanted more insight by actually staying in one. “We attracted a very specific kind of person,” she said. “Most of the time, it was folks who were interested in the movement, curious about solar, or excited to see an off-grid unit in the middle of the city.”
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Bedroom in the loft

Lessons learned from the first year

Renting out their tiny home on Airbnb had its little hiccups. Most of the guests were very respectful and enjoyed their stay. Others were downright reckless and thoughtless, causing damage, sometimes rather pricey to repair. Fortunately, the couple was able to repair and clean up these disasters themselves. Out of the $3500 in damage, they were able to recoup half of that through Airbnb.

In the video below, Jilan Wise talks about some of these horror stories on her YouTube channel, Far Out Tiny Homes.

How to list your tiny home on Airbnb

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a host on Airbnb, visit their page, Become a host. The company offers step-by-step instructions on getting started and includes advice from other hosts.

See also:

Author Natalie Henley Avatar

Natalie Henley

Natalie Flores-Henley and her husband, Levi Henley, workamp around the country in their 26-foot motorhome. Along with writing for RV magazines, they recently published their first book together, Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It. They share their experiences and RV-related tips on their own blog henleyshappytrails.com as well as videos on their YouTube Channel, also called Henley's Happy Trails.

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