When we started renting our house out through Airbnb.com last year, I got a lot of "how do you feel about strangers staying in your home?" The answer is that you can look at it as "people are sleeping in my bed!!" or you can think "I get to provide a comfy home away from home for visitors and make a little money." As always, attitude is everything.
We are in a weird position at the moment because we're spending half the year in Philly and half in Florida. This makes hosting through Airbnb.com easier in one way because we have vast swathes of availability for bookings, but then, how do we manage the day-to-day of managing? We have an amazing house cleaner who helps us out with this vital aspect of running the place. She "turns over" (cleans and prepares) the house in between guests, is available in case of lost keys, helps us with letting repairmen in, and does all sorts of other little supply runs/returns of lost items to guests/etc. to keep our business running smoothly.
We've learned a lot about setting up this new type of business over the Summer. The whole thing became like one long research project that I felt I could never get ahead of! I'm a worrier, so when it comes to insurance and things like that, I would wake up in the middle of the night with questions like: "What if our house cleaner falls and injures herself?" "What if a guest does?"
Airbnb.com allows a really unique way to make extra income, but also presents a unique set of potential problems that most people wouldn't consider. I'm going to tackle a few of these in my upcoming series: Airbnb.com: Home as a Business. Stay tuned!