How To Make Money On Airbnb Without Owning Property: 10 Best Ways

Khyati Hooda
By Khyati Hooda 26 Min Read

The Airbnb platform isn’t just for property owners—it’s a goldmine for the savvy entrepreneur looking to make money without a mortgage commitment. 

Since its inception, it has exploded into a global phenomenon, boasting over 5.6 million listings worldwide as of 2023, transforming how we perceive travel accommodations.

Worry not if you’ve been eyeing the short-term rental market but lack the real estate. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through concrete, actionable ways how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. 

Understanding the Landscape of Airbnb Business 

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Airbnb’s disruptive business model has redefined hospitality, enabling virtually anyone to become part of the sharing economy. 

For enterprising individuals asking, “how to make money on Airbnb without owning property?” the platform presents multiple pathways.

But before you begin, it’s crucial to grasp the legal landscape and market conditions that come with such opportunities. 

Legal Considerations: Before diving into rental arbitrage or other Airbnb money-making strategies, it’s essential to understand and comply with local laws and regulations around short-term rentals.

  • Zoning Laws: Check if the area is zoned for short-term rentals.
  • Lease Agreements: Ensure you have the right to sublet if you’re renting.
  • City Ordinances: Be aware of any city-specific ordinances that could affect your ability to host on Airbnb.

Assessing Market Saturation: Prior to starting, assess the market saturation to gauge potential profitability.

  • Local Demand: Research the number of Airbnb listings in your area and their occupancy rates.
  • Seasonal Trends: Identify peak tourism seasons to understand when demand might spike.
  • Competition: Look at the features and prices of existing Airbnb listings to see how you can stand out.

Understanding these factors is a crucial first step in learning how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. 

Considering the legalities and market dynamics, you’re better positioned to identify the most viable and profitable strategies for your Airbnb business venture.

How To Make Money On Airbnb Without Owning Property

From leveraging rental arbitrage to becoming a go-to property manager or an experienced host, we’ll show you how it’s possible to turn Airbnb into a profitable endeavor without holding a property deed. 

Let’s get started.

1. Airbnb Rental Arbitrage 

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Airbnb rental arbitrage is a strategic approach to the sharing economy where individuals rent properties intending to sublease them as vacation rentals. 

The core idea is simple yet powerful: the income from Airbnb listings should exceed rent costs and any other operational expenses. 

Here’s a deeper dive into how this approach works and what you must consider.

Legal Considerations and Landlord Agreements

Before diving headfirst into this venture, understanding the legalities is crucial. Not all cities smile upon subletting and doing so could contravene local regulations. To navigate this:

  • Check the legal landscape in your chosen city to ensure you’re not stepping over any boundaries.
  • Always secure permission from the property owner. A transparent discussion can lead to an agreement that benefits both parties, allowing you to use their property as a lucrative Airbnb rental.

Ignoring these steps is not advisable as it could lead to eviction or legal action. Nonetheless, with proper agreements, Airbnb rental arbitrage can be an excellent entry point into the rental market.

Pros and Cons of Airbnb Arbitrage


  • Requires less capital to start since you don’t need to own a property.
  • Potential to keep 100% of the rental income, unlike property management models where you earn a percentage of the owner’s income.


  • Rising local laws against subletting can narrow down potential markets.
  • Securing a landlord’s permission for subletting on Airbnb might be challenging.

Earning Potential in Airbnb Arbitrage

The profitability of Airbnb rental arbitrage largely depends on your chosen location and the size of your property portfolio. Success means finding a sweet spot where you can still pocket a handsome profit, ideally around $2,000 per month after expenses.

According to insights from AirDNA, markets like Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, Nashville, and Jacksonville offer some of the highest potentials for rental arbitrage. Their data also suggests that larger properties tend to present more opportunities for rental arbitrage success.

If the cards are played right, and with a thorough understanding of the market dynamics, rental arbitrage can potentially multiply your initial expenses by three, making it an attractive and lucrative model for how to make money on Airbnb without owning property.

2. Short-Term Rental Property Management

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

The surge in the vacation rental industry has created a substantial need for short-term rental property managers. 

This role offers flexibility and financial opportunity for those wondering how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. A property manager‘s duties are comprehensive and pivotal for the smooth operation of Airbnb rentals. 

Here’s an outline of what the role involves:

Core Responsibilities of an Airbnb Property Manager

  • Client Liaison: Address the needs of property owners and ensure their expectations are met.
  • Booking Management: Handling reservation confirmations and maintaining an organized schedule.
  • Guest Relations: Communicating effectively with guests, from pre-booking inquiries to post-checkout follow-ups.
  • Operational Oversight: Overseeing the check-in process, supervising cleaning, and completing maintenance tasks.
  • Marketing Mastery: Developing and executing marketing strategies, including creating digital brochures and other promotional materials.
  • Quality Assurance: Conducting property inspections to maintain high rental standards.

Legal and Educational Pathways

To kickstart your career as a rental manager:

  • Research the specific legal requirements for property managers in your state, such as necessary licenses.
  • Even if not legally required, consider furthering your education in property management to enhance your expertise and competitiveness in the market.

Pros and Cons of Being a Short-Term Rental Manager


  • Flexible working hours offer a balance between professional and personal life.
  • No need for personal property investment to start managing Airbnb rentals.


  • The potential expense of further education and certifications.
  • Managing multiple properties can be demanding and time-consuming.

Incorporating Technology for Efficiency

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

To manage the workload effectively, embracing technology is key. Utilize vacation rental software like iGMS to:

  • Coordinate tasks and streamline operations across various booking platforms.
  • Enhance guest communication with automated messaging.
  • Simplify the management of cleaning and maintenance schedules.
  • Securely process payments and generate insightful business reports.

Earning Potential

The income for a short-term rental property manager can vary. 

As of mid-2023, the average salary in the U.S. is around $43,908, with a typical range between $34,655 and $55,331. Your earnings can fluctuate based on the properties you manage, the commission rates you negotiate, and the additional services you provide.

Short-term rental property management is a viable option for those learning how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. 

With the right blend of skills, dedication, and sophisticated management tools, you can carve out a profitable career in this rapidly expanding field.

3. Become an Airbnb Co-host

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Becoming an Airbnb co-host is a strategic stepping stone for those intrigued by how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. 

Co-hosts are essentially the right-hand persons to Airbnb hosts, helping to carry out daily operational tasks and ensuring guests have delightful stays. 

If you’re eyeing an entry into the Airbnb market, here’s what the co-hosting role entails:

Key Responsibilities of an Airbnb Co-host

  • Booking Confirmation: Ensuring all reservations are confirmed and properly scheduled.
  • Guest Correspondence: Maintaining clear and consistent communication with guests before, during, and after their stay.
  • Operational Management: Overseeing the check-in and checkout processes, managing property inspections, and organizing cleaning and maintenance.
  • Supply Management: Keeping essential items fully stocked, from toiletries to kitchen essentials.
  • Feedback Management: Writing thoughtful and timely reviews for guests to maintain the property’s reputation.

Pros and Cons of Co-hosting on Airbnb


  • Flexible hours, allowing for better work-life integration.
  • No license or formal qualification is needed to start as a co-host.


  • Typically, co-hosting is less lucrative than being the main Airbnb host.
  • Income is variable and can fluctuate based on booking rates and host agreements.

Earning Potential as a Co-host

As a co-host, earnings are typically a percentage of each booking:

  • Co-hosts usually make between 10-20% of the booking fees. For example, co-hosting a property that brings in $30,000 annually could result in earnings of about $3,000 to $6,000.
  • If you’re responsible for most hosting duties, your take could increase to as much as 25% per booking.

Co-hosting presents an appealing opportunity for those who seek an introduction to the Airbnb industry without the financial commitment of property ownership. It offers an introduction to the business with the potential to learn, grow, and expand your role within the vacation rental market.

4. Airbnb Consultancy

For those with seasoned experience in managing Airbnb rentals and a knack for mentorship, becoming an Airbnb consultant could be a lucrative pathway in how to make money on Airbnb without owning property narrative. 

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

This role leverages your expertise in the field to assist other hosts in optimizing their listings, enhancing guest experiences, and even navigating the buy-and-sell aspects of the short-term rental market. 

Here’s what to consider if you’re contemplating this venture:

  • Strategic Planning: Helping hosts devise strategies to boost their bookings and improve listing visibility.
  • Market Analysis: Conducting purchasing and selling decisions based on thorough market research.
  • Branding and Marketing: Utilizing marketing prowess to establish a personal brand and attract clients.
  • Niche Specialization: Identifying and focusing on a specific niche in the Airbnb market to offer targeted advice and services.

Pros and Cons of Airbnb Consultancy


  • A low initial investment is required to start your consultancy business.
  • Opportunity to be recognized as a thought leader and expert in the field.


  • Prior success and experience as an Airbnb host are crucial to credibility.
  • A high level of self-motivation and discipline is necessary for success.

Earning Potential as an Airbnb Consultant

  • On average, Airbnb consultants can expect to make around $61,000 annually in the U.S.
  • For those who reach a senior level, the hourly wage can be as high as $82.46, significantly above the national average.

Becoming an Airbnb consultant allows you to cash in on your experience and knowledge, offering services that can significantly impact the success of other hosts. 

It’s a role that capitalizes on the growing Airbnb market and allows for professional growth and personal branding as an expert in this field.

5. Airbnb Cleaning Service

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Starting a cleaning service tailored for Airbnb properties presents a unique entrepreneurial opportunity how to make money on Airbnb without owning property niche. 

Hosts often outsource cleaning, which makes it a high-demand service. 

Here’s what you need to know to get your cleaning service up and running:

  • Market Research: Analyze competitor services and industry standards to understand what hosts expect.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Investigate any state-specific licensing, insurance requirements, and cleaning standards.
  • Expense Planning: Account for the costs of cleaning products, tools, labor, and promotional activities.

Pros and Cons of an Airbnb Cleaning Business


  • Consistent demand for cleaning services among Airbnb hosts.
  • Lower startup costs compared to other types of hospitality-related ventures.


  1. Marketing efforts will be paramount for business growth.
  2. Building and maintaining a reliable cleaning crew is crucial for sustained success.

Potential Revenue from an Airbnb Cleaning Business

  • Airbnb cleaners typically earn an hourly wage of about $18.72, higher than the national average due to specialized demands.
  • Self-employed cleaners aim for at least $25 per hour to maintain a decent living wage.
  • Monthly earnings can range widely from $900 to $7,700, with the total profit depending on your pricing strategy and the volume of business you handle.

As the owner of an Airbnb cleaning service, the profit potential is significant. By efficiently managing your business, charging competitive rates, and ensuring high-quality service, your enterprise can become a sought-after solution for Airbnb hosts looking to enhance their guest experience through immaculate properties.

6. Hosting Airbnb Experiences

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Hosting an Airbnb Experience unlocks the potential to monetize your expertise, hobbies, or unique skills without needing real estate investment. 

This Airbnb feature offers travelers authentic, memorable activities beyond the standard tourist offerings, managed by locals passionate about their craft or expertise.

The Essentials of Hosting an Airbnb Experience:

  • Unique Offerings: Think cooking classes, historical walking tours, yoga sessions, or photography workshops.
  • Online Experiences: With the advent of remote interactions, you can now host experiences virtually.

Pros and Cons of Being an Airbnb Experiences Host


  • Leverage your knowledge or hobby to create an engaging, profitable experience.
  • Online Experiences allow you to connect with guests worldwide without leaving your home.


  • Depending on the activity and local regulations, some experiences may require a professional or business license.
  • You must be adept in your Experience to ensure guest satisfaction and safety.

Earning Potential as an Airbnb Experiences Host

  • Hosts can set their prices, typically ranging between $25 to $150 per participant.
  • The introduction of Online Experiences can significantly boost earning potential. According to Airbnb, successful hosts have earned upwards of $20,000.

The scope of earnings will largely depend on the uniqueness of your experience, your marketing efforts, and the level of demand. 

However, with the right concept and execution, hosting an Airbnb Experience can be a fruitful and enjoyable venture.

7. Become a Part of a Vacation Rental Franchise

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Joining a vacation rental franchise can be an appealing option for those looking to tap into the Airbnb market with the backing of an established brand. 

This route offers a blend of entrepreneurship and corporate support, potentially easing the transition into the vacation rental industry.

The fundamentals of vacation rental franchises:

  • Franchise License: You’ll be licensed to operate under a known brand.
  • Territorial Rights: Franchises typically offer protected territories for their franchisees.
  • Support Systems: Expect to receive training and ongoing assistance.

Pros and Cons of Acquiring a Vacation Rental Franchise


  • Benefit from established systems and processes.
  • Leverage the franchisor’s market presence.
  • Gain access to comprehensive support and training programs.


  • Must adhere to the franchisor’s guidelines and policies.
  • Franchises require upfront fees, which can be substantial.
  • Franchise contracts often lock you into multi-year commitments.

Earnings and Considerations for Franchisees

  • Earnings depend on the franchise’s business model, location, and operational efficiency.
  • Initial fees range from $55,000 to $100,000, with additional ongoing royalties.

When contemplating a franchise, carefully evaluate the brand’s strength, support structure, and potential return on investment. 

It’s also prudent to conduct due diligence on the franchisor’s track record and speak to existing franchisees about their experiences. 

A thorough analysis can help determine whether joining a vacation rental franchise aligns with your financial goals and personal commitment level.

8. Airbnb Photography

Delving into the world of Airbnb, one unique opportunity to earn income is to specialize as a professional photographer for Airbnb listings.

There are a couple of pathways to consider for those interested in this field. You can showcase your photography services on platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, or Instagram, or aim to join Airbnb’s own roster of freelance listing photographers. 

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property
how to make money on Airbnb without owning property
how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Airbnb offers an application form for photographers aspiring to be featured on their platform.

Regardless of the path chosen, a solid grasp of interior and architectural photography is crucial. Investing time in learning about optimal lighting, staging, and camera settings is essential to capture spaces in their best light.

Pros and Cons of Being an Airbnb Photographer:


  • This role often comes with the ability to set your own hours.
  • There’s the potential for work to take you to a variety of locations, possibly offering travel experiences.


  • High-quality photography gear can be a significant upfront cost.
  • You must actively market your services to maintain a steady stream of clients.

Earning Potential for an Airbnb Photographer:

Income can vary widely based on experience, location, and demand. On average, a professional Airbnb photographer might see annual earnings of around $50,000. Hourly rates could range from $31 to $94, influenced by portfolio quality and market saturation factors.

9. Airbnb Referral Program to Earn Credits

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

Discovering how to make money on Airbnb without owning property can be as simple as utilizing the Airbnb Referral Program, a user-friendly option accessible to any registered Airbnb user.

Upon creating an Airbnb account, you are granted a unique referral link. This link is a gateway to earning credits by sharing it with friends, family, or your network.

Pros and Cons of Using the Airbnb Referral Program:


  • Your referred contacts receive a $55 credit for their first booking, and you gain a $25 credit in return.
  • If you refer someone who becomes a new Airbnb host, you can earn a $100 credit when they list their property.


  • The rewards are credits towards bookings, not cash you can use for everyday expenses.
  • The benefit you receive is contingent on your contacts’ actions and their interest in using Airbnb.

This program is particularly beneficial for those who love travel, as the credits can significantly subsidize accommodation expenses, providing delightful financial relief during vacations.

10. Renting Out Your Spare Room, Couch, or Space on Airbnb

If you’re contemplating how to make money on Airbnb without owning property, consider renting out your spare room, couch, or even just an area in your residence. 

This strategy allows homeowners and renters to capitalize on unused living space by welcoming travelers for short stays.

how to make money on Airbnb without owning property

The prestige of Superhost status brings numerous advantages, such as increased visibility on Airbnb, higher chances of bookings, and more trust from guests, which could lead to further revenue-generating opportunities within the Airbnb ecosystem, even for those not owning properties.

Pros and Cons of Renting Out Spare Space on Airbnb:


  • Minimal initial expenses and no risks associated with property ownership.
  • Freedom to choose when to rent out your space.
  • Opportunity to meet diverse people from around the world.
  • Possibility of achieving Superhost status, enhancing your reputation and potential earnings on the platform.


  • Sharing your living area can lead to potential privacy issues.
  • It’s important to think about the safety of both the host and guests.
  • Need to handle guest expectations and enforce rules.
  • Requires commitment to regular cleaning and maintenance of the space.

Getting Started with Your Listing:

To begin, first investigate the local demand and competition by reviewing existing listings in your area. Such offerings are commonly found in locales with a steady influx of tourists. 

Next, craft a compelling Airbnb listing that showcases the unique attributes of your space, ensuring it stands out. Finally, set a competitive price that reflects the value of what you’re offering.


Earning on Airbnb doesn’t always require property ownership or a hefty investment. 

Today, you can carve out a successful career within the Airbnb ecosystem, with opportunities ranging from side hustles to full-time ventures, regardless of your prior experience. 

Whether you’re interested in rental arbitrage, property management, co-hosting, consulting, or cleaning, each strategy offers a way to profit from Airbnb’s booming market.

Take the leap today and start your journey on how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. Identify your strengths, weigh your options, and venture into Airbnb’s lucrative world. 


Can I start an Airbnb business without owning any property?

Absolutely! You can start an Airbnb business without property by engaging in rental arbitrage, renting and sublet properties, or by managing and co-hosting existing Airbnb listings, requiring no ownership.

Is it possible to become an Airbnb entrepreneur as an investor?

Yes, you can understand how to start an Airbnb business as an investor by partnering with property owners. You can partner with property owners to lease out Airbnb properties or start a business that provides services to Airbnb hosts, like cleaning or maintenance, to earn within the Airbnb ecosystem.

How to make money on Airbnb without owning property?

You can profit from Airbnb without owning property by managing or co-hosting for others, offering cleaning services, or consulting on Airbnb listings and operations without needing property ownership.

How can I generate a steady income on Airbnb without purchasing real estate?

Secure a regular income by practicing rental arbitrage or managing properties for others, which provides a stable flow of earnings without investing in real estate yourself.

What creative strategies can I use to enter the Airbnb market without direct property investment?

Besides rental arbitrage and property management, you can enter the Airbnb market creatively by hosting experiences or becoming a local Airbnb consultant. These strategies allow you to tap into the short-term rental industry without owning property.

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Khyati is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and a personal finance expert.Building on her achievements, Khyati wrote two acclaimed books: "Failure's Gold," exploring success through hardship, and "Tomorrow's Wallet" on the future of money management.Her work has also been featured by LinkedIn, PPC Hero, Social Pilot, and Training Mag.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more - successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more – successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.
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