I’ve had our tiny backyard cottage as a rental on Airbnb now since June and we’ve had over 20 visitors who’ve been both charmed and confused by the size of the cottage, awed by the location and inspired by the space planning and design. Airbnb is a social website that connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Our cottage (which we remodeled last year) has been enjoyed by people from all over the world as a quiet place to stay while in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.
If things continue to go as well as they do, about 20 percent of our income could come from this rental and this great service, allowing me to not have to work full time anymore. However, it has not been without its ups and downs. Several people have felt that the cottage is too small, the water tank is limited in hot water and the location a little out of the way. Albeit, some visitors have found it perfect for their needs. It can be difficult to include every need and want, but I’ve come up with five tips that could help you rent out your own tiny house on Airbnb.
1. Location, location, location…but not how you think
Our cottage is centrally located to many places: Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite. It’s also out of the city, which allows our visitors to have a quiet getaway while still being about 15 minutes away from groceries and town. However, the majority of our visitors happen to be coming across the country — coming to or from San Francisco. If you market your tiny house as a way station to another location, you could bring in more visitors.
2. Offer a unique experience
A lot of visitors to the cottage were intrigued first by the name of our property and the bright colors of the house. Then they saw that we offered access to wilderness areas (complete with wild horses), a trampoline, plenty of parking, a giant vegetable garden they could peruse and their own kitchen and bathroom.
3. Be an expert in your area
Some of our visitors have been very happy with the advice I’ve given them about our area. I’ve told them the best places to go hiking, the best restaurants in the area and tips on how to avoid crowds. Be an expert in your own area and make yourself available for questions.
4. Check with your insurance and put it in writing
If you list your tiny house with Airbnb, your property is covered for loss or damage due to theft or vandalism caused by an Airbnb guest for up to $1,000,000 (in eligible countries). I also called our insurance company to make sure that we would not be liable for any injury to a guest as long as they were on our property. It turns out that bodily injury is covered under our insurance with any structure on the property. I have a small information packet in the cottage that outlines the rules of the property and for visitors to use our trampoline or swing at their own risk.
5. Be ready for last minute requests
Several of our Airbnb requests have been for that night or the next night. I’ve had to scramble at the last minute to clean the cottage and make it available for the next person. Be prepared for last minute requests and have extras of everything including bedding, towels and bottles of water and make sure the tiny house is heated or cooled depending on the weather.
Many portable building manufacturers are extending their services by designing and building tiny affordable houses with their current equipment and experienced carpenters. One such company is actually a broker and dealer of the largest selection of portable buildings in the NW Arkansas, SW Missouri and NE Oklahoma area. Showcase Sheds & More sells portable storage buildings, portable storage sheds, cabins, greenhouses and now tiny houses like the Irish inspired Dara.
The Dara is a 200 square foot, plus sleeping loft, tiny house on skids. It comes with a full size bathroom, an on-demand water heater and a full kitchen with built in storage, aluminum brushed counters, microwave and stainless steel appliances. There is room for a two burner gas stove/oven that is not included with the house. The living room has a wall of windows, pine tongue and groove flooring and painted bead board. The exterior of the house is sided in western cedar with a galvanized metal roof, and the entire house is wired and plumbed with Pex tubing. Each Dara can be customized per the customer’s requests. Prices range from $16,000 to $26,950 and the company offers a few rent-to-own options. Each of their tiny homes can be build on-site, on a trailer or prebuilt and delivered to its final location.
Showcase also has a few cabin models and a darling Story Book Chalet which can be used as an office or a tiny house. The Story Book includes a 4 foot detachable deck and a custom storybook door. The cabins are also affordable like the 12×24 foot Lakeside Cabin that retails for just under $5,000 for the basic model.
Photos by Showcase Sheds & More
Johnny, one of our readers, sent these photos to me from a recent trip.
Johnny says, “I just returned from a family reunion in rural Nebraska. Here are photos of a honeymoon cottage that was once rented to young newlyweds, now long abandoned to nature. I thought you might appreciate it.”
Thanks Johnny for keeping this feature in mind as you travelled.
We were just featured on our ABC news affiliate here in Portland, Oregon for our vision and involvement in tiny houses. We thought that it might be a nice link for you to share on a slow news day.
We have launched a new 2013 initiative offering three eclectic new and we are offering them in three affordable ways:
- We manufacture and ship a complete kit , ready to assemble $7,500-$9,000.
- We manufacture and assemble the kit at our warehouse or at buyers location. Exterior 100% finished, interior 60% finished. $12,500 – $14,500
- We assemble the kit and then have an affiliate contractor finish the interior to the buyers specification. $15,900 – $18,900
We like these approaches because it allows every person interested in a tiny house or cottage to participate in their own project to whatever extent they are comfortable and it brings the final cost of a cottage down to 50-60% of what people are paying. Continue Reading »