How To Start Airbnb With 5K | 4 Ways To Run A Successful Airbnb

February 16, 2024

How to start Airbnb with 5K:

✅ Basic furniture and appliances: $2,200
✅ Utilities and subscriptions: $500
✅ Bathroom and bedroom items: $300
✅ Kitchenware: $250

✅ Consumables: $50

✅ Monthly rent: $1,800

To clarify, this simplified cost breakdown is for the arbitrage business model. That means this is for entrepreneurs who want to start an Airbnb business without owning properties. Of course, a $5K plan can also work for property owners since they won't have to worry about monthly rent. Instead, they can use the money for other expenses. This plan, however, will not work for anyone who still needs to buy a property.

That said, it's worth noting that major costs - such as rent, utilities, and subscriptions - typically differ from one location to another. If you’re aiming to have an Airbnb business with a limited budget, doing extensive research is definitely a must. You want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely, especially as you establish your first Airbnb rental.

With the number of Airbnbs around today, newcomers may find it challenging to compete with long-timers on the platform. That’s why you want to prepare your property well to attract potential customers.

Of course, local lead generation is another excellent online business idea you can pursue. You’re only managing digital real estate for small business owners. Your goal is to boost their search engine ranking using their target keywords. Plus you’re only competing with 20 or so local businesses in their area and you’ll get paid monthly as you continue to deliver quality leads. Clearly, lead generation is a great business model option for earning passive income but with less work and lower risk.

Starting an Airbnb business with $5,000

Starting an Airbnb business with $5,000 is entirely doable. According to online data, the average Airbnb startup cost is at $3,000 to $6,000. A $5,000 budget should help you get off to a good start, as long as you know how to prioritize expenses for your business. 

Basic appliances and furniture: $2,200

Having basic furniture and appliances will make your place comfy for your guests. When starting out, it’s always best to go for a minimalist approach. Keep in mind that most guests are choosing Airbnb over expensive hotels to save money. They usually want to cook their own food and have a space where they can enjoy their meals.

Stick with the essentials to make sure your guests have what they need for food preparation, such as stovetop and oven. A decent sized fridge is also a must, so get one depending on your target demographic. To illustrate, a small fridge is not a good idea if you’re catering to families or groups.

Of course, you also want to have a bed, dresser, tables, chairs, and others. Again, the goal is just to start with the basics. To reduce on expenses, you can temporarily use some of your own and then simply upgrade in the coming months. You can check out local and online sellers to find used furniture or sale items. In any case, prioritize function and durability to get your money’s worth.

Sample breakdown:

  • Fridge: $800
  • Stovetop and oven: $400
  • TV: $500
  • Educational content
  • Furniture: $500

Utilities and subscriptions: $500

Some of the basic utilities you need for your Airbnb include electricity, heating, water, and insurance. Of course, a stable internet connection is likewise a must for most short-term rentals these days. According to Forbes, the average cost of a monthly internet is at $36.66. This can be a cost-effective option but you can also go for higher speed internet for at least $58.12 per month, depending on your area and internet type.

Prepare to spend on home maintenance. Cleaning and repairing the property has to be done regularly as you host different visitors. As for the insurance, costs vary from one provider to another so shop around for the best deals. Also, make sure to check out AirCover for Hosts to avail of $3 million Host damage protection and $1 million Host liability insurance.

Sample cost breakdown:

  • Electricity: $120
  • Heating: $100
  • Internet: $60
  • Water: $55
  • Insurance: $15
  • Maintenance: $150

Bathroom and bedroom items: $300

As mentioned, you want every Airbnb guest to feel at home when they book your space. That’s why you need to provide basic necessities from nice pillows and blankets, to bath towels and bath mats. 

Sample cost breakdown: 

  • Pillow protectors, linens: $100 
  • Polyester blanket: $30
  • Pillow set: $25
  • Bath towels, bath mats, shower curtain, etc: $75
  • Trash bin: $5
  • Iron and ironing board: $65

Kitchenware: $250

Of course, no Airbnb unit is complete without ample kitchenware. Plates, bowls, mugs, and silverware are all must-haves. Additionally, you want to provide them with pots, pans, knives, can openers, peelers, and others. Most Airbnb guests prefer preparing their own meals rather than buying food all the time.

Sample cost breakdown:

  • Pots and pans: $100
  • Plates, bowls, and mugs: $30
  • Spoon & fork set: $20
  • Kitchen knife set: $50
  • Can opener, peeler: $25
  • Pot holders, over mitts: $25
  • Consumables: $50

Consumables: $50

Lastly, you also want to leave consumables for your customers. Instead of leaving soap and shampoo in the bathroom, however, a nice idea would be to pack all consumables in a basket and leave them as a welcome gift. Guests usually appreciate the gesture and often mention it in their reviews.

Sample cost breakdown:

  • Shampoo and conditioner: $12
  • Bath soap: $10
  • Toilet paper: $10
  • Liquid dish detergent: $5
  • Laundry detergent: $13

Monthly Rent: $1,800

For non-property owners, subleasing or rental arbitrage is the best way to start on Airbnb. This means renting a property under your name and then offering it to guests on the Airbnb platform. When taking this route, seek permission from your landlord so they’re fully aware of your plan to engage in business. Also, keep in mind that some cities have strict regulations (or entirely prohibit) about listing a property for short term rental. So check local government websites to find out about required licenses and permits, if any.

According to apartment search website RentCafe, the average rent for an 897-square feet apartment in the United States today is $1,702. Meanwhile, Oklahoma state has the most affordable rent in the United States, averaging at $957 a month. Arkansas and North Dakota come next at $987 and $1,011 respectively. Statista likewise reports that the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the country is currently at $1,320. So yes, having $1,800 should be more than enough to get you a nice property for your Airbnb business. There are cheaper or pricier alternatives out there for both apartments and houses. 

 For example, Airbnb host and YouTuber Moises Rosales points out that renting an apartment for up to $2,000 a month can be worth it if it’s in a prime location. With this, you can list the property on Airbnb for $200 per night and even upcharge if your customers are bringing extra guests. “You are the host, you make the rules,” he adds.

Again, property owners need not worry about this section since they don't have to pay monthly rent. They can simply use the extra money for other upgrades and furnishings for their property.

What are the pros and cons of starting an Airbnb business with 5K?


A great source of income. With Airbnb, you get to earn extra money with each booking. It’s definitely a quicker and easier way to dip your toe in the real estate business.

No need for long waits before you can receive your payment. Unlike a traditional long term rental, you won’t have to wait for a month before you can or so to earn. You’ll be able to collect your payout 24 hours after the scheduled check-in time of your guests.

You instantly become part of a giant industry. The Airbnb market continues to grow each year, with over 4 million Airbnb hosts and 6 million active listings across the world. Demand is also increasing as more and more areas are embracing the platform as a practical alternative to costly hotel accommodations.

It’s more flexible than a long-term rental. With Airbnb, you can choose your customers based on host reviews. Plus you can decide which days to offer your property. It shouldn’t be a problem if you or your relatives need to use the space for a while.


You’ll have to keep finding guests all the time. That said, you still definitely want most of your days to get booked on Airbnb. So you have to market your listing constantly. You’ll have to use social media strategically to gain attention from your target market. This can consume much of your time as an Airbnb newbie and you can’t expect numerous bookings, especially if your property doesn’t have a lot of positive reviews yet.

Maintaining your first Airbnb can take a lot of work. You'll have to do everything at first, especially if you’re only running one unit and can't afford to hire a property manager yet. Some of your primary responsibilities include responding to inquiries, managing bookings, and dealing with customer concerns. To save on expenses, some Airbnb hosts even handle cleaning tasks.

Possible legal issues on short term rentals. Some areas are suddenly implementing strict regulations, if not total bans, on Airbnb and other short term rental platforms. For example, New York City made headlines after the city fined one Airbnb listing for $1 million. Florence, Italy and Penang, Malaysia have also announced a ban on short term rentals in their locations. This can be a problem for you as an Airbnb host.

How do I run a successful Airbnb?

To run a successful Airbnb, you’ll need to:

✅ Know your target market
✅ Set your pricing
✅ Stay updated with local regulations
✅ Scale your business by listing more properties

1. Know your target market

Before even listing with Airbnb, you’ll need to decide on the type of tenants you want to accommodate on your property. Are you targeting tourists or business travelers? Are you hoping to attract couples or small groups? Determining your target demographic early on will allow you to provide a satisfying experience for your guests. It will likewise help you to decide which furnishings and amenities are best for your property in the first place. For example, you’ll need to have baby chairs if you’re advertising your unit as family-friendly.

2. Set your pricing

Market research is key to pricing your rental property the right way. Observe similar listings in your area so you don’t overprice or underprice. Make sure to consider the type of property, the property size, and the amenities you provide. Also, keep in mind that it’s usually appropriate to adjust prices on weekends, holidays, and special events to maximize your revenue potential.

Of course, location is another key factor. For example, you can expect to charge higher rates if your Airbnb is located near a popular tourist destination.

3. Stay updated with local regulations

As an Airbnb host, it’s important to keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations on short term rentals. Different cities have different laws about offering properties for short term and vacation rental, so make sure you’re always well-informed.

Check out local government websites to find out if there are any required licenses and special permits for Airbnb properties. Are there any building codes or zoning rules you need to observe? Also, learn about landlord-tenant laws to know your rights and responsibilities. Seek legal assistance and expert advice, if needed.

4. Scale your business by listing more properties

To succeed as an Airbnb entrepreneur, don’t stop with having just a single property. As you gain experience and learn more about the business, look for other properties you can rent and offer on the platform.

Besides, most successful hosts have multiple properties listed on Airbnb. For example, Million Dollar Renter founder Sean Rakidzich doesn’t own a property but has 155 listings across 8 cities. Today, he makes a monthly earning of over $200,000.

How much can you earn on Airbnb?

You can earn up to $59,296 a year on Airbnb. According to ZipRecruiter, this is the average annual salary for Airbnb Hosts in the United States, while some are making anywhere from $15,500 to $252,000 per year.

The job marketplace website also mentions that the US cities with highest average annual earnings for Airbnb hosts are San Mateo, CA ($74,728), Green River, WY ($72,697), and Richmond, CA ($69,943). Meanwhile, the top states with the highest annual earnings on Airbnb are Hawaii ($73,247), Tennessee($67,510), and Arizona ($60,448.00).

Again, potential income usually depends on various factors such as the property type and size, the location, and your overall strategy as a host.

4 ways to start on Airbnb with no money

For those short of money and wondering how to start on Airbnb with no money, here are some ideas:

✅ Use your vacant property
✅ Find open rentals in your area
✅ Be a property manager
✅ Provide Airbnb Experiences

1. Use your vacant property

If you have a vacant property, you can make money by offering it on Airbnb. With this, you won’t have to rent a property anymore. You can immediately proceed with creating an Airbnb account and building your listing. Just take time to clean the space before taking photos and posting it online.

2. Find open rentals in your area

If there are open rentals in your area, talk with the owners and ask if they’re interested about listing their properties on Airbnb. Busy owners are usually willing to allow Airbnb experts to offer their properties for short term rentals so they can make extra money. Moreover, they’re more than willing to share their earnings as long as you put in the needed work to be listed on the platform.

3. Be a property manager

Another way to earn from Airbnb with zero budget is to work as a property manager. If you have previous Airbnb hosting experience, you can offer your services to property owners. Your responsibilities will include finding clients, handling bookings, responding to customer inquiries, managing schedules, and optimizing Airbnb listings. Depending on your skill and level of involvement, you can earn anywhere from 5% to 40% from the rental fee. ‍

4. Provide Airbnb Experiences

With Airbnb Experiences, you are designing and leading your guests to experiencing unique sites and activities in your city. This could include visiting local museums, attending wellness sessions, checking out popular tourist spots, and more.

Related Articles on Airbnb and Vacation Rental Industry

  • 15 Best Cities for Airbnb Arbitrage - What are the best US cities for Airbnb arbitrage this year? We share with you some of the top locations for having a profitable Airbnb business.
  • How To Earn 6 Figures In 6 Months On Airbnb Without Owning Properties - Some Airbnb professionals have proven it can be done. Earning 6 figures within 6 months is possible but how do you do it? We list down your best options.
  • 14 Best Airbnb Arbitrage Courses - With the many Airbnb arbitrage courses out there, we help you narrow down the best ones to take. We list down the pros and cons of each of the top courses namely Airbnb Empire Academy (by Derek Cheung), BNB Freedom University (by Nikki Ferdinand), Airbnb Freedom Fast Track (by Jonathan Farber) and many more.
  • Airbnb Arbitrage Pros and Cons - What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Airbnb arbitrage business model? We discuss that, plus how much you need to start and how much you can potentially earn. 
  • Glamping Business Income - Glamping is a growing global trend in the vacation rental industry. But how much can you earn and how do you boost your earnings even more? We show you in this article. 

Conclusion: Is it worth it to invest in Airbnb?

Investing in Airbnb is worth it and is an excellent way to diversify your income. It can be a great entry point to the real estate industry without buying properties. You can start with $5,000 and then expand from there as you gain experience and skills in hosting an Airbnb property.

That said, Airbnb is not a get-rich-quick scheme and it may take a while before you can achieve a good number of bookings and positive reviews. Initially, this may mean paying for rent, utilities, and other expenses without earning much in the first few months. Competition can be stiff so you also have to learn how to position yourself in the market.

With the lead generation business model, you can immediately make money online even as a beginner. As long as you can rank websites on search engine results and deliver organic traffic, business owners will be more than happy to rent your sites for their advantage. In return, you get paid a handsome income each month as you bring them quality leads.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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