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Additional fees for events?

Dear Airhost hive mind,
I’m writing to see if people have any wisdom they can share about how to charge and establish contractual terms for events like birthdays, BBQs and other gatherings from about 10-50 people. We rent a house that has a large deck and back yard. We now get about a dozen requests a year to host small to medium-size parties and receptions at the house (almost all in the summer and in the backyard). To date we haven’t charged extra or even stated any kind of formal policy except that these events need to be approved by us in advance (we also decline things like weddings). The house is old (charming!) and so I don’t worry so much about damage to the house. Ideally we’d have:

  • a standard policy so that the terms are clear at the outset for guests (e.g., number of people, volume, clean up, parking, etc.)
  • a standard way to price this so we capture some additional value for the additional service of being an event space
  • some policy about supplemental insurance to cover the additional liability
    Have any of you wrestled with these issues and found good solutions?
    Thanks in advance!
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I would never go there but maybe you can find a separate company that plans and books events and weddings and such and could book through you? Then you would have all the paperwork and such go through them. You would have to have an insurance rider for this and I bet it won’t be cheap. I think the only way to make this worth all the trouble and risk is to charge through the nose.

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I suppose the best way to handle this is to have a note in your listing to contact you for pricing based on the number of guests and then you can send them a special offer.

We have had a few such requests to host wedding receptions, pre-wedding staging, and a few birthday or graduation party requests. Work it out via messenger and go from there.

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Beware that some people may send you a message asking for a DISCOUNT because they won’t be staying the night. Get real! Cleanup for 20, 30, or 40 people is massive regardless of whether of not they are staying the night.

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I like the idea from @konacoconutz to hook up with local event planners! But you could also, if you are willing to rent it out this way, make a special listing for it so it could have different pricing. If the main objective is the event, then you will want to highlight photos showing the amenities and areas that create the ideal situation for the event, and maybe even a photo or two of actual events! You could maybe just label/title it a bit differently, for instance, if your current title is “Charming Rural Home”, change it to, “Charming Rural Home For Your Event” (I’m not a creative writer). That way, your rules can be completely different as well as price. If people still request to book through the home listing and not the Event listing, you can try to redirect them through the email system, even though it won’t let you post a direct link.

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Thanks for the feedback. I will reach out to an event planner in the area to get a better sense of pricing and other concerns but I don’t think it makes sense to bring in a third party for this small number of transactions. For now, we’re going to experiment with the following:

  • separate contract for events (using a template found online)
  • contract will specify clear terms for parking, cleaning, loudness, etc.
  • start with modest fee of about $5 per estimated attendee (possibly more for smaller bookings and possibly free for folks who already are paying a large amount for house rental)
  • charge an extra cleaning fee but with expectation that house will still be returned in original condition after event, maybe something like $50-$100
  • charge a one day event insurance fee (at cost), purchased online, guessing about $50-100
  • require an extra deposit (say $500)
  • add language to Airbnb page that events are a separate transaction

So, for a party estimated at 50 people, the costs might be about $250 space fee, $50 cleaning fee, $100 insurance and refundable $500 deposit.

I have had event requests but always deny them - I do not want my property trashed with groups of people. I think people look for airbnb’s as a very cheap alternative to renting an event space.

Just MHO…but that is waaaaaaaaaay too cheap. Think of the impact of 50 guests!! $50 cleaning? So even at $10 per hour, you could clean up a place in five hours? I charge $85 just to clean a small apartment.

I would ask no less than $1000 for an event catering to 50 people. I’d ask a $200 cleaning… And if there is insurance of $100 I would mark it up to $300. Seriously, you’d be giving this away for a lot of work and very little return.

Depending on where you are located you could get immediate flak from neighbors. If a guy on my street suddenly opened up an event business I’d be calling authorities so fast it would make your head spin.

Are you sure you really want to expose yourself to all this potential trouble? I certainly wouldn’t …not for 250 small smacakroos. :smile:

Declining all events to avoid possible risks is a perfectly reasonable choice as is charging a lot more and discouraging all but the most committed. I probably should have been more clear that the sorts of events we’re talking about are really more like picnics (e.g., people standing around on a deck and in a back yard). Declining everything and/or charging a lot more doesn’t really solve our problem of wanting to better manage low-risk, moderate return opportunities. For example, we’ve had some families book our whole house for a week or longer (which is good money for us). During that time they’ve asked to host something like a BBQ for 30 people. As they’ve rented the whole house for multiple days we’ve been fairly flexible about allowing small-to-medium sized gatherings. The opportunity to host is also part of why some people book with us. So far it’s worked out fairly well but it’s not sufficiently standardized.

The point of having a separate contract, an additional damages deposit, supplemental insurance and an additional cleaning fee is not so much to capture all of the value of hosting an event but rather to protect ourselves from the higher-risk scenarios. I agree we could charge more (and we might). For example, I could easily see doubling the per person and cleaning fees. Overall, though, I’d much rather have a strong expectation (and contractual agreement) that they are going to leave the house in good shape than charge a lot more and take on the additional risk/overhead of someone feeling like this is a transaction in which we’re solely responsible for clean-up and restoring the house to good shape. In other words, I’m fine with making most of our money on the house rentals and treating occasional events as a carefully managed benefit for some guests.

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That’s a bargain! …

Just read your next post :slight_smile:

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BBQ or picnic, 30 people is NOT insignificant. I would be so careful… You don’t seem interested in making more money but you only want assurance your house won’t be trashed? People are people. I’ve had my small place trashed with only three people.

Just because they rent your whole house doesn’t mean they get to use it for events. I wouldn’t allow it. That is a whole different ballgame.

Would that cover your insurance costs? What deductible does your insurance company require?

I’m sorry you’ve had your place trashed, that sounds terrible. I’m grateful for the additional warning about potential issues. To date we’ve hosted multiple 30-40 person gatherings without incident. So, yes, I’m primarily concerned about (1) accidents in which someone trips and might sue and (2) behavior that might bother neighbors like loud music. I’m comfortable with trying to manage those issues with contracts, insurance, etc.

The supplemental insurance is not part of our standard house insurance. There are many companies that offer event insurance to provide additional coverage for a single day (such as for a wedding). A quick search online took me to Progressive.com which quoted about $84 for $1,000,000 general liability coverage for an event that served alcohol. There’s obviously fine print but that’s the sort of thing I’m imagining requiring of guests (or purchasing ourselves and passing the cost along to guests).

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$1000 this post has to have a minimum # of characters.

Another site, theeventhelper.com charges $65 for $1,000,000 general liability coverage for a one day event with 40 people in our state. Going forward, I think we’ll require guests purchase this for anything bigger than a dinner party. It’s a very modest additional cost and would add a lot of peace of mind.

On a side note, I once helped organize an event that required insurance to be purchased in order for the venue to be booked. Someone made a claim against the insurance, and before I knew it, I was being sued by the insurer because someone made a claim, not kidding! While in the end they settled for mere pennies on the dollar, it still cost me money, time and stress. So keep in mind that some of these insurance products are always going to try recoup some of their costs, and they will go after anyone and everyone they possibly can.

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