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Do you consider yourself to be employed by Airbnb?


HI Insider - BTW - I’m so glad you are willing to give us a peek into your world.

I have found that for the type of STR that I offer (Suite with kitchenette) it attracts the type of guests I want and I’m able to cover my mortgage plus utilities.

I have, however, in the 3 years on the platform found that hosts are less and less supported and that customer support is not as good. I have come to not expect much and am pleasantly surprised when I do get support.


No—not an employer.

Stictly a platform for renting my home.

Similar but very different—Craigslist is a platform for selling my used furniture.

90% of my rentals come from the Airbnb platform so it is a good fit for my budget rentals.


Because Airbnb is the market leader in the space. And for shared home situations like mine or the people hosting the room down the hall it’s pretty much the only game in town. So like any monopoly, we are going to bitch about it but not using it isn’t an option. (speaking for myself, not Piton who gets a lot of bookings off Airbnb).

Read the thread from Barry about his bad experience with Airbnb. Thrown off for absurd violation?

Then read his conclusion:

Thank you so much. I tell you what at this point we can’t survive without them. You wouldn’t believe the list of issues we have from paying for photos. Them taking the payment but never posting them. To allowing people to book with fake credit cards that are stolen. But without them. We struggled so much. They represent 7 bookings for everyone we get else where. We even joke. If a Airbnb client wants to punch a hole in the wall. Give them a hammer.


Yep. No, they are not my employer in any way, shape or form. They are a fantastic advertising platform. That’s it.


No. In my opinion, I’m a contractor. Apparently the CS agents are too!


The definition of an employee/employer and independent contractor in the U.S. is REASONABLY WELL defined legally (there is some grey area), and AirBNB in no way shape or form is in employer.

And probably not even a “business that engages ICs,” although the company certainly falls in a grey area between its claimed “listing platform” status and acting as a business that employs ICs, given the ever-more-snarled rules and regs for hosts.

IRS: Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?


The keys (to defining someone as an employee) are to look at the entire relationship, consider the degree or extent of the right to direct and control, and finally, to document each of the factors used in coming up with the determination.


I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it comes down to the money. I can rent my basement to a tenant for $750 a month, or I can rent my basement to AirBnB guests and pay my whole mortgage. If AirBnB becomes less profitable than having a housemate-tenant, I’ll go back to having a housemate.


I can have a roommate for $500 a month and they get access to the whole house and I have to share everything or I can have someone in just their room and make double that on 85% occupancy. And yes I have to “work” more with turnovers but when I had room mates I was usually cleaning up after them as well as other issues.


First-the Airbnb platform provides me with a venue for advertising my rentals. I have an excellent occupancy rate with relatively few problems.

Second-Airbnb isn’t perfect but IMHO it is better than several of the others.

Fortunately I’ve had good guests with few PITA guests who were high maintenance and a only 2-3 I hope I never see again.

There are some rowdy threads discussing the Extenuating Circumstances policy which at times feels a little too easy for guests to receive a full refund on a last minute cancellation.

Also there are threads about Airbnb too quickly refunding when the guests complain of things like “unit not clean found a hair on the sheets” or “bugs present”. Airbnb CS has a history of refunding these guests which is saying, “Airbnb believes the guest, not the host”

These seem to be the biggest problem areas.


Right! I was the defacto maid when I had housemates. Now at least I’m paying myself $40 an hour to clean.


A serious answer to a serious question: To rent out my home when I can’t use it. And be diversified. We’re located in St Lucia in the Caribbean - not the biggest travel destination. Large house, 3 bedrooms, fairly high prices. I need as many “shoppers” as possible to see my home to get the small group that want to pay my rates. We’re a much better fit with VRBO/HomeAway, but AirBnB fills in with about 15% of bookings.
We have our own website and accept direct bookings, but the OTAs have scared almost everyone into thinking that every direct booking will be a scam. So I don’t really have a choice - I have to list with the OTAs to get bookings.


Itd be interesting to see how Air would react if there was a Host union… the EC policy specifically would need major overhaul to protect us. A hotel is not terribly concerned about cancellations as they have many many spaces to fill and a lot of staff and overhead but they tend to stick to their cancellation policies. It is up to the guests to purchase any travel insurance if the set amount of money is not something they could lose affordably for an extenuating circumstance. Airbnb hosts really rely on that income but tend to get screwed by the platform. And if a host has an extenuating circumstance then I can understand why a guest would potentially be upset but in that case the guest would get refunded anyways.


It’s not just the OTA’s, it’s fear mongering everywhere. For centuries innkeepers hung their shingle and housed people with no reviews or background checks. Now people worry that every local is a competitor or criminal. I won’t give to any fundraiser (gofundme) where I don’t personally know the parties involved due to all the scams. Neither the politicians nor the priests are trustworthy. Even the rich and powerful have to grift and swindle their way to ever more advantages.

(Not saying this is my view in it’s entirety, just to say it’s not only the OTA’s fault)


I want to add (and vent) that I just tried to book an entire home with an established host who is listing on both Air and VRBO. I chose to try booking via VRBO. I put in my request (CC info, the works, not just a question) that included a date shown as available on both platforms. She replied that the first day requested wasn’t available, asked if I want to come one day later and jacked up the price. I declined and moved on. And now that the 24 hours is past it’s showing the property as available again. Exactly as I spotted it with the deceiving dates and price.

Though the property is highly desirable she is either incompetent, mendacious or both. I considered sending all 5 of my friends to attempt to book it until she tired of answering and changed the listing or blocked the “unavailable” date but decided our time is worth more than that.

Plenty of hosts are making your job harder.



I employ Airbnb – as my marketing department and rent collection agency. They advertise what I offer, and collect the rents I am due.


That’s a good way to put it. Other than the fact that they can fire you (kick you off the platform), it’s a good description.


What is an OTA?

About scamming—I know it happens. I hate it happens. Sadly it is common.


Sorry to hear this is happening to you. And you are correct, there are bad hosts out there on all the platforms. It does indeed make it harder for those of us that are managing our homes as legitimate businesses. I stand corrected - it’s not just posturing on the OTA’s part.


Exactly. They work for you. Advertising and payment processing. What I gleaned from my research is that this is how they see themselves, too.
E.g. they send hosts a 1099-K instead of a 1099-MISC at tax time.


I had my weekend guest text me at Friday 3pm (after check in but before she said she would arrive at 6pm) that she has been sent to A&E (ER) by her doctor with a dental issue and wanted to let me know she wouldn’t be coming. She wasn’t looking for a refund but I rang up ABB and arranged it anyway. ABB sent me a slightly strange message about how they were happy I had been so understanding. Whatever. No I don’t think of them as my employer. I’ve decided to treat people according to the Golden Rule. I don’t believe in karma either. You just gotta do what you think is right.

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