How long did it take you to set up and get going?

Curious how long it’s taken people to set up their profile/account? I just added my payout- info-- paypal and it says up to 10 biz days to get working/verified!!! Then the research for insurance, seeing what my broker had to say I might need, researching various rules to come up with my own set- taking pictures and then more pictures for a guidebook and writing up a fresh and snappy description, etc. etc… It’s a lot more involved than I was anticipating.

I help new hosts build their listings.

Business license- depends on where you are. My area 2 weeks

LLC- my area 2 weeks.

Shop your insurance-I don’t know. It’s been years since I shopped it. I don’t get involved with their shopping process. Not my area of expertise. I help them build their listings.

To Actually build the listing without professional photographs: 8-12 hours to do the full build. Meaning ready to list plus current season& off season, quick & scheduled messages, custom seasonal pricing, custom seasonal length of stays, check-in instructions (text on website & photo in app). You can do it a few hours at a time & postpone elements like check i instructions until you actually have someone checking in.

Many of us long term hosts have added a bit with each airbnb change so we didn’t do it on a schedule

Airbnb says it will take them to approve the listing 24-72 hours. Financial info takes longer BUT if you can publish 6/1 & take reservations starting 6/15 or later so all can be complete behind the scenes while your listing is active & people book. Banking must be completed before Airbnb forwards payment

Professional photographs - don’t wait on perfection when good enough will do. Time is bookings going to someone else. Take pics with your phone, iPad etc. schedule your professional photographs. Price varies by location & quantity.

My area-I’ve found two photographers I like. 1. 1 shoot. You select 15 photos $150. 2. 1 shoot up to 30 photos $500 & potential for reshoot if you don’t like any (never happens) both up to 45 day lead time. If lucky get done in a week

One thing says is “I had no idea this much was involved. You can get basic pricing, length of stay, short amenities, short house rules, short description in 3 hours. You Have barely started.

You must write your own listing short & long description. It needs to be your words-not copied from someone else. It takes time

Once you’ve been through the process, you’ve made all the hard decisions so quick to copy paste build in VRBO.

If you decide to use the free to new hosts services of a new host superhost ambassador, talk to them to make sure they will truly help you beyond the basic 3 hour build. Ask for references. Ask them if they keep in touch with their prior clients. Full disclosure Airbnb pays them. The amount varies on location & but varies from$345 to $700. My area is now $545.

I enjoy helping the new hosts. I’m pleased to say I’ve made several new friends. Yes-they stay in touch & ask questions

Best wishes on getting started.


Wow thank you so much for that interesting advice/details… I hope you do well, seems like you can provide a very helpful service. (are you saying “just ask a superhost” is someone getting paid by airbnb to answer questions?)
I imagine there are alot of details different people would want…
One question- do you know the difference between rules and manual? I have a list of long rules (please don’t put grease down the drain), (please don’t put paper towels down toilet), please take garbage out) etc… I don’t see this in many rules… and don’t want to overload people… but …
Thanks again so much.

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The rules are available to see before they book, the manual is not. (someone correct me if i’m wrong)
So in the Rules section i put my bare basics in there, as you say, you don’t want to scare people, but the really important stuff: no smoking, obey the septic system rules, pay for extra guests, tell me about your pet. we already have no children, no parties, no smoking ticked, but i like to reinforce the no smoking one.

In my guest manual i have a mix of rules plus helpful info, and I have an even longer printed manual in the listing, with pictures and easy to read text bubbles.


Yeeeaaahhh, it’s not as easy peasy as they make it look, is it?:thinking: When I started hosting (a mere 5 years ago), there were no FB pages for hosts, no YT posts on how to do it, etc etc. I just went about it in a common sense way, researching other listings in my area, calling local government offices to see what regs there were, ++.
Now, EVERY Tom, Dick & Harry has an Airbnb property, some have 10-25…. I had 20+ years in the hospitality industry, plus lots of hands on experience in remodeling, renovating older homes, & LTR experience. So, yeah, it’s not an easy buck!
Good luck, & may the force be with you!

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Thanks so much, lol!

Do not list rules or instructions like that, saying please for everything, it sounds like you’re begging, and try to use dos, not don’ts, or you’ll come across like a micro-managing control freak.


"Pre-check out list:

Wash dirty dishes
Put garbage in outside bin
Quick tidy-up
Turn down heat or AC, turn off lights
Check to make sure you haven’t left anything
Lock door on your way out

Thank you, we appreciate your cooperation."

Try to keep wording simple and not verbose.

Same with house manual instructions on how to work or where to find things.


@Letsgo the checkout list can be sent in an auto-message thing either the night before or morning of check-out. I have it in the guest manual too but i doubt they are going to bother reading that at 10am on checkout day.

but I love me a rambling, humourous tale of why you shouldn’t flush your baby wipes down the loo! haha. I think I have something like “you do not want to find how much an emergency plumber will charge to come out to the country on short notice” I think spelling it out like that is more effective than:

  • don’t flush the wrong things

But actually I mention it 3 times in different places, because I recently have had to spend 2 hours unclogging a pipe that was full of baby wipes. We have some plumbing tools and learned to do this ourselves, cos calling out a plumber to our farm is an outrageous expense, and in this case it took a week to manifest as a problem so we couldn’t do a chargeback to the guest.


Love that.

I feel sorry for homeowners who have no household fix-it skills and have to call someone to fix everything. Must get expensive.

Have a friend who was managing another friend’s little hostel for a few months. One of the toilets was constantly running, and she said to the housekeeper, who’s been working there for years, “I guess we’ll have to call a plumber”. The housekeeper looked at her pityingly and said, “It needs a new flapper. I’ll go get one and change it out”.


from the book of: Rich People Be Like… haha. i think it’s a point of pride that they can afford to pay people to do “menial tasks”. Personally I get such satisfaction from fixing things and not having to pay someone to come out. I say it a lot: Youtube is my best friend!


Except it isn’t just rich people. I was staying with a friend in Denver who has a big old house. I noticed that all of her faucets were dripping. A big no-no in Denver, where they were experiencing summer drought.

When I mentioned to her that all of her taps dripped, she said, “Yeah, I know. I’ve been procrastinating, because it costs $300 just to get a plumber here to walk in the door”. I told her they just needed $3 worth of new washers and if we went out and bought some, and she had a screwdriver and a wrench, I’d put the new washers in.

She looked at me really skeptically, and asked if I was sure I knew how, as if I’d just claimed I could build a spaceship to Mars.


It’s an ongoing process for me. I am tweaking the listing, pictures, rules, scheduled messages, checklists for cleaners, landscaping checklist and manual almost constantly. Getting it more precise, less wordy, specific, easy.

What a a great service! If you could find something like that, that would be a great timesaver!

This is in my house manual, not my rules. Otherwise, rules would be way too long, though I’m not sure I have figured out the proper distinction between the rules vs. manual. I agree with @gillian that rules are the really important ones, the only ones I will ding them in reviews if they violate. I’m in process of developing table of contents/index for manual, adding pictures, spiral binding.


But, here’s the key? It’s not enough to say what not to do. Where do they put the grease? My manual tells them also to put the grease in the glass jar (labelled) below the sink. It says also to wipe grease from dishes with paper towels and put in trash (a plumber’s tip). Manual says to scrape and rinse dishes (recommended in dishwasher manual). You want to think through what you want the guest to do, not just what not to do. I’ve seen another post here, in India, where Host says to clean food debris. But how? Sweep it? Is there a broom and dustpan? Where? Vacuum? If there’s something you want guest to do, say exactly how and make sure you have the tools for them and tell them precisely where.

Remember, too, that MAYBE, and at best, your primary guest will read the manual and messages. But usually not all the guests, certainly not visitors if allowed. So, labels/signage is important.

This is important. I went to Etsy to get a decal, can be customized to what you want. Mine says :“Flush only toilet paper, not so-called flushables”. It’s on the back side of the toilet seat. I use my label maker liberally, mostly for information, but for the occasional ‘don’t’ phrased as a ‘do.’ I think guests through these labels see that I am trying to make life easy for them. I have a number of labels, signs, decals throughout the property inside and out. Are there private areas? Get a decal.

Most important: Is your property safe? Is there a good first aid kit? Where? Remind them, in manual, in scheduled message, with labels. Fire extinguisher? Is it prominent, obvious? Are there trip hazards? Is lighting adequate for evacuation? Inside and out. We have some lights on 24/7 [LED} and we tell them why. You saw the $20 motion-sensitive outside solar lights (these are fantastic).

Your home is unfamiliar to them. In emergency will they be able to see? Do you have a written emergency plan? Three gallons of water for them [in closet]? Food in emergency? Other supplies?

We’re big on ‘no shoes’ in house. It’s in the rules. It’s on a decal on the front door [Etsy] a calligraphy of ‘no shoes please.’ There’s a slipper closet inside the front door. A scheduled 14 day before check-in message begins "Here’s a list of the things we stock, the one thing you might want to bring and a standing invitation to ask questions and make requests. " The one thing? They might want to bring slippers, though we have some for you. It’s in the day-before scheduled message too. It’s embedded in the noise rule – I say to play the TV projection system as loud as they want, we won’t hear that but we’ll hear every step in shoes.

Every time a guest asks a question or ‘violates’ something I look at it as an opportunity to be clearer.

Rome didn’t get built in a day. It’s a process. It’s ongoing. Through all this your guests will ‘feel’ that you are looking out for them, not just giving them ‘don’ts’ but more ‘how’s’ and ‘look here.’ They’ll feel that you are caring for them. Most reciprocate. It’s human nature.

I don’t need a house manual as a home-share host, but if I had an entire unit, I’d use graphics quite a bit in the manual. It catches people’s eye and makes it easier for them to locate the info, and pay attention to it. It also breaks up a page of text which people tend not to slog through.

Want them to take their street shoes off at the door? Insert a little picture of shoes, with “Please remove shoes when entering.”
(It’s okay to say please once in awhile for asks, I just wouldn’t use “please” for actual rules- there’s a difference between rules and asks, and if a host understands the difference, it keeps their rules list from being long and scary- “no smoking” is a rule you probably are adamant about- if they fail to remove their shoes, it’s not that big a deal, unless they’re muddy and you have white carpets).

Try not to have “rules” that really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. No one wants to start their vacation being lectured on all the things they aren’t supposed to do.

Put a picture of a kitchen, or little stove and fridge icons on the kitchen orientation page. If they can’t find something in the kitchen, or don’t know how to work the coffeemaker, they can easily flip through the manual to find the kitchen page.

Good advice. I’m in process of desktop publishing the manual and I am putting in pictures and graphics to make it more appealing and easier to find things visually.

For us we feel it IS a big big deal. Grit gets embedded in shoes and scratches the wood floors. We feel it’s a dirty, filthy thing to do. We have those blue shoe covers for contractors or ask (require) them to remove shoes. So for us it’s BIG and we think we make that clear.


It was just an example. Some things are important to some hosts, some aren’t. I have tile and concrete floors- I prefer that guests take their shoes off, for hygiene reasons, but it’s not going to hurt anything if they don’t.

There are cultures people come from where you don’t even have to mention some things- pretty much everyone in Canada takes their shoes off at the door, for instance. So Canadian guests will generally do that as a matter of habit.

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You’ve heard of that ‘Noise Aware’ monitor that can monitor the amount of noise to suggest a party?

We have one for shoes. It detects whether shoes are being worn in house. If so, there an incredibly loud ‘ZING, ZING, ZING’ like in emergency alerts. It’s tied to hidden lights, like in police cars, RED, rotating, flashing. Seconds later they hear a voice “WARNING! SHOES! SHOES! No SHOES in HOUSE!” The message repeats until the guest presses a [clearly labeled] blue button to stop the alarm.

It’s quite intimidating, though we do have a clearly marked defibrillator.

In my dreams.


My ex-boyfriend used to work as a chimney sweep, going in and out of houses all day. He wore rubber boots- easy to slip on and off, and always took them off before entering. One day when he slipped his boots off, and started to walk over to the woodstove, the homeowner asked, “Are your socks clean?”

Now that was over-the-top insulting and rude.

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Very funny.

When you say ‘chimney sweep’ my only reference is Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Maybe that is part of why I laughed so. Maybe I just love to laugh.

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Lots of people have woodstoves up where I lived in Canada. Chimney sweeping is a good business there. But they don’t just clean chimneys, stove pipes and woodstoves, they also clean furnaces and ductwork.