We started an Airbnb this summer- our listing consists of 1 bedroom lounge, kitchenette, bath/toilette, free parking and a separate entrance for which we charge £72 per night. With winter in the horizon and energy prices having gone up suddenly, we are anticipating putting up our rental charges for the months (November-March) we are not sure how much this should go up, any suggestions?
I’m kidding on that number. How could we possibly know?
I would think that you would estimate your energy prices, even creating ‘scenarios’ where prices are ‘x’ and ‘y’ for your energy and then building in one of those prices, or an average, into your listing price.
I am supposing that the listing does not have its own meter. I don’t know if it would be cost-effective for you to install a thermostat that controls the heating, or whether you control it now (would need to disclose in listing, including the temperature(s) it would be set to).
EDIT TO ADD: Although you didn’t ask, now would be a good time, if you haven’t already done so, to check for drafts or air leaks, and seal them. You might also want to make sure that you have extra blankets or ‘throws’ that guests could use outside the bedroom.
I mentioned in another post that my electric utility will be installing “smart” meters in the coming year and I will be able to monitor energy use easily which I can’t currently do.
I’ve never had a smart meter- analog meters were still available when my house was built.
My neighbors, whose meters are right across the road from mine, whose homes were built after mine, all have smart meters.
We get a lot of brown-outs here and when we do, I still often have low lighting, whereas my neighbors are in the dark, because their smart meters shut the electric off completely when the voltage drops below a certain level.
Another interesting thing is that people I know whose analog meters were switched for smart meters saw their electric bills go up even though they hadn’t changed their normal consumption- no new appliances or anything. I think the smart meters themselves must suck electricity- they are constantly flashing numbers.
I’ve heard of this and from what I’ve read it’s a minority, I think I remember about one third. However, I’m prepared to take steps like an energy audit if I have the problem. I’m already monitoring my usage much more closely since I switched to refrigerated air this year. My new HVAC unit didn’t seem to be functioning properly for the first couple of months and between that and record breaking heat, I don’t know where I am on usage. New meters aren’t due here until after the first of the year.
It’s a shame that not everyone has to share the burden equally but generally speaking, if the utility needs to reduce usage to prevent worse problems, I’m okay with doing more than my share. At least I think so, we’ve never had brown outs here. We did have rolling blackouts a few years ago during a historic freeze but my power wasn’t affected. I assume that’s because there is a hospital nearby.
I’m not sure,but I think the smart meters are designed to shut off the electric below a certain voltage so brown outs don’t damage people’s appliances, rather than lowering consumption. At least where I live.
It sounds like a good idea to monitor your consumption before and after the meter gets changed. Not that it will change the electric bills you get, but just for information sake.
This is exactly it. Modern electronic devices are much more reliant on a clean sine wave at the proper, constant voltage. Running a modern flat screen TV, for example, or a “hi-fi” or a desktop computer, etc, on 95 volts instead of 110-120 (in the US) causes damage to the circuitry over time and is cumulative. Old lightbulbs and vacuum cleaners don’t care and just run dimmer or slower. The old analog meters actually consume more energy powering the electric motor inside the meter unit that spins the disk and rolls the tumblers than the microcomputers in the new digital meters. The increased billing may simply be due to higher accuracy of measurement, and also the fact that they now can price usage on “time-of-use” whereas before, the power company could only know that for this month, X kWh was consumed. Now it’s: in this past month, X kWh was consumed between 9 pm and 4 pm, and Y kWh was consumed from 4 pm to 9pm which is billed at a higher rate. This is the primary essential difference (and benefit for monitoring and improving sustainability of the grid) in the the Smart Meters.
You were lucky. During that freeze, our blackout wasn’t rolling. We were out for 36 straight hours. It’s the only time I ever lit the gas logs in the fireplace!
In my opinion, it makes more sense to base your price on the ups and downs of demand rather than the ups and downs of your costs.
Guests don’t care about your costs; they only care that they’re getting the kind of place they want for the price they’re willing to pay, and that they can’t get a better deal somewhere else.
It’s pretty easy to change your prices to see how it affects bookings. If you raise the price and people keep booking, it probably means you were too low to begin with, and you can keep the price high all year.
Well, where I live, electric isn’t billed at different rates for different times of day, or weekends vs weekdays, so that isn’t a factor in figuring out how much one is consuming nor why people see their bills go up when they get a smart meter.
It seems that whoever worked out your nightly fee didn’t do so using annual running costs.
Every business has cost fluctuations over the year but it’s common practice to take an entire yearsworth of costs in order to determine the nightly fee.
If your accountant didn’t take this figure as a base when he or she did your initial calculations then I’d frankly look for someone new.
Because you’ve only just started advertising with Airbnb, I’d be inclined to start your sums from scratch to come up with a realistic fee that you can charge year round plus additional fees at peak times.
This is very good advice.
Still, you want to know your costs a la @jacquo, and be able to control your costs (thermostat controlled by you).
In our area we don’t know electricity/gas prices yet but last year they tripled the rate for us. These are a small part of our expenses, but if you get a guest who can set the temperature at 80 (yes, it’s happened) it can make a big difference.
You might take a look at the detail of listings you compete with and see what they’re doing. Many here fix the temperature as one way to control costs, but I think last year some Hosts ‘took a hit.’
Thanks for the explanation. That makes me feel better than ever about it and I was already happy.
This wasn’t the deadly freeze of 2021 which wasn’t bad here. Our bad one was 2011. Schools were closed for days due to busted pipes. We had freezing weather for 3 or 4 days and temps as low as single digits which are very unusual here.
El Paso not being on the ERCOT grid is a blessing.
I base my pricing on what my competitors’ prices are. I try to check once a week.
I open two browser windows, 1 regular and one private window. I then search my dates and see how they compare to other airbnb’s with similar offerings. Then if my cost to run the place allows for me to lower the price, I do. I am careful to not go too low because you get the locals that just want a booty call or have a party.
If your competitors are not factoring the increase energy costs they may lose money but if you are competing with them, and you try to cover all of the increased cost, you may not get any bookings. Sometimes, it does make sense to let the place be vacant vs losing money and the wear and tear. I always say this - It’s not as easy running a profitable Airbnb with all the new competition and newbies in the market.
I use the filter when searching on the private window to match my price, number of guests, whole house, etc so that I’m looking at similar properties. I then look at the map to see how close to my major cities. I wouldn’t make sense to compare a property 1 hour drive from Boston vs my 15 minutes.
Just today while doing this, I noticed that some of my dates are not showing up in the search no matter how low I go. This will happen from time to time and usually will adjust itself but not always. I sometimes have to get Airbnb involved.
I hope that I have made sense. Good luck.
One final note for me - my winter is my slow month, I would never get bookings in my market if I didn’t price my suite competitively and probably 1/2 of what I get in the summer but my overhead is nearly the same even when not booked. (I live below.) so it makes sense for me to try to get bookings.
Just this last week I opened my calendar up for most of the month. I’ve been blocked off most the summer and I was quite pleased to get 4 bookings for one night stays within the next 2 weeks, and 3 were for this Th-S. One of them seemed to be a booty call. I know we have very different requirements (like I don’t care about locals, pictures, ID’s etc), but I was reminded what good luck I’ve had with booty call clients. I really wish I could attract more of the kind I’ve had without attracting the kind I don’t want to have. LOL. This couple left the bed so clean I suspect they must have packed in their own bedcover to take with them. Maybe they don’t want to leave any DNA behind. Or maybe those empty condom packages in the trash weren’t used for the purpose intended.
More to your point, I lowered my average price 15% (about $10 a night). That and opening dates must have boosted me in search. Having that extra $150 for 3 nights booked that I probably otherwise would have is worthwhile. I also collected one pet fee so that offsets the price reduction.
I haven’t checked my competition lately but the fact that I still get bookings every time I open the calendar tells me I’m still competitively priced. I also know I benefit from the traveler effect. Because most my guests are passing through higher priced areas they expect to pay more per night than the typical rental in El Paso might be.
In theory, I don’t really mind a booty call either but for some reason I get folks that leave body fluids biohazards of all kinds on my sheets. It’s my biggest pet peeve. Not only is it gross but it’s extra work and loads of laundry to get clean.
We call them “lube-flingers.” How’d this strawberry-scented goo get all the way over to this wall??
Both our apartments are one bedroom, both have queen beds. Therefore we get loads of couples who aren’t necessarily with the partner they ought to be with.
Because our complex is so small I’ve had quite a few occasions when I’ve had to tell them to pipe down because many of these couples find pleasure in vocalising their joy and delight at all times of night and day.
Usually they are very understanding about it and we have a good laugh.
Not once have they caused extra laundry, just the usual amount.
Hi Care. I’m also British and maybe most people in this thread aren’t familiar with the extraordinary escalation in energy costs that’s different from the rest of the developed world, that could really (& recently) change the calculus on profitability. No other advice to offer beyond the useful advice in this thread, except to ride it out with a 12 month rental (who pay their own utilities) until a better government get in in 2024. (hopes). For me, now in permanently chilly San Francisco, I have a thermostat fixed at a certain level.
It seems to me that the choice for the OP, assuming that they offer the listing in the winter is either to make estimates of the heating costs and build that into the pricing (I understand that many factors are in play and that the estimate will be unavoidably uncertain) or installing some kind of device that will measure usage and set out in the listing that costs above x kWh or BTUs will incur an additional cost (which could be at a flat rate or the actual rate).
There are obvious pros and cons (and risks vs ‘for sure’ costs and ‘maybe’ costs) with each approach.
Additionally, it would be ideal to have a thermostat that would control the temperature not to exceed x degrees since as a practical matter it might not be a guarantee to collect any excess energy used through the resolution center.
Whether the possibility of unrecovered costs means a loss to the Host OR, instead, reduced profitability will shape the Host’s decision to rent or not, or invest (if this is even practical) in upfront costs to measure actual usage.
I thought this thread in the Community Center (the ‘replies’ section) of Airbnb was interesting, focusing on electricity AC costs, with one Host setting up meters to track actual usage.
@PitonView This Host is in St Lucia!