We’ve mentioned several times about our foray into the world of hosting strangers in our home overnight; this phenomenon made popular by the online company Airbnb. But how lucrative has it been for us? Over this Labor Day weekend, we hosted a group of five 50 year old guys who were in town for a soccer tournament. They paid us $930 to stay in our basement suite for three nights and were close to perfect guests. Money is certainly the upside, but what are the downsides?
For anyone following our financial story, we’re a beautiful loving pair of very old millennials. We saved up $1M and had the audacity to quit our jobs to travel and live life. I’ve written blog posts boldly proclaiming “Working for the sole purpose of making money sucks! I never want to do it again!”.
We had it all figured out – all we had to do was follow the 3% Rule (our Safe Withdrawal Rate) and live on no more than $30,000/yr (which is 3% of $1,000,000). Considering 80 million Americans currently live on less than this, surely it’s doable.
One year later, we proceeded to buy a $275,000 home in Asheville that was over our budget. By buying this home, we were essentially blowing up our original plans and would have to start hustling to grow our base back up. We essentially blew it and The Jig Was Up. We need to make more money pronto!
Our portfolio (excluding the house, for simplicity’s sake) is currently $840k and we would be more comfortable if it was $900k. If we wanted to be as wildly conservative as possible, we would ignore the fact that we own the house and build our base back up to our original plan of a $1,000,000 portfolio, drawing 3% from it annually to fund our life.
In essence, our financial life plans have taken a hit. Just like how Bruno got hit last month and had his side smashed up.
No, he’s not looking great at the moment, but by gosh Bruno is still a damned good truck. After he suffered damage, did we simply give up on him? Scratch off his VIN and abandon him on the side of a road? HELL NO.
We did the opposite and proceeded to give him love by changing his oil and giving him new spark plugs. Yeah. Is that all? NO WAY – we then drove to a crazy junk yard in the middle of Trumpland, NC and bought an almost brand-new replacement door off an old junked 4Runner for $200! Bruno is gonna look better than ever!!!
If this Bruno analogy is accurate, then all we need to do is buy a junkyard replacement door for… our financial portfolio? Wait, what?
Junkyard Replacement Door #1: Airbnb Income
So far in 2017, we’ve earned $10,038 renting out our basement floor (2 bedrooms, 1 bath, private outdoor entrance). Asheville draws in weekend tourists, and most of our guests stay Friday and/or Saturday nights.
The average per night income we get from Airbnb is: $14,350 / 68 = $211 per night. And we still haven’t really opened up the calendar for November and December.
Not bad, right? Well, that really depends. How annoying is it being an Airbnb host?
It’s actually been pretty easy. Although cleaning up, making beds, and washing sheets & towels is fairly labor intensive and gets old quick.
I would like to take a moment to celebrate Amanda as the champion of hotel standards. She’s a hard worker who doesn’t allow short cuts to be had, no matter how much I plea. For example, we had a group of peaceful stoner guys from Atlanta who opted to sleep on top of the bed sheets overnight. What a gift! Now we can maybe just gently vacuum the top of the sheets and we’re good to go? WRONG, BUSTER. The sheets must be fully cleaned again, to maintain and ensure quality standards! Of course she’s right. After all, we’re not running some sort of trashy Howard Johnson’s operation here!!
Airbnb guests so far have been friendly, respectful, and quiet. For the most part, people check-in around 3pm, almost immediately go out, then get home around midnight, sleep, wake up around 10am and immediately check-out to go eat breakfast.
I’ll tell you about the worst group so far, since people love horror stories. One lady made a reservation for 4 guests and confirmed this upon check-in. When the group returns at 3AM, they’re so drunk and noisy outside on the back deck that an intervention was required. Upon busting up their outdoor party, I discovered that they were actually a group of 7! THEY WERE CAUGHT! They had committed Airbnb fraud by only booking our basement for 4 people, thereby reducing their total cost by almost $200!!
If instantly tried in a court of law, Judge Judy would surely have given me permission to go ballistic on their asses, by grabbing the nearest fire extinguisher and letting them have it like the filthy animals they are!
So what did I end up doing!? Of course, I politely asked that they move the party inside, due to the City Noise Ordinance rules. They proceeded to deliver a guilty, half-assed effort to correct the wrong and pay cash for the extra 3 people. I hand-waved the offer away and they proceeded to make noise (indoors) until 5AM. In the end, they left our basement relatively clean and – most importantly – without damage. For anyone interested in running this Airbnb scam, the only penalty they faced is the negative review that we left!
All that being said, 95% of the time our guests are wonderful and overall it feels like we’re making extremely easy money!
Junkyard Replacement Door #2: Salesforce Contract Work
On top of Airbnb income, I’ve ended up with two separate work contracts in which I provide remote IT services for different companies who need Salesforce help. Both of these contracts kinda fell from the sky and landed in my lap, and I’ve been averaging about 5-10 total hours of work per week. One contract pays $70/hr and the other pays $90/hr.
By accident, it seems I’ve ended up executing some version of The 4-Hour Workweek, and I must say, I find “work” much more tolerable when you can do it from home for only 1 hour per day. No need to get up early, put on fancy pants, commute into work, sit in a chair for 8-9 hours
buckled into a SlaveStation eerrmm, I mean enjoying the office environment with hundreds of other people.
For anyone looking to start their careers and are lazy, I would highly recommend checking out Salesforce. It’s a very easy application to learn, and you don’t even need to know how to develop code. To be honest, I can’t believe the market rates are as high as what I’m getting paid, and I can only speculate that currently there must be more demand than there is supply for Salesforce skills.
So far for 2017, contracting income has totaled $12,000 and we’ve been directing this money into a 401(k) account to avoid messing with our ACA subsidies – we don’t want our MAGI (modified adjusted gross income) to go above $32,000 otherwise our health care costs would skyrocket.
We’re definitely not retired anymore. We consider ourselves to be financially independent, but we do work for money. I can hear the sirens of the Internet Retirement Police.
How long will we keeping working for? Not sure. Will the market drop 20% soon and freak people out? Probably. But we’ll still keep our cool, just like this awesome dog: