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By now you’ve probably heard of countless people turning to Airbnb as a way to make easy money on the side or even as a full-time occupation. You might be interested in the idea of cashing out and traveling the world or quitting your 9-5 job and making enough income by renting out your second home. While these are all desirable goals, the question we all really want the answer to is: “Exactly how much can you make from short-term rentals?”

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In order to answer this question, we at Pillow have done some thorough research on the potential earnings you can make by listing your apartment on Airbnb. As you’re reviewing our research, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First, Airbnb earnings can vary widely city by city. Additionally, there are likely local regulations on short-term rentals specific to your city that may affect your short-term rental plans (i.e. limits on the number of “unhosted” nights, zoning restrictions, taxes, etc.). Furthermore, how much you can make from short-term rentals really depends on the amount you can realistically charge for your apartment. If you have a beautiful, newly furnished unit in the heart of the city with stellar guest reviews, you could probably get away with charging a high nightly rate. However, if you have a slightly older unit in the middle of nowhere with only a few positive reviews, you’ll need to improve your listing before charging higher rates.

Use Pillow’s resident tool (halfway down the page) to see how much you can make from short-term rentals in your area.

So, How Much Can You Make from Short-term Rentals?

To figure out how much you can earn from Airbnb, we compiled data on the average earnings of standard apartment units of various floorplans across the US. From this data, we determined the earnings for the following apartment sizes: studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom. We found that a Standard 1-bedroom apartment could reasonably go for $137/night, which means if you rented out your apartment for 30 nights a year, you’d earn $4,110! The average nightly rate goes up to $178 for a Standard 2-bedroom and $304 for a Standard 3-bedroom apartment. For a studio, you’re looking to make around $118 per night.

You Could Easily Make Double Your Rent!

As you can see, these nightly premiums can really add up. For example, a 2-bedroom apartment with a monthly rent of $1,800 could likely charge a nightly rate of somewhere around $180 on Airbnb. If you were to rent out this apartment just 10 days each month when you’re scheduled to be out of town anyway, you could cover your rent. And for two weeks each month, you can pay rent and bring in an ancillary income of $600 to put towards groceries or to cover your monthly expenses! At these rates, it may be worthwhile to rent out your unit for even just a few days every couple of months to help with rent. Hosting a guest while you’re visiting family for Thanksgiving or traveling for work would still allow you to earn back part of your living expenses.

Start Making Money with Pillow

The home-sharing economy provides a valuable and unique way to make extra money. However, these kinds of transactions where we rent out our apartments on Airbnb require us to be familiar with frequently changing local regulations while sharing our assets and personal belongings with people we’ve never met. These drawbacks can make short-term rentals seem like a daunting and time-consuming ordeal. But if you outsource the administrative aspects of hosting on Airbnb by trusting Pillow to guide you through the whole process, you could earn thousands of extra dollars a year easily! Check out a few Infographic we created that show average earnings from short-term rentals in San Francisco and Austin (updated July 2018). Don’t have Pillow in your apartment building yet? Use this link to refer your building management to the Pillow program and start hosting on Airbnb.  Then, take your extra income and use it to travel, cover your expenses, or however you please!


Ultimately, there are many factors that affect how much you can make from short-term rentals. From the size and condition of your place to where you live and how many days you rent it out. However, the amount of work required to get your place listed and rented out is the same regardless of the size or location of your unit. Simplifying your Airbnb process by using Pillow is a smart way to reduce administrative tasks and make earning extra money even easier.

About Pillow

Pillow is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on Airbnb. Pillow is the official and exclusive multifamily housing partner for popular short-term rental listing platform Airbnb. Pillow takes a complicated, time-consuming process for multifamily building owners and created a solution that greatly benefits Multifamily operators and residents alike.

If you own a multifamily complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email or visit

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for short-term rental insights for the multifamily industry. Or subscribe to our blog!

Written by Harry Lee · Updated July 12, 2018

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