Everything Else, Make Money, Money

With so many of us looking to become a landlord as a way to gain interest on our existing cash or boost our pension today I wanted to talk about one of the founding principles as a landlord. Tenants

Lets face it, without them we simply have an empty nest egg. A place that instead of earning us cash is actually costing us money – ouch!

So, let’s start with the founding principle. Finding the tenant to start with…

 

Finding Tenants

The way we go about finding a tenant for properties has changed dramatically since the birth of the digital age. Instead of scouring the newspaper 92% of potential tenants turn to the likes of Rightmove.

Rightmove is the UK’s largest property search portal and the 7th largest website in the UK. With Zoopla a close second getting more than 30 million visits a month.


In my opinion one of the greatest things about listing a property on an online search portal is the amount of information you’re able to provide the potential client with. Instead of one photo in a newspaper you can opt for the optimal amount of 9 to really peak the potential tenants interest. 

I simply wont even book a viewing of a house if it doesn’t have a floor-plan. So why should you’re potential tenants? – A floor plan is essential in enabling you to visualise your life.

To learn more about finding tenants, check out this completely free and super informative ten page guide.


How To Choose The Right Tenant?

It’s one thing finding tenants. It’s another finding the right tenants. Shows such as ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords‘ are enough to put you off for life. So, how do you ensure that you’re not going to be caught out?


Due to the sheer number of enquiries some properties to let get, it’s important to have a set number of questions you ask before the viewing stage – to ensure you’re not left wasting both yours and the tenants time.

Questions to ask the tenant over the phone should include;

When are you looking to move?
Why are you looking to move?
Where do you work?

Should they meet you’re requirements at the telephone stage, then the tenant is likely to go onto the viewing stage of the process. It’s here as a landlord you should expect to be asked questions about the property. The types of questions you should be prepared to answer include;

What’s the cost of the council tax?
Where is the nearest bus stop?
How much are the energy bills likely to cost?

To learn more information about how to find the right tenant for your property, be sure to check out this fantastic 22 page guide. It’s full of hints and tips to maximise your chances of finding the very best tenant for your property.

Keeping Tenants Happy

Congratulations! You’ve found your perfect tenants. However, the work for you as a landlord isn’t over. It’s now important that you continue to ensure that your tenants remain happy to ensure they stay in the property.


The longer you hang on to tenants the less time and money you’ll spend re-letting your property, so it’s well worth putting a little effort into establishing a good relationship.

However, it’s good to know that a good relationship is often easy to establish with tenants provided you follow some simple guidelines. If you’re a new landlord then be sure to check out this simple and easy to follow guide for ideas on how you can ensure that you continue to keep your tenants happy.


As always I’d love to know your hints and tips when it comes to finding, and keeping tenants as a landlord. If you have any secrets you’d like to share then feel free to leave a comment below.

In collaboration with Upad.

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Everything Else, Make Money

Just a few short decades ago, the world of share trading was considered to be only accessible to the chosen few.

Then, trading went online. Suddenly, there was an open door to the world of stocks and shares. What had once been accessible only to a small number was now accessible to the public. This newly accessible world of share trading attracted people from all walks of life, from retired couples to housewives. The differences between traditional and online trading are as follows:

The cost of traditional trading is higher, which pushes more cost-conscious traders towards online trading.

Traditional brokers close when the stock exchange closes. Online brokers appear to be available 24/7, which gives greater flexibility to investors.

Traders tend to develop close relationships of trust with their broker, unlike online brokers, who tend to remain out of reach.

Information on the stock exchange is readily available to traders. This enables them to make responsible decisions about which shares to trade in and which markets are more profitable.


The Internet and Share Trading

Thanks to the Internet, information on the finance markets is readily available. Also, as most brokers have an online presence, it is easier than ever to get in touch with them. Anyone out there who has a little money and would like to put it to work for them is now finding it easier than ever do so.

It could be a housewife who’s been left some money by a deceased relative, who’s trying to increase her finance and therefore her sense of personal power. Or it could be a retired couple investing some of their personal wealth in an attempt to increase it. Checking the stock market helps them feel that they are part of what’s going on out there instead of feeling retired and out of the world. It could be a just a canny business person with an eye on profit. Who knows?



Trading in CFDs – Advantages and Disadvantages

Trading online has evolved. One of the most exciting innovations has been CFD trading. ‘CFD’ means ‘Contract for Difference’. It’s a form of trading in which a client and a broker enter into a contract. The performance of the concerned asset from the time of entering the contract till leaving it decides on whether the client makes a profit or loss.

This is a way of investing in an asset without ever actually owning it. A very positive aspect of CFD trading is that it takes a much lower financial outlay to make some interesting diversifications in an investment portfolio. However, risks of loss are high and it is essential to take precautions against.those losses. Some safeguards can be set up with the help of some expert brokers who have long experience in this area.



If You Need Guidance, Help Is Available

If you’re interested in trying online trading, there are a number of companies which have long experience in dealing with the stock market. Their expertise is an invaluable help in guiding any interested party in this area.

While no guarantee can be made for making a profit, the right guidance is essential for helping a share trader in maximising the potential for profit.
CMC Markets is one company which has a very good record in this area. It was recommended to me by someone who had used the company’s services already and I haven’t been disappointed. However, check out all the brokers available and see for yourself who would work well for you.



Investor Vs Share Trader

Investors are those who invest in stocks and shares etc. with a view to long term profit. Share traders are those who purchase stocks, shares, CFDs etc. with a view to short term gain. They study the market and buy and sell at times when they are likely to maximise their profit and minimise their losses. They are in the business for short-term profit.



Do Your Homework

Guidance will only carry you so far. At the end of the day it is imperative that the individual wishing to engage in share trading takes the trouble to educate and inform themselves about the complex entity which is the stock market.

This is necessary in order to make an informed judgement on how to invest their funds. Share traders generally use a system called ‘technical analysis’ in order to predict which way the prices of a particular share will go. There are a number of ways an
individual can educate themselves about the stock market. There are books available explaining the complexities. There are also some Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which are really useful for mastering the different aspects of this complex area.




How To Work With A Broker

You may order your broker to buy certain shares only if they fall below a certain level or you may order the broker to stop buying shares if the amount in your account falls below a certain level. This can help you to protect yourself from large losses in a worst case scenario. There are stop orders, limit orders and even combinations of the two.



Who Should Indulge In Share Trading?

People who enjoy gaming and gambling would probably enjoy share trading. The ideal is to have some spare money you don’t mind losing. Play safe. Enjoy the thrills, spills and near misses Enjoy the stimulation of working with an unpredictable but thrilling mechanism which never fails to surprise. Which sometimes delights you and sometimes drives you to the brink of despair.

Share trading is not for people who don’t enjoy the thrill of uncertainty, that feeling of ‘we just might win.’ Those who want stability and security mightn’t enjoy share trading so much. Long term investments in stable companies might be a more suitable option for those individuals. The share trading market requires a certain kind of temperament and not everyone has that temperament.


This is a sponsored post. As always, the words and opinions are my own and aren’t intended to be a personal recommendation in respect of a particular investment. Getting started with stock / share trading can be complex and so as with all financial products and investments, I recommend seeking independent financial advice.

0

Everything Else, Make Money

It’s no secret that we’ve recently become digital nomadsDigital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. This required us to give up our e-commerce businesses that required us to be in one particular location.

Back home we’d often spend our days sourcing stock, replying to customers, wrapping orders and listing items. However, if we wanted to continue with e-commerce businesses whilst travelling then we’d need to look at outsourcing our efforts. 

Which is why when I saw I blog post from Sam Priestly of Arbing.co.uk my interest was peaked

I’d heard a lot about drop shipping, but if I’m honest it was all negative. Often based from ads playing before Youtube videos or whilst scrolling down my Facebook feed. I’d dismissed it as a way in which we could REALLY earn money. 


However, Sam’s post got me thinking… Was it really possible to create an outsourcing business with little start up costs that could be managed from ANYWHERE in the world?

With a 30 day free trial to really ‘get to grips’ with Shopify I decided it was a no loose situation. So, I went ahead and set up my store… I decided to give it one month to find out whether selling items on Shopify was really going to be something that could make us money. Documenting our experience as we go, here’s our experience of one month selling merchandise on Shopify.

 

Branding

In my case I was going to be selling merchandise for well… US. Myself and Helen were going to be the brand. We were going to use drop shipping and Shopify as an outlet to supply our followers with products. 

However, if you’re not looking to sell merchandise based on something already established then you’re going to need to look at creating a brand. This goes for whether you look to print on demand or simply dropship products from Alibaba etc. 

 

Shopify

Once you’ve designed a brand then you’re going to want to find somewhere to host you’re products. The most popular and easy to use application is Shopify

The entire process of signing up right through to designing my store took the best part of an hour. It’s a drag-and-drop kind of process which means you require little to none technical, design or programming knowledge. 

As I mentioned previously Shopify has a free trial, however you are going to need to actually start paying towards a subscription before people can come to your store to buy anything

I purchased a private domain for $14 (this meant I could have www.tmmvlogs.com instead of www.tmmvlogs.shopify.com) and signed up for the cheapest subscription package at $29 per month, with an additional cost of 2.2% + £0.20 per transaction. 



Print-On-Demand

Now, we’re going to be looking more specifically at printing on demand. Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which book copies (or other documents) do not print until the company receives an order, allowing prints of singular or small quantities.

After extensive research we ended up deciding on two companies to product products on demand for us; Inkthreadable & Kite.

 

selling merchandise on Shopify
Both companies we’re well suited to our international audience and had glowing reviews. We chose both due to the different products available from each service allowing us to have a more extensive product catalogue.

Both of the companies applications could be installed and linked up to our Shopify store in a matter of minutes. 

Designing Products

Personally, we couldn’t have found this much easier. We’d already had a logo designed so it was simply a case of transferring the logo onto different products and resizing accordingly using the third party applications (Inkthredable & kite).

Once I’d decided on the products, it was time to select the pricing. As we we’re selling these products to our friends, I was pretty tight on the margin and went for between 30% – 50%. 

This is probably where things went wrong for us. While 50% sounds like a rather large markup considering you’ve no stock to hold or ‘real work to do’ however, it doesn’t include the links of selling fees that can quickly eat into your profits. 

Once I’d selected the products, and the pricing I was all set to import the products into my store. From here I’m able to upgrade direct to the standard Shopify plan and my store is live. Allowing us to start selling merchandise on Shopify.

 

Results

Prior to the store going live we completed a test order. We wanted to ensure the shipping, quality etc. was up to standard. Once the products arrived we were ready to go live.

As we had an established audience we promoted the store on our Youtube channel and social media. In the space of 30 days we had 7 orders – with more than 50% coming within the first 48 hours.

The total profit from the 7 orders was £30.91 and unfortunatly this wasn’t enough to cover the one off cost of the domain name (for the year) and the monthly subscription of Shopify which was set at £34.05 (based on the current exchange rate)

While on this occasion of selling merchandise on Shopify we didn’t make any money, we did gain a vast amount of confidence in setting up an e-commerce store, dropshipping and printing on demand services. This certainly isn’t something I’m going to rule out taking part in again at some point in the future. 

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Amazon Reselling, Blogging, eBay Reselling, Everything Else, Everything Else, Freelancing, Selling Lego

I have a whole host of different business cards for different purposes;

One for my Lego business. It contains the online website, contact details and social media contacts. It’s great to give to customers at shows and include within our online orders.

Another for the reselling that Helen and I do together. It contains a short list of the types of items we buy along with some contact details. It’s great to hand a couple out to people we speak to at the carboot or leave some in our local post office for those cleaning out and looking for some quick cash.

We both have business cards for our blogs. To pass onto other bloggers at networking events, or to leave with PR and marketing advisors who might want to work with us on different projects.

With all that in mind, it’s a good job I’m able to design a free business card myself using Canva. When starting any business money can be tight. The last thing you want to be doing is spending money unnecessary. Using Canva to design a free business card is simple, straight forward and a great way to save yourself some cash.

An just because the designs are free don’t think they are not;

A. Professional
B. Cool and modern

Because in my opinion they’re both. Just take a look at the sample below;



Load Canva

To get started you’re going to want to load the Canva website. What I love about Canva is there’s nothing to download, patch, upgrade and install. Instead it’s there, ready to use when you need it (internet connection required)


Once you’ve loaded the website you’re going to want to sign up. You can do so using Facebook, Google or Email. It doesn’t make a difference which you choose.

Select Your Design

Once you’re logged in you’ll be shown to the ‘All your designs page’ this is where your completed designs will be stored (thanks to the cloud) for you to edit and update in the future should that be required.

What we’re concerned about is the panel at the top. Create a design. You’ll see a small selection of different options as well as the more button. Click on that and the create a design will expand.

How To Design Your Professional Business Card For Free Using Canva
In this instance we’re looking to design a free business card. Scroll down to find the marketing genre, within that you’ll see the business card option. Click on it and you should find it opens a new tab within your browser.

 


Select Your Layout

Now we’re into the design stages of the business card. Specifically the layout. Canva comes pre-installed with over 100 different business card designs. All designs are two pages (designed for double sided business cards)

You can select the layout by scrolling down on the left hand side and clicking on the design you would like to use.



How To Avoid Paid Designs

Some designs will be labelled as free. However once selected they’ll come up with a small ‘$’ icon. This is specifically due to the image used within the design. You’ll be able to note the image that is requiring payment due to the watermark.

If you simply remove that image, or change it to another image (either uploaded yourself or from Canva’s catalogue of free images) then the design will be free to download.


Customisation

Now it’s time to customise. Add images, add text. Change the font, change the size, change the colour. There’s really no limit and plenty of options to choose from. 


Download Your Design

Once you’ve finished you’ll be able to download your design. There’s a number of different download formats available including PDF and JPEG. 


The design will then remain in your account for you to change and update in the future should you wish to do so.

There we have it. You’ve just designed yourself a highly professional free business card in a matter of minutes. If you’re interested in seeing more Canva tutorials in the future or have any questions as to this tutorial leave me a comment and I’d be more than happy to help.

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Everything Else, Everything Else

Zeek is a fantastic online and mobile application that helps you to both save money on gift cards and sell your unwanted gift cards for cash. Intrigued by the website Zeek agreed to give me a small amount of credit to put their service to the test. This in no way influenced my Zeek review, which is my own independent opinion. That said who couldn’t be impressed with this gift card ‘reselling’ idea?



This thirty second video explains very quickly who uses Zeek and why. Secretly I just love it because of the cat…



Buying Gift Cards For Less Than Face Value With Zeek

Zeek provides you with the opportunity to save anything from 4% right up to 40% on your gift cards. 

Zeek Review


All you need to worry about is what vouchers you’d like to buy. In fact, I aim to make this process even more straight forward with a code to get £5 off your first Zeek order.

Once you’ve decided on the brand it’s time to decide on your value and therefore the percentage in which your saving. You can see that for Starbucks savings range from 4% – 7%. One important thing to note as with any gift card is the expiry date. The details of this shown on the left hand side just below the brand logo.

Zeek Review
Electronic vouchers are delivered immediately, and physical vouchers are posted out to you. Physical gift cards are said to take 7 working days however most people report them arriving within 3. 

 

Selling Your Unwanted Gift Cards With Zeek

Selling your gift cards on Zeek couldn’t be made simpler. Simply search for the brand you would like to sell, enter a couple of details, select the amount and the discount you’d like to offer and just like that your gift card is up for sale with Zeek.

Zeek Review

Selling on Zeek is really simple – just open up the app and start listing your voucher for sale. You will need to provide a photograph of the voucher and some details such as the face value and expiry date. You then decide how much of a discount you want to offer – the bigger the discount, the faster your voucher will sell. Zeek charges a £3 processing fee for selling your voucher. 

Once sold you’ll need to post your voucher to Zeek by registered post (the cost of which will be refunded) and you’ll receive your payment within 14 days.



There we have it. My complete Zeek review. As always let me know in the comments what you think of the idea behind Zeek? Is it something you’d use? Do you know of any Zeek alternatives? Personally, I think I’d only ever use Zeek to buy gift cards. I just can’t stand to loose money on anything, so I’d probably just re-gift unwanted gift cards or use them to purchase gifts for other people.

As always, if you do try Zeek out let me know what you think in the comments…

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Amazon Reselling, Blogging, eBay Reselling, Everything Else, Freelancing, Selling Lego

I’ve been submitting a self assessment tax return for over five years now. At a time it was a rather daunting task for 20-something however, thanks to new cloud software such as Xero this process has been made simple and straight forward. While my tax affairs have become more complicated in recent years forcing me to hire an accountant.

 

For a long time I committed to becoming a ‘Jack of all trades’ and saved myself some serious cash by doing so. April marks the end of the tax year once again, which is exactly why I want to share with you the very basics of a self assessment tax return. I hope that by doing so I can help you to save time, money and hassle.  

Who Needs To Complete A Self Assessment Tax Return?

Not everyone needs to complete a tax return. The majority of UK tax payers have their tax collected at source through the Pay as You Earn Scheme. This is where employers run a payroll scheme that deducts the correct amount of tax and national insurance each month.

 

The employer is then legally obliged to pay this amount over to HMRC every month or every three months depending upon their size. There are however many reasons as to why 7 million people in the UK need to submit a self assessment tax return to HMRC.

 

Below are the most common;

Income above £2,500 from Land or Property
Company Director or If you are self employed
Income from a pension and a salary 40% income tax payer and have savings income
Receive an income from investments that are not taxed at source.
Income from foreign sources Income subject to capital gains tax.

 

Just remember this is just a few examples. If you are unsure as to whether or not you should be completing a self assessment contact HMRC directly.

 

When Does The Tax Year Start? And End?

The tax year runs from the 6th April until the 5th April each year.  

When Do I Have To Submit My Tax Return?

I believe the deadline is very generous. HMRC give you until 31st January to submit and pay your return. That’s around 10 months!

 

Yet many still fail to meet that deadline and by doing so receive penalties for doing so. Many of us also leave it to the last minute. Causing unnecessary stress and running the risk of being unable to submit the return on time.

Save yourself from this self assessment embarrassment  

How Much Does Submitting A Self Assessment Cost?

If you’re willing to put in the graft and do all the work, record keeping and mathematics yourself then submitting your self assessment tax return to HMRC is totally free. However, remember time is money and it’s often all about finding the best of both worlds.

 

You can outsource your self assessment return entirely to a bookkeeper or accountant. This could cost anything from £300+ per year. It’s entirely dependent on the accountant you choose and your personal circumstances.

 

However, I found the middle ground for myself was using the cloud based accounting platform Xero. It cost less money than an accountant, but also required less work than doing the entire thing myself. Time vs Money for me personally it was a winner!

 

Where Can I Learn More About Self Assessment?

I remember when I first went into the world of self employment. It was a first for anyone in my family, and being young at times I found it confusing and hard to understand. HMRC knows this is often the case regardless of your situation which is why they host regular webinars.

 

Just remember that if you’re confused or for whatever reason don’t understand you should always contact an accountant or HMRC directly. They’ll be able to tailor the answer to your particular circumstances, ensuring that you’re always submitting your self assessment forms correctly.   I hope this latest post has given you some insight into submitting your own self assessment tax form.

 

The most important thing to remember is to complete your form as early as possible, and keep on-top of your record keeping. This is going to really reduce the time it’s going to take you to complete your return whether you choose to use an accountant, cloud based accounting services or do it yourself.

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Amazon Reselling, Blogging, eBay Reselling, Everything Else, Freelancing, Selling Lego


I've been using Xero as my cloud based accounting platform of choice for the past four years now, and heres why.

Xero is a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software designed for small businesses. I have personally been using the software since January 2015 when I ventured into a world I knew very little about – self employment.

  

Since then it’s allowed me to understand the financial situation of my business, save time, save money and plan accordingly for the future. I can’t recommend it enough (which is why you’ll often see me go on about it in Facebook groups & on Youtube hangouts)



I therefore decided it was long-over due that I dedicate an entire post to a Xero review. Explaining exactly why I use Xero for my cloud based accounting. Clearly, I’m not the only fan of Xero as their community is made up of more than 862,000 subscribers in over 180 countries. 

 

Accounts

In this Xero review I’m going to start with perhaps one of the most basic and yet profound features this online accounting service offers. It’s ability to be able to link my bank and credit cards as well as my PayPal account. Updating them all in Xero in real time.

 

No more logging in to check all of your business bank accounts. Load Xero up and you can be assured that all your accounts are completely up-to-date. I can see the overall financial possition of my business on one screen – not a calculator or spreadsheet in sight!

 

To link Xero together with your bank account is as simple as logging into your online banking. No more wasting your time writing down your expenses or exporting and importing CSV files. With Xero your income and outgoings are right there in front of you.

 

The reconciliation Xero offers also allows you to create ‘rules’ allowing you to select what certain transactions should be catagorised into. This not only saves you time but reduces the risk of human errors. 

 

Integration 

If the ability to work together with your bank wasn’t enough maybe the integration with almost 500 different applications might be. In this section of my Xero review I’m going to be talking about everything from SqaureSpace to Shopify and Gusto to Debtor Daddy (and everything in between!)

 

All this is designed to allow you to customise your Xero experience exactly to your businesses needs. Giving your the opportunity to connect with other time saving applications from advanced solutions for point-of-sale, time tracking, e-commerce and more!

 

Support

Aged just 20 I began my life as a self-employed entrepreneur. I knew very little about accounting, taxes and everything in between. When I got set up on Xero I had questions;

 

Why does this do this?

 

Why isn’t this doing that?

 

Am I doing this right?

 

If like me you’ve never done this before it’s super overwhelming and confusing. Luckily Xero’s support team was here to help every step of the way. I’m not just talking about being there for the few weeks where I was getting set up.

 

Just recently my business became a limited company, I was back to square one with one-million and one questions, again Xero’s amazing team was here to help… best of all it was quick, free and the amount of support they provide is unlimited.

 

Mobile

Xero also comes complete with a mobile application. This mobile application allows you to view your businesses financial situation whilst on the go or out and about.

 

It’s made all the difference when I find a business opportunity whilst on the road allowing me to see exactly how much I can afford to invest without restricting my business further.

 

Cost

When starting up a new business we all know how important it is to save money wherever possible. I wanted to be in full control of my financial situation. I didn’t want to hand everything over to an accountant who wanted to charge me £150 a month for the privilidge. 

 

Instead I opted for one of Xero’s three price plans;

 

Starter – £10 per month Ideal for bloggers or those who are just starting out.

 

This allows you to reconcile 20 transactions a month. Enter 5 bills Send 5 invoices

 

Standard – £22 per month My personal choice and more than enough for most small-businesses.

 

Reconcile unlimited transactions Enter unlimited transactions Send unlimited invoices

 

Premium – £27.50 per month If you conduct transactions in a currency other than your local (UK – GBP / US – USD)

 

Everything standard offers plus multi-currency transactions. Take Xero up on their 30-day free trial to find out which service might suit your needs best.

 

Bookkeepers & Accountants

As your business grows and your needs change you may find yourself needing some further accounting assistance in the form of a bookkeeper or an accountant.

 

What’s great is that with Xero being a cloud based platform your person of choice can access your books at any time. You are also able to keep in full control of your financial situation and make decisions accordingly.

 

If you think finding someone with the knowledge and experience who is also a Xero professional is going to be tough, think again. Xero have created this fantastic interactive tool to find the best person for the job, local to you.

 

Security

The final part of my Xero review is dedicated to security. Afterall, your handing over very sensitive information in regards to your business. Which means security has to be tight… and it is. Xero’s platform is run with a secure SSL encryption. SSL encryption is the exact same as what your bank uses, so with security as tight as your bank. You can be sure you’re sensative information is in safe hands.

 

I do hope you enjoyed this Xero review. If you’re still unsure then be sure to take them up on their 30 day free trial to find out if they are right for you. If you go ahead and sign up then be sure to let me know in the comments.

If you’re interested to learn more about self-employment and accounting then be sure to check out my post on HMRC Self Assessment FAQ’s.

3

Accommodation, Everything Else, Travel, Travel

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may have realised that there are three things in life that I love; money, business, and technology. So, it comes as no surprise to find out that when Airbnb hit the scene back in 2008 I was amazed.

The concept is simple; Either pay to rent out people’s couches, spare rooms, spare apartments, houses hotels around the world. Or go ahead and rent out your own for cash. Unsurprisingly not everyone is a fan of Airbnb. Recent research found that if Airbnb is already taking a 10% cut from hotel’s takings as locals fight to rent out their rooms and undercut hotels.


If having read this Airbnb review, you decide you’d like to try it for yourself then click on the image below to claim £30 in credit towards your first stay…

If you like this Airbnb review then try it out for yourself and get £30 free credit in the process



Cities, States, and Countries are also against Airbnb. One example of this is in Barcelona where Airbnb have just been fined €30,000 for breaching local tourism laws.

Research also found that Airbnb has also been partly to blame for the increasing rent in Berlin. City officials have had to go as far as creating a new housing law banning regular short-term letting of rooms without permission from the authorities.

Despite all this, I still love the concept from both the person looking for accommodation and the person looking to rent out a part or all of their home. Which is exactly why I decided to write this Airbnb review post.

That’s because either way, the person should win. The person looking for accommodation should find better accommodation, at a cheaper rate. The person looking to rent out some or all of their home is able to make money from a commodity they already own.

That’s not to say I wasn’t sceptical. In fact, for years now I’ve been looking for a way to try out the experience. That was until a recent experience left me heading to the British capital, London on short notice.  

My Airbnb Experience

I recently managed to get us on a last minute table booking at MCM Comic Con in London. It’s the largest Comic Convention in Europe and certainly not one to be missed. The event is held at the Excel Arena on the side of the river Thames. This isn’t city centre London, but it’s still London all the same.

Accommodation in and around the area sells out fast when an event is on at the arena. Hotels that still take bookings hike prices to take advantage.  

Despite pulling every trick in the book when it came to booking a hotel for this event I was looking at paying over £300 for one person for two nights. It just didn’t make sense, that was more than my table at the event for three days!  

Booking

So, I decided to take to Airbnb to find someone local to the shows arena with a spare room at perhaps a more reasonable rate. Setting up an account is simple and straight forward, you can even import your details direct from social media accounts such as Facebook & Twitter.

Finding a place to stay is actually easier than using websites such as booking.com. Simply type in the postcode and use the filters on the left-hand side to filter the results. You can filter and sort to include accommodation based on; distance, price, user reviews, accommodation type etc. I decided to look for someone within five miles of the venue, who had a spare room.

This airbnb review just shows that finding somewhere to stay couldn't be simpler.
Considering I was looking for somewhere to stay in London I was surprised to find that I only had around eight choices. Five of which were out of my budget / the same price as a hotel. This left me with three choices. I ranked them in order of preference and decided to make contact with my first choice.

This Airbnb user had over 250 reviews, the photos looked great and the location was perfect. I explained my situation, the dates I wanted to stay and the reason why. After 24 hours I had no response. The event was now in 72 hours so I decided to move on.

My second choice was a female, she had no reviews but the photo and description of her place seemed perfect. I dropped her a message much the same as my previous, and after five minutes I got a reply. Within 30 minutes I’d arranged to stay in the spare bedroom of her apartment for £93 – a third of any hotel for miles.  


My Stay

Just 72 hours after booking my accommodation, I set off on my journey to London. It took me over four hours to get down there and a further two to get unpacked and set up. After all that I was more than ready to lay down. I hopped on the DLR at the Excel Arena and three stops later I was just a two-minute walk from my spare room.

I used the Airbnb mobile app to contact my host and let her know I was here. My host provided a full tour of the place, gave me the wifi code and left me to my devices. This is exactly what I wanted. Just the right amount of openness. I was tired and didn’t fancy having a chat over coffee with a complete stranger for hours – at least not tonight.

But, if I wanted to hear her life story she’d have been more than happy to tell me it. Perfect!

Airbnb Review


My two night at my hosts were fantastic. I was out from 7am – 7pm through the day so my evenings pretty much consisted of saying hello, having a shower and going to bed. I believe that if you’re wanting to stay somewhere on the cheap, or get a taste of a different culture or lifestyle, live with the locals, interact with people from different backgrounds then Airbnb provides you with that opportunity.

As for whether I’d use it again, damn right I would! Airbnb provides you with the tools to find an awesome place to stay, and my entire process was quick, easy and simple.  

My Airbnb review is certainly, so far, so good… However what about hosting guests within Airbnb?


Making Money With Airbnb

Now, let’s talk about the flip-side. While I haven’t been able to offer up our sofa or spare room on Airbnb there are clearly people who do.

I guess the question comes down to how much are you willing to take for people to come into your home. The answer is going to be different for everyone depending on personal circumstances.   I don’t live in a city with particularly much going on, despite being just five miles from Leeds.

Never the less the cheapest place to stay on Airbnb here is £20 a night. Assuming I decided that I could put up with someone coming to stay here one night a week per week for an entire year then that £20 a night suddenly turns into £1,040 for the year.

If you enjoyed this airbnb review then you might want to consider hosting your home on airbnb too


Even with Airbnb’s 3% service charge to hosts that still brings your yearly total earnings to over £1,000! But, that’s nothing!   If you live in Leeds the average Airbnb is £55 a night. Manchester is £67 and London is £78 a night.

In fact, if you lived in London and rented out your spare room at the average price of £78 per night for one night a week for the entire year then you’d clock up a massive £4,056 before fees!  


I hope you’ve enjoyed this Airbnb review. If you’ve ever used Airbnb either to rent out a spare room or stay in someone’s house? – Let me know your experience in the comments below…

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