Here you are, jumping up and down with excitement whilst waving goodbye to your older child, on their way to Uni or their own first home. Lost the plot? Not at all. It is of course sad to see them leave, but it might also mean the start of new opportunities for you and your home. Whether you've just reclaimed extra space in your home, moved into a new house with an annex or a guest studio; whether you're a stay-at-home mum or dad or working part time, why not make the most of spare room or extra time to boost your income without leaving your home? You could even combine this with exploring a passion you've had for a long time for a craft activity; specialist skills you under use and know are in high demand; or the opportunity to redecorate or update your house to create a new space for guests. It could also be a great way to make yourself a new source of income if you are planning a change of direction or a career break.
Do you have a spare bedroom or a basement you could convert into guest accommodation? You could earn a significant amount of income by renting it as a resident landlord. How much you charge per night depends on where you live, and the minimum amount of nights per booking is up to you. But you could earn thousands tax free every year as there’s a tax relief scheme in the UK (more on that later).
A quick note about disposable income. It is the net balance of what you earn minus what you spend. Could you also save on what you spend, for example on your home insurance?
Occupancy rates vary of course: Rule of thumb? Base your income projection on a 50% occupancy rate (so 26 weeks a year if you rent by the week) in areas highly appealing to tourists like Cornwall and Yorkshire. In other areas you might only rent your guest room a handful of weeks across the year but surely, it's still good extra income? Here's how much you could make on average as an Airbnb host depending where you live in the UK:
The net amount you’ll take also depends on how you choose to manage the bookings and the cleaning. You can do it all yourself. It does mean you might need to wait until your guests arrive to give them their keys even if it's late at night. You could also invest in an Airbnb Host smart keyless solution. You can also employ an agency to do all of this for you. They will take a cut but you might weigh up that you’d rather have a little less income and spend less of your own time managing it.
Between July 2016 and July 2017, UK households have earned a total £657million through renting rooms and houses on Airbnb. So yes, you can make money out of having a spare room or listing your entire house. How much you earn fluctuates per area of the country: In the North East and the Midlands , you can get between £2,200 and £2,400 on average. In London the average earning rises to £3,000 (there is, however, a lot of competition with the highest volume of listings: 64,000). The area with the highest average earning is the South-West with £3,400.
In the UK there is a rent a room tax relief amount in place. So up to earnings of £7,500, the income you make that way is tax free. Over this limit, you’ll need to declare it to HRMC via a tax return form.
If you are looking to list your spare room, annex or entire house occasionally on Airbnb, check with your home content insurance as they might not cover you for lets. You might need specialist airbnb insurance.
If you are listing your spare room to find a lodger or a flatmate (in this case you might want to list it on a site like SpareRoom.com), again, your regular buildings and content policy might not extend to this. You can find out more and compare lodger insurance and landlord insurance here.
There are plenty of ways to earn a living working from home, especially now that technology has enabled efficient new remote working solutions. You can develop your career as a Virtual Assistant. The range of duties and skills can vary a lot from one V.A. role to another. Check what your potential client expect from his or her V.A. carefully. It could range from: maintaining up-to-date accounts to managing day to day communications with the customers of the business; managing the diaries(s) of one or several of the senior executive members of the business; organising conferences and events, travel and accommodation; researching information and preparing and distributing corporate documents.
Web and digital roles are very popular freelance choices as most of them can virtually be done from anywhere with a laptop and a good Wi-Fi signal, topped with the occasional trip to the office: PHP developers and web architect; graphic designer; social media management; market researchers and UX. Finally if you speak another language fluently or have a teaching background, you could set yourself up to provide translating services or online tuition.
A lot of freelancers use sites such as People Per Hour to list their skills and cost rate. Aside from those, networks like LinkedIn not only have a section with job listings but also connections in your network that might facilitate an introduction. Recommendations is a proven, successful method for employers to find new staff members and suppliers alike - lets face it, if you were looking for someone to help you with a project, the first thing you'd probably do is ask your friends, family and colleagues if they would recommend anyone they know and trust. Action point: Get networking.
Georgia Gallone, a freelance Digital Marketing specialist confirms this in a short but sharp statement: "Besides word of mouth, I find jobs through Facebook groups, LinkedIn and websites like CloudPeeps".
BetterTeam also lists recommendations as the top method to find the best person for a role: "Ask your employees who the best people were that they worked with and also look at companies your best employees previously worked at."
First of all, do you need insurance at all?
Even if you just do admin work from home, you might still need car insurance for a start to get to your meetings and catch up with your clients. But perhaps, if you don't drive often, you could get a better solution than annual car insurance (and save money.)
Anyway, in terms of specific insurance for freelancers, you might need:
In the end, be prepared to be patient. Whether you decide to rent a room in your home, freelance or start your own small business from home, building up clients and a new revenue stream takes time. The great thing is, planning ahead one or several solutions to earn a living outside of your 9 to 5 job might give you the freedom to do something else for a year or two. With sabbaticals more and more on the radar of employers looking after the wellbeing of their teams, it might be a path worth exploring?
What do you think? Add your comments below......
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