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- Saadia Touzri, 28, recently quit her job to sublet Airbnbs full time.
- She and her partner sublet 14 properties. Last month they made 30,000 euros, or about $30,000.
- She told Insider how they set up their business and shared her tips for choosing apartments to rent.
This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Saadia Touzri, 28, about her work subletting Airbnbs. It was translated from a version that originally appeared on July 21, 2022, and has been edited for length and clarity.
I recently quit my secure job to work full time with my partner renting apartments and subletting them as Airbnbs. We now make up to 30,000 euros, which is about $30,000, in revenue a month.
I’ve been working toward this goal for more than two years, and now I’ve finally made it happen.
Before I started this company, I studied business management. After graduating, I got my first job at a large corporation in 2017.
I worked in purchasing and felt comfortable with the job and my colleagues. The only problem was that I didn’t feel like I was being challenged enough in the role. I wanted to do more, to achieve something, to build something of my own.
So I took a different direction within the company. I changed jobs and started working in project management. But again I didn’t feel like my skills were being utilized properly.
That’s when I decided to take things into my own hands.
At the end of 2019 my partner and I came up with the idea of renting apartments and subletting them as Airbnbs.
We wanted to achieve financial freedom and have more time for ourselves, because we have both always dreamed of traveling the world. But it was clear to us that we couldn’t do this with our regular jobs, so we started to think of business ideas.
Before entering the housing market, we tried our hand at e-commerce to see if we could achieve our goal. We set up two online stores and made some money with them, but we didn’t really enjoy it.
At the beginning of 2020 we rented our first apartment and began subletting it out.
The bookings went well, and we quickly realized that we could develop it into a business. But then the COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, and we had to put our plans on hold.
A few months later, in the fall of 2020, we started again and expanded our portfolio to a total of three apartments. From that point on, everything happened pretty quickly.
The next year, our portfolio grew to 10 apartments. That’s when we decided to set up a company.
My partner took care of the business for a few years while I continued to work as a project manager and helped him out after my normal working hours. A second income was still important to us at this stage.
As we became more professional, it was necessary to spend more time on the properties and be more careful when choosing new ones to rent. This is because not all landlords will allow you to turn an apartment into an Airbnb, and some cities also prohibit it.
We decided to look at alternatives to get around some of these issues. For example, we’re now also working with real-estate companies and project developers to rent out commercial spaces, turn these into apartments, and then sublet them out.
There are other key criteria we look for when choosing an apartment to rent. One is location — we look to see how many tourists visit the area and how much competition there is.
Our properties are at the more expensive end of the market, but if there are already lots of other rental listings, then we still choose to avoid renting there, regardless of the prices of the competition.
The target group also plays an important role. For example, in our apartments in Allgäu, which is in Bavaria in southern Germany, our customer base is primarily families. So that means we have to make sure that they come with things like changing tables.
Around Lake Constance, which is on the borders of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we have a lot of older people staying, so accessibility is important.
Our main goal is always to refinance the fixed monthly costs — including rent and WiFi — within a week.
Our success with this depends on the apartment in question. With less expensive apartments, we always achieve this goal. With higher-priced ones, it often takes a little longer. But so far it’s going pretty well.
We’ve also recently launched an online course in which we show people how they can earn money with vacation rentals. We sell this mainly via our TikTok account, where more than 34,000 people follow us.
We’ve been able to continue to expand our portfolio in recent months, and we now have 14 apartments listed on our website, StayINZ.
With the income we’re generating from these rentals, we’re now earning enough that I could quit my job without adding any unnecessary financial strain on our company.
A few weeks ago I finally told my boss that I was quitting, and last weekend I handed in my notice — I now have about four months left working at the company.
My parents weren’t particularly thrilled about me quitting, but I’ve known that I wanted to be self-employed for a long time.
After I finish my notice period, I’ll start working for our rental business full time. We’re planning to pay ourselves just enough to live on initially so that we can reinvest the majority of the profits back into the company.
In June we made just over 30,000 euros in revenue, and we expect July to be even better — probably 42,000 euros.
We’re also actively looking to add more apartments to our rental portfolio.