Podcast - Into the Airbnb

A mud house and 4 Airbnb homes in farmland, Tennessee

Today’s guest is Jackie from Murfreesboro in Tennessee. She runs for Airbnb unit or within a 50 acres formula and she started her first listing with a mud house in the farmland. And now she is building the fifth unit (also within the farmland) to run on Airbnb. Her revenues from those four listings are somewhere between four to $7,000 per month and during this pandemic around 50% of the next 30 days or booked.

mudhouse airbnb
A mud house Airbnb

Podcast summary!

  • How Jackie got started with first Airbnb listing with a mud house 2:11
  • Impact of the lockdown in Tennessee to her Airbnb houses 5:05
  • Seasonality of her listings 6:42
  • Occupancy rate across the units is between 50% – 65% 8:14
  • About Pricing strategy 9:04
  • Revenue breakdown by months 9:55
  • What are the challenges of running Airbnb 11:31

Full Interview Transcript

jaeseok an

I can see that you have four listings as a 50 acres, farmland. Mm hmm. So are they all located? Like one next to each others? 

Jackie  1:15  

Yeah, they are. each one is probably about a football field away from the other one. Like in all directions. So they all kind of have their own privacy and separate interests.

jaeseok an  1:29  

Right. So you have two one bedroom houses wants to do one three bedroom houses. Is that

Jackie  1:38  

right? Um, no, I don’t have any three bedroom I just have a studio that’s about 900 square feet. And a tiny house that’s about 500 square feet and then another tiny house that’s 300 square feet and then the hobbit house which is made of mud

jaeseok an  1:59  

Oh, Okay, all right. Yeah. So yeah, how did you get started? What was your motivation when you start your first rental?

Jackie  2:11  

Um well the first rental was actually the mud house and we actually just built that for fun. It was free to build we use all the materials were from the land so we actually it’s literally just made out of mud. And we weren’t using it for anything after we got done and as I put it on Airbnb as a joke, like Haha, this will be funny. And I had it. I think I had it priced at like $30 just like I said, as a joke and someone people started booking it and I was I had no supplies. I had to go run and get an air mattress and I was like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that this is actually happening. And then once I saw that, and mind you this, this building does not have running water it does not have a shower. It doesn’t have a toilet nothing and people were still coming. So I said, Wow, if I’m making money off of a mud hut, how good could I do with you know something else? And that’s what started everything.

jaeseok an  3:17  

How much did you charge per night for the White House?

Jackie  3:20  

The mud house I started I think like 30 or $35. But now it’s up to 100 and people are still still booking like crazy. Well,

jaeseok an  3:29  

yeah, I’ve never heard about mode house Airbnb. Easy. Like, have you ever seen any other houses doing the same consum

Jackie  3:41  

I don’t think I don’t know if there’s any other in Tennessee, but it’s actually you know, if you option under Airbnb, like unique stays. Yeah, it would be classified under earthen homes. So

jaeseok an  3:55  

yeah, interesting. And rich. Where was it?

Jackie  3:58  

That that I put On. Yep. I think it was 2018 or 2007, end of 2017 or early 18.

jaeseok an  4:09  

Right. And when you decided to start your second house,

Jackie  4:14  

um, I would say very shortly after probably a few months, right. And then it just trickled I was like, Oh, I want to do more and more and more.

jaeseok an  4:26  

Interesting. Okay. And what’s your current situation with your rental close? I can see that at least 50% of your calendars for next 30 days. Seems to be booked. Are they real bookings? Are there available bookings? Are they real bookings? Or did you just block it because of the pandemic?

Jackie  4:48  

Oh, no, they’re real. Yeah, I don’t block out there.

jaeseok an  4:51  

Right. So okay, that’s that’s pretty nice considering the crime situation How about like, how much of how many of the cancellations did you get in the past month?

Jackie  5:05  

Um, so when everything kind of, I think I started quarantine, here in Tennessee the 18th of March, and around then I started getting all these text messages cancellation cancellation. I was like, Oh, no, it’s happening. And then you know, part of the Facebook, you know, groups and everyone is freaking out. So it scared me. So, March was actually still continued to be a pretty good month, April, scared me the beginning of April because everyone dropped off but then towards like, the second week of April is when I feel like people were starting to get sick of staying at home. So they were like, hey, and, and there’s also strategies that I use as far as writing. I changed all the time. To secluded and mentioned that we’re on land, and you wouldn’t be me or anyone you know, and that I think that really even just changing those words in the titles, I got so many more hits and like questions and I just really tried to make the potential guests understand like, I would take care of it and they’re going to be safe out here. And there’s so much you know, they can bring their kids and let them run and get energy out. Instead of being in your neighbourhood stuck inside you don’t have a yard so people really get it spiked up a lot. So I was very thankful for that.

jaeseok an  6:42  

That’s, that’s nice. That’s, that’s good. When are your busiest month and when were your high this month?

Jackie  6:52  

Um, what I’ll actually look at that

the month that you You think are going to be terrible are your best months. So, like, I would think out here, you know, we have the pond and like just outdoor things to do. You would think the summer it was would be great but this month or this year, my best month was February. I think I actually brought in I brought in about $7,000 in February

jaeseok an  7:26  

from the four unit. Yes. Yeah, interesting. What do they usually come visit your place for? February

Jackie  7:40  

um, you know, I don’t I don’t even remember what it was for. We are really close to the interstate. So I feel that we’re a good stop as far as Oh, it’s fast. I can get off the interstate. If I’m you know, in Florida and heading up northeast. I can just stop here. Or we have a lot of content where, you know, 35-40 minutes from Nashville, which is a great hotspot right now. I think a lot of things like that just come into a good play with it.

jaeseok an  8:14  

Right. Make sense? Then what has been on occupancy rate during, like the high season for you, which is February and like around that time?

Jackie  8:27  

I think our occupancy rate was about 65% 65.

jaeseok an  8:32  

How about like during summer last year?

Jackie  8:36  

I believe it was a low 50s.

jaeseok an  8:40  

Low 50s. Alright, so there isn’t much too much of the gap between the high season and the low season for you. Right? Yeah. All right. And how do you do pricing

Jackie  8:56  

as far as like my cleaning fee and everything like that.

jaeseok an  9:04  

The nightly fees like how do you decide how much that’s going to be cost on that night?

Jackie  9:11  

Um, so I do not do the smart pricing because I do not trust it. Right. So I just kind of, I will, maybe once a month go through Airbnb and type in, you know my location and look at what everyone else is doing. And I just want to be just a tad lower. I mean, if you want to do $79 or $70, do 69 because that looks better than 70. You know, and then don’t totally jack up your cleaning fee to where when they go to checkout, they’re like, Oh my gosh, what the heck happened here, you know? Yeah. So

jaeseok an  9:55  

that’s it. I see. That’s interesting. And what has been Your revenue dream. You’ve mentioned about February, but during like the typical months, like November, October, or April,

Jackie  10:10  

um, I would say, let’s see.


last, let’s say last May, we brought in


June was 5300.

July was 5200.

jaeseok an  10:39  

All right, so that’s the total revenue. Yeah.

Jackie  10:43  

So I’m I my goal that I am satisfied with for the amount of work and money that I put in, is, I want to at least clear 4500 and I’m okay now if we get above that, that would be amazing. But I set that goal for myself.

jaeseok an  11:04  

Right and does around how many nights that you need to be booked for the month?

Jackie  11:12  


I would need to be booked

about 65

jaeseok an  11:23  


Jackie  11:24  

between that’s what for so I mean that’s, that’s pretty low Really?


jaeseok an  11:31  

Yeah, cuz Yeah, I can’t, I saw that you also have like a monthly discount or like weekly discount. So if you get that kind of bookings then you have like one month fully blocked. So that’s 100% occupancy rate for that one house. Right. Okay. Yeah, the next question is, what are the top challenges about running Airbnb for you?

Jackie  12:00  

I would say the challenges for me are, I work full time as a dental hygienist so I really can’t oversee cleaning and things like that I clean on the weekends when I’m off to cut costs. But say I’m very finicky when it comes to cleaning. So I really, you know, even just a hit one hair left on the sink or anything like that, that just drives me crazy. So finding good people, reliable people to help you clean and then also pricing because if the pricing yourself too low attracts very, very bad guests, and I’ve had a few bad guests because I think I attracted them myself with my low pricing. And then I think that’s really The majority of it and probably will just wear on your furniture that you’ve bought, because you need you need nice things if you want to attract the right guests, but then in the same breath, the nice things that you’ve purchased are getting degraded over time.

jaeseok an  13:19  

Right? Make sense? Are you planning to make your own personal website for the Airbnb?

Jackie  13:28  

I have, um, I have made

my own Instagram pages so and I’ve linked them through when you check in. You know how you can add the photos. If there’s any special check in Yeah, I’ve taken photos for each listing but then at the very last photo is please follow us on our

on our Airbnb

Instagram page.

jaeseok an  13:58  

Okay. Right, and you’ve mentioned about getting the right cleaning is one of your challenge because you need to work full time. Right? And how do you how did you find the cleaners and how do you like keep them to work with you?

Jackie  14:22  

Thankfully my cleaners have been people that I know I just I honestly don’t know how people would I know there’s apps you know out there that you can like turn over Airbnb that you can find people to do the job for you. But again, I just don’t really trust people that I don’t know to do it.

jaeseok an  14:45  

I see so you know, some people and they are the one who helps with your Airbnb. Are they your co host as well?

Jackie  14:55  

Yes, they are. Yep. So they can answer people while I’m at work.

jaeseok an  15:00  

Alright. Yep. Are you planning to get more houses built in that farmland?

Jackie  15:09  

Yes, I we’re actually working on our fifth one right now.

jaeseok an  15:13  

Okay. How is that going?

Jackie  15:16  

Um, well, it’s, it’s going okay. It’s, you know, kind of thinks because we’re in this pandemic. So, you know, I’ve been furloughed, so and I’m on unemployment and my unemployment has not kicked in still. So I’ve had zero income come in. Thank God for Airbnb. It’s been honestly such a blessing. So I’m kind of trying to conserve so we’re gonna, that’s we have something we’re doing, you know, where we do ROI, everything so we just have to kind of wait until we have some more cash flow coming in to do the things we need to hire out.

jaeseok an  15:58  

I see him Like paintings or he’s told me

Jackie  16:04  

Yeah, we do we do all that ourselves. So thankfully also my husband is in construction so we can do most of it. Really. It’s just buying the supplies. So like buying the cabinets to instal, we can do everything ourselves and we just, we just need money.

jaeseok an  16:24  

Right. All right. Thank you so much.

Jackie  16:27  

You’re welcome. Thank you.

jaeseok an  16:29  

Have a nice day. Bye bye, you too.

Jackie  16:30  


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