How to Start an Airbnb Business in Ontario: Step-by-Step Guide + Funding Options

According to a recent report by Airbnb, a typical host in Canada earned more than $7,700 over the summer, alone, with Ontario being one of the top provinces for Airbnb listings.

With thousands of active listings in the province, there’s no doubt that the short-term rental market in Ontario is booming.

Starting an Airbnb business can offer several advantages, such as generating extra income, meeting new people from all over the world, and showcasing your unique property to travelers.

Additionally, Airbnb offers a platform to promote local tourism, which can benefit the community and economy.

However, starting an Airbnb business also comes with its challenges. Regulations and zoning laws can be complex and vary by municipality.

Property preparation, guest communication, and managing bookings can also be time-consuming and require attention to detail. Despite these challenges, starting an Airbnb business can be a rewarding experience, both financially and personally.

In this article, we will guide you through the steps to start your own Airbnb business, so you can make the most of this growing market.

Step 1: Research the Local Regulations

Researching regulations before starting a new Airbnb business is essential for ensuring compliance, safety, and reputation, and can help you plan for the financial impact of any requirements.

By doing your due diligence, you can help set your Airbnb business up for success from the start.

Follow the steps below to research regulations:

  • Start with the official websites: Begin by visiting the official websites of the local government authorities, such as the city or municipality where your property is located. Look for information on short-term rentals, homestays, or bed and breakfast regulations. These regulations will outline the requirements for short-term rental accommodations in the area.
  • Contact your local government: If you are still unsure about the regulations in your area, contact your local government office or city council for more information. They can provide you with information on local bylaws, zoning regulations, and licensing requirements.
  • Consult a lawyer: If you are still unsure about the regulations, consider consulting a lawyer specializing in real estate or business law. They can provide you with legal advice and guidance on the regulations that apply to your specific situation.
  • Join local Airbnb host communities: Joining local Airbnb host communities or groups can also be helpful. Other experienced hosts may know the local regulations and can provide insight and advice.

Step 2: Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Many municipalities require short-term rental operators to obtain licenses or permits to operate legally. Failure to obtain the necessary licenses and permits can result in legal issues and penalties.

Here is how you can obtain necessary licenses and permits:

  • Check local regulations: Before applying for any licenses or permits, check the local regulations in your area to determine what is required for short-term rentals, homestays, or bed and breakfasts.
  • Contact your local government: Contact your local government office or city council to determine what licenses and permits are required in your area. They can provide you with a list of requirements and the application process.
  • Apply for a business license: Depending on your location and the type of property you plan to rent out, you may need to apply for a business license. Check with your local government to determine if this is required.
  • Apply for a building permit: If you plan to make any renovations or upgrades to your property, you may need to apply for a building permit. This ensures that the work is done safely and up to code.
  • Apply for a zoning permit: Depending on the zoning laws in your area, you may need to apply for a zoning permit to operate a short-term rental business.
  • Apply for a fire safety inspection: In some areas, a fire safety inspection may be required before you can operate a short-term rental business. This ensures that your property meets fire safety standards.
  • Apply for a tourism license: In some areas, a tourism license may be required to operate a short-term rental business. This license is issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport in Ontario.
  • Pay any required fees: Depending on the licenses and permits you need, there may be fees associated with the application process. Be sure to budget for these costs.

Step 3: Prepare Your Property

The quality of the guest experience is a critical factor in Airbnb rentals, and preparing your property can help ensure that guests have a positive experience during their stay.

By providing clean, comfortable, and well-equipped accommodations, you can help guests feel welcomed and valued, leading to positive reviews, repeat business, and ultimately helping your Airbnb business succeed.

Here’s how to prepare the property:

  • Clean and declutter: Ensure that your property is clean and clutter-free before guests arrive. This includes vacuuming, dusting, and organizing all rooms.
  • Make necessary repairs: Address any repairs or maintenance issues before listing your property on Airbnb. This includes fixing leaky faucets, replacing burnt-out light bulbs, and repairing any broken furniture or appliances.
  • Install safety features: Install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers on your property. This will help ensure the safety of your guests and comply with any local regulations.
  • Secure valuable items: Remove any valuable items from your property or lock them away in a safe or secure location. This will help protect your property from theft or damage.
  • Provide basic amenities: Ensure that your property is stocked with basic amenities such as towels, linens, toiletries, and kitchen supplies. This will help ensure a comfortable stay for your guests.
  • Add personal touches: Add personal touches to your property such as artwork, books, and decorations to help make your guests feel at home.
  • Set house rules: Establish house rules for your property such as check-in and check-out times, noise restrictions, and rules for using shared spaces. This will help ensure that your guests are respectful of your property and other guests.

Step 4: List Your Property on Airbnb

Listing your property on the Airbnb platform is essential for an Airbnb business.

It provides access to a global network of travelers, marketing and promotional tools, secure payment processing, a review system, and support and resources to help manage your listing.


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    To list your property:

    • Create an Airbnb account: If you don’t already have an Airbnb account, create one by visiting the Airbnb website or downloading the Airbnb app.
    • Provide property information: Provide basic information about your property such as the type of property, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, and any amenities available.
    • Set pricing: Determine the pricing for your property based on factors such as location, size, and amenities. Airbnb offers a pricing tool that can help you set competitive prices (many 3rd party pricing tools are available too).
    • Choose a booking method: Decide how you want to handle bookings for your property. You can accept all bookings or require guests to request a booking.
    • Create a listing: Create a listing for your property by adding photos, a detailed description, and any additional information about your property such as house rules and check-in instructions.
    • Review your listing: Review your listing before publishing to ensure that all information is accurate and complete.
    • Publish your listing: Once you’re satisfied with your listing, publish it on Airbnb. Your listing will be available for guests to book immediately.
    • Respond to inquiries and bookings: Be responsive to queries and booking requests from potential guests. Responding quickly and professionally can help increase your bookings and positive reviews.
    • Manage your calendar: Keep your calendar up-to-date to ensure that your property is available when you want it to be. You can block off dates or set minimum stay requirements as needed.

    Step 5: Manage Your Bookings

    Managing bookings is an essential part of running a successful Airbnb business.

    By managing bookings effectively, you can maximize occupancy, ensure guest satisfaction, avoid double bookings, maintain good communication, and establish a positive reputation as an Airbnb host. Many 3rd party Property Management Software are available to help you manage bookings.

    Generally, you need to:

    • Monitor your calendar: Keep your calendar up-to-date to ensure that your property is available when you want it to be. You can block off dates or set minimum stay requirements as needed.
    • Respond to inquiries and booking requests: Be responsive to queries and booking requests from potential guests. Responding quickly and professionally can help increase your bookings and positive reviews.
    • Accept or decline bookings: Accept or decline bookings as soon as possible to avoid leaving potential guests waiting. If you decline a booking, be sure to provide a reason why.
    • Communicate with guests: Communicate with guests before, during, and after their stay. Answer any questions they may have, provide check-in instructions, and address any issues that arise during their stay.
    • Prepare your property for guests: Ensure that your property is clean and ready for guests before their arrival. This includes providing fresh linens, towels, and toiletries.
    • Collect payment: Airbnb handles payment processing for you, so you don’t need to worry about collecting payment directly from guests.
    • Review guests: After a guest stays at your property, be sure to review them on Airbnb. This will help other hosts make informed decisions about accepting bookings from that guest in the future.
    • Handle issues: If any issues arise during a guest’s stay, handle them promptly and professionally. This may include addressing maintenance issues or addressing guest complaints.

    Step 6: Provide Excellent Customer Service

    Providing excellent customer service is crucial for an Airbnb business. As an Airbnb host, you are providing a service to guests who are paying to stay on your property.

    Providing excellent customer service can lead to positive reviews, repeat business, and ultimately help your Airbnb business succeed.

    To provide great customer service:

    • Communicate clearly: Respond to messages and inquiries promptly and communicate clearly with your guests. Provide detailed instructions for check-in, check-out, and any house rules.
    • Be hospitable: Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests. Greet them upon arrival, provide a welcome package with information about the local area, and ensure that they have everything they need for a comfortable stay.
    • Respond to guest needs: Address any guest requests or issues promptly and professionally. This includes things like providing extra towels or addressing maintenance issues.
    • Provide local recommendations: Offer recommendations for local restaurants, attractions, and activities. This can help your guests make the most of their stay and leave them with a positive impression of your property.
    • Check-in with guests: Check in with guests periodically during their stay to ensure that they are comfortable and satisfied with their experience.
    • Provide thoughtful amenities: Provide thoughtful amenities like coffee, tea, snacks, and toiletries. These small touches can go a long way in creating a positive guest experience.
    • Be flexible: Be flexible and accommodating when possible. This may include accommodating early check-in or late check-out requests or allowing guests to store their luggage after check-out.
    • Respond to reviews: Respond to guest reviews, both positive and negative. Thank guests for their feedback and address any issues or concerns that they may have raised.

    Step 7: Monitor Your Business

    Monitoring the progress of your Airbnb business is an essential part of ensuring its long-term success.

    By regularly tracking your occupancy rates, evaluating your performance, measuring success, responding to changes, and identifying opportunities, you can stay ahead of the competition and keep your Airbnb business thriving.

    To monitor your new Airbnb business:

    • Monitor your calendar: Keep an eye on your Airbnb calendar to ensure that your property is available when you want it to be. Adjust pricing and availability based on demand.
    • Monitor your listings: Keep an eye on your listings to ensure that they are up-to-date and accurate. Update photos and descriptions as needed.
    • Monitor your pricing: Adjust your pricing based on demand and market conditions. Use tools like Airbnb’s price suggestions or dynamic pricing tools to help optimize your pricing.
    • Monitor your guest reviews: Keep an eye on your guest reviews and respond promptly and professionally to any issues or concerns that guests may raise.
    • Monitor your competition: Keep an eye on your competition in your area. Check their listings to see what amenities they offer and what their pricing is like.
    • Monitor your expenses: Keep track of your expenses related to your Airbnb business. This includes things like cleaning fees, maintenance expenses, and any fees associated with listing your property on Airbnb.
    • Monitor your income: Keep track of your income from your Airbnb business. This will help you assess the profitability of your property and identify areas for improvement.
    • Analyze your data: Use data analysis tools to help identify patterns and trends in your Airbnb business. This can help you make informed decisions about pricing, availability, and other aspects of your business.


    Starting an Airbnb business is not without its challenges, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding and profitable venture.

    By staying up-to-date with regulations, investing in your property, and focusing on providing an exceptional guest experience, you can build a successful Airbnb business that will thrive for years to come.

    Resources for Airbnb Businesses in Ontario

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