Do I Need a Property Manager?
If you search ‘short term rentals’ on YouTube, you’re met with a slew of self-made short term rental owners who manage their own properties. They insist that you don’t need outside management: anyone can do it! Don’t waste your money!
These videos gloss over a lot of important factors. The time, energy, and resources you’ll pour into dealing with cleaning, restocking amenities, maintenance, and guest communications can be overwhelming to a beginner. While the bulk of the back-end operations of running a short term rental are automated, they come with a price:
- Membership fees for pricing and booking management software
- Various other programs required to effectively automate and manage your rental
- Booking website fees(AirBnB, VRBO, HomeAway, etc)
- Cleaning and maintenance crews to keep your properties in good condition
They also don’t take into account the need to be on call on a near-constant basis in case of a guest question, concern, or emergency. All of these things take considerable time and energy. You’ll be using a lot of it, especially if you’re new to vacation rentals.
So…should you look into a property manager? Ask yourself the following:
How much of your own time are you willing to put into your property?
Your property will take up more of your time than you think it will, especially when you’re getting it up and running. If you do it yourself expect to be spending a lot of time doing following:
- Ordering, assembling, and moving furniture
- Hooking up electronics (TVs, etc.)
- Taking and editing professional quality photos
- Pricing your listing and posting to AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO, etc.
- Managing bookings
- Guest communication
- Restocking amenities
- Cleaning and maintenance
How are your customer service skills?
Short-term rentals are becoming more competitive, and guests can be picky. Some of them will look for trouble in an effort to get a discount or a refund. How well-equipped are you to handle them? Sometimes it’s difficult to keep your cool when guests are being rude(and you will get problematic guests from time to time). You need a thick skin to handle the inevitable temper tantrums, or confronting a guest who violated a smoking policy or damaged the property. Not every guest will be a nightmare, but bad guests are an inevitability and handling them can be exhausting.
What about your accounting skills?
There’s a lot of number-crunching when it comes to running a vacation rental: taxes, fees, supply restocks, and maintenance and cleaning are all things you’ll need to keep track of, and unless you hire a bookkeeper, you’ll be spending a lot of time on accounting.
Are you good at marketing?
There’s more to managing your rental than just posting your property listing to AirBnB. Short term rentals are a competitive industry, and you’ll need to be quick on the draw and sharp with your marketing to stand out from the crowd. This means building followings on social media and other avenues to attract new guests and turn them into loyal customers. This, by itself, can turn into a full-time job if you let it.
What is your availability?
Do you have a full-time job? A family? Both? Chances are you, as many do, have a schedule you’re beholden to. Managing your day job and family duties while trying to effectively manage your rental can be extremely difficult, and the stress will affect everyone.
How much do you know about home maintenance?
Short term rentals see lots of heavy use, and things will inevitably break. Do you know how to unclog a toilet? Do you want to be unclogging a toilet to begin with? What about more complicated repairs: drywall patching, changing a bad outlet, or fixing a broken dryer are just some of the things you’ll either need to learn how to do or hire someone for.
Can you really handle it all yourself?
What these videos don’t talk about is that they don’t do everything on their own. They may have started out by themselves, but most of these companies quickly grew, and they have employees or contract workers that handle maintenance, cleaning, and guest communications. The only difference between them and a management company is that they own the properties they manage.
If you’re in over your head or just simply want a break from the stresses of property management, we can yelp you! We have over fourteen years of experience managing short term rentals, and we have an in-house cleaning, maintenance, and communications team that are trained to handle every need. From bookings to restocking amenities to changing light bulbs, we have it covered. Visit our website to learn more.