Need fixes for broken appliances? We’ve got you covered in today’s #AskaHouseCleaner Vacation Rental Mailbag. #Airbnb hosts ask about a broken dishwasher and alternate solutions.
Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru suggests a meal credit or paper plates. Prepare for the worst-case scenario and provide a list of What Ifs. What if we have a broken washing machine? And then provide the number for a laundry service. And if you have a broken oven, suggest a toaster oven in the bottom cupboard or the microwave.
Make it clear you offer no refunds for broken appliances. And then prevent guest disappointment with backups for customer satisfaction.
Listen: Broken Appliances
Watch: Broken Appliances
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Today, we’re going to talk about broken appliances in your vacation rental. There was a customer that wrote in and wanted to know, “What do I do? A customer complained about a broken dishwasher.” Alright, well there are a couple of different things that you can do when it comes to a broken appliance.
There Are a Couple of Ways to Handle This Situation
Number one, you can call a repair and maintenance guy. You might find one on housecleaning360.com. Get him over there as soon as possible to fix the dishwasher.
If it’s a short stay and the guest is only going to be there for a couple of days, you may want to take another measure to help them solve the issue. And this might be, “Hey, if the dishwasher breaks, there’s a towel in the linen closet you can put on the counter. You can pull the bottom shelf of the dishwasher out and put it on top as a dish drainer, and just rinse the dishes by hand.”
There’s a whole list of stuff you should keep under the kitchen sink in your rental that can help with an unplanned incident. One of the items is dishwashing soap in the event that your guest wants to wash dishes while they’re at your place. That planning shows that you were thoughtful in preparing for their business. They will appreciate you for managing your rental with the renter in mind.
Other Options for Dealing with Broken Appliances
Now, if your dishwasher breaks, nobody’s expecting that. This is a great opportunity for you to step in and show them expert customer service here. You can give them a food credit so they can eat out and they don’t have to bring food into your home.
You could also leave them paper plates, paper cups, paper bowls, and plastic silverware. That would give them enough to eat off of while they’re at your place. Then, when they’re done, they can just throw that away and they don’t have to worry about doing the dishes.
You Can Send Someone to Wash the Dishes
Or have somebody come in every night of the guest’s stay until the repairman could come, and wash the dishes by hand.
So, they sent someone in at no extra charge to wash the dishes. So, there are a couple of different options. But one option that I might recommend is in your house rules, in the book that you leave for the guests as they come in. You might have just a, “What if,” page. “What if the dishwasher breaks?”
And then, have those solutions that are going to be available. “In the pantry, there are paper dishes, plastic silverware, all those things. You can use those in the event that the dishwasher breaks.”
You can explain to them where you keep the bath towel to put on the counter. And you can explain how to pull out the bottom rack of the dishwasher to use as a dish drainer. You can put those in as extra solutions, just so that there are no surprises. Because believe it or not, some guests won’t think through those things themselves.
Giving a refund is not recommended. A working dishwasher is not part of the stay, it’s an added part of their experience.
The beds and everything else still work. They were still able to take showers, so everything else during their stay was good. So, I would not give them a refund.
What if There’s a Broken Washing Machine?
Moving on to the next question about broken washing machines. “What do you do if a guest comes to your house and the washing machine is broken?” There are a lot of travelers that stay at Airbnbs because they’re traveling across the country. and they’re going to be gone for two weeks, three weeks, five weeks, a month, who knows?
For them, having a washing machine might be a key element. So, in your listing, if a washing machine is available, then you may want to list that. But if it’s not available my recommendation is, for most guests, it’s not important.
You Don’t Have to Make the Washing Machine Available
So, I wouldn’t make it available. If it is available, put that in your listing and then make sure you have working equipment. If it’s not available, as a house cleaner or as a host you have to turn the linens on a regular basis.
So, between every single guest, you’ve got to pull off all the linens. You’ve got to wash all the towels, wash rags, kitchen towels, all that stuff. So, you need your washing machine for your service, your turnover service. I would not make that available to the guests.
Laundry Facilities Can Cause Problems
There are lots of problems that come with having guests use the laundry machines. There are some horrifying stories.
The guests are in a hurry so they throw laundry in the washing machine. Then, they try to take it out before the cycle is complete and the door has locked. So, then they try to yank the door open and they bust the door of the washing machine.
Another thing is, you need to have hours of operation. Let’s say you’re renting two or three rooms. Your rules of operation state that it’s quiet time from 10 PM until 10 AM. And you have guests doing laundry at 2:00 AM because they have an early flight, and need to check out early.
So, they want to wash their clothes the night before. The washing machine is loud during the night. The other guests aren’t happy, and they want a refund.
Put Advice in the “What Ifs” Section of your Rules
So, lots of things can malfunction when it comes to having a washing machine available. If you have cross country travelers, include something in that “What if,” part mentioned earlier.
You might say, “What if you have clothes to wash? We have a laundry service that we use.” Then give them the phone number for a laundry service. “Here’s the bag, you put your clothes in it and leave it out on the door. Then, you call this number and someone will come to pick up the clothing. They will bring it back the next day, and your clothing will be clean. For that, you pay an extra service, and that’s between you and the cleaning company.”
Giving Options Makes Your Job Easier
So, then as a host, you’re not collecting any of that money. And you’re not the one sending the bag out, and picking it up in the middle of the night. You don’t have to do any of those things.
So, they can outsource it to a laundry service and you just provide the number. So, that would be my recommendation for that.
What if you Have a Broken Oven?
This is a tough one because a lot of people choose Airbnb’s because they want to create memories by cooking meals together during their stay. They can stay in a home-like environment with lots of people and they’re not paying to eat out at every meal. So, it saves a lot of money.
If they get to your house, and they find out that the stove or the oven doesn’t work you need to have some options for them.
So, on that, “What if,” page that we talked about, “What if the oven goes out while you’re here?” You might offer, “In the bottom cabinet over to the right, next to the refrigerator, is a toaster oven. You can pull that out, and you can cook small things in the toaster oven. Feel free to use the microwave.”
More Things to Help If the Oven Doesn’t Work
And there are other things you can do. You might even have a hot plate that is not on display and is in one of the cabinets or the pantry. That way, if the burner on the stove goes out, they can pull out the hot plate. And they can still cook their omelets or whatever they cook for breakfast.
So, those are backup solutions that you can have. It’s not a good idea to highlight it and make all that stuff available. Of course, you make the microwave available. But the other stuff doesn’t need to be available unless there’s an issue.
And then, on the “What if” page, it just shows you where everything else is. Again, I would not give them a discount or a refund on their stay because you gave them other options while still saying no to a refund.
Protect Yourself Against Hijackers
Believe it or not, there are guests that have learned how to hijack the system. They will come to your house and find things that they can break. Then they ask for a full refund saying, “Oh, you ruined my stay.”
To avoid all that upfront make it clear, “I won’t give any refunds if something breaks. This is a normal home and we use lots of stuff. Anything could break at any time. However, we have a “What if,” page and all those solutions are on here. Find a solution for your current situation.”
So, you fix the problem, and let them know. It’s in your listing. You’ve explained what’s available and what’s not. In your house rules then, you can explain, “What to do in the event that something malfunctions.” With the right combination of customer service and honesty, your earnings will not be affected by negative reviews, even if something breaks.
Things Break, So Have a Plan
Now, having said that, stuff will malfunction. And so, you want to have repair people that do small appliances on speed dial. You want to have those people in your back pocket. Be friends with them and maybe even give them something like Savvy Perks as a little bonus to keep them happy. Then they will jump in and help you immediately when there’s a problem.
So, there are ways of doing that, but if you run an Airbnb stuff’s going to break. There are lots of people that use things in different ways. People will break your dishwasher, or your oven and your stove. They will break the washing machine, and any other appliances that have knobs or dials. On and off switches will get broken. Okay? So, it’s not “If,” it’s a matter of “When.”
So, those are our tips for today’s Vacation Rental Mailbag. If you found this helpful please pass it on to a friend.
Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you find out.
What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint – https://amzn.to/2I6NYUV
Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines – https://amzn.to/2E5TTWn
Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization – https://amzn.to/2I7kXZa
Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary – https://amzn.to/2GCUqk9
The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service – https://amzn.to/2ByXgmV
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Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts