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House Cleaner or Property Management for Your Vacation Rental?

Is a house cleaner or property management better for your vacation rental? There are pros and cons of a house cleaner vs. property management. If you run an Airbnb or VRBO you need a co-host or caretaker you can count on. 

As an Airbnb host, you can do your own cleaning, you can hire a maid, or you can opt for vacation rental management. 

Your cleaning company needs to be your hosting partner. 

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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.

Should I Hire a Property Manager of House Cleaner for My Airbnb

Property Management, Confused Woman“Should I hire a property manager or should I hire a house cleaner to help me run my Airbnb?” This is a question from a new Airbnb host who has one property right now with the intention of expanding to many properties.

She wants to know this. “As I get started, is it better for me to hire a property management service or to hire independent house cleaners and manage the properties myself?” 

Are You Renting Out the Whole Property or Only a Room?

Property Management, Family VacationThe very first thing as an Airbnb you’re still living in the home and you’re renting out one or two rooms of the home. If you are living on-site and you are part of the property, you could get by with hiring a house cleaner.

The House cleaner will come in to do the daily Airbnb cleaning. This will allow you to be there to greet the guests and do the key exchange and all those things.

But if you’re not living on the property and this is a vacation rental by the owner, that changes things a little bit. Especially as you decide to grow your business. Because you’re not going to be able to do all the properties, even if they’re in the same geographic location.

Consider a Property Management System

Property Management, Man On PhoneSo then what you may want to consider is looking at a property management system. Now there are house cleaners that do property management, and that would be considered a co-host that is working with you on your behalf.

Instead of charging you by the job, they might make a percentage of the night’s stay that you’re generating from your guests. That’s another way of doing it, but these are the duties. 

If you have many properties, a management company will hire the cleaners for you. If somebody is unavailable on a particular day, then they will find a different cleaner to come in and do your turnover service.

Property Management Also Takes Care of the Key Exchange

Property Management, Couple Receiving KeyYour property management company also will take care of the key exchange with the customers. So when their customers leave, they will drop off the key. They will sign that customer out, they will make sure the customer has a receipt, and send them on their way.

When the new customers come, they will do the guest check-in or they will do the key exchange. They explain the rules of the property, give them a welcome kit or a welcome pack or an owner’s manual that explains all your house rules. They will take care of all that.

A Property Management Company Handles Your Inventory

Property Management, Clean Towels on BedThe property manager will also do all your inventory. If you’re replacing shampoos and conditioners and hand and shower soaps, and toilet paper or paper towels and things like that. They will manage all that.

They’re also in charge of the linen service. Whether they do it themselves or they outsource it to another company. They’ll make sure that your towels and your bedsheets and your kitchen towels, washcloths, all those things are replaced. And that the ones that are used are cleaned and the stained ones are tossed and the new ones are replaced.

They will upgrade and update and recycle your laundry service.  They will also be in charge of damage repair.  If you have a broken toilet, they will be the ones that call the plumber and get the plumber in to come to fix the toilet or whatever. They set the appointments, they write the checks for you. That’s one less thing for you to have to worry about.

You Can Property Manage on Your Own

Property Management, Lady Holding Laundry BasketNow if you are working out of your house, this is an Airbnb and you live there, there are ways you can be your own property manager.

There is property management software where you can manage it on your cell phone. There are different services that will allow you to hire people on a whim to come and help your property.

But if you’re doing many properties, it’s so much easier to hire a property management system.

Property Managers Can Optimize Your Listings

Property Management, Man On ComputerA property manager, other things that they will do is they will optimize your listings. Let’s say that you’re located on a variety of different websites. They will do all your channel management for you. If you’re on Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey, HomeAway, all these different sites, they will manage and optimize all your listings.

As they bring people in, they will find out what sites they came from. Like A and B testing to see was this ad more effective or was this ad. They will be responsible for bringing guests in.

Many property managers, instead of a flat fee, do charge a commission per night’s stay. Depending on how much money you bring in for the night, they may make 25 to 30%, which is average in the industry.

Do You Want to Do All the Work or Have Someone Else Do it?

Property Management, Woman Cleaning ShowerIt depends on do you want to keep all the money for yourself and do you want to do all the work. Or do you want to let somebody else do most of the work and you make a percentage of it?

If you hire an independent house cleaner, let’s say it’s one person.  They could be the property managers for you. Some house cleaners are.

They do all the key exchange, they greet the customers, they do all the damage control, and they replace and restock all the supplies.

The Challenge With Hiring One House Cleaner

Property Management, Sick Woman Looking at ThermometerThe challenge with that is this. If they are one person and they get sick, you’re going to be responsible for picking up the slack. A lot of solo operators don’t have a backup.

You want to make sure that if this is your business and your business is based on ratings and reviews, are you able to jump in and fill in the gaps. Because if you live 400 miles away, that’s not an option for you. Then you may want to go with a property management service that provides all these other house cleaners if someone falls out.

Because life happens.   But you’re running a business, so your business still has to roll smoothly. Even in spite of the fact that the loyal house cleaner that you’ve had forever is not going to be able to do that on a regular basis.

There are Pros and Cons of Hiring a Property Manager

Property Management, Frustrated Woman On PhoneThere are a couple of pros and cons and things to think about if you do decide you want to hire a property management service. You have key things that you have to look for. They’re people, and because they’re people they have people problems.

They may have filed bankruptcy in the past. You need to make sure that the person that you’re hiring is financially sound. Because they’re the ones that are going to be writing all your checks and they’re going to be in charge of your money. They’re spending your money.

So as the money comes in, you need to make sure that you get paid, you need to make sure that your hired help gets paid. Even if they’re outsourcing it to a house cleaning, for example, the house cleaner needs to get paid.

You Have to Take Their Experience into Consideration

Property Management, Angry Woman On PhoneThere are things that you have to take into consideration. Another consideration is how long have they been in business. Is this their first property? You may be a little wary of that.

Everybody has to start from somewhere, but are they going to bust their chops learning the business on your property? Because there will be a lot of screw-ups and a lot of mistakes made as you’re getting started. Once you have five, 10, 15, 20 properties under your belt, you’ve got a well-oiled machine that runs smoothly.

You have contracts in place and you know how to deal with difficult guests. They have all that stuff figured out already. Do you want to hire somebody that’s never done that or do you want to hire somebody that is an old hat? You don’t want to worry as they will have it covered.

You Buy Peace of Mind with Property Management

Property Management, Woman TextingBecause what you’re buying when you hire a property management service is you’re buying peace of mind. You’re putting your business in someone else’s hands. They’re like, “Hey, don’t worry about it. We got your back,” and they do.

If there’s a problem, they’re the ones that will negotiate on your behalf. If there’s a problem that has to be taken up with the listing service, let’s say it’s Airbnb. They will do that negotiation for you instead of you having to get online and make the phone calls and filling out the reports and all those things.

There are Pros and Cons to Hiring an Individual Too

Property Management, Cleaning Woman Thumbs UpThere are pros and cons of hiring an individual. As you’re getting started, learn as much about the management part of the business as you can. Because as you’re ready to outsource that, you’ll know exactly what to ask and exactly what you’re paying for.

The biggest misnomer in the business is that a management company is going to do everything. But you are never clear what those everything is. So if you are expecting them to do something and that is not what they are including, then you’re going to be disappointed. Because they still make X amount of dollars, and it might be that they don’t provide welcome packs or that they don’t meet the guests.

There are weird little things. Every company is a little bit different. You want to make sure that you know exactly what it is you’re paying for and exactly how much. That will help you make a better-qualified decision.0 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Savvy Cleaner


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