The age old debate in the vacation rental world for property owners comes down to this; should I manage my rental home myself and make as much money as possible or should I turn it over to a manager and free up my time and life? Well, if you haven't started down the do-it-yourself path, then you may think that the time and energy it takes to manage a property yourself is minimal, that all guests are kind, respectful, timely, well-communicated and clean, and lastly that your home has no mechanical flaws and is a cinch to clean yourself.
I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but .... Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Vacation Rental Management is one of the hardest jobs in the world and you should never ever do it yourself unless a) you're bored and have nothing else to do, b) love conflict and c) need every last penny from each reservation. Here's why;
1. Being a successful owner/manager means being a secretary
You will need to keep your phone in your hand 24/7. You will need to respond immediately, at all hours of the night to inquiries from guests who live in other time zones (trust us, they're messaging 3-5 other properties at the same time), as well as guest issues that range from "what is the wifi password?" (even though you've written it down in 3 separate places in the home and sent it prior to their arrival), all the way to "do you have an extra large plunger in the home anywhere?". Yep, get used to that.
2. Being a successful owner/manager means being a professional cleaner - that is fast and amazing.
Once guests have checked out you will need to dedicate the next 4-6 hours of your life to the following; doing dishes (and finding dishes under beds and in closets), washing laundry, including linens that possibly were not even used (but don't even think about not washing them), scrubbing off caked on grease on the BBQ (yes, the BBQ has to be cleaned after each reservation), restock all your own cleaning supplies, and figuring out how toy car track marks got across your television screen. Trust us, unless you're the type that mows your own lawn, washes your own car and generally would not think to hire someone else for anything, then for this reason alone (cleaning) you do not want to manage your own vacation rental.
3. Being a successful owner/manager means being a financial analyst
With the advance of online booking platforms it is no longer feasible (or acceptable) to 'set it and forget it' (as it pertains to your prices. You need to be dynamic. You need to realize there is mass inefficiencies in pricing algorithms if you're of the practice that one price fits all. No way. You are missing out on massive business if you're not adjusting your prices nightly to account for things like last minute bookings, seasonality, special events, comparable homes in your area and their occupancy levels and prices, then you're missing out. By how much? We reckon that anywhere from 10%-40%.
What's the next step? Hire a professional vacation rental manager that understands you, your home, and what you determine to be a successful partnership. Like us.
If you're in California and are needing help with your help vacation rental or are considering trying renting out your home, send us a note and we can answer any questions you may have: