Should I hire a property manager or should
I just hire a house cleaner to help me run my Airbnb? That’s a great question, and we’re going to
talk about that today. Hi 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. Now today’s show is brought to us by turnovercleaningtips.com That’s a website that has a whole bunch of
information and resources for Airbnb hosts that do their own cleaning, for vacation rental
owners that either do their own cleaning or they hire a property management service that
outsources the cleaning, or for the house cleaners that actually do the turnover service. Check it out at turnovercleaningtips.com Alright, on to today’s show, which is from
a new Airbnb host who has one property right now with the intention of expanding to multiple
properties. She wants to know, “As I get started, is it
better for me to hire a property management service or to just hire independent house
cleaners and manage the properties myself?” That’s a great question, and we’re going to
talk about some of the pros and cons. The very first thing that I would suggest
is, as an Airbnb, that may mean that you’re still living in the home and you’re just renting
out one or two rooms of the home. If you are living onsite and you are part
of the property, you could get by with just hiring a house cleaner. Because the house cleaner will come in do
the daily turnover service, and you will be there to greet the guests and you will be
there to do the key exchange and all of those things. But if you’re not living on the property and
this is a vacation rental by owner, for example, and you are renting out the entire house,
that changes things just a little bit. And especially as you decide to grow your
business, because you’re not going to be able to do all of the properties simultaneously
even if they’re in the same geographic location. So 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 maybe a cohost 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 hire a property management service,
and I do recommend this as your business expands … If you have multiple 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. Your property management company also will
take care of the key exchange with the customers. So when they 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 with your blessing. When the new customers come, they will do
the guest check-in or they will do the key exchange and give them the keys and explain
the rules of the property, give them a welcome kit or a welcome pack or an owner’s manual,
property manual if you will, that explains all of your house rules. They will take care of all of that. The property management company will also
do all of 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 of 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 of those things are replaced and replenished for the next guest,
and that the ones that are used are cleaned and the stained ones are tossed and the new
ones are replaced. They will continually upgrade and update and
recycle your laundry service. That’s something else to consider. Then another thing that they will do is they
will be in charge of damage repair. Let’s say that you have a broken toilet. Well, they will be the ones that call the
plumber and gets the plumber in to come fix the toilet or whatever. They set the appointments, they write the
checks, they do all of that stuff. That’s one less thing for you to have to worry
about. Now if you are working out of your house,
let’s say that this is just an Airbnb and you live there, these are things you could
management on your own. There are property management softwares, I’ll
leave links in the show notes below, where you can manage it just on your cellphone. 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 multiple properties, it’s
so much easier to hire a property management system. A 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 of your channel management
for you. If you’re on Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey, Homeaway,
all these different sites, they will manage and optimize all of 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 35%, which is kind of average in the industry. It really 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 just make a percentage of it. It’s kind of a tossup, but the faster you
grow and the bigger your properties are, and I mean bigger meaning more of them, the less
amount of time you’re going to be able to spend. Because you don’t want to spread yourself
too thin, because then the customers suffer. A house cleaner that you hire, if you just
hire an independent house cleaner, let’s say it’s one person. What you run into is this. They can be a property manager for you. I know house cleaners that are. They do all of the key exchange, they greet
the customers, they do all of the damage control, and they replace and restock all of the supplies. The 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 or gets sick
or cancels or whatever. Because life happens, right? But you’re running a business, so your business
still has to roll smoothly even in spite of the fact that maybe the loyal house cleaner
that you’ve had forever is not going to be able to do that on a regular basis. There are a couple pros and cons and things
to think about if you do decide you want to hire a property management service. There are a couple of 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 of 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. I’m hearing horror stories right now of house
cleaners that have contracted with management companies and they’re not getting paid. So now they’re threatening, “Well we’re not
coming back,” which is completely fair because that’s their business. If they’re not getting paid, they’re not going
to work for free. If something happens, let’s say that you have
a leaky roof, your management company has to write a check to the roofer. If they can’t afford to pay the roofer, your
guests are going to get leaked on. There are things that you have to take into
consideration. Another consideration is how long have they
been in business. Is this their first property? I would be a little leery of that. I know 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 your just 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, and guests that are noisy at night, and people that disturb
the peace, and people that damage your property. 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, “Ah, it’s old hat. Don’t worry, we got it covered.” Because 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. My suggestion would be, 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 never clarify what those everything’s are. So if you are expecting them to do something
and that is not what they are including, then you’re going to be sadly 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. I’m so excited that you’ve started in the
Airbnb business. It is a huge industry, and it is booming right
now. As far as the cleaning comes, it is a priority. Your cleaning is a priority in every single
vacation rental. So whether you hire an individual or you hire
a company, the cleaning is paramount. You got to make sure that that is covered
no matter what decision you choose. Alrighty, I hope that helps a little bit. If you’ve found this tip helpful, go ahead
and pass it on and share it with a friend. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.