What you do now will determine whether you end up busting your ass for spare change or able to grow a steady, passive income. Needless to say, this is the part where most people fail.
Automated Airbnb Property Management
When the bookings start to roll in, your primary goal is to separate your time from your income stream. I spend less than two hours per week managing each property.
The key is to automate as many tasks as possible. Airbnb property management includes cleaning, restocking household goods, checking in guests, and accepting new reservations.
When you start out, owning every aspect of property management helps you learn what is working and what is taking too much time. You quickly figure out what you’re willing to do versus what you’d rather outsource. Do you want to spend your time scrubbing toilets or would you prefer to pay someone else to do it?
Follow the advice in this Airbnb 101 guide and you’ll easily attract multiple 5-star reviews. Then, when you begin outsourcing responsibilities, you’ll have a benchmark to compare future performance against.
Sync up your Airbnb Calendar to Google
Syncing your calendar dramatically improves your efficiency. You need help from a variety of people for check-in, lock-outs, and cleaning services. You can automate the transfer of information and scheduling of services by syncing your Airbnb Calendar to a Google Calendar.
After you’ve synced your calendar to Google, you can share all of your booking details with your support team. This includes contact information and the check-in times for your upcoming guests. The steps to link your accounts are well documented on the Airbnb site here.
Property Management Outsourcing Services
Whether you want to delegate reservation management or have someone pick up cleaning supplies, outsourcing allows you to manage your rental property from any location.
In this blog post I discuss the various Airbnb property management services. Below are two of the most established companies:
Guesty – Guesty allows you to outsource guest communications on a 24-hour basis. You’ll never miss out on a booking because someone else responded 30 minutes quicker than you. While you sleep or are away on vacation, Guesty approves your guests based on a pre-arranged profile.
Pillow – Pillow automates the listing of your property across multiple platforms. Create one listing and have it propagated across multiple rental websites. They also offer full service property management in select cities.
The cost of re-stocking soap, laundry detergent, kleenex, cleaning supplies, etc. can add up. Further, if not managed correctly, these supplies will run out leaving you with unhappy guests. This can lead to negative reviews. I’ve even had a guest ding me for not having a welcome note and fruit bowl.
You want to create a checklist for ordering replacement items. Then order supplies in bulk. This helps you stay efficient and saves on shipping costs. I recommend checking inventory once a month. This not only saves you money, it also helps you keep better track of your expenses.
If you have a full-time rental, don’t forget about your linens and towels. These need to be replaced every six to twelve months depending on how many guests you host. Remember you can always start out managing your property yourself. This gives you insight into your guests’ needs. At some point you will have a fine-tuned process that you can easily delegate to an assistant.
I believe in having completely automated check-in and check-out processes. My goal is to get someone in and out of a property without ever having a question. This means my guests are happy and I have successfully anticipated their needs.
An automated process also separates your time from your revenue. If you have to be in town every time a guest arrives, or hire out the responsibility, you’re cutting into both your time and your profits.
In order to accomplish automated check-in and check-out, ask yourself: “can someone arrive on any given day, get keys, figure out parking, and enjoy all the amenities of a clean home without contacting me?”
Make sure you send your guests check-in instructions prior to their arrival. Also document directions to your property and answer frequently asked questions. I discuss exactly how to do this in further detail below.
Airbnb House Guide
A thorough house guide is the best defense against time-consuming questions. Everything should be painstakingly detailed in your guide.
How to operate the TV and thermostat, where the trash is located, how to handle recyclables, and detailed check-out instructions. Also highlight your wireless password on the first page of your guide.
Your house guide is a constant work in progress. Take notes of every guest question you receive. Then periodically update your house guide to address each question.
The Key Exchange
Understandably, one of the biggest sources of anxiety for an Airbnb guest is the check-in process. Many guests arrive late at night and fear that you’ll be nowhere to be found when they arrive.
There are various products that allow you to securely automate your check-in process. You can provide remote check-in by installing a smart lock or lock box. These allow your guests to access your property without needing you, or anyone else, to be present.
Here are two more advanced options:
For Renters: Lockitron (www.lockitron.com)
A device that you attach to the inside of your deadbolt. Guests can use their smartphone to wirelessly turn the deadlock upon arrival.
For Owners: Kwikset (www.kwikset.com)
Replaces your current front door lock and uses an embedded keypad. The code can be changed for each new guest.
Hiring a Full-Service Property Manager
How efficiently you manage (or outsource the management) of your property is crucial to your profitability and your sanity. One option is to outsource all aspects of property management to one or more third party companies. The typical cost for end-to-end management is 20% of total bookings.
You can follow this guide and manage your place more effectively than a traditional property manager. But in case you don’t want to deal with the hassle, below are some outsourcing options.
#1 Have Property Managers Bid for your Property
Rented.com offers a unique service whereby property managers bid for your property. This competitive exchange guarantees you the best rates for your home.
Use this coupon code and gets bids for your place for free: “rentingyourplace-VF”
#2 Hire a Vacation Rental Property Management Specialist
If you prefer to contract direct with a third party, here’s a list of companies that offer dedicated vacation rental management services:
#3 Cleaning Service Providers
The popularity of Airbnb has led to an increase in cleaning services that specialize in short-term rental properties. Below are some options for outsourcing your cleaning:
Get Maid – Currently service the New York area but they may expand across the nation in the future.
Hostwise – This is the service that I use in the Los Angeles market. They specialize in short-term rental turnovers. The cleaning crew brings fresh sheets, towels, and bath goodies for each guest.
Handy – Allow you to book professional home cleaners and handymen at a moment’s notice.
When selecting a cleaning service keep in mind that you want to track your business expenses. You may pay a premium for a bigger company, but they typically offer easy-to-use reporting and expense tracking. The bigger companies also have a larger team that can respond to your tight schedule.
In summary, make sure you select a cleaning service that is reliable, has a flexible schedule, and understands the business you are running.
We’ve now covered how to automate your property management. In the next two articles we discuss how to screen potential guests and handle cancellations so that you can enjoy a hassle free Airbnb hosting career.