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Short term rental property management: Will it work for you?

If you’ve already joined the fast-growing group of vacation rental property owners, the question that keeps coming to mind is typically: how can I properly manage the property while still valuing my time?.

Whether you rent out on Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO, or the myriad of other platforms out there, renting out your property to vacationing guests can eat up far more of your time than you bargained for.

On one hand, you’re living your dream. You’ve successfully rented out your property and are enjoying the extra income it brings in. On the other hand, whether you want to or not, you have to deal with short term rental property management and everything that goes along with it.

You know. The guest inquiries, cleaning, yard maintenance, reviews (good ones, please!), bookings, collecting payments and finding new ways to attract happy renters.

Do you, like many others who haven’t reached out for help yet, wish there were property management firms out there specifically with your situation in mind?


Introducing: Short Term Rental Property Management Firms

With the ever-growing popularity of Airbnb, particularly for the lucrative vacation rental property pool, it was inevitable that a new breed of rental property management companies came around.

A traditional rental property management company deals primarily with larger commercial properties (think hotels, gated communities, etc.) and long-term tenant situations.

But a smaller, short term, Airbnb-type of rental is a whole different ballgame. While there are a lot of different things to be managed, the property needs to be managed on a smaller, more personal scale.

If you’ve been checking into it, the cost of hiring a larger commercial property management firm can be pricey.

On average, you might expect to pay around 30%-50% of total revenue, which includes the marketing and professional management services.

And with new Airbnb properties topping the 3 million mark, traditional rental property management firms are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for these services.

One of the reasons short-term rental properties are so popular is because it’s like staying at a home away from home with all the intimacy and coziness versus a more impersonal getaway like a hotel.

Short-term vacation rental properties may include small personal touches like full-size kitchens, fresh flowers to welcome guests, laundry facilities, a private green space to relax and the like.

If larger scale rental property management firms offer these services, it will cost you, if they even have the time or staff to manage that level of detail.

The new wave of short term rental property management firms are on the rise because they can better handle the more personalized services required for the short term vacation market.

After all, personalized services with a welcoming feel can make all the difference in getting positive reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.


What You Can Expect

Gone are the days of putting your property listing up on a website and sitting back to wait for the side cash to start rolling in.

As with any business venture that becomes popular, competition comes into play. Guests expect a good hospitality experience and you need to be able to deliver one.

When you decide to make the leap from trying to manage everything by yourself to hiring a short term rental property management firm, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Here’s what you can expect.

You can expect to pay a fee, but the fees are less than the big boys charge.

In the U.S., the average vacation rental property management fee is about 28%.  However, the more desirable the location, say a beachfront dream home, the higher the fees.

The services you include in the contract will affect the fees, too.  The more services you include (housekeeping, walk-throughs, maintenance, responding to complaints, etc.), the higher your property management fee.

Another factor to consider is concerns you may have about turning some (or all) of the control of managing your property over to an outside firm.

By doing your research and interviewing several different short term rental property management companies, you should be able to find one that makes you feel comfortable with their services.

From handling the advertising/marketing to following up on availability and scheduling questions, in addition to keeping the property nicely maintained and clean, it can really be a worthwhile investment and huge time saver for you.


Yes, you will be paying a bit of your income to a third-party, but if you hire the right company than your profits will also rise and you’ll free up your time.


When You Know It’s Time To Hand the Reigns Over

As with any new startup, there are concerns about how things will work out. For example, will the management firm be able to keep up with your attention to detail, cleaning and special little touches?

Will they make your guests a priority and follow up with concerns, questions and availability in a timely manner?

Will everything be in order to your standards? Can you afford to hand over these responsibilities to a short term rental property management firm? Is your goal to give guests a homey experience with a professionally-managed feel?


And, all of these are legitimate questions.

A property management company can handle the details of following up on issues or complaints, getting honest feedback to improve the guests’ experience and handle the day-to-day responsibilities for you.

Of course, only you can decide if giving up more control in terms of how things are handled and managed, is worth the time it takes you to properly manage the rental property.

You now know there’s help out there if you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the day-to-day details of managing your vacation rental property.

After sitting down, asking the right questions and crunching the numbers, hiring a short term rental property management firm may be the best investment you can make.

Instead of feeling the vacation rental property management squeeze, check out the possibility of reaching out for help with some – or all – of the ever-growing list of management details.