Hello friends, my apologies for the delay - as you probably know we just went to SXSW and are rolling straight into PGA and Nascar weekend. Of course in the middle of this I broke a tooth in half right into my gums and Im just managing the pain till April is over.
Today I wanted to address the importance of having a house manager. What does this person do? What you should and shouldn't ask of them and why you may need one to be more effective in your rental journey. Let me explain how I got to the point that I thought this would be what I would address in my next blog....
Ya'll... I made a mistake. And I took on a client who ended up being one of the worst I've ever dealt with. I'll admit, Im not perfect.... but this is what I have done for the past 10 years and my background is so intertwined in the hospitality world that I KNOW a thing or two. I told myself when I left the restaurant industry I wouldn't let anyone Mansplain to me ANYMORE. We have had this one client whom is new to Austin (and has been arrogant about how cheap everything is in Austin as he's from another country) and is working on his 3rd rental in 3 months (illegally of course). After spending days schleping stuff from his property to another property and picking stuff up - I had my breaking point. I am NOT his assistant. Of course he got vocal and chose to yell at me and let me know that even though he's never had an Airbnb before, only worked as a realtor (in other country) - explain to me that his "Airbnb Guru says thats not how this is done" and that I didn't understand how this works. He goes on to tell me my "job" is to do these things as they are the responsibilities of a cleaner.... and then he said....
"I have a net worth of over 20 million dollars - I know how this is done".
I was furious. I tried to rationalize with him the difference between a house manager/property manager and a cleaner. I can't.
I started this business so I could call the shots and NOT allow someone to abuse us. I don't tolerate it from ANY client.
We are not your slave.
Long story short - we are no longer working together and some other poor cleaning team is having to deal with him. But he is a fraction of the hosts we see whom don't get the importance of real solid help.... and that when you have a good one, you need to be good to them, reward them and both of you will prosper.
So this blog is for those assholes out there who want to run a rental under the table and expect the cleaners to handle everything and they reap the financial rewards for a rental that they don't even own..... We see you.
What is a house manager / property manager and WHAT do they do?
Essentially if you run one rental - you probably manage all of the aspects from your listing online, your inventory, the cleaning, repairs and guest communications. But once you get past one rental - you need to consider having someone that works alongside you or takes the reigns. This person is your "House Manager" as I like to call them.
This person is hired and usually takes a percentage of anywhere from 10-30% depending on what they do. This person acts as the general manager if you will. They handle coordinating repairs, sourcing service providers, they build and track your inventory. Many people may have one who is more of a PA who just handles the online side of things - communicating with guests, adjusting your calendar and prices, handling situations as they arise. But without them being in person, boots on the ground - you need to rely on someone else to do the on site things. Let me reiterate - this is not your cleaner's job. If they are doing it, you are lucky.... because they are responsible for ensuring your space is clean and ready to go... not trying to figure out why your internet is down or your tv wont turn on.
Below is a list of all the things we see house managers do.... some are part of the job and some may cost extra if you have someone who is just your backup. Either way - it's a job. If you spend an entire year doing it yourself.... and then someone else asked you to do it - you would understand that its a job and deserves to be compensated.
After you read through the list below - let me know what you think. Do you have a house manager? Why or why not?
- Not just a cleaner - C
Property Manager / House Manager responsibilities
*Situate setting up, changing and handling the lock box/key pads.
*Communicate, schedule and coordinate with the cleaners and any other service providers.
*Do a proper inventory of both dry goods (toilet paper, paper towels, sugar) as well as a linen inventory and then an amenity inventory. If you offer wine - you wanna know what you have one site.
*Set up/establish a proper locked area so backstock inventory can be properly distributed.
*Build a distress list. When something is ruined in the hotel world - they have a distress/attrition list where they track what was ruined and when/what was purchased and replaced.
*Do walk throughs of the property on a regular basis to ensure that there are no damages, repairs or major issues to be addressed.
*Handle any on-site issues with guests. If the keypad doesn't work - they figure it out.
*Check maintenance issues like air filter, smoke alarm batteries, key pad batteries, remote batteries. They purchase and replace these items.
*If you are lucky - you will have a manager who handles the P/L statement. Who balances the income vs restocking and repairs. They can tell you the occupancy expectations for the month and are quick to adjust your pricing and availability during the slower seasons. You shouldn't be buying linens every month so evaluating what brands last the longest, what colors hold up and what items get you the best ROI.
*Run to the store for last minute oops... The guest poured wine on the comforter and you need a new one. They have access to a petty cash that can be used for those items.
*Coordinate with the PA OR they handle all of the aspects of the online marketing, scheduling, price modifications and preparing for bigger booking periods.
*Source providers like a gardener, pool cleaner, home cleaner, window washer.
*They take the calls in the evening when the guest has an issue.
*Prepare and anticipate the guest and the homes needs. During the ice storm - your host should have worked to help guarantee that your guests had water, heat, blankets, candles... and if you couldn't accommodate those guests properly - your manager would help them find alternative housing.
*Watch the market and know whats coming and may even build a forecasting sheet and a history guide so you can refer back to why you had a group of 18 people stay at your home for a month 6 years ago.
*Set up a guest book or a way to capture your guests info so you can send them deals on future stays.
*They might even help set up your website.
*Vet and help set up your property on multiple platforms.
*They are the middle man. They deal with all the things and they go back to the owner and report.
*They are there to ensure that everything is running smoothly so you can relax and know your space is producing the numbers it should.
PS - I hope your March was as busy as ours was! Im trying to break 60K for all of March alone.