This post is five of a six-part series. I am assuming that you already know you want to be an Airbnb host, that you have properly prepared both your physical Airbnb space and your Airbnb hosting abilities, and that you know how to prepare for your first Airbnb guest.
Whether or not you need an Airbnb property manager comes down to one question: Do you want to be 100% hands off?
There’s a caveat to that question because if you end up choosing a bad property manager, then you will not be 100% hands off.
Regardless, I recommend you manage and clean your space for as long as possible, even if that means just for one full reservation. If not, it’s like enrolling your kid in a school system where you have no idea what goes on behind the scenes and cross your fingers as to what that system will produce of your child.
There are all sorts of Airbnb property managers out there from full-service to ‘a-la-carte’ providers offering only check-in or revenue management. This article assumes you are interested in full-service Airbnb property management.
Give me 9 minutes of your time and you will know whether you want a property manager or can handle all the duties yourself.
9 minutes to know if you need an Airbnb property manager or can do it yourself. Click To Tweet
When You Should Hire An Airbnb Property Manager
If you already know that you want to be 100% hands off, then you should hire a property manager. It’s that simple: if you do not want to spend any time managing your Airbnb, then you need an Airbnb property manager. There’s no shame in that. In fact, it’s money well spent if you don’t believe you can offer the guest an amazing experience. If this is you, skip to the next article about how to go about choosing the right company.
But, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, you are not yet sure if you need a vacation rental property management company. You are probably somewhere in between being 100% hands off and 100% hand on. Or, you may not be sure what these companies offer. Or, you may be wondering if you can do everything yourself.
First, let’s figure out what a property manager can do for you. Then, we’ll find out how much time each requires.
What Does a Property Manager Do?
A good full-service Airbnb property management company will perform the following tasks on your behalf:
- Create your Airbnb profile and listing
- Respond to 100% of initial guest inquiries within minutes
- Providing a 24/7 local emergency contact
- Coordination of all maintenance issues
- Be the main point of contact for the guest
- Connect your Airbnb listing to a third-party intelligent pricing partner (not Airbnb’s Smart Pricing) and monitor your calendar and rates
- Handle any Resolution Claims resulting from any reservation
- Coordination with the cleaners
- Coordination of late check-in/out requests
- Continually optimize your Airbnb listing for high Airbnb search placement
- Create a digital guidebook for your guest
- Replenishment of consumables (toilet paper, tissues, soaps, garbage bags, etc.)
- Key management (if applicable)
- Create a seamless check-in experience for the guest
- Be your main point of contact for all issues
- Responsible for accounting and tax remittance (if applicable)
- Guidance on interior design
- Continual suggestions for improvement
- Monitoring of guest reviews
This seems like a lot! And, it is. Most Airbnb property management companies do not offer all of the above. Some advertise the above but don’t deliver. With some planning and initial setup, you may be able to do all of this in exchange for not much time each week.
So, the real question becomes: Do you want to be 100% hands-off assuming you find a good Airbnb property manager in exchange for 15-20% of your revenue or do you want to automate where you can and set up your Airbnb hosting in such a way that it requires one hour of your time per week?
It’s no surprise that I’m an Airbnb property manager. What might be a surprise is that I do it all 100% remotely. Some of the properties I manage I have never even seen in real life.
The process I’ve developed for my own Airbnb property management company since 2015 has been recreated in my Elevate Host optimization. Essentially, if you have some time to devote to your Airbnb each week and don’t mind the initial setup, then I want you to consider doing it yourself rather than hiring an Airbnb property management company.
Elevate Host: An Airbnb Property Management Alternative
This is not a promotional blog post. Instead, I am telling you what I provide with Elevate Host so that you can do it yourself if you choose.
If you are willing and able to do a bit of work (one hour per week per listing) then you do not need a property manager and can save the monthly commission charge.
Learn the Elevate Host management system for your Airbnb and save the 20% commission on a manager. Click To Tweet
While you can hire me to do number one through four, to really step back from active management, you also will need to do number five, six, and seven below:
- Connect to a third-party pricing partner
- Learn how to manage your nightly rate based on your occupancy
- Create a digital guidebook
- Setup message automation including cleaner communication via a property management system like Smartbnb
- Find a reliable cleaning company who will replenish your consumables
- Find a reliable emergency contact
- Find repairmen for water, gas, electricity, internet, cable, and any other amenities you offer like a pool or hot tub
The above is meant to both decrease your ongoing time investment (message automation, repairmen, cleaners) and increase guest satisfaction (digital guidebook, emergency contact) while increasing your monthly income (third-party pricing partner and calendar management strategy).
For number one through four, click the associated links to learn more.
For number seven, consider your local company the superior option. I find when I’m able to create a connection with another small business in my area, everything works out better. Of course, you still need to vet this person and give them a trial before you put all your trust and money in them.
Pro Tip: Choose a local repair company where you can form a relationship rather than the cheaper options. It pays off in the long run. Click To Tweet
If you go with a larger, cheaper organization then you’re dealing with an employee who probably doesn’t have the motivation to go above and beyond. Also, the charges for odd hours (ie when most of the guest issues happen) will be high. If you go with a smaller, local company you will often be interacting with the business owner who will understand your situation and make himself available at odd times.
An unseen benefit of my Elevate Host system is an increase in review rate. This is done via a strategy I use within the message automation processes (number four above).
Since you will only be receiving 5-star reviews after you implement the Elevate Host management system, an increase in review rate means an increase in 5-star reviews. And, if you happen to get a less than 5-star review, it will have a lower impact on your ranking because of the additional reviews received.
A Note on Cleaners
Do not cut costs here. As part of my Airbnb property management experience, I started out trying to get the cheapest cleaner. Sure, I’d vet them and even spot check their cleanings in the beginning, but sooner or later (and never that much later) I’d have problems.
Missing or stained linens.
Poor quality cleaning jobs.
These all results in refunds, recleans, negative reviews, and countless wasted hours on my end.
Nowadays, I hire the expensive cleaner and I get zero headaches and 5-star cleaning reviews on every reservation. And, when it comes down to it, we’re talking an extra $20-$30 per cleaning. The guest doesn’t even notice this cost.
If it’s down to two listings, yours at $500 for a weekend and your competitors at $470, both of these listings are in the same price range. The guest would be deciding on other factors, no longer related to price.
Trust me, opt for the expensive, reliable cleaner. You’ll thank me in the long run.
I want to be clear that after implementing the Elevate Host management system will still require about one hour of your time per week per listing. If you want to be totally hands-off then you will need to find and choose a good Airbnb property manager. Either way, I recommend you set up your Airbnb account and manage everything for at least one full reservation. This will give you great insight into how things operate and in searching for an Airbnb property manager.
So, tell me, do you need an Airbnb property manager?
Do You Need An Airbnb Property Manager? By OptimizeMyBnb.com Click To Tweet