Smart Management: 5 Tips for Part-Time Property Managers
If you’re reading this, you already know how to manage a short term rental or other rental property.
However, you and I both know that running a short term rental (STR) business isn’t easy, especially when you have other responsibilities (kids and 9-5s get in the way, ya know?).
I’m not here to tell you the obvious. I’m here to tell you the overlooked. Rather, the things, tips, and tools you may have overlooked if you’re trying to manage a property part-time on the side (or planning to take the leap into doing this full-time one day).
Who am I to give you advice?
My name’s Monica. I made my way from the great state of Oklahoma (love me some OSU Cowboys football!) all the way down here to Dallas where I’m now an Account Executive at NoiseAware.
I help property owners who are on the smaller side of things, like someone who wants to rent their house for a season or someone who has a mini-real estate empire (think 8 properties). I give them tips on things they can use to maximize their earnings despite having limited resources.
That’s what I want to do for you in this article, so let’s get started!
Management Tip # 1: Automation
These days, automation is a buzzword. Every day you look in the news, you hear about something getting automated.
When it comes to managing an STR property effectively, there just isn’t enough hours in the day to do everything yourself or even with a small staff. The next best thing? Automation.
Automation puts your day on a smooth track to make sure you don’t overlook anything. It also frees up a lot of “mental RAM” so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Someone coming to check in on your home at a certain time? Cool. That goes on the calendar.
Does the cleaning crew need to tidy up before the next pair of guests come in? Cool. They’re scheduled in at a certain time on a certain date.
All of these little minute tasks that can make or break the short term rental experience are automatically handled and give you a little bit of momentum so you can do other, more productive activities.
Tools You Can Use: Properly is one of our favorites for scheduling in cleaning crews to come and clean your house.
Need to order supplies? Try out Amazon Subscribe and Save to auto-deliver bulk utilities like paper towels and toilet paper. Costco is another option if you have one in your area and you’re already a member.
One of our favorite new tools is Guesty, an all-in-one short term rental automation property management platform! It helps you offload repetitive and low-value, but need-to-do tasks onto an all-in-one interface.
Management Tip # 2: Augment Your Staff
I just mentioned automation, but here’s something else that goes along with that...getting more people involved.
We now live in an era where 1 person can manage the business from a physical location but bring in freelancers and other rotational staff to help out with other activities (it’s called the sharing economy, which we wrote an incredible article about, by the way).
Long gone are the days where you just have to have everyone physically on site. The sharing economy is changing how we as a society do things and it changes how you as a business owner, operates.
Here’s a quick lowdown of how this can work:
You can hire a guy (or gal, or a small team) to manage your properties. In that scenario, you equip them with everything they need to do their job properly (such as passwords and logins). You can also look towards getting a property management company to do it for you, such as AirConcierge.
If you have a property that’s independent of a property-sharing platform, you can have someone advertise these for you via something such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads.
In the last section, I already mentioned Properly. I mentioned them twice now, so that means you definitely have to check them out.
I’m definitely missing more and staffing needs are unique to your situation.
My suggestion is to write down on a sheet of paper or a note card what you need for your property management and how you can delegate it. Write down as much as you can. I recommend writing at least 20 tasks you can delegate. The first 10 will probably be easy, the next 5 will be somewhat of a stretch, and the last 5 will take some time to think about. Those last 5 may just be the breakthrough you need to expand your business.
Tools You Can Use: If you’re kind of skittish about giving your passcode to someone, try using LastPass or Avast Passwords to have a “unified” login that groups of people can use without knowing the actual passwords.
As I mentioned before, Google Ads and Facebook Ads can help you advertise your rental properties externally. Try looking on Upwork for a good freelancer who can help you get started.
Management Tip #3: Take Advantage of Seasonality
I know you love summer.
Not only because it means warmer weather and more time for cool activities, but because it means more short term rental travelers (which means more money in your pocket).
Taking advantage of the ups and downs in travel is how you make a good profit from your STR property efforts.
How do you do this?
- Focus on getting people in and out as quickly as possible - The key to making a high amount of profit on Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, VRBO, etc. or any other vacation rental platform is one word: volume. You need to get people perpetually coming and staying at one of your properties. This is how hotels make money and this is how traditional bed and breakfasts make money: high occupancy rate.
- Become a Superhost - Becoming a Superhost (or a highly valued host) on a platform is how you get more people to come to your spots and create an upward cycle of success. During peak seasons, travelers are looking for awesome people to stay with even better properties to stay in - make sure you’re one of them.
- Go All In - If you want to squeeze the most out of your profit potential during peak seasons, you’ll need to stretch yourself (not overextend). If you have 2, 3, or even more properties, you need to make sure they are fully stocked with supplies (check out our article on how to run a successful short term rental service), get a good amount of volume of people, and you yourself may have to do some extra leg work. Your part-time effort may start taking up an increasing amount of your free time due to all of the work and delegation you have to put in. But if you go a little bit beyond your limits, you may find that your efforts will be worth it at the end of a season when you make a substantial profit you can continue to flip into next season.
Management Tip # 4: Be Organized
Disorganization is slow poison to any business, especially one that’s part-time and involves many working parts.
It’s very easy to “get caught in the weeds” because you don’t have certain things organized in an Excel sheet or you can’t remember when the guest is supposed to check in or you forgot to get extra supplies for the house. How much are you making net per week, month, a year from your properties? How much profit? Are you spending too much on certain things or not spending enough on others?
This goes along with automation and creating a cadence of business activity. Being organized is one facet of this, but it keeps everything humming along.
Tools You Can Use: We all need to do taxes, right? Depending on your tax status, you may have a Pan’s Labyrinth of taxes to go through. Why not enlist the services of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or tax professional.
If you don’t want to go that route, for small business owners, we recommend Intuit Quickbooks.
I’ve also got to mention Guesty again. They are one of the best end-to-end property management platforms out there and I’m not just saying that because we’re partnering with them.
Management Tip 5: Have an Extra “Ear”
Smart home tech is expected to be a $20 billion market in the near future (Forbes said it) and it’s not going to slow down any time soon.
The home of the future is one that has a lot of smart home devices and helps their owners with their day-to-day activities (there it is again, automation!). We’ve also written a cool article on some of the best tech to have in your home.
There’s even one device that helps people who own property key an eye (ear, rather) on the noise levels of their guests in their home. Do you want to know what it is?
Drum roll, please…
Tool You Can Use: NoiseAware’s Gen 3! Yes, our indoor and outdoor noise monitors give a comprehensive volume reading on your property so you can know before the police do.
I know this sounds like a sales pitch, but I include it not because I’m #TeamNoiseAware, but because I know that it helps. As an Account Executive, I am on the phone with people on a daily and consistent basis who have trouble keeping the noise down on their properties or who want a solution to prevent legal action from being taken against them as a result of their STR business. Of course, I recommend our product because it is the only one that combines integration, transparency, and technology into the high-level design. It really is an all-in-one solution for noise monitoring needs.
So, that’s about it! Five solid tips to help you maximize your STR so you can get the most out of it.
If you have other friends who are on the fence about stepping into the market or are active in it, share this article with them. You never know who it can help.
Lastly, if you want to talk about how we can help you get set up with NoiseAware, drop a bug in my ear on my Drift Profile or by just chatting with me on our website (I’m the chat box you see at the right-hand corner). I’d love to help you out and get you set up to become a better STR owner.
I hope this article helped you and until next time, Rent Responsibly!
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