Airbnb Management From 1,000 Miles Away
There are people who buy investment properties for long-term tenants (my definition: 6 months or more) and there are Airbnb investors. Let me be clear: I am a "set it and forget it" long term rental holder. I do not operate Airbnb properties because I am currently invested in other things. But I've spent many hours talking with and studying from the YouTube of my client and dear friend, Rob at @robuilt. if this is a route you're looking to explore, look no further than his Instagram. Here are some tips on how he manages 10+ Airbnbs from around the country...
#1 | Assemble a "Dream Team"
If you're trying to entirely self-manage your Airbnb from 1,000 miles away, you're doing it wrong. Recruit these trust-worthy dudes (and dudettes) to be on your team:
- Cleaning Service
This is your unofficial property manager, which can help save you the typical 20-30% management fee. If something is broken, needs attention, or needs to be refilled - lean on your cleaning service to notify you. From there you can either handle the need yourself (ex: order more toilet paper for deliver to the house) or hire someone to perform repairs. Keep in mind that you must file all Airbnb claims from guests within 24 hours of their stay... so it's extremely important that your cleaning crew can catch any issues right away.
Handyman / Handywoman / Handywhoever
Something needs fixing/replacing? Call 'em up. A key here is to make sure you do not nit-pick your handyperson on their pricing. I'm a firm believer that I'd rather pay slightly more to be top-priority, receive the best service, and have the best quality work than to negotiate a $70 repair down to $55. It's just not worth it - especially when you need to get quick fixes done FAST between guests.
With homeownership, there's no problem that skills and money can't solve, so it's important to have a qualified contractor on your team for when sh*t hits the fan. And you better believe that at some point... it will. But with a good contractor and your rainy day savings that you surely have because you shouldn't buy an investment if you don't have some savings... there's absolutely nothing to worry about.
If you've got grass and shrubs, someone's got to maintain it. That's the landscaper. Pro-tip: save yourself some hassle and xeriscape as much as possible up-front to cut-down on maintenance costs. Turf, hardscaping, decks & flatwork are three things that need minimal monthly maintenance.
Your Realtor can be considered the base of this revenue-generating pyramid if you're buying in an area you don't know well. When interviewing agents for this purchase, make sure they've got these contacts to provide to you. I often offer myself as an emergency contact to Airbnb clients up-front to reach out to either when they're in a pickle or vacation.
#2 | Automate the Process
As you scale your Airbnb business, it's absolutely necessary that you make the day-to-day management of your properties as seamless as possible. For example, trying to coordinate cleaners at 4+ properties when you have multiple guests per week is a huge time suck. Pro-tip: use a reminder service, like Rob's favorite - Your Porter, to automatically schedule the cleaners whenever a booking is made. Alternatively, you can make your cleaning crew a co-host or just export your calendar directly to their phone calendar.
Another time-suck is messaging, which can be automated through various apps and services. You can set up your post-booking, pre-check-in, mid-stay, and post-checkout messages to automatically send based on the reservation timeline.
Lastly, it's important that your pricing is kept current based on supply and demand for the week. You can use an automation service like Beyond Pricing or Price Labs to make sure you are aren't outpriced that day - which will unquestionably make you more money over time than if you just leave your property at a fixed price.
#3 | Get Set Before You Get More
This is how I've personally seen Airbnb owners fail: they get so excited about their first Airbnb (or second, third, etc.)… so they rush into buying the next. Don't do that. Or you'll bite of more than you can chew and get yourself into a pickle. I'm working with a client right now that bit off more than they can chew with Airbnb expansion and they're selling off due to burnout. My recommendation: give yourself time to get each Airbnb up and running. Book a few guests. Figure out where you're succeeding and where you have room for improvement.
This is just a scratch of the surface. For a more in-depth lesson, head over to Rob's website where he offers Airbnb tutorials and consults. Here is a link to a tutorial on this exact topic.