Have you wondered how you’re going to manage the day-to-day needs of your Airbnb while working your day job? Are you not investing in the perfect Airbnb because it’s “too far” from where you live or you don’t think you can juggle one more thing?
If so, you need to listen to Episode 6 of our Airbnb podcast where we cover the “buddy” to find as you start your investment journey, the key team members necessary for successful Airbnb investing/hosting, where to source the best team members, and how it is 100% possible to manage listings that are not near where you live!
After listening to this episode, you will know how to build a support team that will give YOU the confidence to invest in an Airbnb to start generating cash flow or add additional Airbnb properties to your portfolio.
Tune in to learn how to create a team that is capable of supporting your Airbnb without you being there so you can stop stressing about “what ifs” and start enjoying financial freedom!
Topics discussed in this episode:
- The “buddy” to find before you begin your Airbnb investing journey
- The 5 key people to have on your Airbnb team to lower your stress and boost 5-star reviews
- The list of resources to make before hosting your first guest
- How to find the right people for your team, regardless of where your listing is located
- The quarterly must-do to keep your Airbnb running smoothly
Host Coach Airbnb Podcast Episode 6 Show Notes:
Are you not investing in the perfect Airbnb because you don't think you can balance it on top of your 9 to 5 job and family? Today we're going to show you how to build a team that is capable of supporting your Airbnb without you being there, so you can stop stressing about "what ifs" and start enjoying financial freedom.
Knowing how to build a support team will give you the confidence to invest in an Airbnb to start generating cash flow or add an additional Airbnb property to your portfolio. So let's jump right in.
Even before acquiring your first property or listing your first property, there's a key resource that we could like to call your Airbnb buddy. This is like a gym buddy. It could be your spouse, a colleague, someone in your office, or even a family member. This is a person that you're going to want to look at properties with, analyze deals together. This will also help you both stay accountable to your goals. You don't need to actually be buying together. You can have separate goals, but this is a person to start down the path of Airbnb investing with. You can also use this person to help consider financing options.
So that's the first step - find yourself an Airbnb buddy. In case you didn't realize, Culin and I are Airbnb buddies and we're gym buddies. We go to Pilates together. And using that analogy, sometimes Culin wants to go and I don't, and he makes me, and sometimes he doesn't want to go and he. I make him. And together we make sure that our goal of staying physically fit happens.
The same thing translates with your Airbnb buddy. You agree - this is what we're going to do. We're going to take two months and do research. Today, I'm going to find three listings and we'll go through them tonight and we'll make sure that we go and see at least one. So setting goals and actually making them happen with a buddy makes it more likely that they will happen. This is a great tangible first step for you. Find your Airbnb buddy.
Once you have a property, one of the biggest things that people worry about is how am I going to find a housekeeper? We have a great solution for this. There's a lot of textbook solutions, but the solution we use and have come up with works wonders for us. We go online and we print a really classy vinyl yard sign. A lot of times it says, housekeeper wanted and your phone number. If you're not comfortable using your phone number, we've used a Google Voice number in the past. We will post the signs and it works particularly well if there's other Airbnbs in the neighborhood. You don't have to put it in your front yard. You can put it in the street leading to your property and you can put it on a more major street leading to that sub street.
If there are other Airbnbs in the area, somebody's cleaning them. And those housekeepers are generally pretty keen for finding new work. We've found some truly amazing people this way. And don't be surprised when you get multiple phone calls. Don't decide over the phone. Interview everyone that had the guts to give you a phone call.
We consider our housekeepers almost a business partner. They are the first boots on the ground. They are key to customer experience. So find someone who loves what they do, who communicates well with you, but also. Keep your options, B and C and even D. in your phone and say, Hey, you know what? I ended up going with another person, but if there's an emergency or if she's he or she's out of town, would you be willing to be a backup? Because guess what people? There are going to be emergencies. There is going to be sickness, there's going to be issues. If you have more than one person that you can call to help during a turnover that means you don't have to be the person washing the sheets, scrubbing the floors, and taking a day off work to do a turnover if there's an oops.
If for some reason your property's in an area where there aren't other Airbnbs, another method is to use indeed.com, which is a employee-sourcing website. I've definitely had clients that that have used indeed successfully in the past.
The next thing to do is to really make sure that you understand the role of this housekeeper, and they're not just there to run the vacuum cleaner and wipe down the toilets. They are truly a business partner. They're your eyes and ears on the property. They're the person to tell you when sheets are getting worn or when you know appliance needs to be fixed, or if a guest wasn't a great guest.
You need to know that we're not in our property each time on turnover. Most guests are wonderful, but our housekeepers are trained and told to let us know when things are really out of ordinary. If it was not just extra dirty, but they were maybe disrespectful to the property, and make sure you give your housekeeper the authority, tell them to their face. You have complete authority to call or text me and say, this is broken. This isn't working. I need a new vacuum. The swing is broken, whatever it is, because not every host or client of that housekeeper wants to hear those things or is willing to invest money in fixing those things.
So giving your housekeeper the power to be basically the manager of a small hotel for you is really great for them. It creates great communication, which results in great guest experiences. I definitely know people that have tried to use Airbnb cleaning services that bid out the job each time and you get this different housekeeper. We really like this idea of the housekeeper becoming a true business partner, family member, someone that we treat extremely well. So that they are our eyes and ears.
In that vein we do small surprise bonuses, not just around the holidays. I write thank you notes and while bonuses are always appreciated, the reactions I get from just taking five minutes to write a thank you note saying, I really appreciate how loyal you are and all the extra things you do. Housekeepers don't necessarily get that very often, and they're just so thankful and feel that much more valued. It's not the purpose of the thank you note, but they ofetn end up doing even more things because they feel valued in their role within your company.
And maybe just to back up, why the housekeeper is so important is that the house needs to be super spotless. That is a major driver of guest satisfaction and five star reviews. If the house is immaculate and something small is broken, a guest is going to give you a five star review. If the house is mostly clean, and then there's another issue that happens during their stay, that's when problems occur.
Airbnb Handy Person
The next team member that's really of key importance is your handy person. We mentioned what happens when something gets broken. Your housekeeper's not necessarily going to make the repair. But, if they alert you, we need to have somebody on call who's familiar with the property, who can make those small repairs like tightening up that doorknob or replacing that faucet.
That happens a lot with us. So a good handy person is the next person, next most important part of your team. How do we find them? That often starts with the housekeeper. The housekeeper who's a professional, short-term rental housekeeper is probably cleaning other houses and might have family members, might have a spouse, or may know a handy person from other properties.
So the first place to look for that Airbnb handyman repair person is your housekeeper. The next place to look is your local hardware store, not necessarily the Lowe's or the Home Depot - though that might work. We've found great success in these small town hardware store. They often have bulletin boards. We can look through business cards or specifically, we were looking for a painter one time and went to the paint shop, which was the local store and they, they have a list. They know who's in there buying stuff. They also typically keep lists of people who do repairs.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and everyone knows everyone. The value of that for you as an investor is they know who's good and reliable and asks a fair price. And they know who's probably not who they would recommend. So they'll save you a lot of drama.
Ask your neighbors if you strike out with your housekeeper and at the hardware store. Ask the people on the right and left of your short-term rental. Other people within the community. Hey, do you know a good plumber? Do you know a good painter? Do you know someone who can help fix decks if there's an issue?
I'm pretty handy, but as our portfolio grew, , I found the benefit of local boots on the ground resulting in a lot less trips to my properties, which in turns gives me more time to work on my business, not in my business, and gives me that financial freedom that we started investing in Airbnbs for.
That's a really important point. Give yourself permission to not be day-to-day involved. You need to care about your Airbnb, but you need to outsource because your time and talent is needed, not just in making sure it's a beautiful property, but in guest communications, in investing and all the other things you do in your life.
So it was really big when Culin was like, okay, we need to find a handyman. Because he was spending more and more time down there. And so now I make a honey-do list for our handymen instead of Culin, which is great for our relationship. And because they're local, things get done in a more timely fashion during turnovers, which again goes right back to guest satisfaction,
Airbnb Small Appliance Repair Person
Beyond maybe the capabilities that are handyman. I also have a small appliance repair person. You'd be surprised how often they are needed. Washing machines and dryers take a beating in short-term rentals. Just think about how many linens are washed ever 2-3 days on top of guest use! So, I have a guy that is a small appliance guy. He can troubleshoot dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. Those people tend to be a little bit harder to find, but start building your list and start looking for somebody like that.
I can tell you that sounds a little silly. You're like, oh, I'll just, get the Lowe's warranty and they'll send someone out. Lowes will send someone out eventually. But if you have back to back bookings or even same-week bookings, the likelihood that who they send will come during your window of time before the next guest arrives and needs to use the dishwasher or the refrigerator is unlikely.
Airbnb Landscaping & Maintenance Person
The next person is someone for outdoor maintenance and lawn maintenance. Again, there can be some overlap here, but if you've got a yard, it's going to need to be mowed. Beyond that, there's the inevitable tree limb, there's leaves in the gutters, leaves around the yard, branches falling on the house. And occasionally, limbs that need to be removed and trees that need to be removed. So sourcing some type of outdoor landscape person, is very important.
Airbnb Pest Control
And that takes us to the next person in your team, which would be pest control. It's not pretty, but it's incredibly necessary no matter how clean you are personally and how wonderful your housekeeper is, guests are not necessarily as clean and there's going to be pest issues.
So the best thing you can possibly do is set up a monthly service now. Before any issues occur. And this also is very helpful for when there are emergency situations. You're like, Danielle, what emergency pest situations can happen? We had a wasp build a massive nest next to the front door overnight with a guest who was allergic. Orkin was able to come same day and take care of that situation.
At a different property, we had an infestation of Asian Lady Beetles, which looked like the really nice ladybugs, but their orange, they bite, and they eject blood if they're under stress, which is bad for white curtains, and very bad for guests. Again, our Orkin man was able to come up and do a peppermint spray that day to deter them and saved us from guests being incredibly unhappy.
Once you have your pest control settled, you can create a running list of recommended local vendors. What do I mean by this? These are plumbers, electricians, contractors, septic companies, gas companies - if you have a propane fireplace. If you noticed all of these had s's on the end... you need to have multiple names for each of these categories because you never know who's away on a job site. Who's on vacation or who's sick, and the very last time you want to look for one or multiple local contractors is when there's an emergency!
Plumbers are specifically important here. You can have a favorite plumber, but you really want to have a list of three or four plumbers because when there's a plumbing emergency and your primary plumber is already on a job, you need to be able to go down the list and make three or four phone calls.
We keep a list of local professionals as a Google doc. Just keep a running list of potential plumbers, HVAC, repair guys, heating cooling guys or gals. And I guess because I am the daughter of an Eagle Scout, who grew up with the mantra: prior planning prevents poor performance. Having this list of vendors, having this whole team of people and backup people in place for each of our Airbnb listings gives me the confidence that everything is going to be okay, even though we don't even live in the same state as our listings.
Airbnb Owner's Eye Inspections
Your team is very important, but that doesn't mean you can ignore your properties. Plan on going for quarterly visits to conduct what we call an owner's eye inspection. What can I fix? Make a list of what needs to be outsourced so your guests always have the best possible experience.
Remote management is a hundred percent doable with the right structures in place. This circles back to having the best housekeeper and the other best team members. You can 100% pay someone to conduct quarterly owner's eye inspections on your behalf if you're not close enough to do them. If you're too busy.
Or in our circumstance, when we moved to Greece for a year, we hired my dad who had just retired as an engineer to go visit our. Cabins on a quarterly basis. And one of his buddies who's an electrician had retired also. So these two would get in Culin's truck that he left them and drive and stay at all of our various cabins. They had a blast fixing little things and making lists of things for us to outsource to other contractors,
So on a day-to-day basis, your housekeeper is looking for small things that need to be improved. On a quarterly basis, either you, yourself, or someone that you hire should go through and be doing a deeper inspection. We're looking for things like scuff marks and scraped paint, and the things that you don't just catch on a turnover. When you're there and you need to organize the dishes and the cabinets or the hardware's loose on the cabinets, your housekeeper can be amazing, but there's only so much she can do on a turnover.
We also schedule deep cleans when we have orphan nights, which are nights that are sandwiched between two bookings and no one's booking them. And so we can pay our housekeeper extra to do the extra things to make sure that things are pristine. And again, we lived 5,000 miles away from our Airbnbs when we lived in Greece, and we managed beautifully for more than a year, thanks to our amazing team. If we can do it with multiple properties, you can do it too! I promise you, it's not just us, our clients having a great team, and as a Keller Williams agent, you know the power of team. It's not just you. It's this group of people with different skills working together for the same goal.
So there you have it, the exact team you need to create for your Airbnb's success so you can spend less time on your investment and spend more time doing things you love with people you love. If you want to be unchained from your desk, you need to figure out your path to financial freedom right now!