Know what you’re getting…6 questions to ask potential property management companies.
Selecting a vacation rental management company in Breckenridge can be a daunting task. Not all companies are created equal and it’s important to understand the differences. From commissions to fees, selecting a company that is focused on your goals is imperative.
1) What is your commission and fee structure? Do you charge credit card fees, marketing fees, etc.?
Everyone wants to know how much something cost before they buy, but this question is not that simple when selecting a company to manage your home. Most companies are commission based, also called the split. Companies in Breckenridge take between 25% - 50% commission depending on the company and what services they offer.
The commission is only part of the question as most companies have complex and often undisclosed fee structures. These fees may include advertising, media, linen, credit card, maintenance as well as other types of fees that are added onto their commission. They may also calculate commission based on different methodologies including taking commission on the reservation total including cleaning and other types of guest fees. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and really understand what services are offered and at what cost.
2) How do you market your properties? Do you allow online bookings?
Marketing is the engine that drives reservations and revenue for the homeowner. It’s often amazing to see how little companies invest in marketing because that seems contradictory to a commission-based structure. Your property management company should be advertising on at least 30-45 sites both nationally and internationally. VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb are a must. Make sure they are actually using paid advertising and not relying on 3rd parties or wholesalers to book your home.
3) How do you handle after hours maintenance emergencies?
This is critical as it has a direct impact on the guest experience and more importantly it could result in property damage and financial loss. It is important for companies to not only provide a 24x7 emergency line, but they also need to have on call maintenance support. Reputable companies will have a published 24x7 number where guests can call and in-house maintenance personal that can respond within 15-20 minutes. Ask where their employees are located. If the issue is beyond their capabilities, do they have on call plumbers, electricians, etc. that can respond? Understanding how emergencies are handled is important, but it’s also an indicator as to what kind of care your property will receive from your property management company.
4) How do you handle reservations and guest inquiries?
Does the property management company have in-house reservationists? Do they have a lead tracking system? How do they follow up on leads and inquiries? These are just a few of the questions a property manager should be able to answer. Reservations are a core function and reputable companies will have a reservation staff and a lead tracking system to ensure that the staff is following up on any leads or inquiries. Navis reports that “you are 7 times more likely to convert a lead in the 1st hour and 100 times more likely to contact a lead if you respond in the first 5 minutes.” Responsiveness is critical in a competitive market and your property manager should have systems and processes in place to ensure they are converting leads to reservations.
5) What happens if a guest damages my home?
Most companies have moved away from holding damage deposits and are offering a damage waiver that is essentially an insurance policy that covers damage up to a certain amount. This is a very good option and does provide protection, but the property management company should also have the guest credit card on file should there be any issues. Companies that perform regular inspections to identify damage will normally not have issues. Guest damage should never be charged to the owner, so it’s important to ask if there are any examples of when an owner would be charged. Understanding what the damage waiver covers and what it doesn’t is critical.
6) Do you do inspections? How often and are the inspectors employees?
Inspections are the backbone of the cleaning and care of your home and absolutely critical to ensure your guests arrive to a clean, operational, and well-presented home. It is commonplace for the housekeepers to also be responsible for inspections. This is a bad idea, as a good property management company should have a separate inspection staff to ensure quality. Inspections should be preformed on guest departure to ensure there is no damage and no more than 2 days prior to guest arrival to make sure the home is properly prepared. Ask the property management company what inspection they perform and what, specifically, is the focus of the inspections. Inspectors should not only be checking for damage, but also ensuring that there are no issues that would impact the guest experience. This is critical to maintaining positive reviews and attracting repeat guests.
In the end, it is important for homeowners to understand what they are getting when hiring a property manager. The relationship between a homeowner and a property manager is one built on trust and transparency over time. If you find that your prospective property management company is having difficulty answering these questions, but may want to consider other option.
About SkyRun Vacation Rentals – Breckenridge
SkyRun Vacation Rentals is a locally owned, veteran-owned small business focused on providing a private vacation home experience for guests. SkyRun uses proprietary technology and superior marketing to drive owner revenue and provide a superior guest experience. Founded in 2009 and based in Breckenridge, Colorado, SkyRun Breckenridge manages more than 50 homes in Breckenridge and is on of the fastest growing companies in Summit County. For more information, visit breckenridge.skyrun.com.