Business AspectsVacation Rental Owners

The Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring a Vacation Rental Property Manager

Remember when you started your Vacation Rental business, you had dreams? Did you have dreams of making it a large empire, owning several properties, and earning a lot of profits. Or did you underestimate the time it would take to manage just one property? Either way, now you know that you need help! If you’re running multiple properties, you may have discovered that it will only be possible by hiring a property manager. Are you realizing that you just can’t be in two places at the same time? If so, you likely need to hire a property manager or a property management company to take care of the day-to-day operation.

What are the qualities your ideal property manager should have? To find out, you’ll need to ask the right questions while conducting interviews for hiring the property manager. Such questions may vary from property to property, however, there are a few indispensable questions. So, let’s have a look at some of these.

Do you even need a VR property manager? Get a quick answer through the below slides:

Questions that investigate the track record of the candidate?

Let’s make one thing clear, hiring a property manager has a few basic requirements. You want to have free time to manage other responsibilities. Your property manager should be able to manage the property on his own after you acquaint him with the key requirements. Therefore, past track record and experience matters.

You need to question them about their prior experience such as the number of years they have worked as a property manager. Pay attention to the quality of experience too and remember that the property manager is the person who comes in direct contact with your guests. A lot depends on this person’s experience of handling tricky situations with guests. The property manager’s capability will translate into your reputation.

Also, if the manager is a local of the region where your property is situated, it is an added advantage. This person will be aware of all the local businesses and attractions and can handle guest questions in a very personal way. Further, there is a higher chance of being in your employment for the long-term. Every employee has an onboarding cost and you wouldn’t want to spend it on a short-term employee.

Questions that ask about skills and past assignments?

Next, you need to investigate the nature of responsibilities the manager can shoulder. You are hiring a property manager to fill the gaps that you can’t. If she is not up for those responsibilities, then she won’t add any value. You may look for the kind of responsibilities she has handled in the past. If these were limited to just handing over the keys and collecting them at check-out, then you’re likely going to need someone also to take care of managing the property’s upkeep.

Her past responsibilities might not be exactly the same, however, if she has handled some related roles then you may question her further about how she would handle a particular situation. For example, if she has not had the opportunity to deal with the elderly in the previous job but has worked with families, you may ask her what more she might do if she has to cater to an elderly couple. If she exceeds expectations on 9 out of 10 of your yardsticks, then she may deserve a chance.

It’s best to set forth a plan of roles and responsibilities you would like her to undertake. This will bring a lot of clarity to both of you and you’ll have an idea as to whether or not she can manage them. Proper expectations go a long way from day one and will give you a benchmark should you need to release the property manager in the future.

The juggling ability question

If you have several properties, you’ll likely hire just one property manager to manage them all. Hiring individual property managers for each property will be too expensive unless you can locate several part-time employees to do the job. If you choose just one person, they’ll need to be extremely detail oriented and able to effectively manage a calendar, maintenance schedule, guest communications, laundry, cleaning services, lawn and tree trimming, pool/spa maintenance, and they’ll need to be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The big question

At the end of the day, everyone is interested in the numbers, the financials. Your question should be about how to structure the hourly rate or salary. You need to keep a few things in mind. One is the amount and nature of the work you want from the property manager. Another aspect is that whether your revenues support the person. At the end of the day, you have to earn a profit so the salary or hourly rate needs to balance both your needs as the owner and the employee’s needs to make it worth their time and effort.

It’s best to have a detailed and clear-cut contract prepared including all costs. Each part of the contract should be self-explanatory. The contract should be agreeable to both parties so that there is no future dispute.

Further, there should also be a renewal clause in the contract. At that time, the salary will be discussed again. If there is a requirement, an increment will be provided based on the performance of the property manager. This gives the manager an incentive to put their best effort forward.

One last thing that the contract should include is the cancellation policy. Let’s face it, not all relationships work out. You might have found someone promising at the time of hiring, but later, you are not satisfied with their performance. In such a case, the contract should have a cancellation policy mutually agreed upon. This will limit your expense and avoid future disputes.

An introspective question

You need to ask this to yourself. What part of the work do you want to delegate? Absolutely everything or just some parts? You might delegate just the day-to-day management but continue taking care of online marketing and email communications.

Flexibility is key here since you want to ensure excellent ratings and top marketing and if your property manager has had marketing experience, it could just what you need to take your business to a higher level. For example, you may use this person’s connections with local businesses to enhance the guest experience while improving your operations and driving efficiency.

When hiring from an agency

Till now we have discussed some of the questions you might ask if you are hiring an individual as a property manager. However, these days it is very common to use a property management company for each aspect of your management. In most cases, the management company takes care of everything including marketing, operations, finance, and any related process.

In this case, you need to have a wider question list. You might want to ask about the periodic update frequency and how often the property manager will send you performance reports. You need to know these details to be sure if it is being managed well or not.

You might want to ask about the marketing techniques, the social media and offline marketing suite offered by the agency as part of the contract. Ask how often the agency regularly updates its list of listing websites. Are they listing on RentalTrader.com and taking advantage of the discounted rates offered? Evolving marketing strategies are always better than stagnant ones

Remember, this will also include the pricing mechanism, so you should ask about the software used to manage everything. Another important aspect for you to know is the mode of payment accepted by the agency. Your guests shouldn’t be inconvenienced if the agency doesn’t accept all methods of payment. There can be many other questions you have in mind. However, don’t forget to enquire about these along with the others.

One thing you need to decide is whether you want to hire an individual or an agency. You hire an individual when your systems are in place and you are hiring a property manager just to run your properties. This might be a little cheaper and you have a lot more control over the terms and conditions of the hiring contract.

If you have no experience of running a vacation rental business, it is best to hire an agency. This will bring its experience and business partnerships along. You can start up quickly and grow at a faster pace. Besides, read our guide on how to run your vacation rental business so that it thrives.

Hiring a property manager is a long-term process and you need to think it through. Hiring an unsuitable property manager can cost you a lot more and not just in money terms so it pays to be careful. Please fill out the webform if you have any more questions, or feel free to give us a call.

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