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What To Look For When Choosing A Short-Term Rental Property Manager

Short-term rental property management services allow you to earn hosting revenues from your Airbnb or vacation rental property without having to deal with the day-to-day management of the property.

The benefits of using a property manager are numerous, including 24/7 availability to both property owners and guests, cleaning, property maintenance, and the promise of keeping your calendar full of bookings. Employing the right property manager can lead to a higher average occupancy rate and higher average nightly prices for your Airbnb because they have the experience and expertise to promote your listings effectively.

What To Look For When Choosing A Short-Term Rental Property Manager


How much experience does the company have in managing short-term rentals? Are they relatively new to the business, or do they have years of experience with a number of satisfied clients and 5-star reviews?

How much experience do they have managing in your specific market? How many listings do they manage in your market? Short-term rental markets vary hugely by geography - every market has different seasonality, different events, and different types of guests looking for different kinds of experiences.

Do they have a history of compliance with local short-term rental regulations and taxes? We're looking for property managers who have a track record of playing by the rules, and who definitely won't book guests who will result in noise complaints, unauthorized gatherings or any other issues that will cause you, the owner, trouble.


What is the company's fee structure? Do they charge commissions on hosting revenues? Or do they operate a fixed-fee model? In general commission fee structures are preferable, as that aligns the property manager's incentives with yours - they will make more money if they get your listing more bookings, which means more money for you too.

What is their fee? Fixed-fee rates vary widely by market, but with commission models you should expect to pay anywhere between 15-30% of your host revenues. Some services will also charge you an initial setup fee when you sign a contract with them. Other potential fees can include a fee for each new guest they place in your property, and sometimes even fees while the property is empty (vacancy fees).

What is included in the fee? Typically, the biggest additional fee to cover is cleaning costs, which sometimes is included in the management fee, but is mostly treated as a separate cost. Be sure to ask if the cleaning is provided by an external service, or if it's done in-house by the property manager.

Does the property manager cover minor repairs and maintenance of the property? Is this provided by an in-house service or an external provider? What incidental expenses will you be expected to cover if (or rather when) a guest breaks something that is expensive to repair? It's often worth discussing your vacation rental insurance policy as well.

Cancellation options

How easy is it to cancel your contract with the property manager? Imagine a scenario in which, despite your best screening efforts, you aren't happy with the management of your vacation rental. Are you contractually committed to a fixed term agreement, or do you have optionality in the contract?

What your responsibilities will be

Some companies manage your operations from end to end, including the “boots on the ground” jobs like property maintenance. You should find out what responsibilities you’ll keep before you enter any partnership. Most companies will offer property management services like:

  • Channel management

  • Dynamic pricing

  • Guest communication

  • Keyless check-in and check-out

  • Interior design and decor

  • Social media management

  • Website creation

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