Discussions to have with your Property Manager

It has never been more important to have a reliable property manager in place to take care of your property, deal with issues that may arise, and be your ears and eyes on the ground.  If you are not available to manage your rentals while they are underway, your PM will take responsibility to do all those jobs that ensure your guests have an effortless and trouble-free vacation. 

These duties may go far beyond cleaning the place between rentals, and your cleaner may not be the person to handle all the additional tasks which may include:
  • Meeting and greeting
  • Response to guest concerns and coordinating vendors (plumbers, pool technicians, handyman etc.)
  • Concierge services for guests, providing information on request and booking events etc.
  • Providing flowers, baked goods, welcome basket/gift
  • Returning left items to guests
  • Maintaining property inventory and recommending replacement for general wear and tear
  • Purchasing supplies
  • Managing cleaning and changeover schedules
  • Providing cost estimates for repairs to owner
  • Property inspections before and after guests
There may be many more tasks a competent property manager can perform so it’s a good idea to make a comprehensive list before having a discussion with potential providers.  Whether you find an independent person or an established property management company, you should cover the same issues listed here.

Your position on hospitality
While many dedicated PMs will appreciate that your accommodation is in the travel and tourism industry, it’s important to lay out your position as it’s related to hospitality.  This is particularly important if you are employing a person who is more used to managing/cleaning residential homes.  They need to understand that guests have specific expectations and will be quick to complain if they are not met. 

Describe how you want your guests to feel during their stay; that you want them to feel confident they have someone to call if there is a problem, and the importance of having it dealt with straight away.

Tip:  If you have reviews on your listing, show them to your potential PM.  Say that you want this to continue and stress that their performance and attention to detail could significantly impact the quality of the reviews. 

Your expectations on changeovers
Whether your PM is overseeing the cleaning, or doing it themselves, provide a detailed checklist so they know what your expectations are.  A few simple oversights can impact guest experience so use several examples like this:
  • Light bulbs in bedside lamps could have burnt out
  • Mugs and plates may have been put back in cupboards unwashed
  • Folded towels in a bathroom basket may not all be clean
  • Pots and pans may not be adequately cleaned
What you want them to tell you
Great property managers will feedback only the information you need to manage the rentals from your end.  If a guest group has left the place in such a poor condition that you may not want them to book again, you’d need to know, however subjective comments on the nature of the groups may not be appropriate.  Be clear as to the feedback you want from them. 

How they should report damage
Whether you collect a damage deposit or not, you will want to be informed if there has been any damage or breakage.  A property management company will likely have a report sheet they use to let you know if they have replaced an item, or if it a bigger issue that needs to be dealt with.  If not, you can create one of your own.

Request photos of damaged items or evidence that you may need to use to make a claim either from your guests, or your insurance company.  There are many ways of getting this information to you, so have the discussion on their familiarity with technology.  If your PM is happy with taking a photo with an iphone and texting it to you, that is great – just set your expectations so they know what to do.  You might provide them with an inexpensive digital camera and show them how to upload the pictures and send them to you. 

Here is an additional list of things you might ask a property manager to do.
  • Make sure everything is in the right place using your style guide or staging photos.
  • Fill coffee, tea, sugar basket or containers
  • Check remotes work, property welcome manual and guest book are in place
  • Check all keys are where they should be
  • Activate pool heater, heat or air conditioner according to season
  • Put on your selection of music to enhance guests arrival
  • Provide your choice of welcome gift – purchase baked goods, arrange flowers etc.
  • Respond to guest concerns (alarms, leaks, spa and pool issues, stereo and tv inquiries, etc.)
  • Meet vendors based on any issue (plumbers, pool technicians, handyman, etc.)
  • Be main point of contact for area information
  • Provide concierge services – restaurants reservations, spa, salon or golf, etc.
  • Inspect home on departure
  • Return left items to guests
  • Dispose of garbage
  • Gather linens and towels for washing
  • Check oven and run self clean as needed
  • Check and erase phone answering machines; check clocks for alarms and correct time
  • Check satellite TV to ensure working correctly
  • Check kitchen inventory, photograph any damaged items, identify missing items
  • Drop-off/pick-up sheets at laundry facility
  • Water plants, remove and replace as needed
  • Maintain inventory list
  • Check light bulbs
  • Check air and furnace filters
  • Purchase and maintain supplies as required: coffee, paper towels, toilet paper, light bulbs, foil, storage bags, etc
  • Maintain a detailed spreadsheet/receipts of costs incurred by vendor and date
  • Provide cost detail weekly to clients
  • Provide and maintain cleaning schedule