We're Not Alone
We’ve often heard, “No man is an island” which technically is correct… Though some folks might have one, I don’t know any of those folks… The truth is, most of us need a team to build even a little island. We need help in order to keep our Airbnb vacation rental empire running smoothly, productively, and profitably. Even if your empire consists of one listing, you still need your team. Especially If you’re just starting out you will figure out pretty quickly that it takes a lot of work to keep that machine humming quietly.
Now you might be thinking, “Evelyn, you are just cray, cray, girl. I don’t need no team. I’m a team of one, uno, my team only consists of Me, Myself, and I…” Ok, look listen, my dear hosts… Come in a little closer… Team UNO, yeah one is only HUMAN… that’s right, human… are u still calling me cray?
You see, sometimes we get sick. Perhaps, we need to leave town we’d like to go on vacation… or we get sick of our guests. Sometimes, things happen or there is a breakdown that is beyond our control or knowledge… Or better yet… Sometimes, we just don’t feel like it. Yeah. I said it.
There are times when we just don’t want to clean that toilet, that same old toilet…or fold those same old sheets. Look, I know how to paint (a wall, that is it). I also have a drill in my shed that I know I can handle, but you know what? I don’t want to handle it. There, I said it again… I don’t want to… And no, it’s not because I’m a woman, and I don’t want to get dirty or I’m afraid… I just don’t feel like it.
I’m a firm believer in the power of a team… An A-Team, of course.. I know I don’t know everything, even though sometimes I think I do… and at times, it feels like I fight my team tooth and nail about certain things…. But that’s just me and my charming personality.
The truth is, I know when to call in the professionals… Because the dryer will not fix itself… Wouldn’t that be GREAT! I feel like I’m daydreaming.
How to Build and Keep a Team for your Airbnb
In this episode, I’m going to discuss the essential members needed to create YOUR perfect A-Team: where to find them, how to keep them, and how to replace them.
Because sometimes we just have to say “bye, bye, bye. Goodbyyye.” Of course, knowing how to say goodbye in a graceful manner is crucial… Saying goodbye to someone is just as important as welcoming them… So, NEVER really sing them the “Heyheyhey, Goodbye” song… Well, unless they REALLY deserve it.
The Essential Members:
Even if it’s your husband, wife, child, or grandkid. It’s also really helpful to have another person outside of your circle that knows your home and your style… Remember, you'll probably be with your family on that vacation. Then what?
If you’re particular about how you like your house to be cleaned and styled, you’ll need to train your team a bit to make sure they know how to recreate every detail when you aren’t there… So, if you like your towels folded like animals, you need to show them how to create those animals. You do have to be mindful that they will not always get those swans folded to your specifications. Those animals can be tricky, but as long as they nail the cleaning part, I think the swans will be ok..
It’s also helpful to have more than one person… a backup, just in case, because plan A sometimes falls apart. It actually happened to me 48 hours before I was about to depart on my year ago planned trip to Cuba. If you’re curious about how I put together my NEW A-Team in 48 hours, check out my Episode 25 How to Hire a Property Management Service Company: Talk about a team effort!
Things happen… An AC unit might fall (don’t ask) from a window, a window might crack, or your dryer might just break right before your guests are due to arrive… Now, I have no doubt that you might be a very good handy human. like I said at the beginning of the show, I have a drill and I’m not afraid to use it… But there are just certain things I prefer to call my handy dandy human for.
I was in Guatemala on holiday a few years back, and because my house likes to play the game of “I’m going to break down every single time Evelyn goes away,” This time, the radiator valve decided to break and spew hot water all over the floors. Of course, I had guests in the house. My handy person was called and fixed it the same day.
My team told me about it, but they had all the phone numbers needed in case of any emergencies…like this one.
I have often told my plumber, Malcolm, that I own that truck he drives. Why? Because he chose a career that pays very well… and I know ‘cause I know what I pay him (and he’s not even the most expensive plumber).
Why do I pay? Because he always comes through. He will come to my home on a Sunday and will even come at night when I need him (to make repairs, you dirty minded folks).
Malcolm’s been my plumber for as long as I’ve owned this home… So, almost 14 years. And yes, there was a big job he did that I even went and got multiple bids for… Why did I do that with my loyal plumber? Because I truly believe one should always get multiple quotes, especially if it’s a doozy of a job. In the end, he did get the job, and so you see why I like to tell him, “I own your truck!”
The same goes with a good appliance repair person or company. You don’t always need to go and replace your dryer or stove… You can just call a trustworthy repairperson or shop, and let them fix it. They will tell you if it’s better to just replace it. They don’t want to waste their time if they know it’s not worth it.
You have all heard me talk about my woes with Con Edison, the electrical company in New York. My nephews are becoming electricians, and believe me, I’d be willing to set them up. This is another moneymaker career.
During my own Hosting Journey, I have realized that vocational careers can be just lucrative, if not more so, than any white collar position… Plus, you can often be your own boss, which has its own benefits. I’m a BIG vocational tech school supporter because we aren’t all made for college. End of preach.
If you have a pool and landscaping, you also need reliable people.
Those team members I just mentioned are the ones who deal directly with your home. Now let’s talk about the team members who deal with your business.
You might do your own taxes, and that’s fantastic. My mom is an accountant, but I need an accountant who really knows vacation rentals… You know, the ins and outs of the hosting business
Did I mention I used to work as a bookkeeper while going to college? Yes, my dear hosts, I’ve worn many hats. Many hats. It took me a long time to graduate college, as I was studying part-time and working full-time in my many freelance jobs. One of them as a bookkeeper for a real estate company. Then came the advertising world… But I’m saving that story for my book which I hope you’ll read.
Nonetheless, I don’t do my own taxes. I have an accountant. Actually, I’ve had numerous accountants over the years, as my needs have changed. Come to think of it, I’m currently looking for a new one… So if you know of a good one in my neck of the woods, please let me know.
I’m actually going to be doing an episode on finances, and I’m going to talk about how to find the right accountant…because that too can be a journey as well.
So, your tax paperwork might seem simple, but you want to make sure you’re taking all the appropriate deductions and advantages according to the law. ALWAYS according to the law.
A good vacation rental accountant knows all the deductions and the loopholes… Love me the loopholes. There are just so many things we don’t know. And I’m not like Reenu, my facebook group member, who reads the IRS website. Yes, she does. I love her for it, and I’m honored that she is part of the Hosting Journey facebook group. You, too, are welcome to join our group at the hosting journey slash community.
But I digress…. With any reputable Accountant, you can schedule a consultation or just have them do one year of your taxes and then copy what they do for the following years… Whatever makes you feel more comfortable. It’s your call.
Not everyone needs a lawyer, but I have one… I don’t have her on speed dial, but I do love her. I feel protected. Isn’t that how you’re supposed to feel? She is a tad expensive but worth every dollar.
She is my entertainment lawyer, but she has also advised me on how to protect my home by creating an LLC, etc., which I did. Mind you, I had my accountant create it instead of her… I did say she was expensive… I took her advice, though.
I never had one before, so I’m searching. I’m a woman of a certain age, and I want to make sure that all of my ducks are aligned correctly for my golden years…. The goal is to live my golden years like “The Golden Girls.” Yep, that’s it!
I have always worked as a freelancer and have protected myself, but is that enough? Yes, I know. It’s never enough…. So, let’s get someone above my paygrade and see what they have to say about me being one of the Golden Girls.
I know money is something that isn’t discussed. It’s a taboo subject… Kind of crass, I guess, but sometimes we need to discuss it in order to get ahead.
It’s funny, we will talk about sex before we talk about how we manage our money. I didn’t come from a wealthy family. I didn’t grow up watching my folks handle money, stocks, or real estate. Most folks, regardless of their income bracket, have their own money beliefs, stories, and ideas about how to operate their cash… And so do I… Mama just gotta keep learning and learning… Remember, I wanna be singing… “Thank you for being a friend” by the time I’m over 40 ops over 60.
If your vacation rental empire is big, you might want someone to help manage your communications with your guests, update your calendars, take care of your listings, etc. You might want to hire a virtual assistant. I have worked with one and loved it. It doesn’t need to be a full-time position. It can be a couple of hours a week. If you want them to answer messages, update your calendar, then you want them on a full-time basis.
Now… This is one member of your A-Team that is for your Soul… Very important.
Your team is incomplete if you don’t have someone you can count on. A dear friend or friends. Luckily, I have a few, including folks on my Facebook Group.
I have long-time friends who I have known for decades and then there are, like my dear friend Marie, who I met recently through Airbnb. Marie is a fellow host who lives a few blocks away from me. We became close friends when she started hosting. Now, I consider her a bestie. I’m grateful that she is part of my world… She’s generous, smart, and protective. I can count (and have counted) on her many times. This past summer, I was away for a couple of days and because of my issue with Con Edison I’m getting electricity from lamp posts. Yes, very pretty and classy and it has been over a year. One of the posts is across the street. The house was full. It was summer, and there was a heat wave in NY.
In the middle of the night, a truck snagged the power line that connects my home to the lamp post, and there went the electricity to my home. My guests were without electricity or air conditioning, and I was out of town. I told you it always happens when I’m away. By 10am in the morning, the Con Edison crew were blocking the street, working on fixing my problem. Because my friend Marie was in my home, making sure they had access and everything was perfect. I cut my trip short and arrived to a cool house and cool guests. She is a lovely friend. I told you. A bestie!
You’ll need people with whom you can speak about your hosting adventures and misadventures because your family's eyes will glaze over when you talk about Hey, how do you get rid of the lingering smell from the garbage that wasn’t thrown out? Did you ever figure out what caused the sewer to overflow in your bathroom? No. They’ll never want to know. They love to hear about all the money you’re making, but they don’t want to talk about what you have to do to make it….
How to Find the Right Team:
I believe in the power of recommendations. It’s the old school way. You know, the opposite of Internet reviews. You can ask your friends why they like the person or what they might like to see improved.
And that’s how I’ve found a lot of members for my team.
I admit, I do also use Yelp and Angie’s list from time to time… and I read tons of reviews for appliance repair shops, electronic stores, etc.
And when you find someone who is amazing, share the love with other hosts… It usually pays off in the end.
How to Keep Them:
I set my team members up for success. With my cleaners, I’m clear with instructions. How many people are expected? Do we need the sofa bed opened?. Any special instructions. I also work around my cleaners’ schedule, if possible.
For example, if a guest checks out today, but I don’t have a guest checking in until tomorrow, I’ll give her a choice to come in that day or the next. As long as it happens before the guests arrive, of course. I’m flexible. I work with her, and she works with me.
I also pay ON TIME. I don’t mess with people’s money, and I pay extra for special services. You might think… “Oh, it’s only $75.” Well, it’s their $75, and it’s their salary. They did the job, they get paid on time. Simple.
Be clear about your expectations, compensation, and all other information. If I don’t like something, I mention it right away. I don’t let it fester. I make them ALL part of the team.
For example, when there’s a construction job happening in the house, I let the team know. I let the construction team and the cleaning team know the schedule. They ALL know my guests arrival in advance. Yes, I give myself a few more days because construction will always take longer and clean up will always be more detailed, but I let them know what I’m thinking and what I’m expecting from them.
People can’t read your mind, and you can’t read theirs. Thank God!
How To Let Them Go:
There are times you just have to say goodbye. And sometimes I’m not that gracious… I try, but sometimes… Well, I’m just not. I’ve never been so rude as to sing them the “Goodbye” song, but I’ve come close.
You can also ghost and just never call them back. It’s your right.
However, if you’ve had a relationship of many years with a person, you can always have a conversation before you let them go. I do recommend that you have a replacement ready. Unless it’s a spur of the moment thing because you don’t want to be stuck.
Am I missing anyone on the team to make you succeed? Please let me know.
Like always, remember that it’s a journey and your team is part of that journey… Yes, things will change and evolve, but the team you select will always help you through…
Hopefully, you’ll have members like my plumber Malcolm of 14 years. The one with the fleet of trucks with my name on them.
Once again, this is Evelyn, thanking you, as always, for listening and for joining me on this amazing Hosting Journey…