February 22, 2017

How to Vet an Airbnb Property Manager: Questions to Ask During the Interview

The right Airbnb property manager can make all the difference for your vacation home. An experienced property manager can increase the number of new and repeat bookings, increase guest satisfaction levels, and boost your profit margin. They can also reduce or totally eliminate any stress, worry, or hassle that you may experience as a result of offering your vacation home as a rental.

But not all property managers are created equal and hiring the wrong property manager can result in lost income, more stress, and a reduction in bookings, and overall guest satisfaction levels. You could even see negative reviews, which can harm your ability to get new bookings in the future. Plus, not every property manager does business in the same way, so you need someone who will meet your own unique needs as a vacation rental owner.

So before you sign that property management contract, it’s wise to thoroughly vet and interview your property manager to ensure that they are the right person for the job.

What Questions Should You Ask When Interviewing a Property Manager?

There are a few important questions that you should ask when interviewing a prospective property manager. Whenever possible, interview the property manager in person. If this is not possible, arrange a video chat so you can see facial expressions and body language, which are important when getting a feel for an individual.

How long have you been involved in property management? Generally, the more experience, the better. But don’t discount a less experienced property manager because these individuals are often eager to make a name for themselves in the industry. You probably want to steer clear of someone who has never managed vacation properties before, but if you do try someone without lots of experience, it’s wise to opt for a short 60-day or 90-day contract to start.

What can you do for me as a property manager? What changes or improvements would you make or recommend? Ideally, you want a property manager with a vision! You want a property manager who has a vision and a strategy to implement improvements or changes that serve to improve your booking rate, increase guest satisfaction levels, and increase profits.

What sort of tasks would you handle as my property manager? While some property managers handle absolutely everything — from tending to online marketing and seeking out new bookings to vetting potential guests, overseeing the actual vacation home, and addressing all aspects of the home’s care and management — others have a more limited role. So you need to be crystal clear on what your property manager will and will not be handling.

Also, be sure to inquire if the manager subcontracts any tasks to other service providers. If so, you’ll want to learn more about those service providers and their reputation. It’s not uncommon for freelance property managers to subcontract tasks such as online marketing, cleaning services, landscaping and lawn care, and handyman/repair work, whereas others work with a property management firm that handles these tasks.

What is included in your property management fees? It’s important to understand what fees are included and what costs are extra. Specifically, ask about advertising and online marketing costs, social media/website marketing and maintenance costs, cleaning costs, lawn care, general maintenance, and minor handyman-type repairs. This is a very important question if you have property management offers that differ significantly.

What are your biggest strengths as a property manager? Weaknesses? You want a property manager who has lots of strengths, including good “people skills,” strong marketing and sales skills, an attention to detail, the ability to multi-task, and the willingness to go above and beyond (i.e. personally greeting your guests upon arrival and checking in mid-visit to ensure they have everything they need). It’s also helpful to have someone who thinks outside the box and is willing to try new things that can ultimately help your vacation home to stand out from the crowd.

Also, be very wary of a property manager who claims to have no weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses, and you can only compensate for those weaknesses if you acknowledge them. Ideally, your property manager will discuss at least one weakness. If they do, ask them how they compensate for that weakness.

Why should I choose you? You want a property manager who is confident and knows precisely what they can do for you. This question provides them with an opportunity to provide you with one final sales pitch that details how and why they can benefit you as a property owner.

At the end of the interview, you should feel confident and excited at the prospect of working with this individual. If you’re uncertain, this is significant for a couple of reasons. First, your gut could be telling you to steer clear, and it’s always important to listen to your instincts. But second, and most importantly, that first interview is the property manager’s opportunity to sell you on their services. If they’re not a good salesman, then this could be a problem because your property manager is usually in charge of seeking out new guest bookings. You need someone who can seal the deal!

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all property manager, so it’s important to find someone who’s right for your property and your needs.

The Importance of Seeking References from Your Potential Property Manager’s Clients

While your interview with a potential property manager is extremely important, it’s also essential that you speak with their current clients to get a feel for what it’s really like to work with this individual. A good property manager is a good salesperson who should be very adept at selling their own services. But the sales pitch can often be better than the actual services that are rendered.

What’s more, most property managers require a one-year contract, so it’s essential that you don’t enter into a contract unless you’re 100% confident in this service provider. Hiring the wrong property manager could result in more than just a financial loss; you could also see a lot of worry or hassle if your property manager just isn’t doing their job.

When speaking with references, you’ll want to ask a few different questions, including:

  • What is your overall satisfaction level working with this property manager?
  • Has this property manager met your expectations? If not, how have they fallen short?
  • What would you say are this property manager’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What changes have you seen in the number of booking you receive and your guests’ overall satisfaction level?
  • Has this property manager increased your profit margin?
  • Do you plan to continue working with this property manager once your contract expires?

Additionally, take a few minutes to Google the property manager’s name and company name. View their website and read any online ratings or reviews. Your property manager is apt to give you references that they know will give you positive feedback. So make an effort to seek out any negative reviews involving this individual or their company.

It may also be wise to run a background check on your property manager. After all, you’ll be entrusting your home, its contents, and its oversight to this person or firm. You want to be sure that your property manager is someone you can fully trust.

If you’re ready to hire a new property manager for your vacation home, turn to Rented.com. We’re your source for connecting with some of the world’s top Airbnb property managers. Sign-up is free, and you could be receiving offers to manage your vacation home in a matter of minutes. Find the perfect property manager today at Rented.com.

Lead image: StockSnap.io user Alejandro Escamill

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