June 23, 2021

How to Set Your Vacation Rental Property Management Fees

There is so much to cover when it comes to vacation rental property management fees. We’ve spoken to experts on the topic about why fees are so complicated, and a little bit about the different types of vacation rental fees. But there isn’t a truly comprehensive list of the fees you should or shouldn’t have and the exact breakdown of how much of your short-term rental pricing should be made up of fees. Since every vacation rental property is a little different, and every homeowner’s goal is unique, one size doesn’t fit all in this situation.

So we took it upon ourselves to dig through the data and see if we could discover, if not a one-size-fits-all solution, a set of guidelines to help vacation rental property managers make informed decisions about their fees.

What We Found

Our research shows that the range for vacation rental fees can range from 15% to 40%. And in the United States, the average is about 28%. There are several factors that explain why this range is so varied.

Maintenance (per Stay and per Season)

Putting a price on maintaining a property can be especially challenging, depending on the layout of the home, the amenities offered, and the region it’s in. A 200-square foot condo in the mountains with a private hot tub may take just as long to clean as a five-bedroom beachfront property. And don’t forget to factor in the distance between properties. A housekeeper or a maintenance worker can accomplish a lot more in a day when they can walk only a few yards to the next property, rather than packing their car back up and driving several miles to the next job site.  

The Competition

While the market will be your main benchmark for your vacation rental property management fees, you should also keep an eye on your competition, too. The last thing you want to do is price yourself out. For example, well-established vacation rental markets like Gatlinburg, TN, force rates lower because of the market saturation. 

Location

The huge range in vacation rental fees often has to do with where the rental is located. We broke down each major region type, from the lowest fees to the highest. 

Urban Average fee: 20–25%

We found that urban rental properties had some of the lowest fees. This makes sense. These properties are often the easiest properties to take care of from a management perspective. They tend to be smaller and closer together, and don’t experience seasonal wear and tear like properties in the mountains or on the beach. 

Beach Average fee: 25–30%

Beach property management rates go up a little compared to urban properties, but typically offered some of the lowest management fees. This makes sense—like urban properties, beach properties are often quite close together. Vacation property managers can make quick work of inspecting their units, and cleaning crews can visit multiple properties efficiently without having to commute long distances.

Mountain Average fee: 30–35%

Vacation rental properties in the mountains tend to have some of the highest fees, mostly because of the amount of time and energy it takes to maintain them. The nature of the market and the seasonal wear and tear means more regular upkeep, and their coveted isolation makes it harder to complete work on multiple units in a single day. 

In-house Management Average fee: 35–40%

In-house management tends to have the highest vacation rental property management fees. This can be a combination of the size of the community and the amenities they offer (including a front desk staff who help with check-in, check-out, and any questions the guests may have). It can also be part of an HOA agreement that requires members of the community to work exclusively with an in-house team. 

Want Industry Insights into Your Market? Rented Has You Covered

Having a short-term rental pricing expert on your side can help you evaluate the competition and the market as it stands so you can set the fees that make the most sense for you. Get your free trial of Rented’s Art -automated pricing tools today. 

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