By: Randall Bloomquist
Running an Airbnb or vacation rental business can be one of the best and easiest ways to make money. Short-term renting the tiny mother-in-law suite in my backyard in San Antonio, Texas pays my mortgage every month – and I usually have money to spare. But one of the processes that is the most important can also be the most painful if it is not done well. Cleaning your vacation rental property (or properties) well is probably the most essential aspect of becoming a top-tier rental. If you want to reach Superhost Status, you better have the process down. So what does it take?
My Two Short Term Rentals in San Antonio
1. Hire Good Cleaners
I recommend hiring professional vacation rental cleaners from a Airbnb cleaning service who have been doing this for a while. I cleaned my back house for a few weeks and quickly found that my standard of clean is not the same as everyone else’s. A few hairs left in the shower drain and some dust on the Keurig can bring a 5-star review to a 4-star review. And all the hosts gunning for Superhost know it takes four 5-star reviews to make up for every one 4-star review.
It is also helpful if your cleaner (or cleaners, as we will talk about below) has/have experience in short-term rental cleaning already. The nature of STRs are somewhat inconsistent and not regular days of the week. Some hosts may have different experiences; for example, if they only rent their property on the weekends or if they are fully booked for months. However, I am sure that this is the exception to the rule.
Finding a good cleaner can be tricky sometimes. I have used the TurnoverBnB app (//turnoverbnb.com/) to find cleaners who specialize in short term rentals. Through the app, you can see ratings for different cleaners as well as give them a cleaning list and see when they start and when they stop. The app also helps with scheduling (see number 3).
2. Have a Lockable Linen Closet (And Washer and Dryer)
Having a lockable linen closet to keep clean sheets and towels in is a game-changer. Why? It allows you to always have clean linens and towels available at the property and allows your cleaner to be able to fully complete the job without having to keep any linens or even leave the house. The ideal situation is to have the cleaner take all the dirty sheets and wash and dry them as they are cleaning the house. They put out the clean linens and then once the other linens are clean, place them back in the closet and lock it. The closet needs to be able to be locked because you don’t want guests stealing all the pillowcases one night and not having any clean and ready to go. You can leave extras out somewhere but keep the closet locked.
In another house that I bought with a couple friends (we are STRing it), we have a lockable linen closet and it makes the process much easier than my back-house. I’ve been looking for a lockable wardrobe that will fit to make it work.
3. Have Multiple Cleaners Ready
This is where TurnoverBnB works its magic. There have been multiple times since I started hosting where someone books last minute for one night. I have had to scramble to find a cleaner. With TurnoverBnB, you can invite cleaners to download the app and they will be able to see your schedule. You’ll then be updated automatically when things change, and accept cleanings. You can also have multiple cleaners who see the schedule. This is important when a cleaner is already booked or can’t make it, another one can pick it up. And as I said earlier, there is a marketplace on the app where you can find good cleaners who specialize in short-term rental cleaning.
Now, if you are new to the hosting world or haven’t started yet, you may be tempted to think that this is over the top. You might be like me and think that you can take handle it on your own to save money. Even if you can, I encourage you to look into hiring someone and leaving the cleaning to a professional. I hope this helps new or future hosts simplify their cleaning process and good luck!