Running a Rental Business

Should I Hire a Property Manager or Management Company?

March 10, 2022

Many people think of renting out a property as a good way to create passive income, but the reality is that managing a rental is still a lot of work. One way to alleviate this stress is by hiring a property manager or management company to take care of the logistics. In this article, we will go through the pros and cons to help you decide if a property manager is right for you.

front door of home

What Does a Property Manager Do?

A property manager can do a wide variety of things, but their main job is to take care of the logistics of a rental property so that you don’t have to. 

Some of the common tasks that a property manager will take care of for you are:

  • Managing listings: One of the most important jobs of a property manager is to market your property and get guests to stay with you. With their knowledge, they can enhance your listings with high-quality pictures and descriptions and grow your reputation on various booking sites. They can also help you find optimal pricing so that you can maximize income while maintaining constant occupancy. 
  • Communicating with guests: In line with managing listings, property managers also handle your correspondence with renters. They are in charge of handling timely communications with guests to provide help before and during their stay, ensuring they have the best experience possible. 
  • Maintaining the property: A major headache that comes with running a rental property is dealing with various maintenance problems. A property manager will help you to take care of the property and any problems that may come up. This includes scheduling routine maintenance, handling repairs, and conducting regular inspections.
  • Cleaning and turnover: When managing a vacation rental property, your guests are staying for short periods of time. This means there is frequent cleaning and preparation for the next guests. Property managers will ensure that a cleaning service is hired between each stay to ensure guests are welcomed to a clean and comfortable home.

Is It Worth It to Have a Property Manager?

Property managers can be a great support for a busy landlord or property owner, however, there are some disadvantages to consider as well. Below, we will outline the pros and cons of hiring a property manager or management company to determine whether it’s the right choice for you.

Benefits of Using a Property Manager

As described above, there are many ways a property manager or management company can help to support your operations beyond simply collecting rent. 

A good property manager can be most helpful if you want to:

  • Free up your time and responsibilities
  • Manage a property that is far away
  • Improve income and performance
  • Minimize vacancies
  • Have experienced support

Disadvantages of Using a Property Manager

A property manager can be beneficial for many people, but there are also times when hiring outside help might not be the best choice. Examples of why you may not want to hire a property manager are outlined below.

Higher Cost

The cost to hire a property manager can be high, especially if you only have one or a few properties to manage. If you have the time and ability to take care of these properties yourself, doing so can save you a lot of money and have a big impact on your bottom line.

Less Autonomy

If you are the type of person that likes to be hands-on and involved in your investments, hiring a project manager may not be the right choice for you. 

When you use a property manager, you will have to give up some decision-making power and autonomy. It can be difficult for small business owners and entrepreneurs to trust someone with that responsibility.

More Risk

If you hire an unqualified property manager, they can end up costing you more money due to poor decision-making, hidden fees, and lackluster work. They may still end up leaving you with work to do — managing the property manager — which defeats the purpose of hiring them in the first place. 

If you do decide to hire a property manager or management company, be sure to screen them thoroughly. Remember: you want them to be an asset, not a liability to you.

stacks of coins with plants growing on top

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Property Manager?

There are a variety of ways in which property managers can get paid. This will impact how much it will cost you to hire one.  

One common payment structure is through commission where the property manager takes a percentage cut of your earnings each month. This is a popular structure, as the cost is directly related to the amount of income you earn. This means that on slower months, you pay less.

The amount that property managers will charge depends on the services that they offer and the area that you are in. According to Lodgify, commission for short-term rental management is around 30% on average, but it can range from 10% to 50%.

Short-term management costs are a lot more expensive than long-term rental property management, which is usually around 6% to 10%. This is due to the more intensive management required for short-term rentals.

How to Hire a Property Manager

Choosing the right property manager is a big decision and should be something that has a lot of thought put into it. 

Ideally, you will be working with the property manager you choose for several months or years. In turn, you’ll want to ensure they can provide the services you need for your property. For example, if you’re looking for someone to help fill vacancies, ask questions directed towards their experience with marketing and screening. 

Another tip when hiring a property manager is to ask for references. Hearing from people who have worked with the candidate before gives you an insight into what it would be like to have them manage your property.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you “click” with the property manager on a professional level. This person will be someone you communicate with regularly, so having a good working relationship is important.

Cost-Effective Alternatives to Hiring a Property Manager

There are many problems that property managers solve, but there are also cost-effective alternatives you can use to solve these problems. One solution is to turn to software tools to help manage and optimize your rental property. 

As there are a variety of different components to property management, you will need a collection of different software (a “tech stack”) to address each of your needs. 

A property management tech stack may include:

  • Property management software: Property management software, such as Hostaway, helps you manage the main responsibilities of your rental property. This type of software makes it easy to stay on top of your bookings, tenants, financials, and accounts.
  • Revenue management software: Revenue management software, like BeyondPricing, allows you to boost your profits by utilizing market data and trends. This software can help you effectively set pricing to find the optimal balance between maximizing profits and minimizing vacancies.
  • Cleaning and turnover software: Turnover software helps you automate the cleaning process between guests. With software like TurnoverBnB, you can connect your booking calendar and automatically schedule cleaners, assign tasks, and send payment all in one platform.

Keep in mind that these alternatives are not one-size-fits-all. Consider the specific problems you’re trying to solve within your business and find software that addresses them. Otherwise, you may end up with unnecessary expenses and stress.

Man in a suit handing over keys to home

Should You Hire a Property Manager?

The question of whether you should hire a property manager or management company has no right or wrong answer. It depends on the needs and goals of your business. 

In the right circumstances, a property manager or management company can be a huge asset to your business. They will help make having a rental property truly feel like passive income. On the other hand, an unqualified property manager can waste time, energy, and money.  

Additionally, software can be a cheaper option that helps you automate your “busy work” while allowing you to maintain control over the decision-making. If you’d like to learn more about rental turnover software, we invite you to check out our other blogs and resources.

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By Cobalt Zucker