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I run a vacation rental business and we currently manage around 8 to 9 properties, with possible expansion for up to 15. We do all our reservations, owner accounting, and guest communication manually through several programs (i.e. Quickbooks, excel, word documents, basic email) and we're running into missteps and more headaches and than we can manage.
For this size of business, what sort of recommendation can you give for the best software solution that handles all the above? We've looked at a few, including those offered through HomeAway, just wondered what all our options were and what other folks are using. Thanks in advance!
I have 3 rental properties and I did the same thing using Excel, Word, Outlook email, etc. It just got too confusing. Since I'm a web developer, I programmed my own vacation rental system which has worked out well. At one point, I might make it available to everyone to use but haven't comlpetely finish it. But the one tool that I would have used after researching several was http://www.vacationrentaldesk.com/ I did a trial run with it and it was the easiest to use and had the best user friendly interface. The only con was the cost which is why I built a custom one.
Hi Claudio - did you ever develop your own program? I still can't find something that works really well and really simple for 4 or 5 properties. I don't need one that is made for the large property managers. I need one that I can do the bookwork quickly and not be overwhelmed by a ton of fields that I would never use. Thanks for your help.
Gulf Shores, AL
I am looking for the same type of template/software or whatever would make it easiest for 4 units. Would you send me any good info you find and I'll do the same. Ironically I am in Gulf Shores too. I live off CR 8 and have 3 units in GS and one in OB. Call me anytime if you like.
For about 3 years I used Quickbooks for a little business thing I had here in Mobile and I got so tired of it. I felt like I was spending more time filling in more stuff just to get a ton of reports that I didn't either want or need. I did make a stab at putting one property into Quickbooks but I don't like to have to keep up with their checkbook register or do checks, etc thru the software. So, I ruled out Quickbooks. What I discovered is that in any given month I only have between 10-15 expenses per condo. I do have to keep up with all the reservations, deposits, sending out reminders, etc but I use http://www.amazon.com/Vacation-Rental-Organizer-Christine-Hrib-Karpinski/dp/0974824917 her vacation organizer and each property has its own book. It's an easy way for my wife and I to take quick looks at who is coming in and if I have received the deposit or need to send keys or send back a deposit, etc. I should buy stock in Christine Hrib-Karpinski with how many of her books I have bought but they just work. As far as accounting: Kind of old fashioned. I enter the expenses into a log book as I get them for each property. Toward the end of the month I transfer that information to EditGrid. It is an online spreadsheet that I can access anywhere and use for my end of year numbers and see how I'm doing each month. If you use Excel then you will recognize it quickly. You can even convert things from Excel into this. Here is the link for it: http://www.editgrid.com/ Until I find something else that is really a lot better or easier I will keep with this way since it is working right now. With EditGrid you will have to create your own spreadsheet unless you find a template they have that you can use. Excel is fine but I can't access it when I'm at work or down at the beach when we are cleaning. I looked at 2 other options in the last couple of weeks, SpiritWorks and Wave Accounting but I couldn't see using either of those. I guess I am just too particular but I know there has to be the right thing out there. I appreciate you wanting to swap info. That's the best way.
Thanks, Randy Moris
Hi Stewart - It's been a couple of years since you posted about accounting software. Did you end up finding the right thing for managing 8-15 properties? Since I had posted we are now up to 8 properties and I honestly feel like I'm doing a major juggling job. I use a program I bought called Money Ledger which is fine but they are executable files and about a month ago they disappeared off my hard drive when I had some clean up done on my computer. I had thought that I was backing them up but apparently they got wiped away. It really is a good spreadsheet program
http://http://www.moneyledgers.com/ and I really should have known to have Avast not scan executable files. I am very nervous about expanding any further since I don't like to have inquirers book their own dates. So I automatically have to rule out almost all the bookings programs but I'm still hoping to find a reservation system that will work with the VRBO & Homeaway inquiries but still let me have control over the calendar. I don't know about you but I just can't afford to have guests just take all 3 day weekends leaving big gaps from Monday to Thursdays. When I came across this post today I was curious since I posted on the same thread.
Thanks, Randy Moris