How to hire a housekeeper for your vacation rental

    vacation rental housekeeperA good housekeeper is a vacation rental owner's lifeline, as well as your “eyes and ears” for the day-to-day management of your property. Finding a person you're willing to entrust with that responsibility can be time-consuming, but don't believe the old cliché: good help isn't hard to find…as long as you know where to look.

    Talk to other owners in your area.

    If your neighbors are also vacation rental owners, chances are they might already have housekeepers and maintenance people that they know and trust, and they'll likely be happy to share their contact info to help provide them with more business. A common mistake that newcomers to the vacation rental business make is assuming that their fellow vacation rental owners are their competitors — and therefore, enemies. Not true! In fact, your fellow owners can be your best resource. As long as you stagger your check-in/checkout dates and times, you should be able to share a standout housekeeper with other owners in your neighborhood.

    Introduce yourself to housekeepers and repairmen.
    Visit your vacation rental on the weekends when renters are checking out. We can almost guarantee that your neighbors will have cleaning services or housekeepers on duty, and perhaps even a maintenance service company every once in a while. Don't be afraid to chat them up to see if they are taking new clients. Although many of the workers may be with management companies, they are often open to side jobs.

    Cast a wide net for referrals.
    The bulletin boards at your local hardware stores and grocery stores are great places to look for business cards for independent handymen or maintenance people. Another oft-overlooked resource for finding housekeepers is your local church or other place of worship. Don't be afraid to ask if they know of anyone to recommend, or see if you can post your own “help wanted” flyer. Doing a little legwork to find a reliable individual willing to work with your specific needs is worth investigating.

    Hire a service.  
    If you're unable to visit your vacation home anytime soon or you haven't had time to get friendly with the neighbors, you can always hit up the listings and advertisements in the local phonebook or newspaper as a starting point to research housekeeping and maintenance services in your area. A cleaning service might not be able to provide the same level of personalized attention as an individual, but typically offers more flexibility in scheduling. Learn about the pros and cons of choosing a cleaning service vs. an individual housekeeper.

    Conduct due diligence.
    Whenever possible, look for housekeepers/maintenance providers who are licensed, insured and bonded. When hiring individuals, insist on references from past employers (not just family or friends), and be sure to call and speak to all references before making a hiring decision. Some questions to ask: Do you work alone, or do you have a staff? What supplies do you provide? How many other rental properties do you currently clean? When are the check-in/out days and times? Are you available for back-to-backs?

    Manage your expectations .
    You can reasonably expect your to housekeeper show up on time, communicate with you when there are issues, and complete his or her predetermined cleaning duties within a few hours time. Be clear in advance about what those duties are, and be reasonable. For example, a regular cleaning typically does include cleaning under the beds and the sofa, but NOT behind the fridge and inside the hanging light fixtures. For those types of tasks, you should schedule a deep clean at least twice a year.

    Lastly, remember: A reliable housekeeper is the key to rent by owner success — and keeping him or her happy is in your best interest. When you treat your staff with the courtesy and respect they deserve, everybody wins.


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