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167. 3 Ways You’re Leaving Money on the Table in Your STR

Jun 09, 2022

This episode may be a bit controversial, but we’re here for it. There is extra work and extra costs associated with any short-term rental, and we believe this is work you should be charging for. After all, you’re not a hotel; if you’re running an STR, you don’t have the same flexibility as hotels do, and when extra requests lead to more work or put a strain on your team (or yourself), you should include fees to compensate for this.

So, here are 3 ways you may be leaving money on the table with your STR:

1. Early check-in and late check-out fees

Whether you’re a solo operator with a small team or running a business with multiple properties and a larger team, early check-ins and late check-outs can interrupt your normal flow of business with your rental.

If your property is ready and there’s no previous booking, absolutely accommodate your guest and let them in early. But–when you have back to back bookings and need to coordinate with your cleaning team to make early check-in (or late check-out) a possibility, you should charge for it.

This comes down to your most valuable asset: your TIME. And not just your own time, but your team’s time as well, as this puts pressure on them to flip the same home in half the time. Be sure to present it in a professional manner and mention that you incentivize your turnover team, especially in situations like this. A common practice for fees is to charge by the hour, for every hour before/after the original allotted time.

2. Pet fees

Even well-behaved dogs and hypoallergenic pups will leave behind a bit of a mess, and takes a bit of extra cleaning to ensure your pet friendly environment doesn’t impact other guests who may not have pets.

Compare your pet fee to the rate of a typical kennel or dog service at home, which are usually priced per pet, per day. For longer rentals, we suggest a monthly cap to keep the fee in check. And don’t forget to speak with your turnover team to best plan for pet cleaning, and what they might suggest charging for the extra work.

3. Shipping fees for forgotten items

It’s a nice courtesy, but paying for shipping and packaging is still going to cost you, and can eat up your time as well. Even with clear check-out instructions for your guests, some things may get left behind, and it’s reasonable to charge a small fee to get these items back to your guest.

We start with a flat $50 fee for shipping which then covers our team’s time, boxes and packaging, and the shipping costs with UPS, FedEx, or similar. If shipping was cheap and there’s money leftover from the fee, we send it right back to the guest. But, we aren’t fronting the money for sending the items back.

Heart is at the center of every short-term rental, but NOT at the expense of bad business practices. The expenses associated with all of these extras add up over time. Remember: this isn’t gouging, this is you providing extra services for your guests. Including these fees in your STR will start to provide more liquidity to invest back in your properties, in your turnover team, and in your business.

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Thanks for Visiting is produced and published by Crate Media.

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