Which of these 5 suggestions about prepping and turning your short-term rental have you not considered?

Short-term renting can be a beautiful thing… or not. Whether you’ve “been there and done that,” or you’re “going there to do that.” You’re embarking on a journey many landlords will not take. But like it or not, the short-term rental industry is likely here to stay. And if you’re just enough of a risk-taker, you might become a profitable part of this new industry for a long-long time.

As the owner of a cleaning company that cleans and preps a number of short-term rental homes each month, for many different owners, I do have some perspective that may save you and your cleaning company some time and grief.

Suggestion #1 Prepare a book of instruction for your cleaning company. Ain’t nothin’ routine ‘bout a bnb clean!
It’s just sheets and towels and some pretty light cleaning, right? While most guests are fairly clean and non-abusive to property, we’ve seen entire rooms of furniture, moved to other rooms. Used bed sheets intended for one bed mysteriously finding themselves on other beds, and even outside. Fast-food items left in the box in the oven, and outside trash-cans so full they are spilling out the sides. Each time, it’s a new adventure. An instruction book might include: pictures of the intended look of every relevant room. A list of common household supplies and where to find them, any unique cleaning remarks and even a few not so unique. You might also include a map to the home complete with some on-site directions of entry and exit points for the cleaners and how to lock up when they leave.

Suggestion #2. Allow adequate time for your cleaners to clean.
Consider providing a six-hour block of time between guest for homes sleeping 8 or less, and more time for bigger homes. Likely even small house short-term rentals need more than a couple hours to prep. How long will three loads of laundry take? If you have guests checking out and new ones checking in on the same day, make sure your guests and cleaners know your tight schedule. One guest getting out slow and half your laundry may not be dry before your new guests arrive.

Suggestion #3. Don’t assume, instead articulate… with your cleaning company.
The company you choose likely isn’t full of dumb, mistake-prone employees… at least the company you choose anyway… so articulate to them what your guests need to see, smell and feel upon arrival. Saying “you know, just give it a good cleaning,” is setting yourself up for failure. Articulate in your cleaning book and directly for those one-time differences in the home.

Suggestion #4. Edumacate, edumacate, edu-ma-cate. Teach your cleaning company about your new expectations.
Remember that cleaning a short-term rental can be quite different than cleaning a lived-in home. What’s different? Re-stocking bathroom and kitchen supplies, coffee machine filter changing, outdoor grill and furniture cleaning, checking TV remote batteries, changing light bulbs, and cleaning out all or part of the refrigerator, just to name a few differences.

Suggestion #5 Cheap ain’t always cheap.
There are likely lots of “right” cleaning companies to clean short term rentals but there are plenty of wrong ones. Make sure the cleaning company you use can communicate with you very well, from the employees on up to the president of the company. Good communication takes organization and effort on the part of both sides. The integrity and trust of a company can only go as far as you can continually understand them, and they you.
The right cleaning company will do more than just clean and launder for you. The will be your eyes and ears, taking on many of the caretaking responsibilities for you, reporting left items, damaged property, and the bizarre and unusual …that will inevitably happen in your rental. They will likely also be connected to professionals in carpet-cleaning, kitchen appliance repair and the like, usually with a better service and a better price.