Does seamless maintenance exist for vacation rentals? Is it really possible to spot all maintenance problems or potential pitfalls before guests are affected by them?
Probably not, sadly. But preventative maintenance sure can help bridge the gap between a minor repair and a full-blown emergency.
This summer on the TDG blog, I wrote about my discouraging visit to my rental in Kauai.
(Well, the vacation in Hawaii with my family was great...but the state of my vacation rental was definitely not.)
Some of the highlights of my unhappy discoveries: a broken toilet seat, a smoke detector that wasn't working properly, and corroded batteries in the thermostat. All of these were early-stage problems, and thankfully we noticed them before a guest emergency.
But for an admitted perfectionist like me, especially when it comes to the guest experience at my rental, this was pretty disheartening. And a big wake up call!
It was at that moment (or, more accurately, after a few nights of consulting with my pillow) that I decided something was going to change. We couldn't move our family to Kauai just so I could visit the rental every day, so I needed to take a new step to ensure top-notch oversight for my vacation rental investment.
What did I do?
I hired a handyman.
Every month, the handyman walks my property. He replaces burnt-out lightbulbs, changes batteries and air filters quarterly, and is available to my guests for after-hours emergencies, as needed.
It's not exactly an inventive idea, but it is a very affective preventative maintenance strategy. If you don't have a trusted handyman on your team, I recommend it!
First, it's thought-free, stress-free preventative maintenance. The handyman is scheduled to be there every month...so I know those important checks will happen. Every single month. One less worry!
On top of that, I think of my handyman as an important part of my rental business. Because the same person visits every month, he gets to know the property and all of its nuances. He remembers the last time the air filters were changed, because he's the one that changed them. He's an invested partner in my rental's success.
Another thing that swayed me? Hotels have staff that inspect rooms and common areas. So, if I say I am modeling my vacation rental home after a boutique hotel, why wouldn't I offer the same level of routine, preventative maintenance? What's good for them is good for me. :)
What about the cost?
Many of us don't need a full-time maintenance person. If we have just one or two or three vacation rentals, a part-time handyman is much more affordable.
In the end, a handyman that drops by once a month for $50/hour is the cheapest insurance policy you can buy. Plus you get a second set of eyes on your property, to catch things you missed (especially if you don't get to visit your rental often).
The verdict so far? Having a handyman has worked out really well for me. Not only will it lead to fewer emergencies and happier guests, the next time I visit Hawaii I won't have to fret or fuss over my rental. All I'll have to do is relax and enjoy!