Here are some thoughts to ponder when deciding whether to stay with your existing property management company or make a move to a better, more professional organization. Do you get a level of customer service that gives you a warm feeling, or is there something lacking and you deserve better? Is your property bringing in the revenues you expected and is the firm continually improving its marketing program? Maybe it’s time to make a change if you don’t have complete confidence in the company that is marketing your property for vacation rentals or long term leases. When you are comparing the services and fees of property management firms, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Are there hidden charges and monthly administrative fees that reduce your income?
In Incline Village, the community where I work and live, the range of property management and hotel management services and fee structures runs the gamut from bare-bones to deluxe. You are not alone if you are perplexed and confounded by these issues. It seems that many property management firms (especially in the vacation rental business) try to nickel and dime their clients to death with excessive charges for cleaning, maintenance, credit card fees, administrative costs, processing fees, the list goes on and on.
Some firms charge a monthly administrative fee on top of the commission that they earn for managing a property. Hotel personnel can however make an argument in favor of charging monthly administrative fees for short term vacation rental properties as they require more hands-on attention to paperwork with guests always coming and going. Charging this type of payment to the safari lodge owner of a long-term rental property when all the paperwork is done upfront when the lease is signed is merely a form of gouging and should not be tolerated. Processing fees for vacation rental properties are another bone of contention. If you, your extended family or your guests have ever been charged a processing fee for making a reservation to occupy your property, then you should seriously consider finding a firm that has more respect for you as a client.
Cleaning fees are another area that merits scrutiny. As a property owner and hotel manager, you should not be forced to pay apartment complex management fees every time you use your place, especially if no paying guests are coming to the unit between your visits. Also, hotel management should not be required to pay exorbitant sums for the annual “spring cleaning” that many firms insist on doing. If your property is supposed to be cleaned thoroughly after each paying guest, then why does it take several hours and cost hundreds of dollars to clean a 2 or 3 bedroom condo in the springtime?