Sep 27, 2011

When we were starting out with Vacation Rental By Owner, we really weren't sure how much time it was going to take. There's so much up front work with finding a vacation home, buying it, getting it furnished and stocking it adequately. Even after this you need to advertise and setup a system to manage bookings and record income and expenses.

The amount of time that each of these things take is going to vary a lot depending on the type of property you are buying, how much furnishing it needs, what approach you are taking to advertising, and lots of other factors. But once all that is done and you are getting into a weekly routine managing the property, how much time will it really take? All the times below are for a single property. I've broken it down into activities that are done

  1. Monthly or Quarterly
  2. Weekly
  3. Per Inquiry, Quote or Booking


Monthly/Quarterly

Our properties are in towns where we need to file occupancy taxes monthly. If we are organized and have all our bookings current in a spreadsheet, we can get this done in an hour. Usually it takes us 2 hours/month. For us the county and state taxes need to be filed quarterly. Those usually takes 2 hours/quarter.

On average we spend 2 hours/quarter updating our listings and other advertising. This involves updating rates, photos and prose. It can be things like switching out our Beech Mountain Bliss photos from the winter (snow) ones to the summer ones.

Weekly

We usually touch base with our cleaner once a week. Off season it can be less frequently. On average between talking and sending payment this might be 1hr/week. Usually less.

Per Inquiry/Quote/Booking

The number of inquires we get varies a lot by season. As we approach Christmas we get a lot of inquires at Beech Mountain Bliss. And in the first quarter of the year we get a lot of inquires for Sunset Beach Bliss. As we approach a high season we might get 2-3 inquiries/day. In the off season we might go a week without an inquiry. Between reading the inquiry, checking the dates, calling them back and talking to them this probably averages 30 minutes/inquiry.

Perhaps 1 in 3 inquiries are ones where we'll put together and send a quote. We usually spend time personalizing those based on the conversation we've had with them. This takes about 30 minutes/quote on average. Of those quotes, perhaps 1 in 3 turn into a booking. These bookings then take more time to handle the agreements, payments, sending check-in information. On average this is about 1 hr/booking.

And then the other stuff

All of the above is when things are running smoothly. It doesn't include time dealing with problems reported by guests. With the majority of bookings, we don't hear from a guest from the time they check-in to the time that they check-out. But occasionally they have trouble operating the gas fire at Beech Mountain Bliss, or turning on the A/C at Sunset Beach Bliss.

Those things happen infrequently, but when they happen it can ruin your evening. You end up on the phone with your cleaner and repair services, waiting for calls back, trying to get things fixed. We've had whole years go by for a property without any issues like this. And we've had other years where we've had it happen 3-4 times.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of how much time you can expect to spend managing your own Vacation Rental By Owner. By my math it averages out to about 1/2hr per day. But as you can see from above, it's spread somewhat unevenly.

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