Shampoo & Booze 36: We Hired A Cleaner!

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After listening to everyone's advice, we finally found a reliable cleaner. We interviewed three people with the third one being the one we went with. After cleaning the house together one time, she's now cleaned the house three times herself in the past week. She charges $75 a cleaning. It takes her about two hours to clean with an assistant. We couldn't be more pleased. It's given us more time to work on our other business.

Why do we like her?
  • She gave us a price when we asked. Strangely, the other two people we interviewed kept asking how much we would pay. After we gave each a tour of the house, we just said to call us and let us know how much they wanted. Never heard back either of them. 
  • Cleaning is her business and she acts like a professional. 
  • She listens and is willing to learn. We assume she already knew how to clean, but it's important to us that she learns how we like the house to look. Arrangement is important to us. 
  • She communicates by text message. This is probably the biggest plus for us. Instead of having to talk on the phone and leave each other voicemails, we just use SMS. It's quick and easy. We're hoping to move her over to What's App since it's free (no SMS fees).
We noticed that Airbnb rolled out "Smart Pricing". I guess this is how hotels price their rooms by dynamically changes the prices day to day based on certain criteria. Has anyone used it? Do you like it?

We want to thank a listener, April, for pointing us to "Transaction History" . I had seen this link before on our Airbnb dashboard, but didn't know we could dig so deep into our past rental history, costs, and profits. Certainly useful when doing taxes.

Michael sent us this funny listing for a rental that promotes the fact it's right above a Pokestop. I guess this could be a big draw to someone playing Pokemon Go? Anything to get ahead!

July has been our best month ever with 27 nights booked and a gross profit of $5,747. It's not like this every month for us, but it's great to see our busy months be especially busy. August is almost equally as booked.

Hope you guys are doing well!

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo & Booze 35: How To Get Good Reviews on Airbnb

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We all know that getting good reviews is important. And to get good reviews, you ultimately must provide a quality experience. Easy, right? Let's dig in a little deeper.

Good reviews are broken up into two parts. The star rating and the actual text a guest writes.
The star ranking is obviously important for Airbnb search ranking. Low stars will get you pushed down. Many guests will be suspect if your place is anything other than five stars. Airbnb judges whether you're a "Super Host" based on your stars.

But even if a listing is all five stars, often guests write valuable notes about the properties. We always read the notes. They'll tell future guests if expectations they had weren't met. Maybe the listing said it was secluded, but it turned out to be a guest house with the owner in full view the entire time. Maybe a guest says it's impossible to cook a full meal because the kitchen had very few utensils. Maybe the water has bad pressure and didn't get hot enough. Maybe the apartment is too far away from important landmarks when the listing said it was convenient. Or, most important to us, the wifi was spotty and unreliable. Once these reviews are written, they start branding your listing.

How do we make sure we get good reviews?
  • We set proper expectations. We'd rather alert a future guest to a possible issue so they aren't disappointed. The road to our house is a dusty gravel road. It's never been a problem because guests always expect it. We, ourselves, have rented bare bones apartments at great prices; and it was fine because the owner made sure we knew we weren't going to stay in luxury. Expectations were set properly.
  • It's always strange to us when owners cease communication as soon as we check out. When our guests leave and we inspect our rental, we always send the guest a message the same day. We thank them for coming and for leaving the place clean. Even if the house is a bit messy, we thank them. Why get angry unless we plan to take their deposit? This private message also gives them the opportunity to tell us if there was a problem. We want to work out issues privately instead of reading about it publicly in their review and then having to respond publicly.
  • And most importantly, we always telegraph that we'll leave them a good review. So when the guest gets that note from Airbnb that says "Jay and Ryanne left you a review; please write them a review within 14 days to read it", then the guest knows we're friends.
We're by no means experts, but this method has served us well over the past eighteen months. All 68 of our reviews have been five stars. We deliver what we promise and treat guests with respect. Hospitality is definitely a different beast than just being a landlord.

Hope you guys are having a good summer with rentals. 

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo & Booze 34: How Hotels are Changing to Compete with Airbnb

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As more and more of us are renting out rooms, cabins and homes on Airbnb and other services, smart hotels are adapting. In our town, the big fancy hotel has expanded to add a bunch of "cottages" to give their guests a more personal experience. They still have the regular hotel experience, but now you can rent a little place by the pool like you're at a resort. Younger travelers especially want this kind of experience that includes a little kitchen and living room. I know we do.

We're having a great July. Lots of reservations and good experiences with guests. Summer is our high time so we're trying to book as many of our free days as possible. We're still on the hunt for a reliable cleaner, but in the meantime cleaning is keeping us busy.

The driveway to our second rental is happening. Our excavator has cleared off the entire lot. We now have plenty of firewood for next year after he cut down several trees. Now to start carving out the actual driveway.

Hope you guys are having a good month of rentals.

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo & Booze 33: Interview w/ Tricia, Fallbrook CA (and we talk Weddings)

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In the past we have been hesitant to rent little trailers on people's land on Airbnb. But take a look at Tricia's super cute and comfy retro style camper named Trixie. Situated on 4 acres in southern California outside of San Diego, complete with working farm and animals you can hang out with. Tricia and her husband both have full time jobs- she's a professional wedding photographer, and was looking for some supplemental income and eventual more passive retirement career. So far so good, she's been booked with visitors from all over. We also delve into a conversation about potentially making our farmhouse into a small wedding venue, with the help of Tricia's wedding experience of course. Thanks for talking to us, Tricia!

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!