Short-Term Rental Properties: Clean Yourself or Hire?

By Abby Henthorn

by ELYSIAN Magazine

In the past few years, short-term rental companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo have become popular choices for families going on vacation, solo travelers, and anyone in between. Instead of booking a couple of nights in a hotel where there isn’t as much privacy or space, short-term rentals can provide plenty of room for the whole family and plenty of privacy for when you need a break from the whole family. With these services, the booking guest can speak directly with the property owner about their stay and see ratings and reviews in advance. 

The popularity and convenience of short-term rentals has also become an investment opportunity for many people to make extra income. How hard can it be to turn your property into a money-making machine? Before diving in, weigh these options to discover the best path for you and your property.

It’s no secret that once you turn your property over to a guest, you have no idea what you’ll return to at the end of their stay. More likely than not, your property will only require a change of linens and a wipe-down of the surfaces. Occasionally, you might get a guest or two who leave things a little out of place. Both instances require a thorough cleaning before the next guest arrives. 

In terms of cleaning your property, there are three routes you can take: clean it yourself, hire an individual, and hire a whole cleaning crew. Each option has pros and cons and depends on your time, budget, and your particularity. 


Cleaning Yourself

If you’re just starting with short-term renting, cleaning your property yourself could be a good option. You can clean the house exactly how you expect it to be cleaned, and when your guests arrive, you’ll know the property is up to your standards. It’s also a great way to make a little extra pocket money as services such as Airbnb and Vrbo allow you to still charge a cleaning service fee even if you’re cleaning the property yourself. 

However, it’s evident that cleaning a whole property yourself or with the help of a family member takes a lot of time. If your property is a popular rental, having a quick turnover between guests would be demanding. If you decide to clean yourself and must use a whole day, that time could cut into your occupancy rates and ultimately cost you money. 

This would be a good option if your property is just getting started and you don’t have another time-consuming occupation. 


Hiring an Individual

This option is one step up from cleaning yourself without spending money on an entire cleaning service, and hiring an individual works for many property owners, especially if the property is only a bedroom or two. Hiring an individual can help you build a relationship and work to grow each other’s businesses, as well as form a connection with a cleaner you trust. With an individual person, you can train them exactly how you prefer things, leading to a more consistent quality and less time training multiple people. 

If you decide to hire an individual, you must be prepared if they are sick or cannot show up to a shift, leaving the work to you or a last-minute hire. Additionally, an individual hire will likely not have as many character and quality assurance references as a more extensive cleaning service. 


Hiring a Professional Cleaning Crew

A professional cleaning crew is the most expensive option but comes with the least hassle. Many cleaning crews specialize in vacation rental turnovers to ensure your property is “hosting clean” so that your guests can have the most luxurious experience possible. Cleaning crews are also better equipped to handle last-minute additions or extra messy jobs. Because a crew implies multiple people, you won’t be relying on just one person to clean, making the process faster, easier, and there’s a smaller chance you’ll be left to do it yourself than if you had only an individual. Additionally, professional cleaning crews are often fully insured and have protocols for accidents on the job. 

Because of the cost, though, this option sometimes can take a large portion of the revenue from any given stay. Also, if you decide to raise the property’s cleaning fee based on the crew’s cost, guests might be turned away.

This option would be best for popular properties and properties that are moderately large or difficult for the property owner to get to. 

While choosing the option that makes the best use of your time and makes the most financial sense might sound complicated, don’t let it discourage you from renting out your property, as short-term rentals are a great source of income and are becoming increasingly popular every day. Happy renting! 

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