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Aug. 31, 2022

A Step-by-step Guide to Starting a Vacation Rental Cleaning Business

A Step-by-step Guide to Starting a Vacation Rental Cleaning Business

One of the most frequently-recurring interactions on Twitter is people asking me, "how do I do what you did?" I love being able to share, which I often do in threads or private DM conversations. I thought it would make sense to share some of the broad outlines of those conversations in a short article. Here we go!

1. Get Set Up Legally

If you happen to know a good lawyer that you want to work with, they can help you. Otherwise you can use firms like LegalZoom to handle pretty much everything you need. 

Keep in mind that some states also require business licenses in addition to your being set up as an independent business.

Note: choose a bank that you want to work with and that values small businesses. You may not need the strength of a bank early on, but they will be key in advising and helping you as you grow. If you have no idea on local banks that are oriented towards small businesses, ask your chamber of commerce for some leads.

2. Set Up Your Website

So there are two ways to do this incorrectly. The first is to hire someone off Fiverr to put together something really basic. The second is to spend a ton of money, thinking that this is the thing you need to get right first.

When you're first getting started, you need a basic website that:

  • is going to tell people who you are
  • drives leads into the proper funnels using appropriate CTAs
  • expresses your brand in a way that won't embarrass you later as you grow

(well, that first website may embarrass you later anyway, but the point is, don't stress too much about the first version of the website...there's plenty of time to tweak it after you're bringing in revenue).

3. Get a Booking System

So here's where you should keep in mind the different types of cleaning you are going to do. MaidThis does both residential and vacation rental. But we didn't start that way. We at first did residential only but so many of our customers kept asking us to do vacation rental cleaning so we followed our customers' lead and did so, and now it's a core part of our business model.

For vacation rental cleaning, you are probably going to retrofit existing property management software, like Breezeway or Operto. These can link into booking systems to help you automate everything.

As far as residential cleaning, you've got lots of CRM options, particularly:

There are plenty of other options out there but I'm recommending these three in particular because I know them and have had positive experiences with them.

4. Get Your Labor

I've already written plenty of stuff on this, including having the right mindset, writing your job ad, and onboarding.

A couple things I want to emphasize: 

  • It's ideal if you can find someone who already has hotel-standard cleaning experience. That's a great asset for the vacation rental side of the business, that has that level of expectation. Things like the corner tuck for beds and making sure not a single strand of hair exists in the bathroom (or anywhere else) are make/break standards set by vacation rental guests these days.
  • RELIABILITY is the most important characteristic your learners can have. Cleaning by a checklist can be taught. Reliability cannot. Be strict about this!

5. Consider Additional Revenue Streams

Once you've gotten steps 1-4 nailed down, you might consider adding:

  • Supplies: you will stock any household items needed, like toilet paper, etc. 
  • Laundry: you will do laundry as needed.
  • Linens: you can supply linens, removing the concern of having to do laundry in the first place.

All of these are additional upsell revenue streams that clients may choose to hire you for after they start with a basic service, the way that a laundromat might also have vending machines to appeal to customers who are already there to wash clothes. Think about whether you'd like to add these services, but don't offer them at the start. Master the basics first.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.