How to outsource your Airbnb management tasks

It’s tempting to hand over the dirty work of managing your Air BnB lets to someone else. Just be sure to read the small print, says Sarah Moore.

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Rent it out and get the fairies to clean up for you

It's tempting to hand over the dirty work of managing your Airbnb lets to someone else. Just be sure to read the small print, says Sarah Moore.

As with most mundane tasks, if you can't quite face handling the administration of renting your home out via a short-term letting site such as Airbnb, you can pay someone else to do it for you. Just make sure to do your research before you hand over your keys.

Short-term letting can be a good way to make extra money from renting out your home while you're on holiday or travelling for work (76% of UK Airbnb hosts are renting out their own homes). Alternatively, if you're renting out property that you own separately, you can expect to receive higher rent than for long-term lets, as holidaymakers are generally prepared to pay more for the convenience of having temporary furnished accommodation in a convenient location. (Estimates of the rent premium you can expect over residential lettings range from 30% to 100%, depending on the source.)

The obvious downside to letting property in this way is that you will have to clean and prepare the property for new guests on a regular basis, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Thankfully, in return for a fee, property-management companies will look after almost every aspect of short-term letting for you, from creating a listing and vetting and communicating with guests, to providing changeover services such as cleaning and fresh linen.

Of the companies that do this, Airsorted is one of the better known, if only because its adverts seem to be everywhere. However, it's worth noting that despite its name and logo, and the fact that it describes itself as "the world's largest management company for Airbnb", Airsorted isn't actually affiliated with Airbnb in any way. Similar companies that are on Airbnb's "Professional Co-Host" programme are Air Agents, BNBbuddy and Pass The Keys.

In terms of cost, Airsorted offers two pricing options: a 12% deduction from your total incomings; or a set rate each month from a "guaranteed monthly income". Pass The Keys charges between 12% and 16%, depending on where you are in the country. Towards the more expensive end of the spectrum, Air Agents charges 17% for its standard service, and 25% for its premium service, with the latter including a dedicated account manager. Importantly, Airbnb also charges hosts a service fee of generally 3%, so be careful to factor this into your budget as well.

If you've been holding off on short-term letting because of the work involved, or have tired of handling everything yourself, hiring someone else to do it all may be ideal. Just make sure you are happy with the numbers beforehand, and have an idea of how much you think you can earn. Although it's possible to make a decent amount from short-term lets, this is only true if you're able to let out your property consistently. If you end up only filling the space half the time it's available, you will probably be reluctant to hand over up to aquarter of that income to someone else.

Read the small print of any agreement before you sign up to anything, and check how easy it is to exit an arrangement the company may also have to factor in the notice periods of different hosting sites. Finally, read the reviews of a company, and preferably get word-of-mouth recommendations. Given the importance of customer reviews for Airbnb listings, you want to be confident your reputation will be upheld by any third party.

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