So you´re a Holiday Property Manager. This probably means that you could have been introduced to others in the past by a client of yours as their “housekeeper”, and this same client was probably the first one to call you for help when they have had a tricky situation to deal with, that really should have involved a qualified professional such as a lawyer or an accountant!
It is of no great surprise then, that when it comes to negotiating fees for your Holiday Property Management Services, there is often such a disparity between what the client wants to pay “for housekeeping services” and what you should be charging for the services that you know they will be looking for – something that requires, informed and in depth guidance and help based on knowledge and experience of living, working, running a business (big or small), and often speaking in a foreign language, over many years. All of this in countries that have their own rules, regulations, cultures and ways of getting things done quickly and easily, that can be quite different from the normal home country of your Property Owners.
As Property Management is unregulated in many European countries, this means that anyone can do this job. Of course, all businesses must start somewhere, so whether a Property Management business operates with just a Facebook page or a fancy website, is not necessarily a reflection of their level of professionality. Unscrupulous and unprofessional come in all forms. There are no doubt plenty of ‘Property Managers’ out there, operating in an unprofessional manner, using suppliers and staff that are equally not very professional, but trading as, and comparing themselves to those businesses that are.
This is naturally very frustrating and more often than not makes it even harder for the actual Professional Holiday Property Manager to justify their business and the associated costs, when everyone is lumped into the same category. There is simply no comparison, in guarantee of service provision or the ability to respond when things go wrong…
…And when things do go wrong, the unprofessional Property Manager is nowhere to be seen, or unable to deal with the issue. Unfortunately, all this does is bring down the reputation of the entire Holiday Property Management arena, including the Professional ones as well.
So what can you do to differentiate yourself?
You probably don´t want to go down the route of trying to discredit the competition, lambasting or continually speaking badly about them probably won’t help your own credibility, no matter how hard this might be to resist. This is especially so when the less professional outfits often have no qualms in making ill informed comments about how “expensive” your services are in comparison to what they do.
Without relying on some of the quotes you see regularly on Social Media such as…
“… If you think it´s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur…”
…take a step back and look at what this area of the competition are saying about themselves, you and your business, then respond in the only way you know – Professionally. Why? Because, what is important is that in choosing the right Property Manager a Property Owner is able to answer two key questions. How professionally appropriate is your Property Manager? Can they deliver on your service expectations?
To demonstrate this, start by writing a check-list of what you do and what a Property Owner should expect from their Professional Holiday Property Manager. Highlight the areas that you just do as standard and probably don´t even think about as providing, as you are a responsible Holiday Property Manager and business owner.
A blank sheet of paper is often very difficult to start with so here are a few ideas which you could choose to use:
Holiday Property Management Checklist
Services We Provide
|Regular Property Inspections when the property is empty – guaranteed all year round|
|Weekend and out of hours emergency contact|
|Fully vetted and reliable/insured suppliers|
|Priority access to 24/7 emergency plumbers, electricians etc.|
|Proactively manage issues and repairs|
|Actively manage regular and annual maintenance contracts for garden, pool, AC, hot water boilers, gas installations etc.|
|Additional pre and/or post extreme weather property inspections|
|Fully trained, responsible and regular cleaners|
|Regular updates and clear communication on the condition of the property and outstanding issues|
|Assistance with larger building works/refurbs etc., ensuring all licenses are obtained as and when necessary|
|Clear and transparent accounts|
|Assistance with property and rental related licenses including assistance in implementing H&S requirements|
|Relationship with local network of qualified professional services such as lawyers and accountants|
|Bilingual (or more) team of professionals|
|Local information and assistance with various bookings such as car hire, taxis, restaurants etc|
|Clear contract detailing what a Property Owner should expect and not expect|
|Business and civil liability insurance|
This is not a complete list and some parts may or may not be appropriate. However, by picking and choosing what is appropriate for you and your business and by starting to shout about it a little louder, the difference between what you do and how you do it will be abundantly clear without ever feeling the need to even discuss this end of the market.
We will be revisiting this area in later articles where we will be discussing some other ideas of how you can help to differentiate your business, helping you to stand head and shoulders above and ignore the not so professional end of the market.