Master Airbnb & Vacation Rentals with Vacation Home Help – Transcripts. #33 Airbnb Laundry Time Will Make or Break Your Operation. Learn How Superhosts Handle Laundry.

Announcer:

Welcome to the Vacation Home Help Podcast. The only podcast dedicated to helping vacation rental owners self-manage their properties. Your hosts deliver short and sweet episodes with actionable advice, tips and strategies to level up your hosting skills. Whether you are a complete beginner or have been in the vacation home rental business for a while, you are in the right place to get the tools you need to succeed. Here are your hosts, John Candelario and Tim Casey.

John Candelario:

Today, Tim, let’s talk about laundry, because so many owners have that question. How is laundry getting done? With the clean fee where it is, how’s everything getting washed? How can I be sure that my guests are coming into a clean unit with clean sheets? You have talked to a lot of owners on how laundry’s currently being done. Can you share what you found, Tim?

Tim Casey:

Yeah, I think it’s a great question. I’ve talked to a lot of owners about this and they’re a little confused. They’re wondering why so many times they’re getting complaints by guests that their linens or their towels aren’t clean. John, you and I have done a lot of time researching this. What we know is that most vacation rentals have a residential quality washer and dryer, and you can only do about 12 to 15 pounds of laundry in those machines. The bottom line, and this is what I share with all the owners, is you can only do 12 to 15 pounds, that’s about six sheets or about 10 towels. You have to do the math. Most cleaners can only spend about four to five hours in their home cleaning, which means about four loads of laundry. If their home is bigger and requires more than four loads of laundry, John, I think what we need to share with our owners is talk to your cleaning crew and find out just how they’re doing laundry. John, what are your thoughts?

John Candelario:

I think that’s spot on. I’ve just scrolled through Facebook, just to see what other people are doing, that’s the best fact finding way for me. What I’ve seen are some wildly different quotes. Some cleaning companies will do it [inaudible 00:02:17]. They’ll charge 220 to make sure a four bedroom gets done with all of the laundry. The price varies, but laundry is a separate issue. The actual cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces, it’s a separate thing.

When you take laundry into account and you take the capacity of a washer and dryer, you can’t really do more than a five bedroom in a residential washer and dryer in a four to six-hour turn. Just to your point, the math doesn’t work, it’s just too heavy. That means the cleaners could be sticking all of the laundry into the washer, overloading it, it’s not getting washed properly so it’s not actually getting clean, then putting it in the dryer and taking it out really damp.

If you give your cleaner a residential washer dryer and you’re asking them to do mission impossible or perform a miracle, the guests are not going to have clean sheets. The only way they’re going to have clean sheets is if you have some sort of offsite laundry solution, or if you’re allowing them to swap sheets out. But in the clean fees that guests want to pay, obviously they want a low clean fee, right, Tim? There’s something just not adding up, there’s a disconnect, am I right?

Tim Casey:

No, that’s exactly right. You’re right, four to five bedrooms, that can be done with a residential washer and dryer and do a nice cleaning turnover doing laundry in unit, but if you’ve got more beds than a typical four or five bedroom, then you’ve got to ask yourself the question as an owner, how is my laundry being done, because John, you’re right on. If they put too much laundry in the washer and dryer, two things will happen. The sheets and towels won’t be clean and then that’ll lead to guest dissatisfaction and is also going to put a lot of wear and tear on the washer and dryer, which means the owners are going to have to replace those washer and dryers much more frequently than they would otherwise.

I think the real message here is talk to your cleaners, find out how they’re doing laundry, and understand that if your home is bigger than a four or five bedroom, or if it has more beds than a traditional four or five bedroom, they’ve got to give you their real solution as to how they do it to ensure guest satisfaction.

John Candelario:

Absolutely, Tim. When you say that real solution, I want to speak to our listeners to set those expectations, but be realistic, because every host I know says, “I want everything clean. I want my guests to come into a sparkling unit. I don’t want there to be any issues,” but then when it comes around to talking about the price, they cringe, they’re like, “Oh, that’s too expensive.” They’ll look for the lowest cost provider to do everything, but the lowest cost provider is not always going to do the right work. With laundry, that happens so often, where someone promises them the whole unit, a six bedroom, will get done in five hours in their washer and dryer. It’s just not possible unless they’re taking it off site.

You need to think also from the cleaning vendor, their perspective, if they’re not getting compensated to do that laundry offsite, why would they do it? Maybe they’re just trying to seal the business in a way that’s not right and not transparent, but it just can’t be done. You just need to know that laundry math for yourself so you know what you can expect to pay for a proper job done. Right, Tim?

Tim Casey:

I think that’s exactly right. John, we promise our listeners actionable items. I think the actionable things that an owner can do from this podcast is first understand they have a residential quality wash and dryer. Nothing wrong with that, that’s just the fact, it’s a residential washer and dryer. Those typically can only do about 12 to 15 pounds of laundry at any given time. Know that a sheet weighs about two pounds and a towel is about a pound and a half. You can do the math and know that if your unit is a four or five bedroom with a typical number of beds, then your cleaner should be able to spend four or five hours in your home and do a great job on laundry. If you have more beds or more bedrooms, then they can’t, and you should be asking the cleaner how they do laundry to ensure that sheets and towels are clean and your guests will be satisfied. John, any other action items you can think of?

John Candelario:

I just wanted to touch on things like comforters and mattress pads. If you know what can get done in four to six hours and it’s sheets and towels, you know you can’t stick a king size comfort there in that residential washer and dryer, or even a commercial one sometimes, and it get done in time. Is it fair and safe to say, which is a gross and disgusting truth for some Airbnbs, that the comforters and the mattress pads, do you think they’re always washed, Tim, or do you think some hosts may be wanting to save some money and washing them on rotation? How do you see it being done, from all of the people you’ve spoken to?

Tim Casey:

Yeah. I think comforters is a great topic because you’re right, John, you really can’t do those in a residential quality washer and dryer and do them well. I think, as an owner, what you should be thinking about is do you have backup comforters? The way I like to think about this and the way the owners that I speak to really solve it well is they have backup comforters. The backup comforters go on the bed and then the ones that were used go to a professional laundromat.

What I’m hearing, and this is what I think a lot of owners have to watch out for, is they never get done. Comforters that are just left on the bed and they’re never addressed, they’re never cleaned, you’ve got to remember that in this industry bed bugs can be a real issue. If comforters are not being cleaned, that is grounds for bed bugs to take root. John, I know that you’ve had a lot of experience dealing with owners that are suffering with bed bugs. What are your thoughts?

John Candelario:

I know they always have to be washed with hot water, Tim, because if things are not getting washed and they’re being passed off as being washed, one, it’s wrong to the guests. You know Airbnb’s cleaning standards, and they should have always been that way, but after the pandemic they got even stricter. It’s funny because I know most operators are not following those guidelines, even though as a cleaning company guy we always put upfront, this is what you need to do to make sure the unit’s clean and ready for the guests to come in, but the reality of it is if you do the laundry the way it needs to be done, you can anticipate paying 10 to $15 per bedroom, more than hosts are currently willing to pay.

Tim Casey:

That’s exactly right.

John Candelario:

It gets expensive. Many hosts, I’d say almost all of them, can see an increase in their clean fee, almost double in their clean fee, which is not attractive to guests. The issue is because guests are wanting to pay the lowest clean fee or no clean fee, and then cleaners are having to deliver a perfect unit and hosts are wanting to make the cost structure as beneficial to the guests and themselves as possible. There’s a lot of competing interests there, but what I believe is the best way to address that is giving the guests a base rate including the clean fee. I always thought the industry should move to that, saying it’s 200 a night, it’s 200 a night including cleaning, that’s the price. But because we want to artificially make the prices seem lower than they are, you see a lot of guests complain that, “Hey, the unit’s 150 a night, how come there’s a $250 clean fee?” That’s the [inaudible 00:09:48].

Tim Casey:

Yeah, and John, I’m an owner as well and I’ve never had any complaints about the cleaning fee I charge the guests. I think that’s another action item for our owners and our listeners, is majority of the time you can pass on that cleaning fee to the guest by transparently pricing. But also, remember, the only time they don’t complain about that is when they check into your house and it’s really clean and the sheets and towels are really clean. Where the guest gets upset is if they pay a price for it and they’re still not clean. Again, it all comes back to laundry is such a critical component of the turnover cleaning.

John Candelario:

Absolutely, Tim. Let’s wrap this up with a couple of solution overview of what we just talked about. One thing owners can do is put a commercial washer and dryer in the house. I know it may seem expensive, maybe you don’t have the hookups, but it will save you a lot of grief in the long run if you have a really good washer and dryer in there. If you have a two-floor unit, maybe having a washer and dryer upstairs and downstairs to help your operations team turn the unit more efficiently. You can also have your cleaning team take extra laundry offsite, wash it offsite and bring it back next time. If you have three sets of linens, they could use another set of linens from the closet to turn the unit in time, take the dirty laundry out and bring it back for an extra fee, that’s another option you have. We use the laundry service in Orlando, but you can basically hire out the laundry service to swap the linens for you after the guest checks out with an additional cost, but then you could be sure that the linen is always clean.

There’s different things you can do to make sure the laundry’s done, all of which incur extra cost, but that’s the right way to do it. If you want to make sure you get five star cleanliness reviews and if you want your guests to be happy, you do need to take one of these solutions and be putting them into action.

Tim Casey:

John, I think that’s a great recap. Just one more reminder about comforters, you’ve got to have a plan for comforters. Those really can’t be done in a timely manner in your in-unit washer and dryer. Have a plan for comforters, make sure that they are getting cleaned on a regular basis so that you don’t end up with a bed bug issue down the road.

John Candelario:

Absolutely, because no one wants bed bugs. Take care.

Announcer:

Thanks for supporting us. Be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the show. Visit vacationhomehelp.com and click Podcast for more resources on today’s topic and more episodes that will help you level up your hosting skills. Let’s get social, connect with us today by joining our growing community of motivated owners at facebook.com/groups/vacationhomehelp. As a member, you will have access to sneak peaks and exclusive free resources. You can also connect with other owners with shared interests, learn from each other, the community, and from shared experiences. Again, thank you for supporting us. Until next time, take care.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.