Make the Most of Your Cleaning Service Provider: 10 Ways to Perfect Your Vacation Rental Turnovers

This article is courtesy of MaidThis! Cleaning. MaidThis! is a California-based cleaning service specializing in vacation rental cleaning. They currently serve the greater LA, Orange County, and San Francisco areas.

As the owner of a vacation rental, you want to ensure all your guests have a fantastic experience while they are staying with you. Many guests expect vacation rental homes to be just as pristine and sparkling as a hotel, so it’s no surprise that the cleanliness of your space has a large impact on the quality of their stay.

Your best bet for 5-star reviews and referrals is to ensure your rental is as clean as possible. Hiring a vacation rental cleaning service provider and taking a few steps to help them out whenever possible is a great way to achieve this feat.

Here are 10 tips for getting the most from your cleaning team – all while keeping your guests’ comfort in mind.

1. Be specific from the beginning about your expectations

When you hire a cleaning service, it’s very important to communicate your expectations clearly. Give specific, descriptive instructions to your cleaning service provider and make sure they understand exactly what you’re looking for. If possible, provide them with a checklist or ask the cleaning service for their checklist and ensure it covers everything you need.

2. Schedule cleanings FAR in advance

While planning cleanings in advance can be difficult, especially for those vacation rental owners who accept bookings at the last minute, it helps to have them scheduled for precise time frames.

It’s easier to schedule cleanings in advance for owners who rent out their facilities for the week or for specified time periods. With a predetermined turnover day, both you and your cleaning company know exactly when a vacation rental will be ready to clean.

3. Establish check-in and check-out times

When you provide check-in and check-out times for renters, it’s easier for you to schedule turnover cleanings. Most vacation rental listing sites require that you have check-in and check-out times clearly defined, so the hardest part is making sure you (and your guests) stick to them. Insider tip: having a larger window for the cleaners will help ensure things go much smoother! That way cleaners have enough time to deal with any nasty surprises that might come up.

4. Prevent last minute bookings as much as possible

Although your ultimate goal is to have your vacation rental booked out consistently and as often as possible, the majority of the scheduling issues with cleaners happen from last minute bookings . When you need to schedule turnover cleanings, short notice can make things tough.

Last minute bookings, however, are just as valuable as advanced bookings. Work with your cleaning team to see how much warning they need to be available for short-notice turnover jobs. Always give your cleaning company fair warning that you might need last minute cleanings and ask about their policy for this.

5. Give your guests checkout guidelines to follow

If you have a few tasks you would like your tenants to handle before they leave your vacation rental, like taking out the garbage or doing the dishes, it's important to be upfront about them. Word your “guidelines” carefully. If you're looking at a quick turnaround, sometimes asking renters to do a few small things is unavoidable. At the same time, however, many guests in vacation rental homes will expect to have some kind of “check-out to-do’s” before they leave.

Ideally, the tasks you'd like your renters to handle should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. In the competitive world of rentals versus hotels, demanding that guests complete a major cleaning before departure is a no-no. Asking them for as little as possible at check-out prevents you from putting a major damper on their vacation experience.

6. Limit the number of towels you leave out for guests

This one is the most important tip! Guests will use EVERYTHING you put out for them, even if it's unneeded. When you limit the number of linens your guests have available, it will ensure that the turnover cleaning is completed in time for your next guest. A single bath towel and beach or pool towel per guest should be adequate if you have a washer and dryer available. Limiting linens means your cleaning company has less laundry to do than they otherwise might.

7. Always have a backup key somewhere for your cleaners to access

The last thing you want to learn is that your guests took the only extra key you had to your vacation rental. If you’re using physical keys to secure your property, it's a great idea to have a backup somewhere for your cleaning service to use.

Instead of using “old fashioned” locks and keys, consider upgrading to a keyless entry system. Keyless entry makes it impossible for guests to accidentally take an access key home or lose it. You also remove the risk of someone copying a key and having unauthorized access to your rental. You can even change your keyless access codes between each guest for added security.

Keyless entry with digital keypads are a great option, but even these can fail. Be sure to have a secondary physical key hidden in a lockbox somewhere nearby just in case the digital lock fails and you can't get inside.

8. Always have a plan in place for backup supplies

When it comes to household supplies, it is very important to have backups available for your cleaning team. Toilet paper, soap, paper towels, and other household items can run out quickly and should be replaced as part of the turnover process. To make this easier for your cleaning team, have a locked cabinet filled with extra supplies that only they have access to.

9. Build a relationship with your cleaning company as a partner, not a vendor. They'll go above and beyond for you!

When you treat service providers like they are partners in your business and not just someone you get something from, this will show them you care. In turn, they will see you as a partner, not just a client. When they know how much you value their work, your cleaning team will be more likely to work harder to achieve your high standards.

10. Be flexible and understanding, not demanding. Cleaning is an art and will not always be perfect!

This goes back to the first tip. You should always expect to see what you’ve agreed on in your cleaning contract – if you’ve been upfront about things from the start, it’s easier for your cleaning team to meet your expectations.

However, there are always potential problems that can crop up. Sometimes, things happen that neither you nor your cleaning crew can control and, in those situations, it’s important to remember that things aren’t always perfect.

Every vacation rental guest is different; they all have different ways of cleaning up after themselves. As a result, this means that every cleaning job is a little different, too. It’s important to be as clear about your expectations as you can while being understanding if occasional mistakes happen.

Executing a flawless vacation rental turnover is a major feat. Hiring a cleaning service provider is the #1 way to ensure every tenant has a memorable experience during their stay with you. By following these 10 tips, you’ll be sure to lock down an awesome team who with work with you to automate your turnover process.