Your Guide to Vacation Rental Management Fees

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
April 21, 2023

Working with a vacation rental management company is a great way to streamline business operations and help reach your goals. Of course, having a suite of services to support your success also comes with short-term rental management fees that need to be factored into your bottom line. 

It’s important to understand how much vacation rental management companies charge, how these fees work, and what they typically cover before choosing the best option to help your rental run smoothly.

Cut to the chase and learn about everything Evolve offers for an industry-low fee — while maximizing earnings for vacation rental owners.

In This Article:
How Do Vacation Rental Management Fees Work?
How Much Are Average Vacation Rental Management Fees?
What Services Are Covered? 
What Services Are Not Included?

How Do Vacation Rental Management Fees Work?

Short-term rental management fees work differently depending on the company. Many operate on a commission or booking fee structure, meaning they take a percentage of the revenue from your bookings. These fees are usually collected monthly, and the total you pay depends on your earnings for that month. So, you only pay when guests stay –– and you put more in your wallet during busy seasons.

Some traditional property managers still use a fixed-rate model, however, where you pay the same amount every month. Others use a guaranteed income model, where you make the same revenue every month regardless of bookings — and you pay a fixed fee, too. 

These fee structures aren’t ideal: fixed rates force you to pay the same money in shoulder seasons, even when earnings may be lower. And while a guaranteed income model can offer stable revenue month after month, it also means you may not pocket all of the earnings you deserve during busy seasons.

For example, let’s say you’ve agreed on a guaranteed income of $3,000 a month from your property manager. But in one busy month, your rental earns $5,000. The extra $2,000 would go to the company instead of you

How Much Are Average Vacation Rental Management Fees?

The average property management fees for vacation rentals vary widely across the industry, ranging from 10% to 50% of your revenue depending on the property manager. 

Fees look different based on a number of factors, from a company’s model to the suite of services they provide. When you’re looking into how much vacation rental property management costs, be sure to do your research on exactly what will be covered by a company’s short-term rental management fees. That way you know you’re getting the most bang for your buck –– and keeping as much of your revenue as possible.

Evolve’s affordable management fees unlock top-notch services that support every stage of your vacation rental journey.

What Services Are Covered By Vacation Rental Management Fees?

While different management companies offer distinct services, short-term rental management fees often include services for the following aspects of a vacation rental business to some degree.

1. Listing Marketing and Promotion

As part of your standard management fee, the company you choose should create a custom listing to market your property and bring in bookings. This listing should be an accurate representation of your home, show off the sought-after amenities you have, and include professional photos to make a great first impression on potential guests. 

Your management company should also be able to utilize strategies that help make sure your home is found by the right guest at the right time. That includes being found on all of the best vacation rental sites, so a robust promotion and distribution plan should come with any short-term rental management fees.

Want to be seen? Your property gets promoted on top sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and Expedia when you team up with Evolve.

2. Calendar Management and Booking Software

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make sure calendars are correct, sites are secure, and travelers can book with the click of a button. Property management fees generally cover the tech that companies use to make all of these processes run smoothly.

Partnering with a company that can manage your booking calendar and reservation process takes a ton of pressure off of owners doing it all themselves, making short-term rental management fees feel like money well spent.

3. Guest Support

Some level of guest support is also likely to be included in your management fees to help make sure travelers are having five-star experiences — and bragging about them afterward. 

It’s ideal if fees also include your property manager handling pre-booking and pre-stay questions from guests, following up with them to request reviews, and responding when any feedback is less than stellar.

4. Revenue Strategy

Many property manager’s fees will include a strategy to help you (and their company) earn money from your vacation rental. With the market constantly changing, it’s best to partner with one whose revenue optimization strategy includes dynamic pricing and policies that help you earn the most overall –– and make your management fees well worth it. 

Fees may also help cover the costs of tech and revenue experts needed to gather historical data and real-time industry insights to inform this strategy. 

Pssst: Evolve’s data-backed approach to revenue optimization helps maximize your earnings so you can reach your vacation rental goals.

What Services Are Not Included in Short Term Rental Management Fees?

Depending on the company you partner with, there are a few services that may not be included with your vacation rental property management fees. If you’d rather not take care of these items yourself, you can usually find a third party to help out for an additional fee. Your management company may also be able to connect you with providers for some of these services.

1. Cleaning

While a few traditional property managers may include cleaning services in their short-term rental management fees (meaning that money comes out of your pocket), most companies are set up to have cleaning fees paid for by guests. 

This is great for your wallet –– and even better when there’s flexibility to find a cleaning company you trust to check all the boxes. Cleaning fees can vary widely based on property size, type, and location, so you may want to work with a management company that allows you to choose cleaning partners who can service your property at rates you feel comfortable with.

2. Stocking

Similar to cleaning, some companies may replenish inventory in your rental as part of their management fees, while others leave it to owners to make sure their vacation rental is stocked with essentials

If your company’s fees don’t cover stocking, and you don’t live nearby or would rather have help, you’ll need to arrange for a service provider to take inventory and keep your home fully stocked for an additional fee.

Owners who work with Evolve have the freedom to use their preferred service partners and establish fees with providers directly, so you have more control over the cost of these services. We can also connect you with reliable service providers if you don’t already have a team you trust.

3. Maintenance

Some management companies include basic maintenance in their fees (although they may charge more as a result), but others leave these expenses to owners. 

If your property manager says maintenance is covered as part of the management fee, clarify what is (and isn’t) included to avoid surprises when something breaks or needs upkeep. Note that extra services you might need, like snow removal and landscaping, may be add-ons to a management fee.

4. Guest Contact or Point Person

As mentioned above, many companies handle guest communications at some level as part of their fees. But if they aren’t a traditional management company, you may need to arrange for someone to help guests with questions or urgent issues during their stay.

Of course, this isn’t an extra expense if you decide to be that person, or have a friend or family member do so. But if you’re looking to find a trusted service provider to serve as your on-the-ground contact for guests, you’ll likely need to pay an extra fee.

5. Payment Processing

When guests pay with a debit or credit card, there is a 3 to 5% fee that payment processors charge to complete the transaction and get the money to your account.

Many vacation rental managers charge this fee to owners as a separate line item because it falls outside of the commission or booking fees they receive. This fee goes directly to a payment processing company like Stripe or VacationRentPayment, so it is not covered by management fees.

Make Your Vacation Rental Management Fees Go Further

Paying short-term rental management fees is worth it when you get the most bang for your buck. It’s crucial to do your research on what’s included, and find out how you’ll get support at every stage of the journey.

That’s why it’s best to work with a company who consistently helps owners out-earn the competition, while handling a lot of the heavy lifting. Evolve can help your rental run smoothly for industry-low fees as low as 10%, so you can keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Plus, our Risk-Free Guarantee lets you take the leap toward rental success with confidence. 

Vacation Rental Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

We’ll help your home reach its potential, with unique resources and pricing strategies that skyrocket your success.

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