Inventory, Update, Replace

8-Piece+Monica+Comforter+Set

Joss & Main

 

Today I would like to continue last week’s post, “Dress Up for Success.”   Since all of the properties that my company, Vacation Rentals of the Desert, represents are second or vacation homes, not investment only properties, I have run into one particular problem again and again.  To quote a paragraph from last week’s post; “… over the years, supplies such as linens, towels and kitchenware, purchased piecemeal, have become a hopeless, disorganized hodge-podge of misfits.”

Very often if a guest calls to report that something is broken or damaged … for example a toaster that burns the toast instead of popping up or a stained sheet, the vacation management company will deliver the newly purchased replacement and not retrieve the damaged item.  So unfortunately these damaged items usually end up back in the kitchen cabinet or linen closet for the next guest to find.  Over a period of time you have cabinets and cupboards full of damaged, unsightly and miss-matched items.

The property I dressed up last week had eight fitted king sheets and six flat sheets.  Most miss-matched, some worn, some torn and some just plain old outdated and ugly.  A couple of sets were acceptable … and these were the ones that were currently being used.  After purchasing two sets of sheets per bed, I tossed all the rest.  Similar in the kitchen … two partial sets of silverware, three sets of glass with no more than four of any set that matched.

Because our property owners visit their properties on and off throughout the year, I have always left the inventory and replacement of supplies primarily in the owner’s hands, except where needed during occupancy.  It has now become apparent that I will have to offer our assistance.    A full inventory of your vacation home supplies is necessary each and every year.  To do a thorough check takes hours and can be daunting … especially here in the desert where the interior temperature of a closed up property during our off season can run 100 degrees.

This is what an inventory consists of:  Remove all pots and pans and examine inside and out.  Replace any with burns or scratched Teflon … ask yourself, “if this was not my pot, would I use it.”  If not … replace.  Count silverware and make sure you have complete matched settings of at least eight.  If you have a larger property then you will have more place settings to consider.  Regardless of the size of your property, less than eight place settings and your guests will have to run half loads in the dishwasher and probably after every meal.  Remember … your guests are on vacation.  Dishes should be counted and there should be no chips, crazing, cracks, knife marks and all should match.  Seven dinner plates, eight bowls and six salad plates … not good.  Visit HomeGoods and spend $40 on new dishes … then take the old ones to Good Will.  Don’t leave them in the cabinet or you’ll end up with a hodge-podge mess.  The same goes for utensils, serving ware, glasses and coffee mugs.  You should not leave coffee stained mugs in the cabinet … and logo or novelty mugs are just tacky and appear to be “cheap” … unless, of course, they’re from Starbucks!  Weed out the aluminum pie tins that people save and the plastic butter tubs, etc.  It’s OK for your own home … not for a vacation property.  Wood utensils are gross in a vacation rental and your tenants will probably not use them … would you? And please, please, please do not make your purchases at the 99 Cent Store!  As tempting as it may be, you’ll lose repeat guests … people recognize quality.

Towels, sheets, bedspreads, blankets, pillows, mattress pads … all should be perfect.  No stains.  Toss the old ones … there is no need to keep them even for rags.  Rags after washed, always seem to end up back in the linen closet.  The next guest will reach in for a clean towel and … surprise … minutes later you or your vacation rental manager are on the losing side of a phone call from an unhappy guest.

Beds need to be stripped to check out mattress covers and flip the mattress to check for stains and damage.  Hangers should be resupplied, batteries replaced in flashlights, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and TV, electronics and ceiling fan remotes, fire extinguishers checked, brooms and mop-heads replaced, toilet brushes replaced.  Everything, everything, everything check, check, check and double check.

If you have an inventory list or minimum requirement list from your vacation management company, it will make this job much easier.  Some companies require all bedding, linens, towels … replaced every year!  I don’t think that is necessary, but looking at these items with a critical eye … or the eyes of your paying guests, is absolutely necessary every year.

Some people hate to throw things away; it’s wasteful.  I get it.  If you feel this way … take the old items home and use them yourself or donate them to Good Will.  Some people are frugal … but I cannot stress this enough … You! Have! Competition!  Your neighbors would be happy to take care of your guests in the future.  The vacation rental industry has become very, very competitive.  There are plenty of property owners out there that “get it” and will provide newer, shinier homes with more amenities for less $$.  It’s a business.  People are not going to pay Saks Fifth Avenue prices at K-Mart.  Gone are the days when people were just happy to get away on vacation.  Vacation rental guests have high expectations and are not afraid to voice them … loudly.  When you look at your rental income, you also have to look at “the cost of doing business” and if you have to spend a few hundred to make several thousand … that is part of the deal.  Once you put the rental money in your pocket that is not where “the buck stops,” that’s just were it begins.

Here’s a question for you … what if you were required to provide a complete inventory list to each of your vacation rental guests and the guests in return were asked to look over the list upon their arrival and report any missing or damage items.  How would your property fair?

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