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Rookie Reply: How to Build Your Dream Short-Term Rental Team

Real Estate Rookie Podcast
10 min read
Rookie Reply: How to Build Your Dream Short-Term Rental Team

This week’s question comes from Ricky through Ashley’s direct messages on Instagram. Ricky is asking: I’m about to start my investing journey with short-term rentals. How do I build a real estate team, and which positions should I look for first?

On your way to building a short-term rental empire, you’ll need to build out your real estate investment team. These are the people who will help you scale, manage your properties, and handle host headaches that come up, so you can focus on finding better vacation rental properties. If you want to scale like Tony, who’s already at sixteen short-term rental units, you’ll need to invest in the four “buckets.” Doing this will free up time for you to run a better business and source bigger deals.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Start making checklists, notes, and training videos as soon as you buy your first property
  • Find the things you hate doing and offload them sooner, rather than later
  • Build out your short-term rental core four who can help manage the property while you source deals
  • Start small with a cleaner or maintenance worker and slowly hire out from there
  • And more in the episode…

If you want Ashley and Tony to answer a real estate question, you can post in the Real Estate Rookie Facebook Group! Or, call us at the Rookie Request Line (1-888-5-ROOKIE).

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie Episode 214. My name is Ashley Kehr, and I’m here with my co-host, Tony Robinson.

Tony:
And welcome to the Real Estate Rookie podcast, where every week, twice a week, we give you the inspiration, information, education, and motivation you need to kickstart your real estate investing journey. And so excited to have you guys here with us. One of the things I like to do to kick off this episode, or all of our episodes, is just highlight some of the reviews we’ve gotten for this podcast. So if this is your first time here, here’s some motivation for you to stick around.
This review comes from username, horus76, and this is on Apple Podcast. Horus says, “New and ready to get started. For those of you who need direction on where to start with your real estate dreams of becoming financially independent, the Real Estate Rookie Podcast is where you need to be on a daily basis. I absolutely love this podcast.” So horus76, we appreciate you. And for those of you that have listened before, if you haven’t yet, please you leave us an honest rating and review. It really does go a long way. The more folks that we can reach, more folks we can help. And that’s our goal here is to help as many folks as we can. So Ashley Kehr, what’s going on? How you doing today?

Ashley:
Good. Doing good. I got my Brandon Turner is my best friend T-shirt on, for those watching on YouTube. Got this last year at the Bigger Pockets Conference. And I hope this year, I get to see a lot of you there. It is in sunny San Diego in the beginning of October, and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a lot of great speakers, a really good lineup.

Tony:
Yeah. Make sure, like last year, one of my best, favorite conferences I’ve been to was BPCON last year in New Orleans. And I love that it’s in SoCal this year, closer to my neck of the woods, but like Ashley said, so many good speakers ready to give you guys some amazing content. And even outside of just the content you’re going to get, which is going to be amazing, just the networking opportunities that are going to be there. There was over 1000 people at BPCON last year, and it’s like, you never know, you bump into somebody and that person could literally change your life. So if you guys haven’t yet, make sure you get your tickets because we are excited to see you there.

Ashley:
I think one life changing person that I met when I went to BPCON and it was in 2019, so it was their second ever conference. But the first one they’d had in a really long time, and I met investor girl, Burrit, and then also Ashley Wilson, Bad Ash and Buster. And those two, I think, really made an impact on me and have really helped me a lot with my investing career. So start making friends on Instagram and then go to BPCON and meet them in real life. And you’ll become even better friends. Or it’s like, you already were friends.

Tony:
Now you just get to meet in person. That’s a cool part about conferences, right? It’s like you see so many people online. To actually get to meet them in person is a different experience.

Ashley:
Yeah, yeah.

Tony:
I love that advice.

Ashley:
So today I actually pulled the question from my Instagram and this one is from Ricky Elmer. “Hey, Ashley, I’ve been listening to bigger pockets for about a year now and I’m about to start my investing journey in Airbnb. My question is, how do I go about building a real estate team? I hear you and Tony mention it all the time about building a team, but I’m curious on how I actually go about building a team and what positions I need to look for when building one. Thanks, Ricky.”
I’ll start with this one if you want Tony, because my Airbnb team is so small and then you can go on to even to expand on it more. But so right now I have one active short-term rental that I’ve had for three years. And then I have two that are almost ready to go live and then another one under rehab.
But I have, so right now, for my one that’s operating, I have a cleaner. And then I also have my cleaner actually does all my messaging for me. So I would say right away, those are the two things for me, at least, where you need to find somebody on your team: the cleaner, and then having somebody to your messaging. Because I don’t want to be on my phone constantly having to respond to people. And Tony, I know that you actually use software that sets up a lot of these messages. So a lot of it is automated. And then the last thing. My unit that I have is Airbnb Arbitrage. So it’s an apartment complex. So if there is a maintenance issue, I submit a maintenance request and the property management company comes in and takes care of it. But you’ll also need a handyman on your team. So Tony, if you want to elaborate more because my example is just for one active operating unit.

Tony:
Yeah. And that was actually going to be my first question is Ricky, how big are you trying to make your business? Because if you just want one unit, then you don’t have to introduce all the layers of complexity that I’m going to go through right now. But our goal is to keep expanding. Over the next couple of months, you’re probably going to hit 30 units here, and hopefully, even more than that before the year is over. But there are three buckets that we have. Really four buckets that we have to our business right now. So we have our acquisitions, we have operations, we have finance and then a fourth-ish arm as marketing. So on the acquisition side, you need someone to actually find the deals for you. And you can rely on agents. You can rely on wholesalers, but someone still needs to be managing those relationships.
And if you want to scale, if you want to acquire properties at scale, that someone needs to be focused on that almost full-time. So we have someone that focuses on acquisitions for us. Then there are the operations, which is probably the biggest bucket. We have, these are more so vendors, but like you said, Ashley, our cleaners and our handymen. They don’t necessarily work. They’re not employees per se, but they’re vendors that we hire. But actual team members that we have, we have a team of VAs that manage all of the frontline guest communication. They pretty much work almost 24/7. I think there’s a gap between midnight and 5:00 AM where no one’s working. But we have three VAs that work almost every day to answer a lot of those smaller questions that come from guests that we don’t really need to handle on our own. We have an Operations manager that oversees the VAs and deals with the bigger ongoing issues with the property to need to be addressed.
So if we need to, for example, a door broke at our property yesterday, our operations manager was the one to coordinate and get that corrected. We had a window that broke at another property last week. She was one doing that. Handling all the permitting and making sure that the properties are set up and ready for the guests and ordering everything. So there’s a lot that goes into keeping the properties ready, even outside of just communicating with the guests. Operations manager also works in launching the properties for us. So setting up your Airbnbs is a big task. So again, if you’re looking to scale, we’re always setting up properties. There isn’t a day that goes by where there isn’t some property that’s in set up phase. We’ve got three properties right now that we’re actively setting up. So you really want to have someone that knows how to do that quickly and efficiently. So those are the big buckets for the Operation side.
And then on the Finance side, we have a bookkeeper. I’m managing all the larger scale finance things. We’re also looking to hire that out, hopefully here as soon as well, but that’s things like setting up your chart of accounts, making sure that all the categories or all your transactions are being flagged correctly, making sure your vendors are getting paid on time. Managing the cash flow to make sure you guys start running out of money when you need it. So just really making sure that the business is in a healthy financial position.
So again, this is us, we’re at 16 active units today, and we’ll be at 30 here shortly with all the projects we have going on. And this is what our business looks like. If you just have one, probably don’t need all this. Might be overkill. But as you start to scale, what I would say, Ricky, is start identifying which parts of the business you want to get rid of first and then start offloading those, so to different people. So for me, bookkeeping, I hated bookkeeping. That was the first thing that we offloaded. And then we started bringing people in for Acquisitions and the VAs came, the Operations manager. So find the things you aren’t good at, or that you hate doing, offload those first, and then start bringing people in as needed.

Ashley:
Yeah, and I think one of the biggest things when I started building my long-term rental portfolio is, do it sooner than later. Even if you’re just documenting what you need that person to do, because when you’re like, oh my God, I’m so busy, I need someone to take this over. You’re going to be too busy to even train them. So that was the worst thing for me. And that still is the worst thing for me is taking time to train someone.
Tell them, try to take the information out of my head and explain it to them is so time consuming for me and difficult. It’s just something I don’t need to do. And so I’ve gotten a lot better as I’m doing task and different things as to documenting it. So when you are ready to outsource, you have things already to go. And using Loom, L-O-O-M, to screen and record, and you can talk while you’re showing what you’re doing on your computer is a huge help. And just dump into a Google Drive folder. Start making checklists, things like that. So when you’re ready to hand it off, you have everything ready to go.

Tony:
Actually, that is a fantastic piece of advice. And have you read Traction?

Ashley:
I have.

Tony:
Yeah.

Ashley:
I never went through and actually done, set up the US system, but I’ve read the book, yeah.

Tony:
So Mike Michalowicz, who we had on the podcast, he came on to talk about his book, Get Different. He has another book and it’s called Clockwork and it’s very similar to Traction. Actually, Mike Michalowicz and Gino Wickman, the guy who wrote Traction, are collaborating to put out a revised and updated edition of Clockwork. But anyway, he talks a lot about how entrepreneurs already have all the systems and process in their brains. They know what to do. They just did a really poor job of documenting what that is. And he’s a big advocate of using video screen recording software to easily do that. But he takes it one step further.
And what he says is that once you record it for the first time, you get it documented, instead of you trying to be the person to maintain that, whoever you’re delegating that responsibility to, their first task, once they read, watch, understand whatever documentation you’ve put together, is to recreate that, but in a better way. So that way, every time something comes up or something new changes, you’re not responsible for keeping it updated. It’s the person that you’ve delegated it to. So hearing that, to me, it was a mind changing experience. So we might need to get Mike back on the show.

Ashley:
Yeah. Yeah. I think we do. Because his other book, too, Profit First-

Tony:
Profit First.

Ashley:
You use that in your business, yeah.

Tony:
I love that.

Ashley:
That’s a great book. Yeah.

Tony:
Yeah.

Ashley:
So … Okay, you guys. Well, thank you so much for listening to this week’s Ricky reply. I’m [email protected] and he’s [email protected] And we will be back on Wednesday with a guest.

 

 

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.