Self-managing my first STR in Smoky Mountains

7 Replies

Hello all,

Few months ago I purchased my first property in the smoky mountains in Pigeon Forge. Initially signed up for property management for few months before I'm mentally prepared to start self-managing. Now I finally did it, I gave 2 months notice to the property manager and set up my listing in Airbnb & Homeaway and opened up the calendar for November & December. I'm very impressed with Airbnb, I already received four bookings in Airbnb (although I may initially set the prices lower than average which attracted quick bookings). 

My first guest checks in November 1st, and I'm planning to travel to the property next month and start preparations. My first thoughts is to install keyless doorlock, ecobee and make sure kitchen has everything needed by guests. And of course make sure the property is comfortable and clean.

As for cleaning & maintenance, I found few companies who can take care of that. But I was wondering if fellow BP members have recommendations for cleaners & handymen, I would really appreciate recommendations! Also I was wondering what is usually recommended for Hot tub maintenance, is it done on weekly or monthly basis ?

Excited to start the journey!



Hey @Maan Najjar congrats on your purchase!  It's a great market and I'm sure you'll do well there.  When I first bought, @Avery Carl was my agent and she hooked me up with all the contacts I needed for my cleaners, handyman, etc.  My cleaners take care of my hot tub maintenance.  It's required by ordinance that the water be changed between each guest.

There may be a certain amount of trial and error as you work with your cleaning/maintenance staff, communicate well with them but give them space to do their jobs, and if it doesn't seem to be working out, go to someone else.  Hopefully you get great people on the first try, but hard to know without referrals.  My cleaners are not currently accepting new clients.

Best of luck!

Another vote for Avery. 

Cleaner will do hot tub. 

Deadbolt, camera, thermostat, sheets, towels, rock and roll. 

I purchased my first STR in Sevierville from @Avery Carl in April. It's a cute little 2bed/2bath on bluff mountain and it's performing better than I could have imagined.  I self manage while traveling full time all over the US. It's the easiest money I've ever made. Avery hooked me up with some contacts for cleaners and such and @Lucas Carl walked me through the day to day operations of running my rental.  I'm so thankful for the Carls and happy I went this route instead of wasting money and time on a property manager. 

You can possibly try looking on TurnoverBnB for cleaning staff. I recommend making your expectations and how you wish to communicate with them VERY clear. My first housekeeper was defensive when I gave her guest feedback and I later found out was not cleaning properly and using other people's linens in my house.  She had great references, but I think got too many houses to keep up with and was in over her head. They have been replaced and I can tell by my guest's tone in feedback they are happier with the cleanliness of the cabin. My housekeeper drains my hot tub after each guest and replenishes it with water and chemical that they provide. Hot tub cleanliness is not something you want to mess with.  Check out this news article from this summer. 

Good luck!

Thanks all for the replies, those are really helpful information! I was going to buy my first cabin with Avery Carl but I had already signed contract with a seller, I'm definitely hoping to buy my second cabin from her. Looks like the Carls are the experts in self-managing in smoky mountains :)

@Maan Najjar Hi Maan, Congratulations of taking the step to purchase.

I am in same boat, looking for property to buy in smoky mountains. Can you please share your experience to which range I can be and how many bed and bath I need to look for.



@Maan Najjar Congrats on your purchase! There is a plethora of cleaning companies in the area. Just make sure to vet them by checking reviews and talking to references. Your cleaning crew is the absolute hands down most important part of self managing. Same goes for handyman.A good rule of thumb in the area for me was do they answer your initial call and if not how quickly do they get back to you. All cleaning crews will drain, clean and refill (add chemicals) to the hot tub after every guest.As @Reagen Natho its good to have a good line of communication with your cleaners. Let them know about guest feedback good and bad. No cleaning crew is perfect, and there will be guests that move dressers to find a spec of dust and complain, thats part of the customer service business we're in. Theres a plethora of knowledge on this forum. Feel free to reach out to me anytime. Good Luck