Questions to ask before hiring a property manager

Managing short-term rentals for your property by yourself can seem tricky and a bit overwhelming. You should enjoy spending time at your second home, and it shouldn’t be a burden when you’re away. You want to make your oasis something others enjoy and need things to run smoothly while you’re gone. That’s where your property management team comes in. You need someone to manage your little slice of paradise while you are away, and you don’t need to feel the stress of it.

Many owners before you have felt this same way, and that is why we compiled this list of questions to ask when hiring a property management team. You need to find someone that you can trust, and we understand that you can’t rely on just anybody these days. The property management world is an ocean where there are “plenty of fish in the sea,” and you need to find the team that is just right to fit your vacation rentals’ needs.

In this industry, it is a get what you pay for mentality when it comes to property managers. But what exactly are you paying for?

Asking these questions below will be the key to finding the successful team you need to take care of your investment.

Property Management Team In Florida

1. Are you a small or large property management company?

On the Emerald Coast, there is no shortage of Vacation Rental Companies. You have your ‘mom and pops’ companies, all the way to your larger operations which rent homes on a national level. They’re still locally owned and operated but managing on a larger scale. What’s the difference?

Mom and Pop

The mom and pops seem like an excellent opportunity for your vacation rental. They manage on a much smaller scale, only selecting a few properties to oversee, and are just a hop skip and a jump away for anything you may need. The con to using the mom and pop management style is that they have limited resources, especially when it comes to marketing. To maximize your rental potential to the fullest, you need to have the resources to dedicate the amount of time it takes to optimize your listing correctly, enhance your social reach, stay on top of email marketing, top of the line photos and of course home description updates

Local Vacation Rental Companies

The larger vacation rental companies in our area have their pros and cons as well. They generally have the resources necessary to handle all of your marketing needs, which are extremely beneficial in today’s market. Pro tip: ask your property manager or marketing director if they know what a Facebook pixel is and, you will certainly see if they are on top of their game!  Not only do they have the right amount of staff in place to capture everything from housekeeping, to guest services and beyond, but they are also located here in the area. Using a local management team gives you the peace of mind that your property manager is just around the corner in case you or your guests need anything.

National Vacation Rental Companies

These types of vacation rental companies typically have a large number of resources available at their fingertips when it comes to the marketing game. The drawback here is that they aren’t local. While they can probably Google the best places to eat in the area, they don’t have the local touch. They also typically have thousands of properties in hundreds of cities across the US, so they tend not to be able to give your beach home the proper attention it deserves.
Here at Gibson Beach Rentals, we can assure you that we know what a Facebook pixel is, and are using it to engage with customers for our owners.

Property Management Services

2. What services do you provide?

When it comes to finding the right property manager, you need to figure out which services are a good fit for your beach home. Do you want to be in control of the bookings? What about Housekeeping? These are all important things to figure out before starting your search for your property management team.

Marketing Services

This one is going to be for the low tiered service fee. These property management teams will manage your listing across several Online Travel Agencies, like HomeAway, VRBO, ECBYO, etc. but that is about it.

Marketing and 3rd Party Maintenance Services

These types of property management teams can handle your bookings and stay on top of your marketing, but they will refer maintenance out to 3rd party vendors. Usually, they will speak with the vendors, so you don’t have to.


These types of property managers will take care of everything. It is essential that they run a well-oiled vacation rental machine and to do that some of the items include:

  • Photography, Optimized Listings, and beach home marketing
  • Guest management – taking care of the guest before they arrive and through checkout. Including but not limited to: inquiries, screening, complaints, and responding to reviews, and even guest emergencies.
  • Scheduling preventative maintenance: there is nothing better than knowing that your team is thinking ahead and taking extra care of the well-being of your home.
  • Revenue management and dynamic pricing strategies – having a team that can stay on top of the market and brings your home the full value it deserves

Gibson Beach rentals fall under the dynamic pricing category, but we are more than just that. With our top of the line customer service team, marketing wizards, and exceptional housekeeping department, we know how to stay a step ahead of the competition. We have been to conferences all around the US staying on top of the latest and greatest everything when it comes to vacation rentals. We’re bringing top-notch hotel quality service to your beach home.

Property Management Fees

3. Can you explain your fee structure?

This question is probably the most important one yet; What is the fee structure?  Property management companies charge anywhere from 10% to 50% of your gross vacation rental revenue. These different numbers equal different levels of service, care, and attention to you, the homeowner. You may wonder how someone can come at you with such a low price, and the answer is simple: Hidden Fees.

Hidden Fees are something we can write a book on. (We’ll have a post strictly on this at a later date.) But it all comes down this: If a property manager does not tell you how their fees are structured and everything they include, this should be an immediate red flag.

Property Management Renters

4. How do you make sure guests are a good fit for my home?

More homeowners are making the switch every day to having 3rd party companies manage their rental for this very question. Our answer is simple: the right guests in your home equals less wear and tear on your rental property. If your company does not have proper procedures in place to vet future guests, your property could be in trouble. If they are optimizing maximum occupancy over long-term value, your property will dearly pay for it in the end. Some questions to ask should be:

  • What is the minimum age requirement for your guests? (In the Destin/Santa Rosa Beach area the typical rental age is 25)
  • Do you allow big parties? (This includes, weddings, family reunions, and bachelor/bachelorette parties)
  • If a guest books online, does anyone speak to them on the phone?
  • What processes are in place to keep the guest honest? (During spring break some companies may make the guests come and show IDs at the office.)
  • Do you allow snowbirds? Am I able to opt out of a snowbird rental?

Property Management Housekeeping

5. How will you clean and inspect my home?

The cleanliness of your home can make or break your property. It is critical to have a good housekeeping plan in place for your home. To get more specific answers from property management teams, you should ask the following questions:

  • How are your housekeepers trained?
  • Will inspectors go behind the cleaner to ensure its cleanliness?
  • Do you allow mid-stay cleans?
  • Are yearly deep-cleans required?

At Gibson Beach Rentals we have the best housekeepers and inspectors that are highly trained! We can assure you that you and your guests will receive a quality clean after every stay. As you can see, picking the right team can seem like it can be a bit of a chore.  But, asking these questions in the beginning, will be your glass slipper to finding your Cinderella property management team. We encourage you to ask us these questions and any more than you can come up with! Staying transparent with our owners is one of the many things that sets us apart from the competition. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your vacation rental on the Emerald Coast!