Frequently Asked Questions

Booking Platforms

All ABODEbucks-managed properties are listed on Airbnb, VRBO and ca be booked directly from the ABODEbucks website. **COMING SOON: ABODEbucks listings will soon be published on over 50 booking sites

If you don’t have one already, you’ll first need to open an Airbnb account.

You’ll need to make sure to use an email address instead of a social connection (Facebook, etc.), otherwise we won’t be able to service your account as needed.

Follow Airbnb’s instructions, making sure to add a profile photo, description, and the bank account you’d like to receive payments.

Just email our team with your login credentials, and we’ll get started adding custom descriptions, professional photos, and updating all the necessary settings. Once completed, your property will be ready to accept reservations!

Airbnb has a feature called “co-hosting”, which allows ABODEbucks to manage your profile, while giving you complete access.

VRBO does not offer a “co-hosting” feature, so your property will be listed from ABODEbucks’ property manager account.

ABODEbucks sets up your VRBO listing to match your Airbnb listing, with custom descriptions, professional photos, and all the necessary settings adjusted for best results.

You’ll receive VRBO revenue at the end of every month via Stripe. We will help you set up a secure Connected Stripe account, allowing you to receive direct deposits.

Your private ABODEbucks Owner Portal includes your booking calendar, historical stats, and other data to help keep tabs on your property’s success.

Cancellations

Our goal when selecting the correct cancellation policy is to maximize each owner’s protection from unnecessary refunds, while making sure that their properties don’t miss out on reservations. We have chosen “Strict” as the best way to protect our clients on the Airbnb platform, which is stated as follows:

Strict: Full refund for cancellations made within 48 hours of booking, if the check-in date is at least 14 days away. 50% refund for cancellations made at least 7 days before check-in. No refunds for cancellations made within 7 days of check-in.

Should guests request a a refund but don’t qualify based on these settings, they can still receive a refund if the nights are rebooked by another guest. If the new reservation is for less, they will receive the lesser amount.

VRBO’s cancellation policy is not the same as Airbnb, because HomeAway’s options are not the same. Taking a closer look, VRBO’s “Moderate” policy states:

Travelers who cancel at least 30 days before check-in will get back 100% of the amount they’ve paid. If they cancel between 14 and 30 days before check-in, they’ll get back 50%. Otherwise, they won’t get a refund.

As you can see VRBO’s “Moderate” is actually much stricter than Airbnb’s “Strict” option. It is also VRBO’s preferred policy, so this is the option we feel is best for our clients.

Should guests request a a refund but don’t qualify based on these settings, they can still receive a refund if the nights are rebooked by another guest. If the new reservation is for less, they will receive the lesser amount.

For reservations booked directly with ABODEbucks website, the cancellation policy is the same as VRBO:

Travelers who cancel at least 30 days before check-in will get back 100% of the amount they’ve paid. If they cancel between 14 and 30 days before check-in, they’ll get back 50%. Otherwise, they won’t get a refund.

Should guests request a a refund but don’t qualify based on these settings, they can still receive a refund if the nights are rebooked by another guest. If the new reservation is for less, they will receive the lesser amount.

Cleanings

ABODEbucks standard cleaning fee is figured at $50 for 1st hour and $25 for each additional hour.

Laundering sheets, towels, and wash cloths are a big factor in your cleaning fee. More guests increase the cost, while more washers and dryers decrease the cost.

Quarter-operated washers/dryers are not permitted.

ABODEbucks charges a one-time $250 profile setup fee, which includes professional photography, custom descriptive content for your Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO profiles, digital and hard copy house manuals for your guests, and detailed instructions for our cleaning team.

ABODEbucks charges a one-time $50 onboarding fee, which covers the internal costs of setting up your property, including detailed instructions for our cleaning team.

ABODEbucks operates only within the St. Louis City limits.

ABODEbucks would love to complete cleanings the day your guest checks out, but on extremely busy days it can be impossible to do so. On these days, we must strategize to complete same day turnovers first, then so on and so forth.

Our team of cleaners utilizes the slower weekdays to make sure each property is cleaned before the next guest arrives.

Should a last-second reservation pop-up before a cleaning is completed, our team will drop everything and make sure it’s ready for your guests!

ABODEbucks uses scheduling software called VRScheduler to monitor every cleaning, making sure your property is in tip top condition for your next guest.

We simply enter your Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO iCal links into the software, and it automatically prompts us to schedule a cleaner to service your property after each guest checks out.

VRScheduler also shows us when your next guest checks in, so the entire ABODEbucks team is aware of the cleaning deadline.

All new clients receive their own VRScheduler dashboard, which not only lists all upcoming reservations, but also shows all jobs that ABODEbucks has completed for your property.

ABODEbucks has developed a 58-point inspection process to ensure our highly-trained cleaning team is performing at the highest level.

Curb-appeal, inside drawers and cabinets, under beds, and even proper bed-making and towel folding techniques are just a few things our inspectors make sure are completed in the “ABODEbucks way.”

As time permits between cleanings and guest check-ins and check/outs, we inspect your property to make sure your guests have that “Wow this place is clean!” experience, every time.

Contact Info

ABODEbucks’ Management Team will be your main point of contact, and there is a manager on staff that can help you 7 days a week, between 8am-8pm.

Feel free to call our management line at (314) 827-3836 or email the on-duty manager at [email protected], if you ever need assistance.

Contract Requirements

ABODEbucks will dial in your profile settings for optimum results. Below are a few selections that will help ABODEbucks provide the highest quality of service possible:

  • Not suitable for pets
  • No parties or events
  • No smoking
  • 10am check-out time
  • 5pm check-in time
  • “Entire Home” listings only

 

ABODEbucks charges a one-time $250 profile setup fee, which includes professional photography, custom descriptive content for your Airbnb and VRBO profiles, digital house manuals for your guests, and detailed instructions for our cleaning team.

ABODEbucks’ minimum contract duration is 30 days, and must include all cleanings.

No longer need ABODEbucks services? Simply let us know 30 days in advance, and we’ll wrap things up for a seamless handoff.

Damages

Both Airbnb and VRBO have 1 million dollar insurance policies for damages and injury. Although this is nice piece of mind should something catastrophic happen, small issues discovered by our cleaners can generally be resolved through the respective Airbnb and VRBO claims systems:

Airbnb (from their website):

If you need to make a claim on your security deposit, you can do so in the Resolution Center within 14 days of your guest’s checkout date or before the next guest checks in, whichever is earlier.

To make a claim on a security deposit ($500 for all ABODEbucks-managed properties):

Go to the Resolution Center on airbnb.com Choose the relevant reservation Under Select a reason, select Request compensation for damages Click Continue to submit details about the damages and associated costs on the next page If your guest agrees to the amount you requested, we’ll release your payout in 5-7 business days.

If your guest declines or doesn’t respond within 72 hours, click Involve Airbnb in your Resolution Center case. If we require additional documentation, you’ll have 72 hours to provide this documentation.

Most security deposit claims will be resolved within one week. We’ll make sure you and your guest are represented fairly, and if we determine you’re owed money, we’ll send it to you in a separate payout.

ABODEbucks handles most of the process, including:

  • Opening the claim
  • Providing photos of the damage
  • Providing documentation of replacement items
  • Providing receipts for extra maintenance or labor

But, we will need your help! Airbnb will only correspond directly with the property owner, so we’ll need you to forward every email so we can coach you, and/or step in to help when possible.

VRBO:

A big difference is VRBO’s “Property Damage Protection” insurance. Each of your guests will be given the option of purchasing the $59 PDP plan in liu of paying a $1500 security deposit.

Either way, VRBO resolutions and payouts are simple and easy, and ABODEbucks will handle the entire process.

Resolutions:

Most claims go relatively smoothly, with many guests admitting their fault up front. In the instances that guests deny fault, claims are escalated for review with Airbnb or VRBO.

ABODEbucks will do everything in our power to make sure you are reimbursed for damages. This all said, in the few instances that claims are denied, ABODEbucks cannot be held liable.

Guests

ABODEbucks’ Guest Communications Team handles all guest inquiries 24/7, 365 days a year. It is their job to pleasantly interact with potential guests, making sure each property wins as many reservations as possible, while keeping problem guests to a minimum.

Fortunately, the majority of guests are well-behaved and treat each property with respect. The Airbnb and VRBO review systems are also helpful in making sure guests have a great track-record and treat your property like their own.

It is necessary to vet each guest to make sure they are a good fit for your property. Problem guests can disturb neighbors, damage properties, and cause extra cleaning costs.

Our Guest Comm Team is well-trained in weeding out the riff-raff, and it begins with setting expectations for each guest when the initially inquire.

In addition, we set two night minimums for each property. Our data shows that this does not affect occupancy rates, but decreases problems and parties dramatically.

All ABODEbucks-managed properties are equipped with a keyless entry door pad, or a realtor-style lock box.

Before arrival, our Guest Comm team sends a welcome message, which includes entry instructions.

ABODEbucks provides a digital house manual that details everything they might need during their stay, including:

  • How to find the property
  • How to enter the property
  • The wifi login info
  • The location of the washer/dryer
  • The location of the dumpster and recycling bin
  • Recommendations for local restaurants
  • More!

In addition, vinyl stickers are placed in key locations of your property, reminding your guests:

  • “Please Be Green” – Help us conserve energy in 3 StepsIn the winter, keep the heater set to 70 or lower.
  • In the summer, keep the AC set at 75 or higher.
  • Turn off the lights when leaving the room.
  • “Please Be Quiet” – This is a quiet neighborhood. Please keep noise levels down after 10pm.
  • “You are entering a shoe-free zone!” – Please remove any footwear before you continue.
  • “Shhhh, there’s a baby sleeping next door!” – Please keep levels to a minimum when outdoors to avoid waking the baby.

Invoicing

ABODEbucks invoices clients every 30 days. Your monthly invoice will include all services and receipts from the preceding month.

Your monthly billing date depends on when your property goes live. Properties that are onboarded at the beginning/end of a month will always be invoiced on the 1st. Properties that are onboarded mid-month will always be invoiced on the 15th.

ABODEbucks charges a standard rate for each service, including the following:

  • $250 monthly management fee
  • $20/night booking commission – all nights booked and completed within the month
  • Cleaning fee – predetermined and included in contract.
    This fee is paid by the guest.
  • Maintenance – charged at $30/hr
  • Supplies – Cost of supplies plus taxes, credit card fee, and $5 for each delivery
  • Shipping – $25 fee plus cost of shipping (typically “lost and found” items)
  • Weekly Trash Removal/Recycling – $75/mo for clients that need curbside service

Please keep in mind that some services have been completed over 30 days before billing. ABODEbucks asks that you pay within 7 days of receipt of each invoice.

Invoices not paid within 7 days will incur a 5% late payment penalty, and will continue to incur penalties at a rate of 5% for every 7 days not paid.

ABODEbucks reserves the right to halt all services for any client that has an outstanding invoice over 14 days.

Maintenance

ABODEbucks will perform basic repairs for each property unless the owner has made other arrangements.

Repairs are charged at a rate of $30/hr, and any repairs of estimated over $100 need to be approved by the property owner.

For items that need a specialist (electrical, appliance, plumbing, HVAC, lawn care), ABODEbucks will coordinate the appointment, and the owner will be billed directly by the specialist contractor.

Nightly Pricing

For the properties of Full Management Clients, proprietary nightly pricing software is used to maximize revenue while finding the highest market value of your property. The software’s well-proven strategy has been developed over five years, using real-world results and loads of feedback from our clients.

The algorithms figure your initial “base price” based on the average nightly rate of similar-sized properties, and increases/decreases each night of your calendar based on the season, day of the week, and week of the month. Special events and holidays are set to a premium, based on the highest nightly rates that similar sized properties have received. And to help move less desirable dates, last-minute pricing discounts entice guests to book leftover nights.

Your bookings are continuously monitored, and prices gradually increase as bookings are received, while gradually decreasing prices if bookings slow down. The strategy is to continuously raise prices until finding “sweet spot”, and only decreasing when necessary.

Owner Access

Of course, you (or your friends and family) can stay whenever you’d like!

You can “reserve” any nights that you wish from within your Owner Portal. This will ensure that cleanings are scheduled after your stay, and that your place is perfect when you arrive.

Note: It’s very important that owners do not disturb guests during their stay without prior confirmed notice.

Once we have your accounts set up, you will receive an ABODEbucks Owner Portal welcome email.

Your log-in ID is the the email address that has received the welcome email. You’ll need to choose your own password.

Payments

You’ll receive VRBO and ABODEbucks website revenue at the end of every month via Stripe. We help you set up a secure Connected Stripe account during onboarding, allowing you to receive direct deposits.

ABODEbucks prepares and updates a deposit report for each property every month, making it easy to reconcile all VRBO and ABODEbucks website revenue deposits.

Airbnb collects and disperses all revenue directly to the listing account holder. You will receive payment for the entire reservation the day after your guest’s first night.

Reviews

In the short-term rental industry, one of the most important factors for guests and properties alike are getting great reviews and keeping a high rating!

Our guest communication team is at your guest’s service 24/7, 365 days per year. Our team makes sure that guests have all the necessary arrival info, then follows up during their stay to make sure everything is going smoothly. Once your guests depart, our team sends a message to thank them for their business.

At any time there is an indication that your guests are less than satisfied, our team does everything in their power to make sure your guests leave as happy customers.

Once our cleaning team arrives, they give us a report on the property’s condition so that our guest communication team can leave guests accurate reviews.

Please allow five days for guest reviews to be completed.

Special Distinctions

Airbnb awards top hosts with “Superhost” distinction, showcasing their listings in more search results, and helping these owners “earn up to 22% more”.

Qualifications(from the Airbnb website):

As long as you meet all the criteria by the assessment period (which takes place every 3 months), you can earn Superhost status

Superhosts have a 4.8 or higher average overall rating based on reviews from at least 50% of their Airbnb guests in the past year. Guests know they can expect outstanding hospitality.

Superhosts have hosted at least 10 stays in the past year or, if they host longer-term reservations, 100 nights over at least 3 stays. Your guests can feel confident staying with an experienced host.

Superhosts have no cancellations in the past year, unless there were extenuating circumstances. No cancellations means peace of mind for your guests as they plan.

Superhosts respond to 90% of new messages within 24 hours. When guests ask you questions, they know that a quick response is only a message away.

VRBO awards top hosts with “Premier Partner” distinction, giving these properties special badging, and allowing potential guests to search to easily find Premier Partner properties.

Qualifications:

Over a 365 day period qualifying hosts must:

  • Host 5 or more bookings
  • Be reviewed 3 or more times by travelers
  • Have an 85% or higher booking acceptance rate
  • Maintain a 4.5 or higher average review score
  • Keep their cancellation rate under 10%.

In limited markets, Airbnb has developed a program called Airbnb Plus, which features only the most thoughtfully-designed, well-equipped, and well-maintained properties of each city.

Airbnb Plus is an invite-only program offered only to select hosts that “demonstrate Superhost-level hospitality.”

Airbnb’s selection process has been kept top-secret, and not all Superhosts get invited to take part in this program.

Once selected, you must pass a strict Airbnb setup process, which includes new photography (paid by Airbnb), fulfilling a detailed setup checklist, and gaining final design approval from the Airbnb Plus team.

NOTE: An important item you should know in advance is that Airbnb may cancel Airbnb Plus status if your property is listed on any other booking platform.

Stats

Each ABODEbucks client receives a private Google Drive folder with the following reports, updated by the 5th of each month:

Monthly Property Report – Includes gross income, nights booked, cleaning fees, management fees, and net income for every month your property has been managed by ABODEbucks.

VRBO & ABODEbucks Website Payment Summary – Designed for reconciling your payments, it includes deposits, fees, payment dates, and more.

Yearly Client Detail Report– Breaks down every charge and fee charged by ABODEbucks during the year. Perfect for year-end tax purposes.

Clients can access all Airbnb property reports from within their individual Airbnb accounts. ABODEbucks does not provide an additional Airbnb reporting.

Supplies

It is important that each property has the proper supplies so that ABODEbucks can perform the highest level of cleaning service possible.

Cleaning supplies needed:

  • Vacuum
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Either a mop or Wet Jet, along with either floor cleaner for mops, or Wet Jet refills for Wet Jets
  • Small microfiber towels (preferred over paper towels for cleaning)
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Toilet bowl caddy with scrub brush and plunger
  • Sponges
  • Lint rollers
  • Stainless steel cleaner (if applies)
  • Air Freshener plugins (some properties need these more than others)

Your guests will expect certain items are supplied by the owner, and these items make sure you’ll get great reviews.

Guest supplies needed:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper towels
  • Shampoo (in each bathroom)
  • Conditioner (in each bathroom)
  • Body wash (in each bathroom)
  • Hand soap (at each sink)
  • Cooking essentials: Salt, pepper, oil
  • Kitchen essentials: Cooking pans, cooking utensils, eating utensils, drinking glasses, wine glasses, coffee cups
  • Coffee, coffee maker, and filters
  • Sheets, towels, pillow cases, and washcloths with backups

ABODEbucks has a property-specific supply checklist, and during each cleaning our team notifies management when items are low.

ABODEbucks management takes inventory of requested supplies, approving requests that are needed, and makes bulk Costco and Target orders. These supplies are picked up and delivered regularly.

Should a guest or cleaner need something urgently, we will deliver as needed.

ABODEbucks charges only the cost of each item, plus taxes, and credit card fees. Each delivery incurs a $5 fee.

Taxes

It is the client’s responsibility to research and understand the local tax law. ABODEbucks is not responsible or liable for collecting or dispersing taxes for clients. This said, Airbnb and VRBO have different systems for doing so:

Airbnb – As of November 2018, Airbnb and St. Louis City came to a tax agreement to automatically collect taxes. From the Airbnb website:

Occupancy tax collection and remittance by Airbnb in Missouri:

State of Missouri

Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in the State of Missouri will pay the following tax as part of their reservation:

Missouri State Sales Tax: 4.225% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

City Sales Tax: 0.25%-1.375% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

County Sales Tax: 0.25%-5% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

Additional County Sales Tax: 0.125%-0.5% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

Tourism Tax to Maintain Quality of Water: 0.25% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

Promotional Tourism Tax: 0.5%-5% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

Local Sales Tax: 1% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 29 nights and shorter. For detailed information, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

St. Louis

Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in the City of St. Louis, MO will pay the following tax as part of their reservation:

Hotel/Motel Room Sales Tax: 3.5% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 31 nights or shorter. For detailed information, please visit the St. Louis Hotel/Motel Room Tax website.

Convention and Tourism Tax: 3.75% of the listing price including any cleaning fees, for reservations 31 nights or shorter. For detailed information, please visit the St. Louis Hotel/Motel Room Tax website.

VRBO & Direct Bookings – VRBO does not currently collect or disperse taxes to the State of Missouri, but does give the option for property owners to collect the percentage deemed necessary.

It is then up to the property owner to disperse the tax as needed.

This is not a service that ABODEbucks provides, but if you would like to have taxes collected from your guests, please let us know so we can update your listing.