ABODEbucks Management FAQ

Booking Platforms

Which websites will feature my property?

All ABODEbucks-managed properties are listed on Airbnb and HomeAway(which includes VRBO, TripAsdvisor, Expedia, and more).

How do I set up my property on Airbnb?

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.
How do I set up my property on HomeAway/VRBO and sister sites(Trip Advisor, Expedia, more)?

HomeAway/VRBO does not offer a "co-hosting" feature, so your property will be listed from ABODEbucks' property manager account.

We'll need a bit more info (as listed in your Welcome Letter) to get you properly set up for direct deposits into your bank account, but everything else will be identical to your Airbnb listing, with custom descriptions, professional photos, and all the necessary settings adjusted for best results.

Unfortunately you won't be able to access your account as you can in Airbnb, but ABODEbucks sends out monthly spreadsheets that make it easy to reconcile your deposits.

You'll also get your very own VRScheduler dashboard, which allows you to keep tabs of upcoming HomeAway reservations and more.
How can I see my upcoming HomeAway/VRBO reservations?

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.

Cancellations

What is ABODEbucks' Airbnb Cancellation Policy?

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.
What is ABODEbucks' HomeAway/VRBO Cancellation Policy?

HomeAway’s cancellation policy is not the same as Airbnb, because HomeAway’s options are not the same. Taking a closer look, HomeAway’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 HomeAway’s “Moderate” is actually much stricter than Airbnb’s “Strict” option. It is also HomeAway’s preferred policy, so this is the option we feel is best for our clients.

Cleanings

How much does ABODEbucks charge for 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.

Clients that provide quarter-operated washers/dryers for laundering linens must provide quarters for their operation.
How much is the startup fee for ABODEbucks "Full Management" clients?

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.

In what areas of St. Louis does ABODEbucks provide services?

ABODEbucks operates only within the St. Louis City limits.
When can I expect my property to be cleaned?

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 25+ 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!

How does ABODEbucks keep track of my property's cleanings?

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.
How can I see my upcoming cleanings?

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.
Does my property get regular cleaning inspections?

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

Who do I contact if there's a question, or even an emergency?

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 management@abodebucks.com, if you ever need assistance.

Contract Requirements

What are ABODEbucks preferred Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO profile settings?

As a "Full Management" client ABODEbucks will dial in your profile settings for optimum results. Here are a few selections that guarantee the highest quality of service possible:
  • Not suitable for pets
  • No parties or events
  • No smoking
  • 10am check-out time
  • 4pm check-in time
  • "Entire Home" listings only
  • What is the minimum "Full Management" contract length?

    ABODEbucks' minimum contract duration is 30 days, and must include all cleanings listed within the property iCal.

    How do I end my contract for ABODEbucks services?

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

    Damages

    What happens if something gets broken by a guest?

    Both Airbnb and HomeAway/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 HomeAway/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.

    HomeAway:

    A big difference is HomeAway'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, HomeAway 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 HomeAway/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

    How does ABODEbucks handle reservation inquiries?

    ABODEbucks' Guest Communications Team handles all guest inquiries from 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. 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.
    How does ABODEbucks keep problem guests from booking my property?

    Fortunately, the majority of guests are well-behaved and treat each property with respect. The Airbnb and HomeAway/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 effect occupancy rates, but decreases problems and parties dramatically.
    How will my guests check in to my property?

    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.
    Does ABODEbucks provide any additional resources for my guests?

    ABODEbucks provides both digital and hard copies of a 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 Steps
  • In 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

    When will I be billed for ABODEbucks' services?

    ABODEbucks invoices full management 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.
    What are the typical charges I can expect on my monthly invoice?

    ABODEbucks charges a standard rate for each service, including the following:
  • $250 monthly profile maintenance fee
  • $20/night daily management fee - figured on all nights of each reservation, including dates that carry over to following months. (Carry-over nights will not be billed in following months.)
  • Cleaning fee - predetermined and included in contract (figured at $50 for 1st hour; $25/additional hours)
  • 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
  • How long do I have to pay my bill?

    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

    Will ABODEbucks make repairs when necessary?

    ABODEbucks will perform basic repairs on 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

    How are my nightly rates managed?

    Included in ABODEbucks' Full Management Program is "Beyond Pricing" nightly pricing software.

    Our goal is to help each of our clients maximize revenue, and the strategy we have developed is well-proven. ABODEbucks began our partnership with Beyond Pricing in early 2018, and since then the properties we manage have increased revenues by an average of 28% across the board.

    ABODEbucks manages your pricing from our end, and although we make adjustments as necessary, the software does much of the heavy lifting. The first step is entering your "base price", or the average amount similar properties are earning, and the software increases nightly pricing for weekends, holidays, special events, and dates with low availability, while decreasing for the slower times of year, weekdays, and especially unbooked dates that are about to expire.

    We continuously monitor your occupancy percentages, making base price adjustments when necessary. Our strategy is to continuously raise your base price as the occupancy percentage increases, and if they fall below pre-determined thresholds, we decrease them until they begin to rebound.

    To maximize your revenue and occupancy percentage, last-minute pricing discounts are programmed into the software, keeping future dates high, but enticing guests to book nights that are still available.

    Owner Access

    Will I be able to use the property?

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

    Just let us know when you'd like to stay so we can block off the dates and schedule a cleaning when you leave.

    If you expect to use the property frequently, we can give you access for scheduling your own stays inside our cleaning calendar. This feature is a good way to let us know when you'll be checking in and out, and ensures cleanings are scheduled when you leave.

    Note: It's very important that owners do not disturb guests during their stay without prior confirmed notice.
    How do I block off the nights I'll be using the property?

    For nights that you’ll be staying, or reservations not made in Airbnb or HomeAway/VRBO, you’ll need to do two things:

    1. Block the nights on your Airbnb Calendar

    2. Enter the reservation into your VRScheduler dashboard. In the nabvar, click “Bookings” > “Add a Booking”

    These steps will ensure that cleanings are scheduled after your stay, and that your place is perfect when you arrive.
    How do I log into VRScheduler?

    Once we have your accounts set up, you will receive a VRScheduler Welcome Email that contains a unique personal web link to your dashboard.

    There is no need to add login credentials. Just keep the link on hand and make sure not to share it with others.

    Payments

    How do I get paid for HomeAway/VRBO reservations?

    HomeAway uses a third party to collect and disburse payments. The company goes by several names: HomeAway Payments, Yapstone, VacationRentPayment.

    Typically, new listings on HomeAway/VRBO start on a probationary period, in which payments are released after 30 days, or after a guest's reservation (whichever comes later). Payments will be deposited directly into your own bank account

    As an ABODEbucks client, you should soon qualify for "Advanced Payments" and your payments will be released as they are collected by HomeAway Payments, Yapstone, VacationRentPayment: 50% when a reservation is made, and the remaining 50% fifteen days before their reservation.
    How do I get paid for Airbnb reservations?

    As opposed to HomeAway/VRBO, Airbnb collects and disperses all revenue directly to the account holder. You will receive payment for the entire reservation the day after your guest's first night.

    Reviews

    How does ABODEbucks make sure I get great reviews from my guests?

    In the short-term rental industry, one of the most import 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 8am-8pm, 7 days per week. 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 three days for guest reviews to be completed.

    Special Distinctions

    What is a Superhost, and how do I recieve the distinction?

    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.
    What is a HomeAway Premier Partner, and how do I recieve the distinction?

    Like Airbnb's Superhost distinction, HomeAway 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%.
    What is a Airbnb Plus, and how do I recieve the distinction?

    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), fullfilling 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 will cancel Airbnb Plus status if your property is listed on any other booking platform.

    Stats

    How can I keep track of my property's performance?

    Each client receives a private Google Drive folder, in which ABODEbucks updates the following stats sheets:
  • Monthly Property Stats - A cumulative stat sheet that includes gross income, nights booked, and net incomes after cleaning and management fees for every month your property has been managed by ABODEbucks.
  • Monthly HomeAway/VRBO Payment Report - HomeAway/VRBO's payment report, which breaks down all payments, fees, payment dates, and more. Perfect for reconciling your HomeAway/VRBO Payments. You can find the HomeAway/VRBO stat sheet decoder here.
  • Yearly Client Detail Report - Breaks down every charge and fee charged by ABODEbucks during the year. Perfect for year-end tax purposes.
  • Why no Airbnb report?

    Clients can access all property stats within their individual Airbnb accounts. ABODEbucks does not provide an additional Airbnb Stat sheet.

    Supplies

    What cleaning supplies are needed for my property?

    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:
  • Vaccum
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Either a mop or Wetjet, along with either floor cleaner for mops, or Wetjet refills for Wetjets
  • Small microfiber towels (preffered over papertowels for cleaning)
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Toilet bowl caddy with scrub brush and plunger
  • Sponges
  • Lint rollers
  • Stainless steel cleaner(if applies)
  • Airfreshener plugins(some properties need these more than others)
  • What supplies will my guests need?

    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)
  • Bodywash (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
  • What is ABODEbucks' supply and inventory process?

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

    Each week 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 on Thursdays.

    Should a guest or cleaner need something urgently, we will deliver as needed.
    What does ABODEbucks charge for supplying my property inventory?

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

    Taxes

    Do I need to pay local occupancy taxes?

    It is the client's responsibilty 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 HomeAway 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.

    HomeAway/VRBO - HomeAway/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 HomeAway/VRBO listing.