What’s the Cost of a Cleaning Error at Your Vacation Rental?

Cleaning errors cost real money.

We covered this topic before, on an extensive post explaining the issue. But how MUCH money do errors cost your business?

Based on our data from our pilot program of Remote Inspection, a service in which our team checks for cleaning errors in real time, we’ve got some estimated answers to that pressing question.

Please note: all of these calculations are, of course, estimates. Costs vary depending on property type, location, how many 5-star reviews the property currently has, and so on. We can’t predict all factors.

What we’ve done is provide some representative examples based on our experience viewing tens of thousands of jobs sent by property managers all over the world.

Caveats firmly in place, let’s take a look at your potential costs.

The Numbers

We reviewed over 80,000 tasks to help prevent errors in hundreds of properties, and we found that on average, issues that would cost money to resolve occur during 8% of turnovers.

Some issues cost more, of course. Your guest may arrive to a property where the cleaner bagged up all the trash but forgot to take it outdoors because her phone rang at an inopportune moment.

She forgot to go back for the trash after her phone call, and it sat in the kitchen in the hot sun. By the time the guest arrived, the entire house smelled of garbage.

In this case, you might end up refunding a cleaning fee, or even the entire cost of the guest’s stay. Depending on how quickly the smell aired from the property, this mistake could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to resolve.

For most other issues, the problem can be resolved quickly. One of your staff will swing by the property and provide a missing amenity, or you’ll send your repair person by to fix a small issue. These problems may only cost $25 to resolve.

On average, we found that a conservative estimate for the average cost to resolve an issue was about $50. 

What Does That Mean in Terms of Real Costs?

The average property has between 25-35 bookings a year (averaging 30), and we know that 8% of all bookings will have an issue that costs money. Take the average cost of resolving an issue, and the equation for what mistakes costs your business looks like this:

30 bookings x 8% x $50 = the cost per property

Do the math, and you’ll find the cost per property, per year, is about $120. This is a conservative estimate – we’re erring on the side of the most likely cost, not the worst-case scenario – but we’re not done yet.

For vacation rental managers, you’ll want to calculate out how much mistakes are costing you overall every year. This means you’ll want to multiply $120 by the number of properties you manage. For example:

  • Property managers with 20 properties can expect to lose at least $2,400/year to cleaning error costs.
  • Property managers with 50 properties can expect to pay at least $6,000/year to cleaning error costs.
  • Property managers with 100 properties can expect to pay at least $12,000/year to cleaning error costs.

Why do we say “at least”?

Because this is a conservative estimate based on the cost it takes to resolve an issue in the moment.

It doesn’t factor in the costs of a negative review on your property.

What’s the Cost of a Negative Review?

We’ve spoken about this before, and the answer is, as ever: it depends. The cost of a negative review can number in the the thousands, depending on how established the property is and what its nightly rate is. 

Or it might be negligible, if your property is well-established and several guests who rate it at 5 stars come to stay immediately after your disgruntled guest who didn’t have the best experience because of a mistake.

Still, as every vacation rental manager knows, negative reviews cost bookings. You’ll inevitably have at least one property that doesn’t get as many bookings as it should because of a negative review.

You’re probably best equipped to calculate this cost yourself, since you know the nightly rate of each of your properties.

But let’s calculate out a few examples of what the loss of two 4-night bookings would cost you for several possible nightly rates.

  • $100/night property for 4 nights x 2 lost bookings = $800
  • $250/night property for 4 nights x 2 lost bookings = $2,000
  • $550/night property for 4 nights x 2 lost bookings = $4,400

That’s a pretty wide range. Let’s assume that the average cost of a missed booking is conservatively about $800/booking. (That’s $200/night for 4 nights.)

If you have one property in every 20 have a major issue just once a year that winds up getting you a negative review and costs you two bookings you would otherwise have gotten, you can total out the costs like this:

  • Property managers with 20 properties
    • $2,400/year to immediate costs
    • $1,600/year to missed bookings
    • $4,000/year total
  • Property managers with 50 properties
    • $6,000/year to immediate costs
    • $4,000/year to missed bookings
    • $10,000/year total 
  • Property managers with 100 properties
    • $12,000/year to immediate costs
    • $10,000/year to missed bookings
    • $22,000/year total 

Those are pretty hefty costs. And while you may have already considered that your immediate costs to resolve an issue are detracting from your take-home rate per booking …

You may not have considered the loss of bookings after negative reviews for what they are: the cost of a human error. 

Human Error Can Be Avoided

The good news is that human errors don’t have to affect your business.

Now, that’s not to say that mistakes won’t happen. Your cleaners are, of course, never going to become literally perfect in every way. They will make mistakes, as we all do. It’s inevitable.

But you don’t need to make your cleaners faultless to ensure your guests never encounter a mistake.

All you need to do is fix the mistake before your guest ever finds out about it. 

For that, we have Remote Inspection.

Remote Inspection is a real-time service that works like this: 

  1. Your cleaner uses the Properly app to take verification photos of essential tasks and finished rooms.
  2. Our Remote Inspection team views the photos in real time to see if there are any missed tasks or problems with the property.
  3. Our team notifies your cleaner in real time about any mistakes, problems, or missed tasks.
  4. Your cleaner fixes the issue before they leave the property, and your guest never knows.

You save thousands of dollars. Your properties stack up 5-star reviews. And your cleaners can stop worrying you expect them to be an inhuman level of perfect – because the Remote Inspection team has their back when they make a mistake.

You can learn all about it right here. Or, if you prefer, you can set up a time to talk to our team about how it works. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about how this service can save your business thousands.