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We hear it time and time again. And we get it – cleaning your vacation rental is a drag. Thankfully, there are home cleaning services to help remove the workload from your plate. But hiring cleaning help for your short term rental property is hugely different from hiring someone for your permanent residence. That’s why we brought in an expert. We interviewed Neel Parekh from MaidThis! Cleaning to walk us through these key differences and how to make sure you’re set up for success. So, without further ado:

Pillow: What are the main differences in cleaning for a vacation rental space vs. cleaning for my home.

  • MaidThis!: While it seems like it would be similar, the difference is actually huge! The biggest difference is definitely the required attention to detail for vacation rental cleaning. The cleaner needs to not only clean but also, “have an eye” for details. For example, did the guest damage anything? Is something missing? Is everything stocked enough for your guests’ length of stay? There is a bit more empathy required to get into the guest’s shoes and make sure they have an awesome first impression.

Pillow: What are the more important things to look for when hiring a cleaner or cleaning service?

  • MaidThis!: RELIABILITY! We’ll say it again…reliability! The worst situation arises when a cleaner flakes last minute – while you’re out of town – and now you have to scramble to figure out how to magically get the place cleaned before your next guest arrives. Cleaning quality and attention to detail are important, but if you really want to streamline your operations you should absolutely look for the most reliable cleaner.
  • Pillow tip: Making sure your cleaner has a backup list for these instances is highly recommended. A cleaner who’s already prepared with backups speaks volumes to their level of professionalism and responsibility.

Pillow: Does a cleaner need to be trained?

  • MaidThis!: Is water wet? Training is a must if you manage your own cleaner and want to get the place perfect! Every host likes things different ways and it can be tough for the cleaner to figure out how you, specifically, like it done.

Pillow: Should I create a checklist for the cleaner?

  • MaidThis!: Absolutely! This is the best way to train cleaners. We also suggest creating a list for both pre and post reservation. Insider tip: all cleaners already know things like “mop the floor,” “take out the trash,” so be sure to also include specific details in the checklist – like, neatly display a bottle of wine and 2 glasses on the table.

Pillow: What can I expect a cleaner to do and not do for my vacation rental?

  • MaidThis!: The basics for any vacation rental turnover are: bed making, laundering of sheets and towels, cleaning the floors, wiping down the kitchen/bathroom/common areas, taking out the trash, and cleaning the fridge.

Pillow: What’s considered “extra work” for my cleaner?

  • MaidThis!: The biggest pain we’re finding is when guests use a crazy amount of towels and/or linens. The cleaners then need to go to a Laundromat to get the rental ready before the next guest’s check-in. I think we speak on behalf of all cleaners when I say PLEASE only put out how many towels the guests will need! Guests tend to use everything that is shown to them. Also, if the place is trashed and needs a lot of extra love, we would recommend you compensate the cleaner appropriately for that.
  • Pillow tip: It’s also a good idea to schedule “deep cleanings” every so often. Think of it as a spring cleaning of sorts, but due to the amount of turnover a vacation rental sees, we suggest doing it more than once a year. Deep cleanings are more expensive but they give your rental the love it needs and the clean glow your guests expect.
Learn more about Pillow, here!
Learn more about Pillow, here!

Pillow: What can I do to make my life easier when managing the cleaner?

  • MaidThis!: Make sure the cleaner is tech-savvy! Then communication with the cleaner for problems/issues becomes significantly more easy to manage from afar. Or, you could hire a company that already has experience in vacation rental cleaning services. Like us or Pillow!

Pillow: What are the best ways to go about finding a cleaner?

  • MaidThis!: The best channels would be website matching companies like or Thumbtack, for example. Usually, these cleaners will have some tech-savvy knowledge, which will be super useful when you manage them.

Pillow: Are there benefits to going with a service?

  • MaidThis!: If your goal is to streamline your operations as much as possible, going with a service is a no-brainer. The main benefits are around ensuring your life is more worry-free and hassle-free. You’ll never have to find a replacement for a no-show, it’s all tech-enabled, and all cleaners are already trained.

Pillow: I don’t live near my property. What’s the best way to ensure my property is cleaned up to my standards?

  • MaidThis!: If you don’t live near your unit, your main focus is on ensuring things get done as you can’t immediately run to the property to fix things. The best ways to ensure things are done is to (i) make sure the initial training is awesome and checklists provided are on-point, and (ii) make sure you find a reliable cleaner.

Pillow: What about charging a cleaning fee to my guest? Does it deter them?

  • MaidThis!: Typically, no. Guests understand that a rental needs cleaning. When we do see balk happen, it’s usually when the cleaning fee is a high percentage of the entire booking value. If your price-per-night is low and the minimum number of nights is low, it’s possible that a high cleaning fee could deter a guest. If you have a lower price-per-night, we would recommend you increase the minimum number of nights.

Finding a cleaner, whether it’s an individual or service, can work wonders not only on your property but on your time as well. You now have all the required tools and insight to make caring for your vacation rental a seamless streamlined experience. So go for it, begin the process towards hassle-free hosting.

Looking for more vacation rental tips and tricks? Try these posts:

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