Cleaning services for vacation rentals

Managing Vacation Rental Cleaning: Best Apps & Services

Despite the increasing number of travelers choosing vacation rentals as a more homely alternative to hotels, their expectations don’t differ when it comes to cleanliness.

Some of the most common negative reviews of short-term stays and other alternative accommodation derive from the guest’s dissatisfaction with cleanliness standards. In other words, as a host, you need to start considering the value of professional cleaning services for your rental property because what you might think sparkling clean in your own house simply won’t cut it with guests.

Short-term renting goes hand in hand with a high guest turnover – and a requirement for deep cleaning after every check-out. But, for many owners, a vacation rental business is a side hustle and not their full-time day job. So, how do you stay on top of all these rental property cleaning tasks to ensure you always meet guest expectations? You hire a vacation rental cleaner!

Whether you’re looking for a vacation rental cleaning app or you’re ready to hire the perfect cleaner, we’ve got you covered. The process can be lengthy, but you can feel confident knowing that your vacation property cleaning is under control by following these tips.

Prioritize

What needs to be cleaned most frequently? Easy: everything that’s on display. Even if you’re not going to have guests in the next few days, you need to ensure that whatever people can see from the outside is spotless. This includes the garden, windows and anything else of this nature. Once inside, you need to go over all the basics, such as floors and other surfaces that guests will notice upon entering your property.

Vacation rental cleaning service

If you’re planning to only hire a cleaner for biweekly cleaning or not for the entire space, then you need to list your priorities. Entryways or frequented areas are essential spaces and should be treated as such if you have to be selective about your vacation home cleaning.

Use cleaning apps for your vacation rental

To suit different owners’ needs, there is a wide variety of cleaning services that you can request for your vacation rental. These can range from simple, ordinary tasks like making the beds, changing towels and cleaning toilets to more specific and tricky ones like cleaning mirrors and fixtures or removing carpet stains.

Now that the market has grown so much, there is a wide choice of professional vacation rental cleaners. That means knowing where to look for the right service providers can be confusing.

Vacation rental cleaning apps

The eight apps we list below will help you quickly find experienced cleaning staff for your property. Each app easily lets you book and customize all of the cleaning services you need for your vacation rental property.

1. TurnoverBnB

TurnoverBnB allows owners to create automated cleaning schedules and enjoy completely hands-free management. Thanks to its integration with major booking platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com and Vrbo, owners can automatically schedule turnovers based on bookings and available time between one guest checking out and the following checking in. 

Owners can easily manage and communicate with existing cleaners or use the marketplace feature to find professional vacation rental cleaners in their area. The platform also provides automated payments and tracking records of completed jobs.

Currently available in: U.S. and Canada

Available on: Android and IOS

2. Properly

Two key strengths of the Properly app are visual interaction and real-time management. Owners can create visual instructions with a photo-based cleaning checklist to be as straightforward as possible and ensure the final result matches their expectations.

From their side, vacation cleaners can send real-time pictures to report possible damages and problems discovered during turnovers or simply provide owners with a last-minute update on the cleaning status. Connection with listing sites, automatic cleaning scheduling and a marketplace for cleaning professionals to complete their offer.

Currently available in: U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, France

Available on: Android and IOS

3. MaidThis

MaidThis consider themselves to be a “matchmaking agency” for California vacation rental owners and service providers. They screen and refer reliable, trustworthy and high-quality vacation cleaners to short-term rental properties. Their website even has a dedicated section for Airbnb cleaning, which shows the specific booking process and cleaning scheduling for owners. The cleaners provide all their own material and are proven experts at rental cleaning.

Currently available in: Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco, California

Available on: Android and IOS

4. Handy

While vacation rental cleaning might not be its core business, the Handy platform represents an excellent option for organizing your property cleaning. It provides affordable pricing, the chance to reschedule, send messages to cleaners (and even tip them) through your smartphone and relies on 24/7 customer service.

Besides vacation rental cleaning services, it also offers handyperson services, smart device installation and much more. Pre-screened and independent professionals perform all household services.

Currently available in: Various parts of the U.S., Canada and UK locations

Available on: Android and IOS

5. Airtasker

Airtasker is a trusted Australian community platform that pairs people who need to outsource tasks and find local services with those who are ready to start work and earn money. They have a dedicated section for cleaning where owners can select their room numbers and type of cleaning requests to receive an instant quote for their vacation rental cleaning service.

After posting a cleaning task, you receive an offer from a “tasker.” You can then review their profile and decide whether to accept or not. Over 2 million people in Australia already use it.

Currently available in: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Singapore, U.S. and UK locations

Available on: Android and IOS

6. Doinn

Doinn is a very interesting platform specifically designed to offer housekeeping for vacation rentals. It boasts a number of features that are useful for property managers, such as calendar synchronization through iCal, API integration with vacation rental listing sites and specific “instruction fields” for vacation cleaners regarding detailed topics such as storage space, specific requests, keys and stock replacement.

They also created specific features for property managers allowing them to receive separate billings for each property and doing a bulk import of properties through Excel.

Currently available in: Portugal, Spain, UK, France, U.S. and parts of Latin America

Available on: Android and IOS

Make a list for guests pre-checkout

Outside of a good cleaning service, you can reduce the amount of work by having your guest take part in the cleaning process. Don’t be afraid to ask guests to perform a few simple vacation rental cleaning tasks before they lock the door and leave your property after their stay. But be careful not to overwhelm them with too many tasks that will make them feel like they are working – or worse – doing your job for you.

Creating this list involves noting down tasks that will make the process easier for both you and your guests. It will also allow you to prepare your home even more quickly for the next incoming guests.

Vacation rental cleaning guests

Some ideas to consider adding to your guest pre-checkout list are:

  • Return any furniture to its original location
  • Throw away any open/half-eaten food items from the fridge
  • Load and run the dishwasher
  • Leave towels in the laundry basket
  • Take out trash or leave it in the desired location
  • Check drawers to make sure no valuables are left behind
  • Shut all the doors and windows
  • Turn off lights and unplug small electrical appliances

Add any other elements that are specific to your property and if your guests follow these steps correctly, remember to send them an email or a thank you message.

Offset costs by including a cleaning fee in the deposit

For a lot of online travel agencies, like Airbnb or Vrbo, a cleaning fee is included in the total price. You pay taxes and fees for every purchase you make, so why should vacation property cleaning be the exception? 

Hiring a professional cleaner for your vacation rental can get quite expensive, so a cleaning fee can easily help to cover some of these costs. If you’re worried about vacation rental cleaning price or just trying to save money, reducing the overall price tag of some of these expenses, like charging a cleaning fee, might be a good place to start.

It’s a win-win. Your guests want a spotless stay and by adding a cleaning fee, they will get just that while also seeing the price breakdown making it clear that the extra cost goes towards sanitation.

Clean on the green side

Why not help the environment at your rental, too? Planet Earth will thank you, and you’ll earn brownie points from your guests for worrying about the environment and actively doing something to protect it!

Vacation rental cleaning products

There are plenty of ecologically friendly cleaning and maintenance-related things you can do at your vacation rental. When you’re looking to hire a cleaning service for your vacation rental, filter for environmentally conscious companies. In the early stages of hiring a cleaner, you can ask if they use eco-friendly products and if they have a recycling program already in place.

Hire the perfect vacation rental cleaners

To provide the best possible experience for your guests, we highly recommend hiring a maid to clean vacation rentals and using a cleaning checklist instead of doing the job yourself. Not only are you working under a strict schedule if you have guests checking out and others checking in on the same day, but there’s an art to cleaning a home well.  

Apps are a useful place to start, but ultimately the goal is to have a vacation rental cleaning service that takes the stress out of the process. By hiring the perfect vacation rental cleaners, your business will run much more smoothly. 

Figure out what’s right for your business

Start by asking yourself what type of short-term rental cleaning services your property needs. If you have a smaller one-bedroom apartment, the most affordable option might be to hire an independent cleaner who sets their own rates. 

On the other hand, if you’re renting out a 5-bedroom house or multiple properties, your best bet might be to look for a larger cleaning company. Because all their employees are bonded and insured, you won’t have to worry about strangers coming into your home. If you’re juggling several properties, the advantage of hiring a company is that someone else is managing the schedule of the cleaners.

Both options have their pros and cons, but the important thing is to analyze what is right for your specific business. Once you have that clear, you can start the hunt for the perfect vacation rental cleaners! 

Find an affordable rental cleaning service

The cost of cleaning your vacation home will vary depending on the size and location. While it’s likely that you’ll pay more than you would for a typical house cleaning, these fees are usually covered by your guests. That said, it’s important to find an affordable, good cleaning service so that you don’t lose potential clients. 

To better understand what other vacation rentals charge for their cleaning services, look for similar listings nearby on OTAs like Airbnb and Booking.com. 

Maid for vacation rental

If you’re thinking of discarding the option of hiring a cleaning service because you think you can do the job yourself and save money, be aware that vacation rentals require frequent deep cleaning. Is it profitable for you to spend countless hours a week cleaning your vacation home during peak season? Do you have enough experience or skill to provide proper cleaning? 

If you’re not ready to dedicate a lot of time and effort to clean your property, we recommend hiring a professional. This will allow you to focus on other important tasks like marketing

Ask questions

Once you’ve gathered a few options, the next step is to thoroughly interview potential cleaners or companies. By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to find the best fit for your vacation rental(s). Ask what services they offer, what their rates are like, and whether they offer a guarantee. 

Here are some questions you can ask your potential cleaners during an interview: 

  1. What is your experience with cleaning vacation rentals? 
  2. How many people are on your cleaning team?
  3. What are your rates for emergency cleaning services? 
  4. Can you provide additional services such as cleaning the inside of the fridge, washing linens, sanitizing all surfaces, and stocking toiletries? 
  5. Who will provide the cleaning supplies? 
  6. Is there a satisfaction guarantee included? 
  7. What happens if there is a missing item or damaged property?

The more questions you prepare, the better chance you have of finding cleaners that suit your needs. Managing a vacation rental business can be quite chaotic when it comes to last-minute bookings or cleaning emergencies so it’s important that you really trust your cleaning staff.

Manage turnover of cleaning personnel

When working in the vacation rental industry, hosts are constantly bombarded with the importance of satisfying their guests. Most people don’t think about how necessary it is to also keep their cleaning staff happy to reduce personnel turnover. 

Build a relationship with your cleaning staff

According to an ADP survey, the main reason employees quit a job is their relationship with their direct manager. As a vacation rental owner, you have the opportunity to get to know the people who work for you. By nurturing the relationships you have with your staff, you can help your vacation rental grow in the right direction.

Remember that being clear about your cleaning expectations eliminates problems in the future. Ensure they know which areas they should pay special attention to; how they should leave furniture; which cupboards certain things belong in, etc. Clear up any doubts they might have about cleaning and maintaining your vacation rental before their first job so that no stone is left unturned and the potential for miscommunication is minimized.

Vacation property cleaning

Encourage open communication, transparency, and respect between all employees. Far too many owners disregard their cleaning staff because they don’t understand how crucial they are to the success of their business. If you have the chance, talk to your cleaning staff in person and learn more about each other. 

Create a pleasant work environment

Studies by Talent Works show that a positive work environment decreases employee turnover by up to 58%. That said, creating an enjoyable work environment is beneficial to everyone involved. Not only will your staff be more productive and loyal, but you’ll also be able to avoid the stress that comes with frequently losing employees. 

While there are many ways to improve a work environment, you can start by focusing on positive reinforcement, listening to your employees, and correctly managing workloads. If you have the time, satisfaction surveys can be a very useful tool for analyzing what changes need to be made.

If you want to go a few steps further, bi-monthly gatherings or celebrations are a great way to establish a strong workplace culture. By inviting your entire staff out for drinks or a group dinner, you’ll create special bonds between the group. 

Think about cleaning when furnishing your vacation rental

Anticipate any issues by thinking about what will be more likely to get dirty or which things will need more maintenance (which you’d hope to avoid!). For example, don’t add lots of ornaments or trinkets around the house, as they will get dusty easily and will be an annoyance that slows down cleaning staff. 

Additionally, think about adding elements that will help protect furniture and surfaces from damages, such as table covers or waterproof mattress protectors. By minimizing potential mess, you provide more time for your cleaning personnel to focus on other, more important areas of the home.

Carry out a deep clean at least twice a year

When your high season is about to begin or end, be sure to carry out a thorough check of your vacation rental when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. There are plenty of things that need to be reviewed regularly, although with less frequency than other, more visible aspects.

Vacation rental deep clean

Think big and remember to check things such as the rubber seals or grouting in between your bathroom tiles, the backyard irrigation system, the inside of all of your house’s drawers and any possible dripping tap. With these general reviews, nothing should be overlooked.

This process isn’t as easy as it seems and that’s why we’ve created a list of the most important elements to pay attention to when undergoing a deep clean of your rental!

Plan for the future

Inspect all of the things that are in good condition now, but that will need to be replaced in the short or mid-term. For example, if your bedding is losing its crisp-white newness, then it might look dirty regardless of how many times you wash them. Making a clear distinction between what needs to be cleaned or replaced will save you money and time in the long run. 

Planning vacation rental cleaning

Prepare these changes to your home every time it will be vacant for a few days or weeks. You can leave all beds without bedding, empty the refrigerator so nothing can expire inside, and store any decor that could collect dust. The deeper the clean the more expensive it’s going to be, so make sure you’re reducing the costs of your pre-peak season clean by preparing in the off times. 

Focus on more important tasks

Hiring the right short-term rental cleaning service can be transformational for your vacation rental business. Not only will you ensure a pristine rental experience for your guests, but you’ll also save a lot of time by hiring a professional to do the job.

You can be even more efficient by using vacation rental software that allows you to manage your team’s tasks from one centralized platform. Using a task management tool means you can assign tasks to different members of your team and receive notifications once they’ve been completed. You’ll be able to oversee all the assignments while your cleaning staff automatically receives the necessary information on check-in or check-out times. Because you’ll be saving a significant amount of time, you can start directing your energy towards other essential duties within your vacation rental business!

What do you think about this article?

  1. It is interesting that there really is an app for most things now. My wife and I have been looking for residential property management for a rental property that we have. It is cool because you can have the management much easier within one platform.

  2. Hey Jess – super helpful article, thank you! I’m currently trying to decide between Handy and Hux. Do you have a preference? I’m a new host so I’m still trying to figure all this out. Thanks!

  3. That’s a wonderful list of cleaning apps. Even when you are dealing with vacation rentals, cleaning is very important. The people who are taking your vacation rental services should get a clean and comfortable place. Thank you very much for sharing this!

  4. Hi Jess, great job on summarizing key features of the vacation rental cleaning software. Our company’s housekeeping app. Taskaim.com is another key player in this area. It is a matchmaking agency for vacation rental owner/managers and cleaning companies, it integrates booking websites to cleaning schedules, offers photo-based cleaning check list, automates communications, etc. I’d love to connect with you to tell you more about our app.

  5. Thanks for writing this article! I didn’t know that apps were available to connect vacation rental owners to cleaning professionals like me! We just started focusing our house cleaning business on vacation rentals in the Daytona Beach area. But because this niche is kinda new our website, daytona-beach-vacation-rental-cleaners.com hasn’t gotten much organic traffic. I’m going to look into connecting with home owners on these apps – at least the ones that are local. Thanks again for compiling all this information! You’re awesome!

  6. I am glad that the rental owners can request a bunch of different cleaning services. This allows them to get a customized cleaning routine. That would encourage me as a renter to stay at that place.

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