It’s no secret that your profit has to outweigh your expenses if you want a successful business. So it’s a good idea to evaluate where your money is going from time to time.
While we usually focus on the upfront costs (i.e., buying a home, furnishing it, paying for booking sites, etc.), we often forget to consider utilities’ costs. Unfortunately, it’s one of those catch 22 deals. The more guests you get, the more money you make, and the more electricity will cost you that month.
With that in mind, what are some practical ways to cut back on your vacation rental utility bills? This article will discuss innovative ways to save money on utility bills and ultimately increase your vacation rental income.
If you’re conscious of your electric bill, there are steps you take at home to lower the cost. You might turn down the thermostat at night or put on an extra sweater to keep warm. Perhaps in the summer months, you avoid turning on the oven and opt to cook outside. I’m sure we’ve all heard this reminder from our parents growing up: “When you leave a room, turn off the lights!”.
On the other hand, you might be more considered about your water usage. Maybe we handle this problem at home by setting a timer for how long to shower, or only running the dishwasher when it’s completely full.
But are these realistic rules to set for our guests? No. Not only will it be hard for some guests to follow these rules, but it can come across as extremely unprofessional. Remember, your guests have paid a lot of money to stay at your property. They need to be comfortable while on their vacation. If they feel like you’re acting more like a budget-savvy dad than a host, they won’t leave good reviews and probably won’t book with you again.
What practical, professional steps can you take without sacrificing the comfort of your guests? For starters, consider updating your home. Initially, your cost upfront will rise, but you will save a lot of money in the long run.
What to update:
Your appliances. Look for Energy Star appliances. Be prepared to pay much more upfront for these energy-saving stoves, washers, and dryers, but know that they will save you a lot of money on your monthly utility bill.
Insulate your home. If your home isn’t insulated well, as is especially the case in older houses, you are throwing money away every time the AC or the furnace is on. The house will not stay cold or hot if the insulation isn’t doing its job. That means your AC or furnace will have to run longer and on a higher setting, and you’re left with a huge bill.
Invest in double-pane windows. It might surprise you to learn that many older houses only have single-pane windows. If that is the case with your vacation rental home, it’s time to update. A well-insulated house won’t help much if the warm air is let out, and inefficient windows let in the cold air.
Switch to LED lighting. Did you know that by simply changing over to LED lightbulbs, you can cut costs by 75%? While you’re at it, you can even opt for an LED TV. LED television sets use around 90 watts while plasma televisions use around 140 watts.
Install motion sensor lights. While you’re assessing your lightbulb situation, consider installing a motion sensor on your outdoor lights. That way, you only pay for the light that your guests need. Or, opt for solar-powered lights and don’t pay a thing.
Some homeowners have gone a step further and install motion sensors to the light in the house. That way, if no one is in the room, the lights will eventually turn off on their own.
Replace the showerheads. A low flow showerhead can significantly reduce the amount of water your guest needs for a relaxing shower. The small holed design allows less water to come through but at high pressure. Not only will this reduce your water bill, but it will reduce your electric bill because not as much water will need to be heated in the hot water tank.
Switch to low flow toilets. Most waste doesn’t need more than 1.6 gallons of water to flush, yet older toilets use three to seven gallons with every flush. If you’re not ready to make a big purchase, as an alternative, you could install a tank bag or adjustable flapper to diminish the amount of water used per flush.
Maintaining an Energy Efficient Home
Apart from the updates you make in your vacation rental home, regular maintenance can save you money on utilities as well.
Maintenance that saves you money:
Clean the coils behind your refrigerator. It would be best if you did it at least twice a year. When dust builds up on these coils, it can reduce their energy efficiency by 30%.
Change HVAC filters every month. When filters get filled with dust and grime, it forces your HVAC system to work harder and uses more energy.
Fix leaky faucets. If you’re not able to frequently visit the home, ask the housekeeper or maintenance manager to keep an eye out for small leaks. Not only are they wasting water, but they can cause excessive damage to your home.
Clean out the dryer vent. It might seem obvious, but a clogged dryer vent not only eats up electricity and leaves you with wet laundry, but it can even be a fire hazard. It should be done after each guest stays.
Check for cracks or broken seals around doors and windows once a year that could be counterproductive to your furnace or AC.
Unplug appliances and turn down the heat. If you don’t have any bookings for a few weeks, unplug all electronics (TVs, gaming consoles, coffee makers, etc.) and turn down the thermostat. Of course, if the weather is especially cold, you don’t want to turn the heat off entirely, or you could end up with frozen pipes. However, your utility bills will drop significantly by taking a few minutes to ensure energy isn’t wasted.
Use vacation rental management software
It’s complicated trying to manage all the tasks that come with owning a vacation rental property. If you find you’re running out of time and energy to invest in your vacation rental home, it might be time to switch over to using a vacation rental software system. Otherwise, you might start seeing reviews dropping, bookings decreasing, and expenses soaring. This is especially the case if you have to hire more help or outsource your work to someone else.
There are many benefits to automating your vacation rental business. These include:
Inviting your guests to book online with an interactive calendar. This system makes it simpler for guests and saves you a lot of time
Diminishing the chances of overbooking by syncing all reservations to a single calendar
Saving time by sending built-in email templates to confirm reservations, give entry instructions, and request reviews
Offering additional amenities and services to your guests such as guided tours or childcare to boost your revenue
Adjusting prices automatically during your peak season and slow season
Wrapping things up
You want to make the most profit from your vacation rental home, as is possible. A straightforward way to increase that income is to implement these necessary, energy-saving steps. Not only will they significantly reduce your utility bills, but you won’t have to sacrifice your guest’s comfort for savings.
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