10 tips I’ve learned the hard way from 1 year of managing an AirBnb rental


I just passed the 14 month mark owning and managing rentals I promote primarily on AirBnb in Guayaquil. 

Previously, I had never done anything like it.

I’ve learned a lot.  Here’s a few things that first come to mind to help you keep your rental filled.

1. A little goes a long way.  Reading the reviews of my competition, I saw it’s actually easy to beat similarly-priced conpetition in your area, most of the other owners (especially in Ecuador) don’t care enough to include the basics like extra toilet paper, hand soap, hair dryers and extra hand wash clothes.  Details count. Think like a hotel.

2. Work the guard.  Preferibly have a rental in a building or gated community that has a 24 hr guard where you can leave the key/elevator card and who can help with basics like calling taxis.  This way, you will get ALMOST ZERO calls!  Better yet, I’ve learned the hard way (as there is no one to receive the key from outgoing guests) to put a door lock that has opens with a passcode you can reset after each guest.  Just email each guest the code of entry before they arrive.

3. Use signs.  Another great way to limit the amount of calls you get from frustrated guests (since you are not on-site) is to SIGN UP everything in the apartment like the WiFi code, how the hot water works and Cable and more. Also include a user guide with building and vicinity information.

4. Maintenance dude. Have a local maintenance guy you can call on demand to go fix things in the apartment when necessary. You pay per job, cheap in a place like Ecuador.

5. No small kids.  Deny people with large families and small kids. You just can’t trust it, too many moving parts or charge a higher deposit.  For a short rental its just not worth it.

6. Don’t accept walk ups!  Only accept people who book and pay ahead of time like through a site like AirBnb.  This way you verify their identity and have a certain go-between should something go array.  I’ve found people who pay with a credit card tend to be honest, reliable people compared to folks who pay in cash off the street for this type of rentals.

7. Reject short stays booked way in advance. Reject bookings for just one or two nights made months in advance!  Very important if you only have one or two units.  Learned this the hard way.  You don’t want to have to reject a month long booking because one night is booked half way through the month! Keep your options open.  Accept shorter bookings last minute only to fill your space.

8. High prices, big discount pricing.  To further deter shorter stays which tend to be less profitable and more hassle (without outright prohibiting them) set a HIGH nightly rate and offer LARGE discounts (like 40-50% is fine) for stays over a week or month which encourage longer stay guests and give them a “Oh, I got a deal” feeling.  And this way if you did get a shorter stay rental it ma be profitable enough to accept for you!

9. Find a local cleaner.  Find someone local who you can pay to go clean upon demand.  In Ecuador, I pay $15 to someone to go clean a one bedroom apartment I rent.

10. Reviews!  Let the client review you first on AirBnb, especially if you have something negative to say about them, cause once they review you, you review them and from what I see it is not editable by either side.

Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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1 Ecuador investment that beats the stock market

I’ve never been a fan of investing in the stock market.  

Especially now that it’s at record highs (terrible time to buy in).  

There’s just too much you or I don’t know, and too many others that know so much more.  

Instead, especially for a steady passive income I’d suggest to anyone it’s best to start a business in a place like Ecuador.

Like something new I’m looking into this week from Guayaquil.  

My 3-point formula is simple.  

1. Find a product or service you know well.

2. Someone local you can trust to manage or partner with who will front their time, all while you front the know-how to get started and capital.  

3. And about $5-10,000 only (you won’t be buying any property, just leasing).  Start with the basics, then scale up add equipment with the money you make in sales. 

Bonus tip: Ignore or selectively forget everything you learned in business school, where all they do is teach you to get analysis paralysis.  

Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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Top 3 scenic routes in Ecuador no one knows about

Working with tourists and new arrival expats in Ecuador on a daily basis at my hotel near the airport in Quito, It never ceases to amaze me how everyone comes to Ecuador for an adventure, thinks they are adventurous yet are quick to follow the same beaten path of everyone else. 

Same goes for when they rent cars and drive in Ecuador.  

For instance…

-From Quito to the coast, most go through Alaog-Santo Domingo- Chone.  Lame and dangerous (lots of trucks, traffic and landslides.) And for anyone who has passed through Santo Domingo, you know it’s a sh#t hole.  

1. Instead, go from Quito through Mindo, Los Bancos, and on to Pedernales (or cut down to Chone/Bahia).  Much more scenic, less traveled, no trucks, with nice pit-stops along the way like the middle of the world monument and Mindo.  (Almost takes the same amount of time, maybe one hour longer than S. Domingo route).

-From Quito to Guayaquil, most go once again through Santo Domingo and on down through Quevedo and Babahoyo.  

2. Instead, go from Quito through Latacunga on down through La Mana-Quevedo-Babahoyo.  The descent is breathtaking, be sure to do it in the daytime, and the road is good and there are almost no trucks or traffic.  

-From Quito to Cuenca most go straight down the pipe through Ambato, Riobamba then Alousi.  HORRIBLE way to go.  No places to eat.  Always foggy, very curvy and dangerous, lots of trucks.  

3. Instead, go the way NOBODY goes, but I just did, and it was great.  Go from Quito to Ambato, then on to Banos then on to Puyo in the Amazon region and on down to Macas and then over to Cuenca.  Took about the same amount of time as the normal route mentioned above (7-8 hrs), yet NO traffic, NO trucks and NO fog.  Plus, much better scenery and more good food options along the way.  The road is new, great and straight for most of the way!  For a long time the road was bad so I think that is why most Ecuadorians don’t use it.  You can even see orchids along the sides of the roads as you go. 

Now you too can go the road less traveled by in Ecuador.  

Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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