8 steps to convert any property into a successful AirBnb rental in Ecuador

This week I had the pleasure of acquiring a new condo in Guayaquil I plan to rent to short-stay clients.

It had been vacant for over 4 years and covered in filth.

The power was cut and the AC didn’t work (important in Guayaquil).  Neither did the hot water.

But the one bedroom suite did have the basics, a bed, mattress, TV, and sofa.

So literally, about 3 days and $400 later I was ready to rock. With websites like AirBnb you can turn any unused space (like a bedroom, or a vacant unit) into a money maker if you follow these steps.

1. Hire a professional to deep-clean the place and get the grime and mold out of the bathroom.  In Ecuador this means find someone who can clean real good and pay them the day rate $15-25.

2. After verifying the basic services are up like water and electric, focus your energy on three more ALL renters will require… Hot water, WiFi, and AC (on the coast).  Cable TV is a nice extra but not necessary.  This week I hired the Internet plan on Wednesday and they were installing on Thursday.

3. Change the door locks.  I suggest a keyless smart lock on the exterior door, one you can grant and deny access with on the click of a button starting available for around $100 at places like Target or Best Buy.  As for the interior doors, make sure they are all keyless bathroom-style door knobs, because your guests will close them and get locked out of the bedroom or bathroom.  It will happen, trust me.  And with any tiny screw driver like one you leave in a hidden location in the unit they can open the door. No key needed.

4. Put signs everywhere.  If you’ve ever stayed in one of my rentals you know I love to sign things up.  Sign up the suite indicating the WiFI code, hot water direction, how to call a taxi and anything else pertinent to their stay (so they don’t have to bother you).  Make it easy for them.

5. Accent color.  Like in my case with white walls everything was white and black in the suite so I just added one accent color (red).  Red sofa cushions, red (fake) roses, red bed cover, etc. And for very little money I gave the suite some pop.  Best not to have many bright colors.  Just one for some pop.  No need to be a major in interior design for this one.  But if you have access to someone with design background ask for assistance!

6. Include basic necessities.  I’m always surprised scouting my competition on AirBnb how many forget to put the basics like toilet paper causing bed reviews.  Think like a hotel.  People need toilet paper (try to put an extra one), towels, hand towels, and soap as well as hand soap.  That’s about it really. Start people off right and they’ll love you for it.

7. Must secure private space.  A space where only you and your cleaner/manager can access, this way you can store things like extra toilet paper, sheets and things you don’t want your guests to have full access to.  Can be as simple as putting a lock on one cabinet door.

8. Broken signs.  Maybe you have a washer and dryer you don’t want your one night guests to use.  I’ve found it useful to put “BROKEN- DO NOT USE” signs on things you don’t want your guests to use.  They won’t want to risk their clothes or whatever and will respect it.  And if you have a guest staying longer term you can tell them to simply ignore the signs and use it.

OK, now you’re ready in 3 days or less to post your unit in Ecuador on Airbnb.com and start making money! Check out this link to my new unit for rent near the airport and Mall del Sol in Guayaquil here. 

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Flying standby to Ecuador without getting bumped

Working near the airport I have a chance to converse daily with travelers who get bumped trying to fly standby to or from Ecuador.

Thing is, most international airlines like Delta, United or Copa only have one flight to and from Ecuador daily.

So especially in peak season chances of getting on your first try are slim.

Here’s what I’d do to greatly improve your chances…

1. Don’t fly during peak season in Ecuador which is July-August and late December to early April.

2. Bogota!  If you have trouble getting out of Quito try buying a cheap one way flight on the budget carrier Wingo for around $150 to nearby Bogota.  Your chances of then getting out of Bogota (a city of 10 million people with hoards of flights to match) are much greater.

3. Fly on Sundays.  From the flow of my airport hotel in Quito, I can tell you the lowest travelled days are often Sundays.

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How not to start a business in Ecuador

Recently, a friend started a pizza shop in Ecuador.

3 months later he was done and out of business.

Another friend just started an Italian restaurant.

He looks to be done within the month.

For me, what´s the key to starting a business that lasts no matter where you are in Ecuador?

Accommodations.

For instance, what if your passion and what you REALLY want to do is start a surf school, or a restaurant, or a yoga retreat center?

Then offer accommodations in the form of a vacation rentals-hotel-B&B and on the side offer the retreat center/restaurant/school.

People got to sleep somewhere, then they gotta eat. Then, they got to be entertained. Might as well all be with you. If you can give them a reason to stick around longer all the better.

This will keep you in business.

Hasta pronto, if you liked this sign up for my Ecuador Insider’s newsletter so you can check out my latest posts(not available online) on living and investing in Ecuador:

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