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Family and Friends and Your Airbnb or VRBO – Vacation Rental Mailbag

Family & friends and your Airbnb or VRBO – How involved should they be? Can they come to visit whenever? Or as a host should you offer a limited number of buddy passes for family and friends?

If you do allow friends and family in your vacation rental should you charge them a cleaning fee? Or is it a night’s stay with no strings attached?

If you are the housekeeper can you have family and friends help with the turnover service? Or does that jeopardize your business reputation? 

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

Family and Friends and Your Airbnb

Family and Friends, Family Arriving for VisitToday, we’re going to be talking about family and friends and your Airbnb or Vrbo

Many owners on Airbnb wonder, “What about family and friends? Should we host family and friends at our Airbnb?”

Yes, you can have family and friends come to stay at your place, but there needs to be rules and boundaries in place.

Every Airbnb Owner has a Different Policy

Family and Friends, Messy Man PhoneNow, a lot of people will say, “Immediate family only gets to come to stay at my Airbnb.”

While other people will say, “All family and friends if we’re not booked”.

Then there are other people that work like the airlines do if you’re an airline employee.

They give eight buddy passes a year, any family and friends or anyone they want. But it’s limited to an eight-person travel package, so you could do something like that with your rental.

Do You Pay the Cleaning Fee for Your Friends and Family?

Family and Friends, Tired Woman CleaningAll right, that leads us to the next question. “If I have friends and family coming, and I’m going to comp the stay, do I also comp the cleaning fee?

Here’s what happens. When friends and relatives come to your house, you still have to clean the place. You have to clean it before they come and you have to clean it after they leave.

So, you end up going through the exact same process for cleaning as you would if it were any other guest.

Treat it as Any Other Guest


Family and Friends, Man Cleaning and Using PhoneSo, you still have to pay for the cleaning person to come in. They still have to do the damage report. They still have to do before and after pictures.

If your friends and relatives leave something behind, they have to spend the time and energy contacting those people.

You don’t want to get into a habit where you’re doing all this for free. So you might say, “You’re welcome to stay at my house, but you still have to pay the cleaning fee,” and still charge them the cleaning fee.

Charge Your Friends and Family the Cleaning Fee

Family and Friends, Broken TelevisionYou want to charge them the cleaning fee, and here’s the reason why. If they’re paying for something, they’re going to be more respectful of your space.

If you give them everything for free, including the cleaning, they might treat you like family. They might move in on top of you and leave all their stuff lying about, and food left out on the counters, and what have you. They might break something expensive, like a tv.

Then you’ve got this horrendous mess that you have to clean up, and they’ve paid you nothing for it. So you might say, “We don’t do our own cleaning. We hire that out. We’ve got to pay that either way, so that’s nonnegotiable.” There are strings attached because that prevents you from being taken advantage of as a host. It also prevents you from being taken advantage of as a house cleaner.

If You Want to Pay the Cleaning Fee

Family and Friends, Senior Couple on BeachNow, if you want to do it for free. Let’s say that it’s your parents, and you don’t want your parents to have to pay for the stay. And you don’t want them to have to pay for the cleaning.

You will be responsible for that, so either you clean it yourself or if you’re hiring your house cleaner, you pay them.

So either way, you look at it, this is a gift to them, okay? You’re either gifting the whole package, you’re charging them for the cleaning fee. Or you’re putting a limitation on the number of nights people can stay.

Can Family and Friends Help You with Turnover Service?

Family and Friends, House Cleaner Training New EmployeeOther owners wonder, “Can my sister come to help me do the turnover cleaning service so she can pick up days when I’m in school and I’m not able to do the turnover service?”

I can make most of the days, but I do have one class, and if the booking falls on a certain day, I can’t be there. Can my sister come to fill in for me?”

Letting Family Members Help Turnover Service is a Sticky Situation

Family and Friends, Upset Woman on PhoneAll right, that’s a sticky question, because I would love to say yes so that you can have it all covered. That way you know everyone is well taken care of.

But the answer is no, she cannot, unless she’s bonded and insured, and has been trained properly.

Because what happens, if you are the person the host is expecting, and you show up every day, and you do a specific type of work, it’s your reputation.

Your Family Doesn’t Work Exactly Like You

Family and Friends, House Cleaner Reading While Robot Vacuum CleansIf your sister comes, she might not be as thorough as you. We all know that two people do not work exactly alike, even if they’re related.

So she may come in, but she may skip things, or she may not be as thorough. But that is your business reputation on the line. And if your sister is representing you and she doesn’t meet the standards for whatever reason, you could lose the account and you could lose the job.

So, unless she works for you, she’s under your insurance policy, she’s been trained. Then the answer is no, you cannot do that. It would be the same as if you outsourced it to a third party. This would be someone that you hired that came to work for you. All those same rules and regulations apply, even if it’s your friends and family.

Don’t Bring Friends and Family on a Job

Business Card Rules and RegulationsSo, the answer is I wouldn’t bring friends and relatives along on a job. Unless you have proper clearance, because if something malfunctions on that property, and it can.

Then there are lawsuits. There are people getting fired. There are all kinds of problems that go on, and you’re like, “Well, it was my sister.”

It doesn’t matter. This is your business, and you’re acting as a paid service provider. So, if you bring another paid service provider on-site, they’ve got to follow all those rules and regulations.

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*** RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE ***

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – https://amzn.to/2UVVNyx

Million Dollar Host: Julie’s Airbnb Portfolio Earned Over A Million Dollars in Her First Year… Yours Can Too! – https://amzn.to/2YrvL8M

Get Paid for Your Pad: How to Maximize Profit from Your Airbnb Listing – https://amzn.to/2uvlgmV

How NOT to Airbnb: By the people who got it wrong first – https://amzn.to/2HHXRr0

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – https://amzn.to/2UZ12NY

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Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts

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