Using A Property Management Consultant To Grow Your STR Business

In this Boostly podcast episode, Ron Curtis from Wavy Stays shares his journey in the lucrative short-term and midterm rental industry. Starting with a remarkable $50,000 booking request, Curtis highlights the financial benefits of property management. Based in Washington D.C., his company manages operations for property investors, emphasizing the importance of systems, processes, and teamwork for success. His personal story transitions from financial challenges to creating a thriving business, underscoring the significance of passive income and strategic investments.

Β Host Liam Carolan explores Curtis's challenges, strategies, and the critical role of data in optimizing property listings. Curtis advises aspiring entrepreneurs to overcome fear and seize the rental business's opportunities, emphasizing the industry's support system for newcomers.

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Timestamps (audio)


[00:00:00] Ron: I woke up this morning to a 50, 000 booking request. Somebody wanted to book a property for a whole year, right? Can you imagine how much easier life would be if somebody else was paying your rent or your mortgage for a whole year?

[00:00:13] So, um, I'll close it on that. And I'll show the screenshot just so everybody knows.

[00:00:19] I like to do this sometimes. I woke up this morning. And these were all of the requests that came in.

[00:00:24] Having a blast, gonna get it on the Boostly podcast. Boostly like Bruce Lee, cause it's so hard and the T is loose leaf. Making up those rhymes, don't write it, just do it loosely. If you want my respect, you better book directly.

[00:00:37] Mmm, here are the words in the podcast, that's what comes next.


[00:00:40] Liam: Hi, welcome back to the Boostly podcast. The podcast gives you the tools, the tactics, the training, and most of all, the confidence. So you can go out there and get more direct bookings. My name is Liam Carolan, and this is the Boostly podcast and the behind the host section of this podcast, where we interview hosts from all over the world, this has been great fun to do because we find out about their systems, their processes, what they do in their business, which works well, so you can learn it and do it in your business as well, or perhaps even reach out to some of these awesome business owners and, uh, you know, connect and, uh, network is what we recommend.

[00:01:16] So. Today, we've got Ron Curtis. He's from Wavy Stays. Um, he's from over in the U S and we're going to dive into aspects like co-hosting systems, and all of that cool stuff. So welcome along, Ron. Thank you for joining me today.

[00:01:32] Ron: Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Business elevator pitch

[00:01:35] Liam: So first of all, can you give your business like an elevator pitch?

[00:01:38] What is it that your business does? Where in the world, is all that

[00:01:41] Ron: stuff. I agree. So my name is Ron Curtis. I'm based out of Washington D. C. I have a property management consultant business called Wavy stays that specializes in short-term and midterm rentals. And what I pretty much do, is I run the entire day-to-day operations for my investors and business owners for a small percentage of the profits of the daily day-to-day activities of the business.

[00:02:04] I can run this business anywhere in the world as long as I have access to cleaners and a Wi-Fi connection.

How Ron got started

[00:02:11] Liam: Why do you do this? What do you enjoy about hosting and how did you get started?

[00:02:16] Ron: Uh, so the thing that I love about hosting is the time freedom that it affords me. Uh, in the United States, we live in a debt-wealth society.

[00:02:24] So a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck. And I'm a firm believer that having one stream of income is too close to none. So one reason why I have a passion for this, uh, it allows me to not only incorporate additional streams of income and revenue, uh, to my life, but it also allows me to help my business partners and investors to pay off their mortgages, pay their rent, um, pay their utilities, et cetera, and also profit and create an additional stream of income for them as well.

[00:02:52] Why

[00:02:53] Liam: did you start in this and just take me back to how that happened?

[00:02:56] Ron: Okay, um, so pretty much I graduated college and went to a 4-year university in Virginia in the United States. After I got out of college, I pretty much got 10 K and a credit card debt. From living at home, my parents did not have too much overhead and I was just going out partying, travelling, and having fun.

[00:03:13] Uh, from that I got myself out of credit card debt. I started a credit repair business. I started helping friends and family get out of credit card debt as well. And then I kind of fell in love with the idea of passive and residual income. The reason is because of the way that the credit card system or credit repair business was set up.

[00:03:32] Uh, I was getting paid out monthly on a subscription-based service based on work that I was completing prior. So, what it did, it allowed me to see, uh, the concept of, you know, doing the work 1 time, doing a great job, and getting paid consistently from those, uh, actions. Uh, so from that, from learning the credit game, learning how to leverage credit, uh, because I did not have access to that much capital, I started researching first-time home buyer programs such as NACA.

[00:03:58] And I started researching house hacking, right? So, uh, to sum up the story, I was able to purchase about a 420, 000 home in Washington, D. C., and I leveraged credit and first-time homebuyer programs where I only spent 3, 700 out of my pocket to get it. And then, um, I turned my basement into a short-term rental, which pretty, pretty much supplements and covers my mortgage.

[00:04:20] And I took that same business model and cookie-cut it across multiple properties all over the world, um, including Mexico.

[00:04:27] Liam: Just, uh, for the listeners and myself, how many units are you currently looking after at the moment?

[00:04:32] Ron: Um, currently I manage 20 properties. I own one and I'm co-hosting 19 others all across the United States.

[00:04:38] Liam: Wow. I mean, that is, uh, that does take some work. So who helps you with this? Do you have a team or is it just yourself? Uh,

[00:04:45] Ron: so, uh, I'm the CEO of the business. I do have a team. I like to leverage people, systems, and, um, processes to run my business. I have a team of virtual assistants. I have handymen. I have cleaners.

[00:04:58] I have operations managers. Um, I have a 24 seven-customer service team and also have a pricing manager. So, uh, right now, if you look at it, it's just me. I'm the orchestrator and I have, you know, people in different markets helping me run the business remotely.

Advice for those getting started

[00:05:13] Liam: What advice would you have for somebody who wants to get started with kind of that team building, because there must've been a first hire, right?

[00:05:20] Who was the person you go to, do you know what, this is the first person to get, or looking back, would it have been different? Um, a different kind of, when I say person, a different role I had first.

[00:05:31] Ron: Um, right now, I think the 1st person that I hired was probably like a cleaner operations manager. Um, and that's when I had my properties.

[00:05:38] The majority of my properties are based in the Washington D. C. area. Uh, and I'm really big on replicating myself. I can't be in 10 places or 10 properties at once. So 1 of the 1st people that I hire. Was an on-the-ground operations manager who oversees oversaw the cleanings. Um, I promoted a lead cleaner and made her more of a supervisor and she was kind of my eyes when I was not there to check on the properties for me.

[00:06:01] Liam: Well, what has been the biggest challenge so far? So, just before answering that question, how long Um, have you been now replicating that model and what has been the biggest challenge for you so far?

[00:06:14] Ron: All right, so I got my first booking on September 1st, 2021. So I've been doing this part-time.

[00:06:19] I have a full-time job. I work for the D. C. Government. Um, and I would say the biggest challenge is managing expectations. And when I say that, when you're a co-host, you not only have to manage the guest's expectations when they arrive at the property and during their stay, but you also have to manage your host's expectations, right?

[00:06:35] You have a lot of different hosts. So I have hosts that, you know, they're going to buy a property and throw me the key and say, Ron, do your thing. And then you'll have hosts that are micromanaging, peeking over your shoulder, double replying to messages after you just responded to a guest inquiry. So I'm learning how to just be one neutral person with everybody and, uh, being able to please not only your guests who, you know, supplement the bookings, but also your owners who you're partnered with, you know, managing their properties for

[00:06:59] Liam: them.

[00:06:59] How do you, um, are there any coping mechanisms you, you use for kind of dealing with people at different sort of stages and, and different characters,

[00:07:09] Ron: I guess. Um, so one of the things that I've learned in my two-year tenure so far is the first thing all money is in good money. Um, at this point, I can kind of when I'm on board in a new client, I can kind of feel them out based on the questions that I asked them and based on their temperament.

[00:07:26] Uh, and I think that's something you have to do, especially when you first start, you're just trying to sign as many deals. You don't care if the person's a cringe client or not. You're trying to get your foot in the door. And once you get in there, you understand how the business works and you understand the value that you bring.

[00:07:41] You won't settle for things that don't fit your business. So. One kind of model that I try to use when it comes to this is it's just business, nothing personal, right? Anytime a guest has an issue, they can be yelling at you, cussing at you, et cetera. Don't take it personally. It's just business and vice versa with the host.

[00:07:59] So, um, got to take a deep breath sometimes and then, you know, think about it and process your response and do it that way.

How do you know which location works?

[00:08:05] Liam: So when you're looking at taking on these, these properties, how do you know which locations work? Is there any kind of software or any kind of thing that you use? Or is it just, do you have a process where you meet the client and look at their home?

[00:08:19] First of all, talk, talk us through that.

[00:08:21] Ron: Yeah, so I'm a real big numbers guy. I'm big on data. Um, in my previous role at an other D. C. organization, I was a senior data analyst. Um, I used to manage systems and things of that nature. So I can speak data and I know that data drives everything. So, 1 of the most important team members on my team is my pricing manager for my finance department.

[00:08:42] And the reason being is because all we do in this business is sell nights. I ask hosts all the time. What do we do? Oh, we sell an experience. We sell hospitality. We sell. No, we sell nights. Right? So my main goal is to make sure that each night is priced as competitively as possible specific to your market.

[00:09:01] A lot of times I have hosts who come to me who already have Airbnbs up and running and they don't they don't know why they have bookings and I'll do a market analysis for them. I'll do some listing optimization and SEO. And before you know it, they start getting all these bookings, right? Um, so that's what I use.

[00:09:18] I use different pricing software. Um, just to not name drop I use air dna price labs Um, there's a lot of different other software that you can use and I also leverage Facebook groups, especially when I go to markets that I'm not familiar with. I've never been to. And when there are slow seasons and droughts, I'll go look and I say, oh, okay.

[00:09:37] My data support was going on in the market based on everybody else complaining. So data is a big thing for me when it comes to determining. You know where to invest or if this market is even good to invest in. The one thing that

[00:09:49] Liam: I'm going to take away from this podcast is just not to underestimate the power of, first of all, the opportunity, you know, like actually seeing the opportunity and not seeing the problems because too many people see obstacles instead of the opportunities.

[00:10:02] And also that co-hosting model is just a great way, as you say, I'm going to remember that. If I can get 10 per cent of other people's watermelons, and then I can buy my own, and that's exactly a great way to, um, to think about it that ultimately help others to improve their pockets. At the same time, you can then bring in income to buy your invest and do whatever you want to do.

[00:10:24] So that's cool. Any last things to share before we go or any closing remarks?

[00:10:31] Ron: Yeah, so if anybody's out there on the fence about Airbnb, you know, whether they want to get into it or not, whether they have properties that they're interested in renting, um, I would say like, don't be fearful, right? A lot of us suffer from analysis paralysis.

[00:10:46] Um, I would say jump off the porch and take their risk. The worst thing that can happen is you can make some money. If you're worried about your home getting damaged, they do have air cover for hosts that protect you in certain situations. Um, and if you have no idea what you're doing, you can, you know, reach out to people like me who are in the business, are in the industry that can help guide you, right?

[00:11:04] Um, none of us want to work till we are 60, 70 years old and retire. Uh, this is a great way to buy back your time and make money every single day. I woke up this morning to a 50, 000 booking request. Somebody wanted to book a property for a whole year, right? Can you imagine how much easier life would be if somebody else was paying your rent or your mortgage for a whole year?

[00:11:27] So, um, I'll close it on that and I'll show the screenshot just so everybody knows. Um, I like to do this. Sometimes I woke up this morning. And these were all of the requests that came in nicely. And then the one at the top says 50, 000. So it's good to wake up to stuff like that. Um, and it kind of changes your perception of how you can make money.

[00:11:48] So that's,

[00:11:49] Liam: that's what I'll leave with a hundred per cent. And what a great way, to bring it to a close. Thank you so much for your time today. If you're listening to this on the podcast and you want to come and discuss more things, all, all things, hospitality do bear in mind. There is a. Facebook group called The Hospitality Community.

[00:12:05] Everybody's welcome there. Free Facebook group where you can talk about anything hospitality-related. All you need to go on Facebook and search hospitality community. That's it from me. Thank you for, uh, your attention today and uh, we'll see you on the next one. Bye for now. I'm having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee

[00:12:20] Ron: podcast.

[00:12:21] Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tees, loosely making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.