Hurricane Season is here…and Live the Gulf Coast has you Covered!
As always, we hope that we don’t have to enact any of these procedures, but history tells us preparation is the key to success. If you weren’t with us last year or are curious of how we handle things: here are some of our procedures and processes in the event a storm is approaching.
We will start communications to you between 3-5 days of any named Tropical storm or hurricane with updates of our preparations and storm details. Please note that in case there is an evacuation, guests will be leaving abruptly in the middle of their stay or coordinating with us on the safest move based on the storms specifics.
We will go into your home and conduct the following task list:
Verify all windows and doors have been shut to the best of our ability, empty out all refrigerator/freezer, remove all leftover trash from inside home.
Secure and/or bring in all outdoor furniture inside, store away grill and extra propane, completely remove any existing trash, Store away all empty trash cans and when applicable, turn off pool motors if possible (we don’t want debris running through the system). We will also load extra chlorine/salt into the pools, upon request, to keep them from turning green which will help in the recovery process.
*It is important to consider and understand that we are not a hurricane protection company and we do not guarantee the securement of any home. We will not be held liable for any damages that occur to any property.
If you have hurricane shutters or if you want to board up your property, we advise you to bring all needed materials from home, as price gouging happens in our area almost immediately for these items.
We will continue to communicate to you throughout the storm via email. Once the storm has passed and we are allowed to return to the beach, our management team will meet in person. Each representative will then be assigned to go to specific properties. Once the management representative is at your specific property, they will call you directly to give you an assessment. We then conduct the following inspection list:
Check on electricity (essential in our order of operations to determine if it’s ready to be put back on the rental market), any leaks that are coming through the ceiling, check on whether there is damage to the floors from flooding.
We will check if there is any visible damage to the roof, if the dryer vent is clogged with debris from the storm, if there are any trees that pose a liability and will need to be removed, check on exterior windows, whether the lanai is still secure, whether the downspouts are secure- these can come loose and swing, whether fences are damaged or knocked over, etc.
If there is any damage that would fall under a homeowners insurance claim we will take pictures and assist in your claim process. This is a quick rundown of what to expect, but if you are interested in learning more about our Hurricane Protocol, feel free to reach out to us at any time!
Newest Accounting Updates
Accounting Update: September 10, 2022
There has been a lot of confusion about a suspicious email some homeowner’s received yesterday evening. It mentions a payment sent from Live the Gulf Coast (See Example Below). This email IS NOT a spam email. In our newsletter this month, we mentioned that we are partnering with an Accounting Firm(Thuro Accounting) that specializes in optimizing Vacation Rental company’s trust accounting books(most of their clients have 200+ Homes on their program).
One of the benefits of using Thuro accounting is their ability to assist in our End of Month process that gets you, the owner, paid faster and will increase quality control.
We were slated to “Go Live” with Thuro’s new payout system starting next month(your September payment) Unfortunately, when connecting the two systems yesterday(Sept 9, 2022), they automatically merged the software’s pre-maturely.
DEPOSITING YOUR PAYMENT HOW TO:
A) Don’t mark this email as SPAM.
B) Click “View Deposit Options”
A) Select Instant or Manual Bank Verification
B) You will be prompted to verify your bank account either with Instant or Manual Verification.
If you are having trouble finding the payment enrollment email that Live the Gulf Coast has sent, please have them search for email@example.com in their email. This will help them locate the payment enrollment email.
Once you attach your bank account, you will receive your ACH payment. After this initial setup and ACH payment, you, the owner, will not need to enter banking information again unless you need to change your bank account.
Accounting Update: September 9, 2022
We have some exciting new updates in our accounting department that will ensure you are paid faster, statements are easier to read, and your books are adhering to the strictest trust-based accounting principles.
As we continue to grow, our table of advisors has grown as well. As of June 2022, we have partnered with an industry-leading accounting firm that will help take us to the next level. Not only have they managed companies 10x our size, but their knowledge of our software allows us to spend time doing what we do best: facilitating vacations and managing your home. All while our accounting team keeps an eye on all of the financial moving parts.
Based on feedback from our Owner’s and our new accounting team, we have made some changes to monthly statements to get you paid FASTER!
Here’s our updated End of Month Schedule:
- All Work Orders: Recorded and posted by 30th of each accounting period(month)
- Preliminary Statements Reviewed/Approved by Property Managers: On the 1st of the following month
- Preliminary Statements sent to Owners: 2nd of the following month
- Owner Review Period: 2 business days from receipt of statement
- Final Statement will be sent after the 2 day Review Period
- Pay Owners: 5th or no later than the 8th of the Month (if it falls on a Thursday, Weekend or Holiday)
- Owners receive Payment: Starting on the 8th, but no later than the 15th (depending on each owner’s individual bank)
We have tested this with a few of our properties and will be making this our official Accounting Process beginning Sept. of 2022.
Lastly, our latest changes in owner’s statements have been a big hit over the last few months. They are easier to follow, clearer YTD information, and extra detail added for each work order.
Here is an example of the newest format:
If you have any questions, please contact your dedicated property manager for additional details about your specific home.
8 Reasons to Love our Linen Program
At Live the Gulf Coast we are continuously striving to bring only the best quality experience to our guests. In this effort, we are proud to announce that we now offer a professional linen service for all of our vacation rental properties. This luxury amenity can now be enjoyed in all our properties. It provides the guest with freshly laundered, high-quality linens that are in place and ready for use upon arrival. These high-quality linens are washed in a commercial setting using the latest and best technology.
This new service should eliminate the need to bring any personal sheets, towels, or other linens for your stay. Rest easy knowing that the highest quality bedding, bath towels, washcloths, and kitchen amenities will be in place upon arrival. Eliminate worry, free up luggage space, and relax knowing that everything is already taken care of for you. End your stay with the same confidence—nothing to wash, dry, fold or pack into your car or suitcase to carry home. We’ve got you covered!
1. Clean Linens make for Happier Guests
A study was conducted by VRMA(Vacation Rental Managers Association) regarding linen quality and guests overwhelmingly (72%) said that a vacation rental’s linens and their cleanliness are the single most important detail that determines the quality of their stay. Improper handling of linens can make a property seem dirty and unsanitary. Residential washers and dryers, and over the counter laundry soaps are not the proper way to care for transient accommodations linens. The State of Florida has laws governed by the Health Department that have strict rules regarding water temperature, soaps, and sanitization needed for proper laundering of linens used in transient accommodations.
That is why all linens, upon check-out, are sent to Live the Gulf Coast’s laundry facility for proper laundering and care. All linens go through thorough inspection (5 Quality Control Checks) and are washed, dried, sanitized, folded, and returned to inventory. This helps ensure that any stained or damaged linens are not returned to inventory or a property for future use.
2. Luxury, hotel-quality bedsheets and bath towels
Your guests deserve the best! So naturally, quality is first and foremost at Live the Gulf Coast. We obsess over finding the perfect linens. That means they must meet our lofty standards for softness, durability, and comfort. And most importantly, they must provide that special wow-factor that comes with slipping into a perfectly clean and well-made bed!
- 100% Cotton Sheets and Towels
- All white bed & bath linens with nothing to hide
- Comprehensive options for every room in your rental
3. Housekeepers can Specialize in Cleaning your Home
As most of you know, maintaining a high-level, consistent housekeeping team is one of the toughest things we deal with in the Vacation Rental Industry. For that reason, any peripheral tasks or duties lined out for our housekeepers distract them from the most important job of getting the home back to check-in ready status in less than 6 hours.
Some of our homes are 8+ bedrooms, over 4,000 Sq. Ft., and sleep 20+ guests during each stay! Can you imagine what a home looks like after a 7 day reservation with 25 guests, kids, and even pets? Our housekeeping teams are our unsung heroes that keep our operation running smoothly even in the most challenging of situations.
4. Linens take time to Clean
One of the most time-consuming aspects of cleaning a vacation rental is washing/drying all household linens and terry after each stay. With most of our homes having only one washing machine and one dryer, this might mean that one housekeeper is stuck doing laundry most of their time at a home instead of actually cleaning! We’ve learned that eliminating this from the housekeeper’s to-do list guarantees they can give the most attention to cleaning the home. Covid highlighted the importance of taking this process out of the home to increase time spent cleaning.
We now have a 7-step process to ensure cleanliness, freshness, and cost-benefit efficiency for both the homeowner and guests.
Our Quality Control Process:
- First Inspection upon arrival to determine if there are any items missing or damaged.
- Transported back to our Main Office for QC check #2 and pre-treatment of stains
- Linens are picked up that day and taken to our laundry facility
- The linens are washed at 170°F + then sanitized using a special Ozone enriched-water(OEW)
- They are removed and QC checked for lingering stains. All stained items go to a high potency soaking bin for 3-5 days.
- The linens are then dried, professionally pressed, and machine folded.
- Linens come back to our facility where they are unfolded, inspected, and a linen roller is used to ensure our linens leave our facility in top condition!
- The last check is done by our Housekeepers when they put out the new fresh linens.
5 Quality Control inspections would sound to some like overkill, but I find there is peace of mind for my team in knowing we have provided the top level of service for both our homeowners and guests.
All of this time we spend on the details while some companies think it’s okay to wash their linens inside of their rentals. We set ourselves apart at Live the Gulf Coast and this is just one way we show it!
5. Less Problems & more 5-Star Reviews
There are 100s of ways linens can be lost, damaged, or misplaced by guests, housekeepers, and vendors. Let us be the ones that worry about these issues!
Linens that cannot be used over and over again are referred to as “shrinkage,” and these numbers are getting worse every year. Take a look at a few ways shrinkage can occur in a vacation rental setting:
- Stains (laying linens on oil or grease, wheel burns, etc.)
- Tears (rips occurred by changing out sleeper sofa linens)
- Mildew (being stored prior to processing)
- Damage (stuffing pillow cases and dragging them on cement, etc.)
- Accidental Loss (linens can be left on landings or even thrown in the dumpster by getting mixed with trash)
- Guest Theft
With us handling each guest interaction, we can work with the guest to find out what happened that led to the loss and figure out next steps. Do we charge them and risk a 5-star review turning into a 1-star? More examples in the Extra Notes**
6. Save $1000s – Short and Long Term
One of the constant complaints we received from owners when we laundered linens inside of their properties was the constant repairs to washers and dryers. These undercover costs associated with wear-and-tear on the appliances plus the additional water/electrical costs aren’t immediately noticeable, but do add up over time.
Using a property’s washer and dryer in a vacation rental for all linens can eat up $500-$2000+ per year in additional repair, electrical, and water costs. This stems not only from the actual increased usage of the appliance, but also the additional A/C needed to cool the unit after running the dryer for 6 hours straight.
Add in the 5-7 years knocked off of the useful life of those appliances and your long-term costs could eat you alive in unknown expenses. Our program ensures your appliances longevity, while keeping those unexpected costs to a minimum. Saving you 100s and possibly 1000s every year.
7. Let us Re-stock & save you the Headaches
Our exclusive discounts with top Luxury Linen providers guarantee we not only can save you money on the repurchase of linens, but you never have to lift a finger to ensure clean, soft, amazing linens while working with Live the Gulf Coast.
8. Fun Fact: Guests Pay 80% of your Costs
As some of our owners know, we charge a small markup on each of our Guest paid cleaning fees to offset the yearly linen restocking fee we charge each owner. This is a small fee(between $50-$75) each stay that keeps your out of pocket to a minimum!
Live the Gulf Coast spends just over $850/bedroom per year(Over $150k total!) on our linen program. That includes purchasing, restocking, wash, dry, sanitize, fold, quality control checks, inventory, stain treatment, and delivery.
Owners are only required to contribute $150/bedroom per year as a restocking fee so we can continue our 5-star service and unbeatable quality control!
We understand this is a large expense and you’re entrusting us to be good stewards of your money. If you’ve known Davis for any amount of time, you know saving owners money is one of his top priorities and this budget is no different. Live the Gulf Coast knows when to go above and beyond and in the 21st century, having quality linens can make or break your rental’s future!
Extra: Curious where all the linens go?
Some owners have asked for examples of ways linens are lost, damaged or stolen:
- Guests take a pillow and it’s case when they depart so kids can sleep in the car on the way home, or they take a pillow case to hold dirty clothes.
- Golfers take face towels to clean their clubs and put a hole in the towels in order to hang them on their bags.
- Blood located on a fitted or bottom flat sheet that is not removed during cleaning.
- The owners or guests take towels home or renters exchange linens.
- Employees steal linens for their own use or for sale at flea markets.
- Dirty linens are stuffed into pillow cases and dragged along the ground causing irremovable stains on the case.
- Wash cloths are used to shine shoes, wash cars, remove makeup, etc.
- Guests wash linens in the in-unit washers and dryers and they become dyed from other linens.
- Chemicals are improperly added to washing machines — either too much or the wrong chemical — and damage the linens.
In most of these instances, we will catch the shortage and report it to our reservations team…but then comes the question of how to remedy.
Do you charge the guest if one towel is missing? What about 2 Towels?
These questions led us to create our Luxury Linen Program which ensures efficient purchasing, cleaning, and presentation for every guest at Live the Gulf Coast!
We have learned there is a fine line between sacrificing a potential repeat renter or 5-star review in order to make sure we have our inventory in check at all times. As we grow, we continue to find nuanced ways to streamline these processes and in turn, pass those savings on to our loyal homeowners.
These are the different reasons that led us to create our Luxury Linen Program which ensures efficient cleaning, strategic replacement, extensive quality control, and unmatched service for both our homeowners and guests alike. If you have questions or would like more info on how to add additional linens to your home, reach out to Davis or your dedicated property manager today.