Are short-term rental businesses coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and being resurrected? Do owners love the return on investment (ROI) and income, but tired of the turnover, logistics, and moving parts? If you’re doing it all on your own, hand it over.
Today’s guest is Andrew LeBaron with BuyMoreTime, a flat-rate property management solution for short-term rentals. Andrew began his real estate journey by being the marketing director and a guest on Joe Fairless’s Best Ever Real Estate Investing Advice Show. Then, Andrew started buying, selling, wholesaling, fixing, and flipping properties and got licensed to go even further.
[02:13] How Andrew went from greeting big-name podcast guests to becoming one.
[05:15] Hoteling 101: Managing a hotel is not time and freedom. It’s a lot of work.
[05:54] Team Effort: If you don’t have a team, you will not thrive (or sleep).
[09:23] COVID: Great for short-term rentals, not for property managers or owners.
[12:40] Questions: How much could my property rent for? What needs to be inside it?
[16:23] Mistakes: Give gifts and leave notes for guests to make a big difference.
“Shorter rental management is big bucks.”
Hoteling 101: Owners of short-term rental properties just wanted more time and freedom, and managing a hotel is not time and freedom. It’s a lot of work.
“There’s so many facets to this. There’s legal, there’s inventory, there is coordination with cleaning and maintenance. Then, there’s guest responses. It’s literally 24/7.”
“When you have a short-term rental, you’re not selling a place to stay. You’re selling an experience.”
Jason: Welcome DoorGrow hackers to the DoorGrowShow. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you’re open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow hacker.
DoorGrow hackers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it. You think they’re crazy for not because you realize that property management is the ultimate high-trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income.
At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change perception, expand the market, and help the best property management entrepreneurs win.
I’m your host, property management growth expert, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show. Today’s guest, I’m hanging out here with Andrew LeBaron. Andrew, welcome to the show.
Andrew: Thank you.
Jason: Andrew, you’re with an organization company called BuyMoreTime.
Andrew: That’s it. We are a short-term rental property management solution.
Jason: Cool. Andrew, we don’t have a lot of vendors and people on the show typically related to the short-term rental industry. This will be interesting because I have been getting a lot more calls related to that lately. Maybe a lot of people are starting to resurrect these short-term rental businesses coming out of the pandemic, where there’s a black swan event that squashed the industry temporarily. Let’s first get into a little bit of background about you and how you got into this industry.
Andrew: Yeah, sure. It’s funny. We’re on a podcast right now. I actually started a long time ago as a marketing director for a podcast. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Best Ever Real Estate Investing Show with Joe Fairless. He buys multi-family apartments. That’s his main gig.
Jason: I think I was on that show. I’ve been on a lot of podcasts back in the day.
Andrew: I wouldn’t be surprised. Heck, maybe, I reached out to you some years ago, who knows? It’s the world’s longest daily real estate podcast. I mean his work ethic is insane. Years ago, I got into real estate. I jumped into (of course) Bigger Pockets. I jumped into Joe Fairless’s podcast. On one of the podcast episodes he said, I am looking for a marketing director. Someone that can help connect me with more guests. If that’s you, send me an email.
I’m like, I want to try that. I sent him an email. I’m like, I don’t care if he pays me. If he pays me, great. If he doesn’t, so what? I was his marketing director and I got to meet some of the coolest people—Grant Cardone, Gary Keller, some really big names. I didn’t get to speak to Barbara Corcoran, but I got to send an email. There were some pretty big names on that podcast and I was actually able to be a guest.
I was starting my real estate journey and from there I started buying and selling properties, wholesaling, buying, fixing, and flipping. I started buying small apartments, 6 units, 10 units and so on and so forth. Then I got licensed because I wanted to take it a little bit further. I thought, okay, if I’m not going to buy these, I’m going to either manage them, and so on and so forth.
Then I realized about 3½–4 years ago from an accident, actually, that shorter rental management is big bucks. In fact, we bought a house that we couldn’t sell. We tried everything we could to move, the property just wouldn’t move for some reason; it was just a weird property. I told my partner, whatever. Let’s furnish it. We went to goodwill. We got these truckloads of just random furniture and we loaded up into this house—we’re such rookies—and we put it up or lease or we set it up for Airbnb. I kid you not, this lady wanted to rent it for a week for $250 a night. I was like, it’s got to be a joke. There’s no way. She’s like, no, I’d love to stay here, me and my family.
From there, I thought, the short-term rental space is where it’s at. We started buying more, furnishing more. Then all of our friends said, can you help us manage ours? We’re like, okay, we can help you. It’s hoteling 101, but that’s how we became BuyMoreTime. We noticed that owners of short-term rental properties just wanted more time and freedom, and managing a hotel is not time and freedom. It’s a lot of work.
Jason: Right. I don’t think there’s any industry that takes more time and more customer interaction than the hospitality industry. I think that’s rated at the top. Property management is second to that, they say, so it’s right there.
Andrew: It’s pretty insane. There’s so many facets to this. There’s legal, there’s inventory, there is coordination with cleaning and maintenance. Then there’s guest responses. It’s literally 24/7. There is no sleep. If you don’t have a team, you will not thrive.
Jason: Right. Tell us a little bit about BuyMoreTime. What is it exactly that you do?
Andrew: BuyMoreTime is a flat rate management service for short-term rentals. We are a service-first company. If you have a property on a short-term rental platform, say, Airbnb, VRBO, if you have a motel, small apartment building, you want to do a couple of apartments and you want to maximize your ROI by leveraging the short-term rental platforms and its traffic, then you can hire us. We will manage that for you. We’ll set it up. Most of the time we’re looking for clients that already had it built, but we can set it up. We will set your teams—you’re cleaning team, your maintenance team. We’ll handle messaging 24/7. We will take over your hotel. That’s what we do.
Jason: Okay, the hotel. Awesome. Cool and I checked my inbox. I was on the Joe Fairless podcast back in May of 2019. It’s been some years, but I was there at one point.
Andrew: That’s so cool.
Jason: But I didn’t even know it was that big of a deal. I guess that was pretty cool for me in hindsight.
Andrew: That is really cool.
Jason: Awesome. What would you say to people that might be tuning into this on the short-term rental side that are doing this themselves currently? Why would they want to get in partnership with you?
Andrew: Well, just like our name prescribes, if you are tired of wasting or you’re trading your time for money and you love the ROI, you love the income, 2–3 times than average rents across the nation is what you can expect from a short-term rental. If you’re getting $700 rent in the south, you could get double that. You can get triple that. Depending on where you are. There are many variables. But if you’re tired of handling that yourself, you can literally hand it over to our company.
Our sales team will answer all your questions. We’ll link you up into our software. We will hit the green button and you sit back and simply watch the interaction between your guest and our team and obviously your bank account. There is no touching it. I mean we literally set it up in the beginning so you don’t have to manage it all. We have your team. We have your inventory. We would restock your toilet paper, paper towels. Sheets. There’s just so much to say. It’ll hurt your head if you think about it.
Inventory management and supply chain, that’s what we do. We handle all that. That’s what your listeners can glean from our company. That’s what we can do for them.
Jason: Now, you had mentioned a little bit of info about how appealing it might be to get into the short-term rental game, 2–3 times the amount of income coming in. But what about those that have been burned by Covid? They said this was too painful. We weren’t prepared for this. Money just stopped. Vacation rental market was just decimated. They’re just afraid to get back into the game.
Andrew: You know what’s funny? Covid actually was great. I think that’s the only thing I’ll say about Covid as far as short-term rentals go. For a property manager or for an apartment owner, for property owners, Covid was not great because you have the moratorium. There’s a lot of struggles there. For us, for the short-term rental gamers, it was wonderful. People couldn’t leave. No one could go anywhere.
We saw a decline in March of 2020. We saw a slight decline in occupancy. Our typical occupancy is hovering around 92%. Occupancy inside the short-term rental game is very different. You got 30 nights out of a month, depending how many nights you booked, that’s your occupancy rate. It dipped I think just 70% flat, 70% or 73% flat. After March, we started exploding. It was quite the opposite. People couldn’t go to Europe. People couldn’t go to other countries, so they had staycations.
In the beginning, this whole journey there’s kind of like this Airbnb belief that when you have a guest that wants to go from one side of the city to stay in your place, that’s a big red flag because it’s probably going to be a party, probably going to be a kid. But at this moment, with Covid, it was like, look, I’m a tired mother. My husband and I would just want to get away. We got a babysitter. Covid shut us down, can we come stay?
We haven’t changed our […], yeah sure. We don’t discriminate, but at the same time, we would stop asking all the prying questions. Are you in college or not? College parties are the worst. But we would allow them to. We actually exploded really well during Covid.
Jason: Interesting. I would have thought it would have been the opposite. Now, is BuyMoreTime location-specific? Is this all over the US? Is it beyond? Where do you guys do this at?
Andrew: We’re in five states right now and two countries. We’re in Canada, in here, and five states. We can do this anywhere. We could pick up anywhere. Obviously, you need to qualify. We have a qualifying call. It’s called a discovery call where we discuss what your property is like, its condition, your needs, and so on and so forth. See if we’re a good fit. Not everybody’s a good fit, obviously. Not every property is a good fit. Not every area is a good fit. We just want to make sure that it’s going to be a win-win situation for everybody.
Jason: Are you wanting listeners that are listening to the DoorGrowShow, to this episode, regardless of where they’re at to just reach out, or are you looking for specific areas?
Andrew: Regardless of where they’re at to reach out, absolutely.
Jason: Cool. What are some of the biggest questions that potential clients want to know when talking with you?
Andrew: Number one question, how much could my property go for? How much could my property rent for if I was to work with BuyMoreTime? My answer is, when you come to BuyMoreTime, you should already be established. We’re not a coaching company. We’re not a let’s boost your traffic. You should already be established, description, photos, 5-star reviews and you say, look, I got this in the bag. I just need to hand over the reins. That’s all I want to do. For the costs, less than paying a VA every month, you’re going to hire our team and we’re going to run all of your operations.
Jason: So this is for those that are just tired of the turnover, tired of the logistics, tired of making sure all the moving parts are happening. You’ll handle all of that.
Jason: It sounds like you do it quite affordably.
Andrew: Yup. $349 a month is our price and it doesn’t fluctuate. The good news is we built this to service our property, to scratch our own itch. We’re investors first. We have short-term rentals. We buy property. I’m sitting in one right now, up north. I’ve only been here for a couple months, brought my family into it. This will eventually be a short-term rental up in the pines.
We wanted something where I didn’t have to pay 20%, 25%, 15% of my profits. There’s a lot of other companies out there like us where they have this really cool software and service—services, in my opinion, are subpar—but you pay out 20% of your profits on your highest month. It’s like you’re being penalized for using their service.
To me, I would want some sort of program that I know what I’m paying for every single month. Every single month is the same rate, no matter what. In that way, I can easily predict my income for my highest months. Everybody’s got the highest months. Austin’s got a high season. Arizona, all over the place, they have a high season and low season. Florida, they have a high season. For us in AZ for example, it’s going to be March and April. From other places, it is that same month or those months.
These companies rob you 20% of your total proceeds. I thought that’s not cool. Let’s give the profits back to the owners and we’ll just take a small fee for managing their property.
Jason: All right, so the first the main question everyone wants to know is how much could they get and probably what is the cost. What else are they curious about, usually?
Andrew: They usually want what I need in my property? What should be inside it? Especially, if you haven’t done this before. Let’s say you manage apartments, or you own a building, or whatever it may be, and you’re talking to some partners or your client about setting up an Airbnb. That’s probably one of the biggest questions is what goes inside of it?
The one thing I need to tell people is when you have a short-term rental, you’re not selling a place to stay. You’re selling experience. I don’t know, Jason, if you’ve ever stayed in a property on Airbnb before, but I just…
Jason: I have.
Andrew: You have? Just scrolling, you’re looking for beautiful photos. You’re looking for awesome amenities. You’re looking for 5-star reviews. You’re not looking 4-star, you’re not looking for 3-stars, you want the best. You’re looking for a very awesome experience.
I think the biggest mistake that a lot of short-term rental managers go through is they’re just trying to just fill it with stuff. That’s not the case. If you have the ability to stock the fridge, stock the fridge. If you can leave a note for your guest, leave a note. If you could set up a system to leave nice things for your guests or send an extra message saying, we’re so glad you’re here, do it because that’s what it’s about.
Jason: Yeah. There’s a really great book called The Giftology, and in this book he talks about how just little gifts and little things actually make a big difference. And that makes a big difference giving something because that just makes it novel. It makes it stand out. It makes it different. I really enjoyed the show on Netflix called Stay Here. I don’t know if you’ve seen that.
Jason: They’re making these properties ready to be really amazing experiences, and that was a big part of the show is all about this experience. People are coming to Austin and have a certain type of experience. There needs to be a barbecue and some of these things. People are going to different areas in order to have the experience of that area and kind of tying that in. They made it really hyper relevant. Any other questions people tend to ask?
Andrew: I think one other question they ask is how do I stand out? How do I be different? Everybody has got a condo on Airbnb. If you go to airbnb.com right now, looking at Austin, look in your zip code, you’ll see thousands. How do I stand out? I think the biggest tip I have for those people that want to know how to stand out is, what is something that is going to make your place so memorable that people will be talking about it and they’ll come back?
There’s a really easy way to do this by asking yourself what do people not offer that I can offer? What do they not have that I have? Some people have this huge TV, surround sound, just crazy entertainment, amazing sofa. That’s good, but what is extra? I’ve seen some people add movie tickets or tickets to some amusement parks. I don’t know how cost-effective that is, obviously, but depending on your budget versus how you can stand out, that’s going to predict how you stand out.
Jason: Interesting, cool. Well, how can people get a hold of you that might be interested?
Andrew: This question always comes up in podcasts. I sometimes tell my cell phone number, but there’s a link that actually you have, Jason, where you can get a hold of us. I’ll just let you add that to the show notes. I’m going to just defer that back to you. Other than that, you could reach out to me on Facebook.
Jason: Awesome. Yeah. He gave me an affiliate link, everybody, which is cool. I appreciate that. We’ll put that link in the show notes. We’ll link that on the podcast episode, online on our blog as well.
It’s been great getting familiar with you here a little bit. I really enjoyed the different perspective on Covid about the short-term rental industry. I know that I had lots of clients in the long-term game that were able to convert several into long-term during that time period in areas that they had challenges, but that was interesting. I didn’t consider the staycation part, but I think a lot of people got really anxious, cooped up inside, and were looking for just a change of scenery, even if it was nearby. That makes a lot of sense.
I appreciate you coming on the show, and until next time everybody, to our mutual growth. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes and tune into the DoorGrowShow on YouTube as well. And if you are interested in growing your property management business, we’re having some really great success with our new DoorGrow and scale mastermind. We have one of our clients John […] join in November, in the middle of the winter months, during the pandemic, in Boston. He added 125 doors in the last six months just using one of my strategies, and it cost him $0. He didn’t spend any money on advertising. Anyway, reach out if you’re interested. You can check us out at doorgrow.com. Bye everyone.
Andrew: See you.