Essential Questions to Ask When Interviewing Property Management Companies for Short-Term Rentals On The Gulf Coast

Short-term rentals at beachfront properties have become increasingly popular, presenting an excellent opportunity for homeowners to capitalize on their investment. However, managing these rentals can be time-consuming and demanding. This is where a reputable property management company can play a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations and maximizing rental income. To help homeowners make informed decisions, we have compiled a list of essential questions to ask when interviewing property management companies for short-term rentals at the beach.

1. What is your experience in managing short-term rentals at beach properties?

2. What marketing strategies do you use to attract guests for short-term rentals?

3. How do you handle property maintenance and repairs?

4. What is your screening process for potential renters?

5. How do you handle guest inquiries, bookings, and payments?

6. How do you handle pricing and revenue management?

7. What reporting and accounting services do you provide?

Additional Questions

8. What is your commission split?

9. What are projected occupancy rates for similar properties in the area?

10. How much time am I allowed to personally use my property?

11. How often is cleaning done, and is it included in the commission or invoiced separately?

12. Do you provide linens for guests?

13. Do you provide kitchen items such as plates, pots, and pans?

14. Are there maintenance fees if small maintenance items, such as replacing a lightbulb, need attention?

15. Can I cancel my agreement with the property management company at any time, and if so, are there any penalties or fees?

16. How do you advertise the property?

17. Do you show guests photos of the actual property, allowing them to see exactly what they are getting, or do you use general images?

18. Are there any suggested improvements or bed arrangements that could enhance the property's rental potential?

19. Are there any age restrictions on renters?

20. Do I need to obtain a short-term rental license, and if so, can you assist with the process?

Orange Beach Short Term Rental Companies Property Management

Key Factors Impacting Property Management Fees

1. Commission Percentage: The commission percentage is the main management fee charged by the company, typically a percentage of the rental amount. It's important to note that commission rates can range significantly, from 10% to 40% or more, depending on the level of service and property type.

2. Unit Tier Pricing: Some management companies may offer tiered pricing, where the commission percentage decreases as you add more properties to their management portfolio. Be sure to inquire about this structure and evaluate how it aligns with your growth plans.

3. Base Fees: In addition to commission fees, some companies charge a monthly or annual base fee to cover fixed costs related to marketing, support, and other activities. Understanding if this fee applies and its impact on your overall expenses is essential.

4. Payment Processing Fees: Many property management companies charge payment processing fees to cover the costs associated with handling rental payments. These fees typically range from 3% to 5% of the rental amount.

5. Early Termination Fees: Long-term contracts may include early termination penalty fees if you wish to cancel the agreement before its expiration date. It's crucial to understand these potential fees and their impact on your flexibility as a homeowner.

6. Miscellaneous Fees: Some property management companies may charge additional fees for tasks such as extra cleaning or maintenance calls. Be sure to clarify any potential miscellaneous fees and assess how they may accumulate over time.

7. Taxes: It's essential to consider that booking and management fees often incur local or state taxes. Be mindful of how these taxes will impact the overall cost of the property management agreement.

Evaluating Fee Structures

While the commission percentage is an important factor, it should not be the sole determinant when evaluating property management fees. Understanding the full fee structure is crucial. Before signing any long-term contracts, be sure to review the breakdown of fees, assess how they align with your budget and financial goals, and ask for clarification on any aspects that are unclear.


On Airbnb, hosts are charged a 3% service fee on the booking subtotal, which includes the nightly rate and any cleaning or other fees. Guests also pay a variable booking fee of 0-20%.

When it comes to VRBO, owners are required to pay a subscription fee of $499 per year, in addition to a 10% commission on the nightly rental rate only. It's worth noting that additional fees charged to renters may not be subject to the 10% commission.

Choosing the right property management company is vital for homeowners aiming to maximize their rental income while minimizing stress. By asking these essential questions, including the additional ones provided, you can evaluate a property management company's expertise, services offered, and compatibility with your needs. Remember, finding a reputable property management company will not only provide peace of mind but also ensure a successful and profitable short-term rental venture at your beachfront property.

In the world of short-term property management fees, understanding the intricacies of commission percentages, base fees, and payment processing fees is crucial to maximizing your profits. By carefully evaluating and comparing fee structures, you can ensure that you choose a cost-effective solution that meets your needs.