How I use my computer to make money or generate income from our cottage.
Start Making Money
Okay, let’s start getting real here. I will be lying to you if I say that our cottage was bought, purely for our enjoyment purposes only. Naaahhh. Not us. We do not have that financial capability just yet.
Sure we are enjoying it most times. 3 seasons to be exact. Unfortunately, the most enjoyable season for me and most of us I guess, the summer season, we have to give it up to make room for the rental season.
Yes, we are renting our cottage at least 8-10 weeks in the summertime. That’s where the money is. Here in cottage country, it is booming. With proper research and third party help, you can make it happen. It all depends on how hands on or in charge you wanted to be.
We are not willing to do 100% of the work that entails in renting our property. Not yet. But that is our goal. In our first year of trying to do it on our own, we were exhausted. I will not say we failed, it’s just that it actually requires more of your time and effort than we thought. Wth both of us doing the 9-5 grind, there is just not enough time in our hands.
Renting Your Cottage
If you are willing to do all the work yourself, there are tons of resources online that can help you do just that. Below are the top 3 things to consider when you have decided to monetize your property by means of seasonal renting.
- List your cottage on free ads site like Kijiji, Facebook or many other local ads – My problem with the these free sites is, I will have no clue of the type of people that I will be renting it to. Granted a big percentage will be all good and reliable, but I do not want us to fall in the small percentage of having a bad renter. It happens. You read about them all the time. I posted ours in my workplace’s Ad board the first year. At least the screening of potential renters are limited to within our organization. But it was still a lot of work. From answering emails and phone inquiries, to meet and greet on the week they have rented. Making sure they know where stuff is.
- List your cottage on paid vacation rental sites. – I did not went this route as we still have to do a lot on our own. Including the cottage checks before and after each renters. Want them to take care of maintenance or answer calls if something happen, it is an extra cost. And it’s a lot. Plus, screening renters is still your job not theirs.
- Hire an agency that takes care of booking and screening potential renters, accept payments on your behalf and answer maintenance calls. – This is the route we chose as it is the most practical for us. It comes with a hefty price tag as well at 18-25% depending on the agency you have chosen. But it is basically on self drive. We just have to wait for an email that asks our approval to accept a renter they have chosen for us. Of course, you are still in control one way or another. Most of these clients are already known to them as repeat renters of different vacation properties they handle, so we have not denied one yet, so far.
Preparing Your Property For The Rental Season
Whatever you have chosen above, or any other way for that matter, you still need to do the needful before the rental season starts. Make your list as soon as spring starts. Or maybe as soon as the winter thaw begins. Creating a To-Do list will help you be on top of everything that needs to be done and on time.
For major projects, determine how many weeks you have before the door opens for the irst renter. Even if you are not required to greet them upon check in, you want to make sure your property is on tip top shape every single week that your cottage is rented. That is actually part of the contract with the agency.
We have opted out of their checker service as I feel that hiring a separate cleaner to do that is a better value and will ensure your cottage is cleaned from day one of each renters’ week. We take prde of our cottage and do not want a negative feedback due to un cleaned or dusty floors left by the previous renters.
If you are like us, we have our own cottage rules. The agency have their own and this is known to the renters at booking. But they do encourage owners to create their own personal household rules. Make yours as clear and to the point as possible but not to the point of enforcing. This is true when it comes to cleaning up at check out. This is where a cleaner will come in handy. The renters are already paying a huge amount for their vaccation. I don’t want them to stress themselves cleaning my property.
And last but not the least, make sure all electronics, appliances, furnace, water system are working. Water filters and UV lights if you have this type of system, should also be replaced at the start of the rental season. Cupboards are re-stocked or streamlined as needed. And also, make sure your guest book is visible for your guest to sign. Any constructive criticism is also good for your business. A lot of room for improvement can be gathered each year from authentic and your real cottage guest if you have a guest book out.
Building An Audience (a.k.a. website)
And now for the icing on the cake, start building your audience, simply put, a website. After four years of renting our cottage, we have come to realize that we actually wanted to do this money making, a full time career in the future. A lot of planning and brainstorming for sure. But we will do baby steps. And in this day and age, the first step I believe is to start our own online presence.
Welcome to the birth of this website! Hopefully, once we have built that confidence, we can eventually run this business on our own. But for now we are slowly trying to put our foot out there. Though we are not allowed to rent our place on our own (in any way) as part of the contract we have with our agency, at least we are now building our very own following.
And if you do not have an overflowing supply of financial support, it’s about time you re-think your plan on how to make money using that computer of yours.
Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing product(s) that I have used to get this site up and running. What I am into nowadays to keep this site afloat. It will not be an easy walk in the park. And I am still struggling. But bear with me and might as well walk with me, side by side as we conquer the unknown.
The goal is to break the silence and face your fear. This is it. We can do it. And you willl be first to witness all of it.