Vacation rentals by owner are still a very popular way of doing business even today. The vacation rental trend actually started as a “by owner” business model. Over time they evolved into a more structured approach and most of them are professionally managed by companies that handle large inventory. From one family having one or two units is not uncommon for a popular destination to have agencies dealing with hundreds if not thousands of units.

Each model has its own advantages but also presents some very specific challenges. Before deciding what approach is best for you to take the time to analyze a few factors. How many units do you hold for example? Or how much time would you have to put in this sort of activity? Are there agencies in your area offering this type of service? If there are, what type of reviews do they have, both from guests and from owners?

Vacation rentals by owner is a serious endeavor. For one single uint maintenance, cleaning, hassles with check-ins and checkout can end up taking more than a few hours per day. And that is if you decide to do all of this by yourself. Things do get better if you start having employees that do this stuff for you. But on the other hand, you need 5 or more units for employees to be a manageable cost.

A vacation rental agency takes all of the headaches away but also takes 35% or more in commission fees. You lose control of the “business”. You are not the one deciding on a pricing strategy or even the one deciding who gets to stay in your place or not.

Read more about starting up in our article about a vacation rental business plan. It would also be interesting to join any online or offline groups in your area and get a feeling for the market before you make a decision. Whatever path you choose to switch along the way is always an option so don’t let this scare you off. Jump in and in the end, pick what’s best for you.