Ben Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Sure, you can wait until April to repaint the kitchen or remodel the bathroom. Only problem is that’s when everyone else is doing the same thing. And that means the trades people you want for your project likely will be already booked until half-past July.

Same logic applies to outdoor upgrades and maintenance. It may be too early for exterior painting, but if the weather cooperates, there’s nothing to stop you from getting a jump on that landscaping overhaul or new deck you’ve been wanting to do.

Things you can schedule now to get ahead of the game for Cape Cod rental season:

It pays to be a clean freak – now, not later.
Are you assuming you will have the same cleaning service for your rental turnovers? You know what they say about people who “ass-u-me.”

What if your cleaning service gets fully booked for the season before you get around to making the call? What if your cleaner got an electrician’s license and is now in another line of work? What if your favorite cleaner went back to Brazil and can’t get back into the U.S.? (That actually happened to several of our owners). You don’t want to wait to find out you have a problem. Call and schedule your turnover day cleanings sooner than later, even if you don’t know all the dates yet. At least you’re on their radar and not lost in space.

And be sure to schedule a deep spring cleaning very close to your first guest arrival. Don’t skip this step, and don’t try to do it yourself. Have it done by professionals or brace yourself for rental guest complaints all season long.

Be smart, stay cool.
It feels unnatural to think about air conditioning in the dead of winter. But your vacation rental guests will be riveted on it the first sultry night of July. And that’s not the time to have it fail, since HVAC techs tend to get busy at that time of year, and your guests might have to sweat it out for days before getting relief. Not good for business. So schedule a tech service visit now for some time this spring, before the schedule fills up.

Spare guests from pests.
Here’s another thing you can schedule now: pest treatment for your rental property. Ants, spiders, mice and any number of nonpaying guests must be nipped in the bud before they become a problem next summer.
As usual, prevention costs less money and angst than the cure.

One back-up you don’t need,
When was the last time you had your septic system checked and pumped out? We recall one owner whose system had an alarm to warn of overflow, but the alarm sensor rusted off in the tank so the alarm didn’t work.
Rental guests detected a slight odor and fortunately, the problem was solved just in the nick. If another day or two had gone by and raw sewerage had overflowed into the yard, it’s likely the property would have been shut down for the rental season by the town.

That’s a lot of money to have to refund to guests, assuming they are willing to settle for a refund only. So make the call, schedule the service.

We know it’s not even spring yet, let alone summer. But nobody ever got in trouble by planning ahead. Mark these words of wisdom from Yogi Berra:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”