When does your Cape Cod summer rental season begin? We’re not talking about that three- or four-day rental you may have booked over the Memorial Day weekend. We mean, when does your summer rental season really kick in for good – no time off – just back-to-back-to-back rentals? Probably some time in June or early July, right?

Point is, whenever it starts, you need to be ready – really ready, no kidding around.

And here’s the rub: not everything can be done at the last minute to get really ready. Here are the top ten things to schedule and take care of now to eliminate hassles for guests and yourself this summer, deliver the best possible guest experience, and encourage more repeat bookings for next year.

Ready, on your mark, get set, PREP!

  1. Schedule a meeting with your rentals manager, if you have one. We try to meet with as many owners as we can. We have a whole agenda we run through. Takes less than an hour and covers everything from double-checking the booking calendar to be sure we know when each guest group arrives, and making sure a turnover day cleaning has been scheduled. We also cover anything new at the property in order to update our online property information and take any new photos, if necessary.
  2. Schedule a Deep Spring Cleaning — the closer to first guest arrival the better. Don’t try to do it yourself! Don’t skip this step! If this is done poorly or not done at all, your cleaning service will be playing “catch-up” all summer, trying, but not really having the time, to do bits and pieces of a deeper cleaning that should have been done before the season started. Guests will notice and complain.
  3. Repair any peeling or chipped paint inside and out. In homes built before 1978, the Lead Law forbids rentals with peeling or chipped paint in evidence.
  4. Have the septic system serviced and pumped. A backed up system could cost you an entire season of rentals.
  5. Have the house treated for pestsall pests, such as mice and ants. You don’t want a bloom of bugs with rental guests in residence. When that happens, even if you offer to have an exterminator come address the situation, young parents will often forbid the use of any insecticides when children are in residence. So then what do you do?
  6. Arrange to have the trash service pick up twice a week and include recycling – guests are not happy without it. And if the recycling container space is not at least equal to what’s provided for trash, provide additional bins. In our experience, the typical vacation group will generate recyclable volume at a ratio of about 1:1 with trash – and yet recycling is picked up only once a week while trash is hauled twice! You need more container space for recycling. Your guests will thank you.
  7. Have the air conditioning system professionally serviced. Even window units require service.
  8. Schedule the lawn service for mowing and/or trimming. Parents of young children are mindful of ticks, so grounds and beach paths must be kept trimmed back.
  9. Turn on the Cable TV/Internet. Be sure to provide guests with the network name and password.
  10. Organize your kitchen . Get rid of excess. Guests will never use that many coffee mugs or plastic glasses. Do those non-stick pans still live up to their name, or are they chipped and worn and begging for replacement?

We hope this check list helps. Wishing you a prosperous and trouble-free rental season.