The Vacation Rental Handyman: A Guide for Short-Term Rental Managers

Oct 05 2023

Get tips on how to use Hostfully to optimize your vacation rental business and make more profit.


What’s in this article?

Leaking sink? Crumbling drywall? Broken AC? In the competitive world of vacation rentals, there’s nothing like a home repair to put your property management’s customer service capabilities to the test. That’s why hiring a dedicated handyman to handle repairs, address property maintenance issues, and ensure the property is always in top condition is key to providing a memorable experience for your guests.

In this guide, we’ll cover tips for hiring and training a vacation rental handyman, along with the benefits and best practices associated with this important role.

Benefits of hiring a vacation rental handyman

A vacation rental handyman provides many advantages over general contractors or attempts at DIY fixes and serves as a valuable asset to any property owner or manager. Let’s explore some of the benefits.

Specialized short-term experience

Vacation rental handymen have specific experience working in short-term rental properties as well as with property management companies. This built-in knowledge will help you when onboarding your new handyman hire.

So what does a dedicated handyman do? They familiarize themselves with your properties and learn your common general maintenance needs like minor plumbing repairs, appliance troubleshooting, drain unclogs, carpentry, AC tune-ups, and more.

During the hiring process, you should consider checking referrals and running a background check to ensure whoever you bring on is trustworthy and capable of the specialized skills they’ve indicated.

Efficient “handy” maintenance

Specialization (see above!) increases efficiency—especially when it comes to an on-site or local handyman who can get to your short-term rental ASAP. Efficient maintenance not only saves time but can also enhance the overall guest experience.

Say a guest staying at your vacation rental property discovers a leaky faucet in the bathroom. Without a handyman on-site, you would need to contact a plumber, schedule an appointment, and wait for them to arrive. This process could take hours or even days, leaving your guest frustrated and inconvenienced. However, with a handyman readily available, they can address the issue immediately, fixing the leaky faucet in no time.

Higher quality of service

Should you need full-time rental property maintenance, a specialized vacation rental handyman who relies on your business as a primary source of income will provide exemplary service. Their employment requires a vested interest in keeping you and your guests satisfied. And the longer you employ them, the more familiar they’ll become with your properties and the more home improvements they can make and recommend over time.

Cost savings

Using a handyman who can perform various tasks can save money on outsourcing repairs or hiring expensive electricians, HVAC repair companies, or endless other contractors. A handyman can also identify potential issues before they become major problems, providing preventative maintenance which can save you from costly repairs down the line. This proactive approach to maintenance helps you maintain your property’s value while keeping costs in check.

Improved guest experience

Routine, preventative maintenance leads to an improved guest experience. Imagine their delight when your guests arrive at your vacation rental property and find that everything is in perfect working condition. The air conditioning welcomes them from the heat, the plumbing is in tip-top leak-free shape, and all appliances are functioning properly. Thanks to your handyman’s diligent efforts, your guests can relax and enjoy their stay—hassle-free.

And if a problem does arise during a stay, your handyman’s promptness and professionalism can go a long way in recovering from a bad situation and ensuring an overall positive experience. Top vacation rental handymen develop strong communication skills for interacting with stressed-out travelers during urgent fixes. They learn to reassure guests and de-escalate tensions. Between regular upkeep and emergency repairs, a vacation rental handyman’s dedication can lead to excellent reviews, repeat bookings, and increased customer satisfaction.

Communicating with property management software

Communication and smooth coordination are essential when working with a vacation rental handyman. Utilizing a Property Management System (PMS) like Hostfully can streamline communication and ensure that all parties are on the same page. Here are some ways a PMS allows you to delegate, communicate, and collaborate with your handyman for a productive workflow.

Share your booking calendar

Grant your handyman access to your PMS calendar to see upcoming reservations and blocked property maintenance dates. Some PMSs allow you to generate weekly schedules if you prefer more automated and limited access. However you share your calendar, allowing handymen to view bookings will help them coordinate their tasks accordingly. This ensures that they can tackle property maintenance issues without disrupting guests’ schedules, providing a seamless experience

Communicate in real-time

PMS platforms often include messaging features that enable direct communication between property owners/managers and handymen. This facilitates quick and efficient communication, making it easier to address any urgent issues that may arise.

This means that you can easily reach out to your handyman whenever you need to discuss a specific task or address any concerns. Whether it’s a minor repair or a major issue, being able to communicate in real time allows you to resolve problems quickly and efficiently, minimizing any impact on your guests’ experience. (A tip for takeaway: Once on site, ask the handyman to text when an issue is resolved. You can then update the guests immediately via your PMS messaging platform.)

Centralize and organize

PMS platforms go beyond just task management and communication. They also serve as a centralized property management hub. You can upload and store important documents such as appliance manuals, warranty information, and vendor contact details. This ensures that your handyman has easy access to all the resources they need to perform their job effectively.

When guests report any issues, have them submit photos or videos to clearly convey the problems and then share the media with your handyman. You can specify the priority level, due dates, and any additional instructions or notes. This level of clarity helps to avoid any confusion or miscommunication, ensuring that your handyman knows exactly what needs to be done before check-ins.

The data stored in your PMS can also be invaluable when it comes to planning. You can assess budgeting, identify recurring issues, and make informed decisions about property maintenance and improvements.

Hostfully provides and opportunity for you to keep 3rd party contractors up to date
When it comes to assigning tasks and tracking progress, a PMS like Hostfully provides a user-friendly interface that allows you to create detailed task lists for your handyman. Source

Leveraging handy property maintenance tech tools

Imagine having a seamless system in place that automatically assigns maintenance tasks to your handyman. Technology can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your handyman’s work by doing just that. Tools like Breezeway and Turno provide innovative solutions for managing maintenance tasks and optimizing workflows.

With Breezeway and Turno, you can easily schedule maintenance tasks, routine inspections, and repairs. The platforms provide a user-friendly interface where you can input the details of each recurring (or one-time) task, such as the date, time, and specific instructions. Once assigned, your handyman will receive notifications and reminders, ensuring that no task slips through the cracks.

Additionally, these platforms enable you to create customized inspection checklists like HVAC system checks, plumbing inspections, and general safety assessments for your handyman to follow. This ensures accountability and saves you time and effort, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of property management.

Both Breezeway and Turno’s data-driven reporting and analytics capabilities let you track the number of tasks completed, average response times, and overall performance of your handyman, as well as identify areas for improvement.

Providing hospitality training to your vacation rental handyman

While technical skills are essential for a vacation rental handyman, providing hospitality training can take their performance to the next level. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • Customer service: Friendly and professional customer service is a priority for any handyman who may interact with a guest. This includes greeting guests, addressing their concerns and questions, and ensuring their needs are met during their stay.
  • Attention to detail: Emphasize the importance of paying attention to details when preparing the property for guests. This includes cleanliness, organization, and ensuring everything is in working order.
  • Problem-solving skills: Train your handyman to think quickly and effectively in resolving unexpected issues that may arise during a guest’s stay. This could involve finding temporary solutions or coordinating with external contractors when necessary.


Hiring and training a vacation rental handyman is a crucial step in providing exceptional guest experiences and maintaining a well-functioning property. Utilizing communication tools like PMS platforms, granting booking calendar access, incorporating technology into your property management workflow, and providing hospitality training, helps boost the performance and efficiency of your handyman, ultimately enhancing the success of your vacation rental business. Pretty handy, huh?

Frequently asked questions

How do I find a reliable vacation rental handyman?

To find a reliable handyman, consider asking for recommendations from other property owners/managers, conducting thorough interviews and background checks, and contacting references. If you post a job listing, make sure the job description includes previous experience in the vacation rental industry.

What onboarding is needed for a new handyman?

Do comprehensive walkthroughs of all rental properties to review systems and inventory supplies. Share access credentials and codes. Outline contact protocols and provide hospitality training.

What agreements should be in place with a short-term rental handyman?

Develop a formal service agreement covering the scope of work, response times, on-call expectations, payment terms, and NDAs. Also, get any necessary insurance certificates ahead of the start date.

How can I motivate and reward a top-performing handyman?

Provide bonuses for positive guest reviews, complimentary supplies/tools, and public recognition on your website or social media. Offer increased compensation over time and share occupancy data to showcase their impact.