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Changeover cleaning - really expensive!
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Vicvic98



Joined: 20 May 2015
Posts: 4
Location: West Dorset

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 3:51 pm    Post subject: Changeover cleaning - really expensive! Reply with quote

Hi there

I'm new to this forum so please excuse me if this has been covered before. I've searched but cannot see that it has. I have a couple of questions regarding changeover cleaning...

We are in the processes of getting costs together to see if we can afford to run a holiday let in the Lyme Regis area of Dorset. We live 150 miles away in Surrey so are definitely out of the area.

I have obtained a quote for this service from a specialist company but I have to say at nearly £200 per changeover this seems prohibitively expensive and possibly a deal breaker for the whole plan Crying or Very sad I have 'ballpark' prices pending from a couple of other companies so will wait and see what they say. I'll also try regular cleaning firms.

However I wondered what would be a reasonable price to pay for this service for a 3-4 bed property? I'm not really looking to make a profit but after mortgage, insurance, etc it seems like this high cleaning cost might just push the whole thing over the edge of what is possible and into something that is merely a pipe dream.

Is a large cleaning bill everyone's biggest expense? I realise cleanliness is of the upmost importance in this business but what is a reasonable amount to pay when you can't do it yourself?

I would appreciate recommendations about whether to use a specialist company or whether trying to source an individual to provide this service is realistic.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.
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EdinburghCityApartments



Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 76
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello...welcome to LMH!

Probably can't be much help as I'm on site and employ own staff but that seems quite high to me depending on what it includes.

Does that include a meet and greet service or is that just a clean? To be honest if that's just cleaning on a 3-4 bed that'd work out around £40-£50 per hour depending on how thorough a clean it is.

Maybe someone in a similar area can recommend more of a management company who can do the cleans and meet & greet sort of things who might be a little more competitive!
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Laurel



Joined: 01 May 2012
Posts: 94
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Vic Vic,

Great you have joined Lay My Hat Smile I'm sure you'll find it really useful and friendly here.

I have been absent from this forum for a while but thought I'd chime in with my opinion/experience. It's hard to say if £200 is expensive without knowing more about the property and what is included in the charge. If it is only for cleaning then it does sound excessive, but if it is for a property management service then it sounds ok.

Here's ours as a comparison...
We have a 4 bed (sleeps 7) cottage in Cornwall. We pay a professional property management company to handle pretty much everything on the ground, including:
- Pre-visit phone call to guests
- Approx. 6 hours cleaning
- Laundry (all bed linen)
- Towel hire and laundry
- 'On-call' cover (any visits to the property are charged at hourly rate)
- Grass cutting and weeding (medium sized, easy care garden)

We pay approx. £200 for all of this. They were not the cheapest company available but seemed much more professional than their competitors and have proved themselves very reliable. Yes, it is a big chunk of our income but is worth it for the peace of mind we get.

You can get the service cheaper if you arrange all of the services yourself but then you are responsible for illness/holiday cover, paying individual wages and dealing with any emergencies that arise. As absent owners, I am happy that we went with an 'all-in-one' service.

Hope that helps!
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5886
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're on site and reckon on 6 hours for our 3 bedroom property, so very much in line with Laurel. That's based on the standards we set, which is a lot higher than a typical weekly clean of a domestic property (that's par for the course for most of us here).

Looking at what Laurel is getting in addition to the cleaning, using a professional cleaning/management company with their overheads and needing to make a profit, I'm not too surprised that it runs to around £200 (I'm guessing that includes VAT?).

If - big if - you can find someone totally reliable to do everything including washing and ironing, (and assuming you've got somewhere to store 2 spare sets of linen per bed and 2 spare sets of towels per person) you could get the changeover cost closer to £100, but it's a gamble and could be a lot of stress.
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TGS



Joined: 16 May 2015
Posts: 51
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not too far away from Lyme, (excuse the coyness, still in negotiations, commercially sensitive and all that Laughing ). There are lots of well advertised specialist companies but from my (admittedly limited) experience I'd agree with Laurel.

Maybe find some independent holiday lets locally and email them and see what they do?

In a previous life I ran a very different business, from start up, and the kindness of strangers and their advice was invaluable and very generously given if they had the time (rather like LMH). If nothing else they'll tell you who to avoid.

Good luck. Lyme Regis is heaving all year!
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TGS



Joined: 16 May 2015
Posts: 51
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Laurel, I meant I agree with EdinburghCityApartments.

I'm still getting used to negotiating the forum.

Confused
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Vicvic98



Joined: 20 May 2015
Posts: 4
Location: West Dorset

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your replies.

Lauren your service sounds very comprehensive. The quote we've received includes
clean 4 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
lounge
dining room
kitchen
wc

It's actually £120 for the clean but £43 is added for laundering of linen and £32 VAT. It seems a reasonably comprehensive list of cleaning and includes a key holding service with emergency call out as extra.

So all in all it seems reasonable, but is a massive weekly outlay, even more than the mortgage!

So generally for the peace of mind using a cleaning service agent is worth paying that little bit extra for?

Do any agents, like HL include or recommend a changeover service in their package?
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Vicvic98



Joined: 20 May 2015
Posts: 4
Location: West Dorset

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies, Laurel not Lauren.

TGS; Thank you for your response. LMH is a refreshingly honest forum which is appreciated.

Currently we're looking at running costs which is a bit scary (a bit!!!) Getting a mortgage/finance seems straight forward, but the running costs are a bit daunting to say the least.

Question: to holiday let or buy to let?? Buy to let a lot less hassle, but a lot less enjoyable and unlikely to holiday there!
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ianh100



Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 462
Location: Sherborne Dorset

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Vicvic

Welcome to the forum. We had/have a dream of buying a place in Lyme, we have spent the last 6+ summers there and just love the place. Our challenge was finding a decent property at a price that would make a decent return without it taking over our lives and being an anchor(excuse the pun). We gradually moved inland and have a place near Sherborne. We have no regrets, it takes an hour less to get to, we can still go to Lyme when we want to but are better placed to visit lots of other places (Oh dear I sound like I am selling the place)

I spoke with Lyme Bay holidays who seem to own the town as far as holiday lets go. They offer a full package but probably at a high percentage of the rent. We have stayed in several properties managed by them and they do a good job, responsive to issues etc. The problem for us was that while the properties are clean they are not welcoming in the way and owner managed property is. We wanted our property to feel a bit more special and loved.

We have managed to find a very reliable local cleaner who almost acts as a local agent, plus friendly neighbours who also hold a key for real emergencies (Like last week when the toilet got blocked). Our cleaner is very reasonable and charges around £60-70 to clean a 2 bed property and do the linen wash etc. On top of that we leave a stock of items for the turn around and welcome basket. If I am honest we probably get close to £100 for a turn around. Our cleaner is great but we still try and visit every 4-6 weeks to stay ourselves (we did buy the place so that we could also use it) and we then do a bit of a deeper clean moving all of the furniture, touching up paintwork etc.

Obviously your 3-4 bed property is going to need more time to clean, I am not sure what your £200 includes but it may not be unreasonable if you rely on them in the way we rely on our cleaner.

The challenge then is how often you are going to get bookings and what rates you get, you WILL sell weeks in the summer in Lyme but it may be short breaks in low season. The turn around costs the same and the heating costs more. In Lyme you will get good rates if you have the right property (I pay £1800 a week for a 4 bed on the cob in August). For me it needs parking and not too far to walk from the beach. We never found a place there that could tick all our boxes at a price that made sense for us.

I wish you luck with a place in Lyme (we are still looking). I would suggest talking to Lyme Bay holidays and seeing what they charge (It may well scare the life out of you) and then working back from there on how much you can manage yourselves and what makes sense. Don't give up, we don't regret our decision but do keep your eyes open to the real costs.

I am not sure how often you are there but it may be worth talking to the local team that run all of the town events, Alan the Town Crier is a wonderful man who seems to know everyone welcomes us back every time we visit. Take the time to visit on a week like Lifeboat week and talk to some of the team. You may just find a gem like our cleaner who goes the extra mile for you.
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SusanMay



Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 51
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Almost £200 sounds very expensive to me and, unless you are going to be able to charge a lot more than we do, would make short breaks in winter months not worth contemplating.

Our property is in a little seaside resort down the coast from Lyme. It has two bedrooms and we pay a local couple less than a third of that figure to do the changeover, including the laundry. They also do the key handling and are local if there are any issues. I recommend that you try to find someone similar in Lyme as I'm sure it would be cheaper.

We also find that we need to visit and stay a day or two every 4 - 6 weeks to give the place a bit of an extra spruce up and check that handles aren't loose, kettle leaking etc etc. That's fine with us anyway as we bought it primarily as a place for us to visit, the letting just ensures it "pays its way".
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Vicvic98



Joined: 20 May 2015
Posts: 4
Location: West Dorset

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 1:32 pm    Post subject: h Reply with quote

Hi. I think I am going to try to source someone locally to clean as a company does seem to be very expensive and could potentially put the kaibosh on the whole enterprise.

I don't suppose your cleaner is able to recommend someone local? I'm going down there at the end of June so will do some investigations then, but if anyone has any recommendations I'd be extremely grateful.
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Casscat



Joined: 05 Jul 2014
Posts: 2661
Location: Andalucía

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly a bit cheeky, but have you thought about contacting owners of holiday property in your area (via OD, HA or whatever) and asking which firm they use. I would pick people with properties that are not in your market so they won't think of you as a rival owner, i.e. if your place is a four bed house contact someone with a two bed cottage. Most people will be happy to help and if they ignore you then you've lost nothing. If someone contacted me on this basis then subject to checking with my property managers that they had no objection and could handle another property I would be happy to put the parties in touch.
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SusanMay



Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 51
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Vicvic98,

By chance my chap just rang me so I asked him if he happens to know any cleaners / caretakers for holiday lets in Lyme but I'm afraid the answer is no. Casscat's idea sounds a good one though.
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tchn



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 209
Location: Lake District

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our costs for comparison:

3 bedroom cottage in Cumbria, with two bathrooms. We live 250 miles away.

Cleaning: usually £40-50 (£10/hour for a local lady)
Laundry: £22 through the local collect/deliver laundry service (just bedding - we provide and housekeeper washes hand towels, bath mats and tea towels)
Gardening: £30 a week

We arrange maintenance, but our booking agency would do it for £15 a booking. Of course we carry greater risk, but we trust our housekeeper and the network of maintenance men that we can call on.

Tom
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JaneV



Joined: 28 Sep 2013
Posts: 83
Location: Rye Harbour

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 3 bedroom (sleeps 6), 1 bathroom cottage and my cleaning and laundry costs are approx £60 per changeover, less if only a couple have stayed. I take a lot of short breaks so this makes it feasible. My annual cleaning bill last year was £4370, so an average of £84 per week.

I visit the cottage quite often though and will deep clean/re-paint where necessary and I also do all the gardening.
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