Rented.com – the leading marketplace connecting rental management companies with second homeowners – has a proven reputation for increasing revenue for both second homeowners and those managing these investments. As of 2017, Rented.com has vacation rental properties in 80 countries and more than 700 cities. What makes them stand apart? To learn about the company and their services, we chatted with Michael Goldin, the director of Business Development for Rented.com.
Rented.com Q&A With Michael Goldin, Director of Business Development
How did the idea for Rented.com come about, and how has it grown since inception?
It all started when Andrew McConnell, our CEO and co-founder, sat down to lunch with a couple of family friends. At one point during the meal, two of them started discussing their vacation homes. They both used VRBO and thought it was great because they didn’t have to pay any commissions to property managers.
Not knowing about the space at the time, Andrew kept asking questions about what the work entailed – answering emails and phone calls, booking key exchanges and cleanings, dealing with emergencies on weekends and in the middle of the night, etc. The more they talked about what managing the homes themselves actually meant, the more they started complaining about the time commitment.
Andrew asked them how much their time was worth per hour, and it was a lot – one is a dentist and the other is a physician. He then asked how much time they spent managing their properties, and again it was a lot. They estimated close to 10 hours every week! And then Andrew asked if they thought they were as good as managing the homes as those professionals they fired, and they said no.
Andrew was confused. “Why wouldn’t you just sell all of your weeks to those professionals? That way, you would know what you are making, and you wouldn’t waste so much of your own time.” They responded, “Well yeah, if there was a way to do that, then everyone would already be doing it that way.”
That same day Andrew emailed Mickey Kropf, our COO and co-founder, to run the idea by him. They were college friends, and Andrew knew that after Mickey finished playing professional baseball, he had gone into real estate.
Together they investigated the space more, saw there was nothing like what they were proposing, kept hearing from homeowners and property managers that they wanted this kind of marketplace, and got a better idea of just how big this industry was. From there, the early incarnation of Rented.com, then called VacationFutures, was born.
From that initial team of two with a business focused on one or two markets and built mostly over email, Rented.com is now a company with properties and managers across six continents and in more than 80 countries. In every instance, we work to help the best managers grow quickly, and ensure that homeowners get the best managers and the best deals possible.
What’s the No. 1 way you help owners maximize their rental investment properties?
Competition. When managers know they are going head-to-head with other managers, they present their best offer. When they do that, it ensures the homeowner always gets a great deal.
What is one (or a couple) of major successes Rented.com has experienced in 2016-2017?
There have been so many. We have helped homeowners double or even triple their income while also taking all of the work, hassle and risk off their shoulders. We have helped a homeowner earn $150,000 on a home before she even purchased it. We have helped retired people actually retire by getting them out of the rental by owner (RBO) game. And through it all, we have helped our most successful managers grow quickly, making sure that the best managers and the best companies, can objectively prove to homeowners they are the best, and thus reap the rewards.
Do you sync up property managers and owners? If so, could you explain the process?
Absolutely. On Rented.com, there are more than 850 professional property managers all looking to grow their business by adding more homes. Homeowners come to Rented.com, and create a quick property listing for their home – which takes about 5 minutes. That property has photos, and relevant details on the home, such as what weeks the homeowner wants to rent throughout the year.
Once that listing is live, the managers looking for properties fitting that description are alerted and over the next few days reach out to the owner and submit their projections and offers. It is important to note that all of the offers are premised on the Rented.com standard contract, making it very easy for owners to compare between companies.
During this period, the owner is able to message back and forth with the managers, and ultimately settle on who is the best fit for him/her. Once chosen, the terms populate into an online contract and both parties can sign right online, and even set up the payments. Once signed, everything, all the work, hassle, etc., comes off of the homeowner’s shoulders.
That is where our tagline comes from: Relax. It’s rented.
What’s your favorite aspect of your position?
My favorite is that deals only happen, contracts only sign, when both parties are better off. There are no tricks or gimmicks. Everyone truly walks away better off by using Rented.com.
Where do you see the short-term vacation rental industry going in the next couple of years?
This is a subject I could elaborate on to virtually no end. At a high level, I would say it is moving in a direction where the word “vacation” has less and less meaning. As the big industry players consolidate, buying up their smaller rivals, and as vacation rentals converge with Airbnb, serviced apartments, and with recent moves by Accor and others, even with hotels, the distinctions between these different types of lodging will be less and less important.
The winners will be those who are able to offer “accommodations” that appeal to guests in the right context. It could be a business traveler, a vacationer, a conference attendee, etc. What it is in every instance is someone looking for a bed to sleep in. Provide them the right bed, with the experience and service they are looking for in that instance, and you win.
Learn more about Rented.com and see if it’s the right fit for you.
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