4 Expenses to Factor into your Winter Vacation Rental

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19 Dec 2017
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Home Owners

Many people dream of owning a vacation rental in a ski town, but unfortunately, they don't always factor in the expenses that go along with having a winter rental. Be prepared for the costs of owning a home in snow country so you don't lose money. Here are four expenses you will want to build into your operating expenses.

Snow Removal
The costs of snow removal may seem pretty straightforward but it can add up quickly, especially in a very snowy season. Don't forget to factor in the following costs to your snow removal expenses:

For every guest arrival:
Driveway/Parking Plow Service - make sure your driveway is clear before every arrival

  • Shoveling Walkways - walkways should be clear to prevent guest injury and to prevent ice from building up from everyone tromping around on it. You may ask your guests to shovel, but you might find that it never gets done.
  • Supplying ice melt - be sure to have a nice bucket and scooper to make it easy for him
  • Snow removal equipment such as shovels, ice chippers, etc. - avoid metal shovel tips if you have wooden walkways or decks to avoid damage.

Weather dependent expenses:

  • Shoveling of decks, stairs, and rooftops - if it's a big snow year you might have to do a few extra rounds of shoveling to prevent major snow damage on your property
  • Freezing pipes and water damage if your water is not shut off properly between each reservation - always turn the water off and drain the pipes between reservations to help prevent busted pipes.

High Utilities
Let's be clear. Winter guests want to be warm. They aren't paying top dollar to stay at your house to sit in the cold, especially after a day on the slopes or in playing in the snow. Count on guests cranking up the heat and blasting the fireplace, especially because they know they aren't paying the bills. Even if you have house rules to turn the heat down, or to turn the fireplace off before leaving the house, you can't be sure it's going to happen. Be sure to factor in high utility costs into your winter rates, and you may want to consider purchasing proper window shades, doors, and windows to help retain the heat. Consider adding a few extra warm blankets to keep your guests happy too.

House Supplies
Don't let your house get damaged by guests tromping around in their wet boots with their wet gear. You will want to provide a place for guests to put these wet items to help facilitate taking care of your home, and make sure you're prepared in case of a power outage so you don't leave your guests in the cold and dark. Items include:

  • Silicon or Rubber Boot Trays - great for wet shoes, shovels and snow gear. Just make sure you have enough for your max occupancy
  • Shoe Racks - great anytime of year
  • Sturdy Rug in the entry - especially if your house is pet-friendly. You want a place to wipe those paws. You can even get fancy and provide specific pet-friendly towels for wiping paws.
  • Bench - make sure is actually a functional bench of appropriate size & sturdiness
  • Ski/snowboard racks or ski lockers - if you have enough space either in your home, garage or near the front entry it can be a great way to deter guests from bringing wet gear into your home
  • Coat Racks - need enough hooks to hang at least one coat per guest
  • Hat & Mitten Racks - place by a vent or fireplace to get the most use out of them
  • Emergency Kit - candles, flashlights, batteries, and a few emergency/thermal blankets should get you started

Well, there you have it. Just a few tips to help you prepare for and price your winter vacation rental appropriately if you live in a snowy place. Of course, you will learn over time what else you might need to prepare for, but in the meantime, this should get you started. Oh, and don't be surprised if you need to replace some of these items every season or two. Afterall, your guests won't use a broken shovel or an already burnt out candle.