Frequently Asked Questions
What will Palmetto Sands do for me?
We pride ourselves on managing every aspect of keeping your vacation rental booked and ready for guests and owners to enjoy. Our goal is to enable you to maximize revenue from your rental without having to do any of the work involved with managing it. That means we do everything from taking photos, writing descriptions, and marketing your vacation rental property to working with potential guests and making bookings as well as managing logistics like reservations, payments, check-in and check-out, housekeeping, property upkeep, and dispatching emergency maintenance. We also manage maintenance technicians for regular maintenance, improvements, and emergencies. We make sure home owners can sleep well at night knowing their property is being taken care of and generating the most revenue possible in the Hilton Head vacation rental market.
What is the cost for these services?
National commission rates for property manager services average roughly 35% and range as low as 20% and as high as 60% depending on the type of home and market. There are two static costs to doing business with Palmetto Sands; the commission and the cleaning cost. Commission will depend on a number of factors such as size, # of bedrooms, location and etc. We provide full service management without cutting any corners and we may offer new owners, during limited time promotions, lower commissions for their first year of management. Try it for a year, let us prove our quality and service excellence to you and we're sure you'll continue, but if you decide not to, there are no strings attached.
How do we get started?
Getting started is easy and risk-free. We can activate homes that are existing vacation rentals usually within a couple of business days. Our contract has no start-up fees. Activation includes taking new photos, putting together detailed listings, setting a rate structure, creating advertising marketing on the internet channels and beginning to take reservations—all in as little as a few days! This can take longer given a home owner's schedule, or if a home is in the process of being converted from a residence to long-term rental.
Can you help me convert my home to a vacation rental?
Yes, we will help in any way we can. A Palmetto Sands representative will assist you in finalizing a variety of projects including setting up your phone, cable and internet. We are also willing to work with contractors and furniture companies on the placement of your belongings to ensure a great looking property.
What kind of contract would be needed?
Our contract is an open-book and we believe it should not have any onerous clauses. It is straight-forward and includes a 60 day out clause for any reason—if you are not happy with the service you can leave with 2 months notice. Please contact us and we will be happy to send you our agreement for your review.
Do I have to allow for a certain amount of available weeks?
No, however we do require that all homes that wish to use Palmetto Sands are year-round rentals. An owner, friend or family can use a rental for weeks or even months at a time, however; if you plan to only make it available occasionally then your home is probably not right for our program. We also reserve the right to cancel a homeowner agreement if the home is predominantly unavailable for bookings.
Do the homes you represent have to be a certain size or quality?
To some degree, yes. Palmetto Sands focuses on upper-end rentals in desirable locations. This could be a high-end 1 bedroom villa, up to a large home that is a vacation destination at the beach. We will look at every property and let you know if we feel it will make a good rental. Contact us to see if your home qualifies.
What am I required to have in my home?
Guests expect a fully-functioning home when they arrive complete with furniture, appliances, cookware, glasses, silverware, internet, TV, etc. as well as a standard supply of bed linens, bath and hand towels and typical consumables like light-bulbs and batteries. We will work with you to make sure that you have everything in place. We even have inventory forms to ensure you have the right quantity of each item. Internet and Phone connections are required at every home. Nicely decorated homes tend to command higher rentals and we always encourage owners to have a home that shows well. A good test of whether or not you need to have something in your rental is to put yourself in a guest's shoes... If you were staying somewhere for a week long period of time, what would you expect to have in that rental home... that is what we aim to provide to guests for their stay.
How do you set the pricing for my rental?
We look at nearby comparable rentals to gage pricing in the market. We also look at availability calendars to see how well others are booked at the pricing they have posted. We also rely on our own internal data from other comparable rentals we manage. Pricing is very specific to the size of the property, the exact location, and to the quality of the finishes. No pricing is ever set perfectly the first time—the key is to monitor and adjust pricing based on actual market demand. This is where Palmetto Sands excels—we monitor conversion rates of your rental at initial pricing and adjust up or down according to how well the rental is booking. It is an ongoing process that is always a top priority. The more money our owners make, the more we make—so we try and do everything we can to maximize the revenue.
How do you communicate with the guests?
We have several ways for guests to communicate with Palmetto Sands. Our biggest form of communication is our website and email. Second, we have employees ready to answer the phone around the clock. We have an after-hours emergency number to provide assistance at any time in case of an emergency. We are always looking for ways to gather feedback from our guests. We contact each guest while in house to ensure they're vacation experience is above expectation and we also provide both written and electronic comment cards for guests to complete. We provide the feedback with our owners to make sure each property can maximize its rental potential and address our guests' needs.
Can guests book my property online?
Yes they can, although virtually all potential guests begin with an email or phone call. We do have the ability to allow guests to view a property online and secure their reservations with a credit card.
When and how do I get paid as an owner?
Owners can expect to receive their rental income monthly. All statements and funds are released by the 8th day of the following month. Expect to receive an owner statement and an automatic direct deposit to your bank account. You can also view an electronic version of your statement once it is posted in the owner area of the website. This statement and deposit will cover all guests that check-out during that month. If you have a guest crossing over one month to the next, the payment for that reservation falls in the month they check-out. Your statement will also include a breakdown of expenses and maintenance costs including any invoices from your preferred outside vendors.
What if I already had previous bookings made on my home?
Not a problem! Palmetto Sands will fully manage these bookings for you just like any booking we made. We may need to collect the cleaning fee from the owner as well as taxes to remit assuming those amounts have already been paid. If not, we can collect any outstanding amounts. If you wish to manage the guest, or your former property manager will do it on your behalf, we will block those bookings off in our calendar and no charges will apply. Also, should you be transferring from another company, we can manage any confirmed bookings at the time of transfer to Palmetto Sands at no additional charge.
What kind of updating/reports will I get on my unit?
Initially you will get a monthly statement from us that details out how much rental revenue you earned, including any charges that you have incurred during the month (i.e. If you want it cleaned for your own stay, or if you had us install a new TV, etc.) Anytime you have an inquiry, you can contact your personally assigned property manager to address any and all questions. We also provide annual feedback in the form of a property evaluation completed each fall; this provides feedback from the guests, review of your maintenance history and suggested updates to help maximize the rental potential of the property.
Do I have to handle paying any lodging taxes?
No, we handle that for you. We collect the taxes, put them into our owner escrow account, and remit on your behalf. Each reservation has taxes added to the amount of the rental—so when you see a rental dollar amount, you can rest assured that we have collected and will remit tax on top of that—you do not need to send us extra money to pay taxes nor do you need to file with your lodging authority.
What about cleaning fees?
Each owner pays for the costs of the departure clean, and we pay the cleaners. There is nothing you need to do to schedule or pay for them. If you wish to have your home cleaned while you, a family member, or a friend are staying at the property, just let us know and we will clean and bill you for it as part of your monthly statement.
Do I need to provide a cleaner?
If you have a cleaner you are used to working with then we may utilize them for your rental. In general, we have cleaners contracted with whom we setup in our work order and maintenance system who have proven to be fast, flexible, and reliable. So if you do not have a regular cleaner we will have one ready for your usage. We provide our own set of cleaning standards that each cleaner abides to when working with us.
Do I need to do my own laundry?
No, our cleaning fees cover laundry service for linens, towels and amenity items with every clean. All of our cleaners have their own professional laundry facilities or have the linens and terry laundered professionally off site to avoid any usage of your washer or dryer.
Do I need to provide the amenities ?
No, you don't need to worry about these items; Palmetto Sands ensures your home remains fully stocked. We require that our vacation rental homes come with an initial set of amenities provided by the cleaners so when guests arrive, they don't need to head straight to a market. That set includes several rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, a roll of paper towels, small sizes of soap, shampoo & conditioner, dish soap, dishwasher detergent tabs and trash bags in the kitchen. Our cleaners purchase hotel amenities in bulk and restock these for every stay. Rather than have an owner manage and maintain, we bill these items included in the cost of the departure clean
What if I want to do some decorating/remodeling?
We love it when owners stay involved with decorating and improving their home. Just make sure to check that the home is not booked and you can easily access it whenever you want! Our property managers can assist with getting you in contact with licensed contractors and designers to help complete the project just as you imagine!
What if there is an emergency? Who do the guests call?
The guest will always call Palmetto Sands. The guest will actually never know the name of an owner for privacy reasons (unless you prefer otherwise). We take the call and dispatch the appropriate maintenance technician or vendor. We pay the vendor and add the bill to your home owner statement, taking out of the revenue owed to you during the month—that way you don't have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for anything unless it happens to be a major repair. We do charge a small fee for these types of emergencies jobs, generally around $35, but sometimes more if we have to have someone on site for extended periods of time.
What about regular maintenance?
Palmetto Sands provides guest servicing and management, as well as property management to owners, but we are not a maintenance company. We handle a 24/7 call center, reservation management, guest support, regular housekeeping scheduling and inspections, dispatch of qualified maintenance personnel, monitor internet up-time, indoor temperature when equipped, pool temps when equipped, maintain electronic locks, etc. Our Property Managers are all SC Licensed as well. During inspections we will restock light bulbs and even perform simple maintenance like changing remote control batteries or light bulbs for lamp fixtures or ceilings 8' or lower in height if spares are available on site. Our inspection process is very thorough and we attempt to address as much as possible to minimize costs to owners.