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Property Management FAQs

About Us | Property Management | Off-Season Property Management | Guest Experience | Services Fees/Cost | Property Qualifications |
Rate and Revenue Management | Financials and Reporting | Marketing and Sales

About Us

As a family owned and operated business, we’ve had the honor of partnering with property owners and welcoming guests to Harbor Country for over 20 years. Our team of sales agents, marketing professionals, housekeepers and maintenance staff is dedicated to providing 5-star client experiences. 

Bluefish offers full service property management for vacation rentals and non-rental properties throughout Southwest Michigan.  We provide services to property owners who are interested in maximizing the value of their home through a rental program or simply looking to protect their investment while they’re away by partnering with us to inspect and care for their property.

Our year round team provides personalized care, housekeeping, security, maintenance, and consistent owner communication. We serve as your local, Harbor Country hosts to provide dynamic sales, marketing plans, and seamless booking experiences.

We make our guests feel at home and our homeowners feel like guests through concierge-style services and check-ins, knowledgeable information, and thoughtful amenities to ensure we are maximizing the revenue potential for your home. Our owners enjoy time in their homes and peace of mind while they are away.

Our vacation rental management agreement is for 12-months from the effective date.  You may cancel the agreement at any time with sufficient written notice and a fee.

You will make reservations for yourself, friends or family through your owner portal.  Our owner's portal is a web-based system which you can access through any computer/phone/tablet without the need to download an app.

Being a part of our property portfolio allows you access to our other properties at a discounted rate. Rates are individually discounted based on availability and time of year.

Property Management

Prior to each guests’ arrival, your property is cleaned by our housekeeping team, is maintained by our maintenance team, and is inspected by a lead staff member prior to a check-in. Your grill will be cleaned, propane tanks replaced and charcoal refilled.  Outdoor furniture is wiped down and debris removed.  Outdoor patios, decks, porches, pathways, driveways and entryways are leaf blown.

Unlike most national vacation rental management companies that work through 3rd party vendors or rely on homeowners to make arrangements for routine repairs, Bluefish offers a full range of services via our maintenance staff and contractors. Most routine maintenance needs will be serviced through the Bluefish maintenance team. For any specialty repairs such as HVAC, pool service, or appliance repair, we only work with insured and accredited partners that have been vetted to ensure repair integrity and the best price possible.

Yes, Bluefish will make owners aware of any necessary repairs or replacements over the pre-approved amount, which is typically $200 - $300. The only exception is in a situation where delay could cause damage to the property or harm to the guest.

Whenever repair needs arise, we make every effort to make our owners aware and discuss remedies. That said, we do work to mitigate all damages that could continue if not addressed. With rare emergency repair events in mind, we take a proactive approach by first coming to an agreement with our owners on the cost threshold they're comfortable spending before first giving approval.

Our housekeeping and maintenance staff will ensure all garbage is disposed of properly following each guest stay. Certain townships have ordinances which require that garbage cans be brought out to the street and brought back to the house within a specified time range.  Our maintenance team schedules this accordingly to make sure that cans are out for trash pickup day. 

Bluefish can assist with processing short term rental license applications to cities and townships.  Part of this service includes facilitating inspections as well as ensuring that your home has everything needed to meet the necessary license requirements.  There is a $100.00 fee for us to process, plus any additional costs in home improvement as required by the township or city.  

Off-Season Property Management

Yes.  Bluefish Vacation Rentals & Property Management is a fully accredited member of the National Home Watch Association.  Our off-season program follows the NHWA guidelines and visual inspection checklists.

Bluefish offers full service property management for vacation rentals and non-rental properties throughout Southwest Michigan.  We provide services to property owners who are interested in maximizing the value of their home through a rental program or simply looking to protect their investment while they’re away by partnering with us to inspect and care for their property. You also gain access to our Off-Season Concierge Services.

Weekly home inspections are important, and may even be required by your insurance company during an extended period of vacancy.  Our off-season property management service is an all-inclusive monthly fee with no long term contract.  To learn more about our off-season property management, check out the Off-Season PM page.

No.  We provide services to property owners who are simply looking to protect their investment while they’re away by partnering with us to inspect and care for their property.

No long term contracts are required.  You choose the months that you want to use our off-season property management.

Guest Experience

Our reservations and concierge teams provide 5-star guest service experiences. We handle everything from making reservations over the phone, to answering home specific questions such as in-home amenities, sleeping configurations, proximity to local attractions, to how many stairs there are down to Lake Michigan to name a few.

We're able to accomplish this level of property knowledge by sending each of our reservations and concierge team members to your property to do an onsite visit. This firsthand knowledge enables us to accomplish our goal to provide each guest with a unique experience that meets their individual needs. This high level of service creates loyal, repeat guests to your property

Guests have 24/7 access to us during their stay.  Our office is open 7 days/ week from 9:00am-6:00 pm ET and we have an after-hours line that is staffed from 6:00pm-9:00am ET.

We make the payment process as easy and convenient as possible. In accordance with our booking terms, we accept credit card and bank transfer payments directly from guests. We also offer our guests the convenience to make their payments online via our websites. Reservation balance payments are collected well in advance of each guest's arrival. Any reservation set to arrive without first paying the balance will not be honored and they'd be unable to access the residence.

We communicate with our guests in a variety of ways. Our guests may contact a Bluefish guest service staff member 24/7, 365 days per year by phone, text, email, direct message, or through our online chat feature to name a few. Our office is also open 7 days per week so a guest can stop in as well.

Bluefish strictly prohibits smoking or vaping of any kind inside our properties.

Yes.  We have a minimum age requirement of 25 years old to rent.

Each guest stay includes a mandatory charge for accidental damage protection. This protection includes coverages for accidents such as a broken chair or removing spill stains from carpet. Per our terms and conditions, any guest damages above this amount will be charged to a pre-authorized card on file for the guest. Any damages upon the post checkout inspection will be charged to the guest immediately. Security deposits are also scaled in accordance with each property. 

This is where our high level of service not only serves our guests but also our homeowners. Our Bluefish client services staff goes to great lengths to make sure that your property is protected through our guest interaction. All of our properties have an age minimum of 25 years old (some are 30 years old).  Part of our guest agreement requires guest names and ages of everyone staying.

We will always protect your investment above all else, including guests. Over the years we have learned what to look for when vetting our guests and we are proud to protect your property above all else if there are any red flags in our vetting process.

All guest starter supplies are provided by Bluefish.  Guest receive a starter supplies including: 1 paper towel roll, 10 drawstring kitchen bags, 1 individually wrapped sponge, dish soap, 1 dishwasher packet,1  laundry packet, 2 toilet paper rolls/bathroom, 1 individually wrapped bar soap/bathroom sink, and makeup towels. Once this starter set is exhausted, it is the guests responsibility to purchase additional provisions. These consumables will be restocked following each guest stay at no cost to you.

We are available 24/7, 365 days per year for our guests.  An emergency line directly connects guests to a member of our management team.

All guests are provided a detailed account in writing of all property and location rules. Guests must sign a rental agreement that states they must abide by all rules or risk immediate removal from the premises without refund. In instances such as noise complaints, our on-the-ground management staff will contact the guest immediately to first notify the guest that they are in violation of house rules and provide a warning that any additional complaints or violations will result in their removal from the property. Additional infractions will be handled directly by our management who will involve local law enforcement when needed.

Our team communicates directly with any managers or representatives of your Homeowner Association.  We adhere to all HOA guidelines for each reservation.  At no cost to the homeowner, Bluefish follows all HOA timelines and completes required paperwork for each rental.  

Service Fees/Cost

We encourage you to interview several vacation rental management companies and explore the different models to find the right fit for you. Historically, any company promoting a split under 20% is offering marketing and reservation services only. They may not ever visit your property, and cleaning and maintenance services will need to be retained separately. Most full service property management companies are going to fall in the 25-40% range depending on location. Where they are within this range usually depends on how they bill for things like credit card fees, listing site, subscriptions, etc. We work to make our commission as inclusive as possible, and do not bill owners for any marketing, credit card fees or accounting services.

Yes. We provide a full service clean and inspection following every stay, including owner stays. Owners are charged for the labor/time it costs us to ensure the home is guest ready again. The price for this owner cleaning is included in the property management agreement. If owners elect to clean their home following a personal stay, returning it to guest ready standing, then the cleaning fee could be lessened or waived following a post stay inspection.

You will be charged our agreed upon management fee for guest reservations. You will not be charged any additional fees for guest reservations. Additional fees incurred are for laundry services, propane tanks, maintenance items and snowplowing.  

Guests pay for housekeeping. Owners are only charged for cleaning after a personal stay, as well as the initial clean of the season prior to the first guest rental.

Homeowners do not bear the cost of providing consumables for each reservation. Bluefish provides each reservation with a starter set of consumables such as: soap, paper towels, trash bags, dish detergent, toilet paper, etc. Once this starter set is exhausted, it is the guests responsibility to purchase additional provisions. These consumables will be restocked following each guest stay at no cost to you.

Homeowners are responsible for providing guest cleaning supplies and guest cleaning equipment like a vacuum, mop, broom and dustpan.

There are a variety of ways we can handle this scenario, all of which we are open to discussing. Additionally, we can migrate any and all reviews that you currently have on your privately run VRBO, AirBnb, etc. sites.

Property Qualifications

We require your policy to indicate liability limits and coverage as well as naming us as an additional insured.  You’ll want to check with your own policy to see what additional policies your insurance provider might require.  

We require a minimum of six weeks between June-August.  A maximum of two of these weeks can be made available in June. 

Bluefish has a diverse portfolio of condos, cottages and homes.  It’s important to us that our partnership provides the brand our guests are loyal to.  We take pride in developing close and lasting partnerships with our property owners and guests.  

When you join our rental portfolio, you are provided with our property and kitchen essential checklists.  Guests expect a fully-furnished, well-maintained home when booking a vacation rental.  This includes essentials like appliances, cookware, bakeware, glasses, silverware, internet, TV, quality linens and towels, etc. Matching turnover sets of linens and towels are required.  Our housekeeping management team  is happy to work with you to ensure that all desirable amenities are in place.

Bluefish guests reserve properties for a variety of reasons.  Some of the main amenities requested include: size of home, distance to beach, private pool, private hot tub, association pool, pet friendly and high-speed internet. 

All Bluefish properties are required to provide wi-fi internet as a means for guests to stream LIVE television without using their own account.  When purchasing internet service, you’ll want to include the fastest internet speed available.  

This is completely your choice. We have seen an increase in the number of guests that travel with their dogs, so allowing pets in your home will increase the appeal of your property to the widest range of travelers. We do charge any guests bringing a dog a pet fee which is non-refundable. This fee is used to perform the extra cleaning that may be required to remove any pet hair/dander from the property following the guest stay. 

Rate and Revenue Management

Our in-house revenue management team actively studies current market statistics, comparable properties, and historical data and trends to determine fair market rates and seasonality. Nightly rates are reviewed on a weekly basis and adjustments are made as needed to keep our pricing for your home competitive and fair. It's our shared goal with our owners to maximize each nightly rate. Rate ranges and minimum/maximum thresholds will be discussed with owners to avoid any miscommunications.

Financials and Reporting

All expenses are tracked and accounted for. A detailed statement is provided at the end of each month.  You can also view your past statements in your owner portal at any time.  

You do not. Each guest is charged the required tax amount on every reservation. We will remit these taxes to the appropriate municipality on your behalf. You will also be provided with a full tax account at the end of each financial year for tax preparations.

Homeowners are paid monthly.  Payments will be processed by the 10th of each month. 

Marketing and Sales

Bluefish pays for the marketing of all properties in our portfolio.

Our diverse and innovative marketing approach and brand awareness strategies have allowed us to maintain the highest occupancy rates during peak season. We get your property in front of guests through print and digital advertising, direct mailers, influencer and local relationships, and social media channels.

Campaigns are strategically created to target various audiences.  We employ advanced tools such as cart abandonment, reminder to book, cancellation notifications, email drip campaigns and more to maximize direct bookings for our property owners.

For additional information, be sure to review our Join Our Portfolio page.

We will showcase your property on our directly managed website, Bluefishvacations.com, which benefits from the traffic driven by aggressive Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing strategies. Bluefish will distribute your listing to a robust network of online travel agents, such as VRBO, AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeToGo. We also use additional digital marketing including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and social media channel posts and stories.

Our modern marketing approach also includes partnerships with influencers, news outlets and print advertising.  Bluefish has been published in local, state and national publications.  For additional information, check out Bluefish in the News.

Our reservations team is dedicated to knowing your home and the area, so thatwe offer a seamless booking experience. We pride ourselves on offering exceptional guest service around the clock, which gives your home increased repeat and referral guest revenue year after year. Our repeat guests are so excited to rebook that they often do so before returning home from their current vacation.

This is where exceptional service really shines through. We strive to create brand loyalty through consistent and quality experiences with all of our guests, capitalizing on bringing repeat guests from other destinations and introducing them to our entire portfolio.

At no cost to the homeowner, Bluefish provides professional home portfolio photography. Home listings are optimized to make your home more appealing to the right guests. 

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