Get Your Cottage Ready for the Season

The ice is off and it’s spring clean time!

In the past, guests were more tolerant of less than pristine cottages.  They wouldn’t care too much about the odd dust bunny under a bed, or a mouse dropping discovered in a drawer.  They’d see it as part of the cottage experience, get out the broom, and move on.

But that’s all changed and that type of experience would now result in an immediate call to bring in a cleaning team and pest controller, together with a demand for a refund.

There used to be an old expression we heard a lot as owners attempted to push back on any complaints and tried to justify their more relaxed approach to housekeeping at the lake. 

“It’s just a cottage – what do they expect?”

That just doesn’t fly anymore.

In the past year we’ve experienced a heightened sense of concern about cottage cleanliness amongst rental guests, to the extent they will report relatively minor issues.

They will check every corner of a property, inside every cupboard and drawer, under beds and around window frames and door sills.  An errant spider web that may have been constructed in a few hours after the last rental cleaning may not go unnoticed!

With this in mind it’s worthwhile preparing well for a season of rentals and ensuring your cleaning team is diligent and pays attention to detail.

Here’s ten spring tasks to lighten up the load on week-by-week rental cleanings.

1 Deep Clean

This should be a given – it’s something every cottage owner needs to do at least once a year. Pull the fridge out and clean the coils at the back; run the stove on an auto clean and scrub the racks;  open out sofa beds and check for damage to mattresses; do the windows and frames.  It’s a great task for a rainy weekend at the cottage!

2 Check Dock & Deck Boards

The snow and accumulated ice can do a good job on deck and dock boards, loosening screws (how does that happen?) and popping nails.  A half hour with a hammer and a screwdriver should give you safer outdoor space with little effort.  Note any loose or rotten boards and plan to replace them.

3 Do An Inventory Check

Things get broken and go missing in a year of rental and you often don’t notice until a guest calls and asks where the corkscrew is.  Yes, your inventory needs to be that detailed!  Arm yourself with a detailed inventory checklist and go through the property checking everything off.  Identify what needs to be replaced – glassware that’s missing; scratched and worn non-stick pans; board game pieces, etc.

4 Refresh Bedding

All bedding should be checked frequently for marks, stains and just general age, and replaced before guests notice the wear and tear. We recommend sheets and towels are replaced every two years – and sooner if occupancy is high. They are washed much more frequently than residential sets so will wear out quicker. According to Hilton Worldwide, synthetic pillows lasts approximately 18 to 24 months when cared for and laundered properly, while a down or feather pillow can last 24 to 36 months. Apart from anything else, a rental property will be judged on the quality of sleep a guest has, and if that is compromised by uncomfortable beds and bedding you’ll hear about it.

5 Do A Safety Audit

Guest safety is an important consideration and should be front and centre of your rental plans. Firstly, look at your rental insurance to ensure you have sufficient liability cover – $2 million is considered a reasonable amount to carry. Then make sure you cover the absolute requirements for a safe rental property. If you aren’t sure what should be involved check this article on Why Guest Safety Should Be A Top Priority.

6 Cover The Kitchen Essentials

Over time, things wear out. This could be an outdated cafetiere that needs to be replaced; kitchen knives that need sharpening; chipped mugs or plates; or a kitchen drawer that’s got full of stuff from a year of rental. Your guests deserve the best and to feel they are the first to visit (even if they are the last of the season). Start off with that in mind and clear out all the scratched Teflon pans, buy some new kitchen tools and smarten up your appliances.

7 Barbecue

Forgive the pun but BBQ complaints were hot last year. There were a lot of them.

While many of us pay little attention to the ‘Q apart from brushing it off after use, guests have a different perspective. They don’t want to see the remnants of last week’s guests burgers sticking to the grill, or seeing a full grease trap that attracts critters at night. With this in mind, give a little thought to how you will manage the barbecue this summer. Make sure you add regular maintenance and cleaning to your changeover checklist and start the season with a thoroughly scrubbed and prepared unit. Here’s a great video to show what to do on an annual clean.

8 Watercraft & Accessories

There’s more to offering boats with your rental than just pulling them out of winter storage and overturning them on the water’s edge. As a rental owner you have a responsibility to your guests to ensure their safety and that extends to everything that’s included. So, it’s worth your time to thoroughly check all the watercraft – make sure all the component of a paddle boat are in good working order; ensure canoe seat webbing is intact, and there are no cracks or potential leaks in the hulls of kayaks and canoes.

You must have a complete safety kit for each boat that includes a baler, throwing rope, working flashlight and whistle.

Wash and disinfect all life jackets, check them for damage and ensure the sizes of each are clearly displayed.

9 Clear Outdoor Clutter

CottageLINK Rental Management
Toll Free: 1-866 323 6698

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Business Address:
PO Box 39036
Columbia PO, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2T 0A7

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