Optimize Your Supply Inventory as an Airbnb Co-Host in 2024 (Episode 347)

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[00:00:05] Sarah: Hello listeners. Welcome back for another great episode. My name is Sarah Karakaian.

[00:00:09] Annette: I am Annette Grant. And together we’re–

[00:00:11] Both Annette & Sarah: Thanks for Visiting.

[00:00:11] Sarah: Let’s kick off this episode like we do every week, that is sharing one of you our listeners who is using our hashtag, #STRShareSunday. If you use that hashtag on Instagram, we will find you, and then we will share you on Instagram on Sundays but also here on the podcast, to our entire email list. Annette, who are we sharing this week?

[00:00:29] Annette: This week we are sharing @candycabinsofbrokenbow. Yeah. @candycabinsofbrokenbow. Couple of things of note here. They have so many moments– yes, I’m going to call them moments– that are special and really differentiate, I believe. One is they have a TP outside, and it really isn’t an overnight TP. It’s more of a hangout spot.

[00:00:53] Sarah: Hmm.

[00:00:53] Annette: They have a platform built for it. It’s a place where kids, even adults, can hang out. I just think it’s something really special that they have on their property. Couple of other moments are just like a bay window seating area. Looks really lovely to bask in the sun and read a book. They have this amazing coffee bar, and then two chairs sitting by the coffee bar as a moment.

[00:01:17] They have an indoor swing by a fireplace. Another moment. I just think there’s these special spots throughout that are very in intentional. They have that intentionality of people unwinding and enjoying themselves. So I think really well done on those moments.

[00:01:35] Sarah: Can you talk about their Bigfoot silhouette? It’s so cute.

[00:01:40] Annette: But is it a silhouette?

[00:01:42] Sarah: Oh, I don’t know.

[00:01:44] Annette: We’ve been duped, Sarah. It’s the real thing. It’s the real thing. Well done. Well done, Candy Cabins of Broken Bow. Broken Bow is my list of places to go for sure.

[00:01:53] Sarah: I know

[00:01:54] Annette: This episode we have one of our coaches inside our membership, and she is woo. She takes action, and we applaud her for that, and we’re excited for you guys to nerd out with us.

[00:02:08] Sarah: Wendy Doris used to be a house flipper in Arizona. That’s how I first met her on Instagram back in–

[00:02:15] Annette: She was a flipper in Cincinnati first.

[00:02:17] Sarah: Right. Yes.

[00:02:18] Annette: Actually, she was a flipper at Arizona State. She was a gymnast.

[00:02:22] Sarah: She was.

[00:02:23] Annette: That’s our original flipping Wendy. We thought it was flipping houses, but it was flipping back flips flipping.

[00:02:28] Sarah: Yes, it was. And then I met her. I got to know of Wendy from Instagram. She has an incredible and fun following. And then we got to even know each other more. As I started sharing my co-hosting experiences on Instagram, she DMed me.

[00:02:43] We had a lot of conversations about business building, and then now Wendy’s a coach inside of our program, and she’s so amazing as a coach there because she loves the details, especially when it comes to the operations of her business, Mostess, which is located in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area of Arizona, which is very competitive if you’re not aware.

[00:03:02] It is probably one of most, one of the most competitive vacation rental markets in the US, and Wendy is absolutely crushing it, and it’s like no stone is left unturned when it comes to dialing in her operations and making sure that they are being as efficient as possible. And it’s not just her business, but she wants to make sure her team is enjoying their time working at Mostess.

[00:03:22] She wants to make sure the owners that she represents are also winning with her operation. So this episode really is going to tug at the heartstrings of anyone out there who really loves efficiency and operations at their short-term rental, especially if you are managing, I would say more than three or four properties. Or if you are a co-host, get your pen and paper out. Wendy’s going to take us on a rollercoaster ride as she improves her supply program. And spoiler alert, she loses a lot of money at the beginning, or–

[00:03:55] Annette: Or does she?

[00:03:56] Sarah: Does she? Wendy Doris, welcome back to the show.

[00:04:09] Wendy: Thanks. It’s great to be back on.

[00:04:10] Sarah: I know we’re going to nerd out today, Wendy, and I think– Annette, do you like operations as much as we do?

[00:04:14] Annette: You have PTSD from it a little bit.

[00:04:16] Sarah: Yeah. A little bit. A little bit.

[00:04:19] Annette: I like operations, but you guys love it.

[00:04:23] Sarah: Did you always know you loved operations, Wendy?

[00:04:26] Annette: No. I’m answering for her.

[00:04:28] Wendy: No, but I did always know that I don’t want to hang out doing operations all the time, so figuring it out what systems to set up so it will just run more smoothly, that is my jam.

[00:04:43] Sarah: Let’s talk about it then. But today we can talk about all the systems, and maybe we just have the system shakedown.

[00:04:50] Annette: Can I give a fun fact about Wendy and myself? It comes to operations and homes.

[00:04:55] Sarah: Okay.

[00:04:56] Annette: Wendy and I– I actually worked with Wendy’s little sister almost 20 years ago now at a residential house painting business, so I’m going to bring it back to homes. And Wendy’s sister and I were very responsible for all the operations there and sending 25, I don’t know, 50 contractors out to people’s homes to paint the exterior. And it was quite the operation, quite the organization. But it was really fun when I think, Wendy, you were on our show way back in the day.

[00:05:34] Wendy: I think it was [Inaudible] 15 or something, and Erica was listening. She goes, I know that voice. That’s Annette.

[00:05:38] Annette: And it came full circle of her sister was listening and was like, that’s Annette. I’ve worked with Annette. So it was like years and years. Yeah, almost 20 years later it came back around. So just fun fact to everybody that you are your brand all the time. You’re a co-host, Wendy, and everybody’s like, what if I host my own property and then I co-host.

[00:05:59] I just want to remind everybody, you are your own brand all the time, no matter if you’re working for yourself, if you’re working for a company, if you’re working for a homeowner, connections matter, though, and your brand will continue to follow you forever, whether it’s good or bad. But just a fun little fact there that I’ve actually worked with Wendy’s little sister 20 years ago. Full circle, I’m working with Wendy again. So it’s just fun what the hosting world has brought to all of us.

[00:06:23] Sarah: Awesome things. Okay, so Wendy, there was a pain point in your business and you set out to solve it. So before we get to it, real quick, just a recap, share with our listeners who you are, where your business is, what it looks like real quick, and then dive into this pain point.

[00:06:42] Wendy: My business name is Mostess, and we are in Arizona, based in Phoenix, but we host in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and in Cottonwood, Arizona, and expanding to Prescott, Arizona, next month.

[00:06:54] Annette: Let’s go.

[00:06:55] Wendy: Yeah, so we like all of Arizona. We manage 14 homes currently, and we are growing, and I think we’ve been hosting for maybe six years. My very first one was 2010 in Cincinnati, so I’ve been doing it for a while.

[00:07:12] But as we were growing, I realized that my team was growing and we’re sending out packages to each house. Well, first we were sending things out to the cleaning team, and they’re having to bring supplies and stuff to the house. It just started to get a little bit messy, so maybe introed into what the problem is that we are solving, but supplies, it just became a huge headache.

[00:07:39] Annette: What are supplies, though? Define the supplies and how the– all of your properties you co-host, are they all individual owners, so they have different supply accountsHow was that working?

[00:07:53] Wendy: Each home is owned by a different out-of-state owner, and so we were buying shampoo, laundry detergent, all the things that we call the grocery items. What else? Dishwashing detergent.

[00:08:08] Annette: Toilet paper, paper towels.

[00:08:10] Wendy: Toilet paper. Paper towels. We have a list of, I don’t know, 17 things that are in this program that every house has. No house doesn’t have these things. We were sending it by Amazon to the house. We had delivery boxes there at each house. Not every house had one, but sometimes maybe it wouldn’t fit in the delivery box or something.

[00:08:33] So we would deliver it to the cleaning team. Cleaning team had to lug it to the house, and so each owner was paying for each shipment, no matter– if we had to buy 10 different things and their bill was $300 that month for supplies in the middle of low season, that’s just what it was. And they never complained about it, but I looked at my invoices, and I’m like, this is disgusting. I can’t look at this. I’m tired of my team carrying these things around, so I wanted to do something better.

[00:09:03] Annette: Would you be ordering, it sounds to me, as needed? So Monday you might place an order for a home, Tuesday an order for a home, Wednesday. And so you’ve got to figure out when it’s getting delivered. Is it before the turnover? After the turnover? So you could essentially be ordering supplies every day of the week because they’re all going down at the same. Is that what was happening?

[00:09:22] Wendy: Yeah. So we use Breezeway, and every turnover in the supply section of Breezeway, a team member could say, we need more olive oil or whatever. So somebody could say they need olive oil today, and then two days later, we need toilet paper, and then two days later– after every turnover. So it was a lot for the hosting team to also keep up on.

[00:09:43] Annette: And we want to discuss also an issue that Sarah and I don’t have to deal with, and you have an interesting issue being in Arizona. It’s like, oh, well, just buy more and store it in your basement, Wendy. Buy more. Keep it in the garage.

[00:09:57] Sarah: Why don’t you buy in bulk, Wendy?

[00:09:59] Annette: Why can’t you do that at your properties?

[00:10:02] Wendy: No basements, and most houses don’t have a garage. If they do, they are going to be 115 degrees inside during the summer. So anything like coffee– sugar’s probably fine, but olive oil, batteries aren’t part of the supply program, but also something that we need to store somewhere.

[00:10:22] So those things are all sitting. We would not put those things outside, but there’s just not room for that stuff. So we have to be very strategic about how we store things. Some of our garages have the hardware cabinets that lock up. Some of them have a coat closet. We don’t wear coats, so we don’t need that.

[00:10:46] So we have coat closets that have been converted. We have laundry cabinets that have been converted with the little magnet lock. So we have stuff all over the place, and no nice, neat shelving in our basements.

[00:11:01] Sarah: I’ll never forget the day you told me. I think we were just talking about supplies one day, and I was trying to be me and just try to tell you like, oh, you should just do this. And you’re like, yeah, girl, there’s no basements here.

[00:11:12] Annette: Yeah, Wendy’s like, that would be great, but that doesn’t exist here.

[00:11:17] Sarah: Okay. So this was a pain point for not just you, but I’m sure your cleaning team was like, hey girl, I don’t want things delivered to my house.

[00:11:23] Annette: And the owner getting a different random amount. Would you get feedback from owners?

[00:11:28] Sarah: She said, no, but yeah, did they?

[00:11:30] Wendy: I don’t remember anybody saying anything, but in the middle of July, I know their utility bills are 600, $700– not utility, I’m sorry, electric bill because of air conditioning and just low season. And then they’re getting $300 on toilet paper and shampoo. It hurts me. I hate sending out invoices, and I want them to be nice and neat. It’s something they can expect. So yeah.

[00:11:59] Sarah: So what did you do? Take us through the process of what you’ve now built out to be your “supply program”.

[00:12:10] Wendy: Okay. So last January, we started right at the first of the year so I can have some nice tidy little books. And we decided to take one storage units, which I already had random design stuff in and lined it with shelves and stocked it full. Just went to Costco and had two, three giant carts full and brought it back to the storage unit, lined it all up.

[00:12:38] So then we were going to take things to the houses and keep them regularly stocked, which is a separate problem that we’ve changed. But basically, charging the owner a per turnover cost for supplies now. So we’re charging them for when a guest is using it rather than what has been purchased and put in their supply closet.

[00:13:03] Annette: What is a per turn? Is it like this guest is going to use two sheets of toilet paper, four paper towels, one dollop of olive oil, a shake of salt, and a–

[00:13:15] Sarah: How did you determine a use case?

[00:13:18] Annette: Yeah. I want to know supply math. Take us through it.

[00:13:22] Wendy: Okay, so what I did was take all the supplies over a year for a certain house. I did this for four houses. So two four-bedroom houses and two three-bedroom houses so I could compare, and I took the entire cost over a year and then divided it by– how did I figure that out? This is the notes I didn’t take because I did this a year ago. But I divided it out, and it turned out that we charge per number of guests for the house. So if a house sleeps 10, that’s how much we charge times a multiplier, which was $2.50 per turn.

[00:14:01] Annette: So it doesn’t matter if the reservation was only for two, you’re just going off of what it could.

[00:14:05] Wendy: Right.

[00:14:06] Annette: Okay, great.

[00:14:07] Wendy: We didn’t want to have to go through and say two people stayed there for– that’s a whole other nightmare. So I said $2.50 per guest. So if a house sleeps 10 people, multiply that by $2.50, and now we are charging $25 per turn.

[00:14:27] Sarah: How did you come up with that $2.50 number?

[00:14:30] Wendy: When I did the math whenever that was last year, I realized that that was the multiplier that was going to work out, or how much they spent over the year. I divided it. I didn’t want to take it by month because we saw how random it was. So we just took it and divided it out, and I don’t honestly remember how I got to that number.

[00:14:50] Annette: I’d say averages. Did you take a 12-month average of those four-bedroom, three bedrooms, the total amount of supplies by the amount of guests it holds? I’d say it’s probably a lot of averages.

[00:15:00] Sarah: By how many turns you had over the year.

[00:15:02] Wendy: I know you can’t believe this, but I have a spreadsheet up right now, and I’m looking at it. So one particular house sleeps 10 people. The total for 2022 was 1494.50. So $1,500 divided by 10 people the house sleeps, which was a cost of about $2.62 per guest.

[00:15:24] Sarah: Okay.

[00:15:25] Annette: Get it. I feel like this is a word problem and we’re figuring it out.

[00:15:30] Sarah: Do think this number– I feel like everyone listening might be like, okay, Wendy just did that math. Can I just use that? Do you think that $2.62, if you’re shopping at Costco, Sam’s Club, Amazon, that’s a universal number for the states, or what about that number do you think might be special to you and your company and your location?

[00:15:50] Wendy: Yeah, I would do my own math. Obviously, if you don’t have the history to do that or you don’t have your expense is broken out, this way it’s going to be difficult. It could be something that you just try, but I have certain supplies in this that we are including. So for instance, in the kitchen, we include ground coffee, but we do not include an espresso because not every house has that.

[00:16:17] We don’t include K-cups. But we do include paper towels, oil, salt and pepper, sponges, creamers, sugars, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, rinse aid, and trash bags. So that’s just the kitchen. So maybe you have different supplies that you are not going to include. So it just depends on what you are going to do, how much the cost is for your supplies in your area. That was going off of how much it cost us to have Amazon send stuff.

[00:16:44] Annette: Right. It’s probably lower now than this bulk buying at Costco. How did you roll this out? It’s been over a year now. How did you let your clients know about this change? We have our membership, a lot of co-hosts. It’s a nerve-wracking thing to talk invoicing with the client, and things are changing.

[00:17:09] What was that for you? Was it an email, an explanation? Everybody got it. Hey, starting January 1. How do you deploy this across all of your clients? A big change.

[00:17:21] Wendy: I believe it was in December or January, maybe even November or December. I told them like, hey, we’re going to deplete all the stuff that’s in your closet. I wanted to get it as empty as possible before we started this. Because they had paid for that stuff. So now I’m not going to charge them for that.

[00:17:38] So we tried to get it as empty as possible with the guests that we had, and I just told them, we are going to be able to buy this in bulk. We’re going to alleviate a lot of issues for our team. And hopefully, this is an experiment. And you guys, my owners are so great. I’m really pretty blunt, and they are used to that.

[00:17:57] So I think they liked that about me. I’m very transparent, but I just said, hopefully we are going to save on supplies by doing this. So they didn’t really bat out yet. And some of the houses that we had replenished and needed a little bit more time, I didn’t bring them in until maybe February.

[00:18:18] Sarah: So to recap really quick, for this 10-person house, after your year of tracking, and then you did this math, every turnover then for this 10-person house, it’s $25 for the items that you just outlined, plus the other rooms. For these select items that you’ve determined every house needs these things in the Mostess program.

[00:18:40] That is what that will cover. So no matter what, if there’s 10 people, four people, six people, this is the average, is $25 for supplies per turn. What did you discover? How long have you been doing the new supply program now?

[00:18:52] Wendy: Okay, so around January, maybe beginning of January, I had a full year documentation, and my bookkeeper’s really good at breaking down everything. And so we pulled the yearly report, the profit and loss report, and the revenue that we brought in from collecting from the owners per turn–

[00:19:13] Annette: In 2023. You started January, 2023.

[00:19:16] Wendy: Right, right. So in 2024, we pulled the report. The revenue we brought in was 13,702.50.

[00:19:23] Sarah: Okay.

[00:19:24] Wendy: The expenses, and there’s two parts to this, there’s the supply expense, the actual cost of the supply is $17,467. And then there’s the labor. So getting the supplies to the houses, the delivery, was 3,805.

[00:19:42] Sarah: Okay.

[00:19:43] Wendy: A caveat to that is that we didn’t start really doing that delivery until a few months in. So over a year, it would be more like 4,200 with the way we were doing it. So it would be higher. So the total expense was $21,272.

[00:20:01] Annette: But you only collected 13,000.

[00:20:03] Wendy: Exactly.

[00:20:04] Annette: Ooh.

[00:20:04] Wendy: I had a cow. I had a cow.

[00:20:08] Annette: All right. Oof.

[00:20:08] Sarah: I didn’t expect this turn to be this good.

[00:20:12] Annette: All right.

[00:20:13] Wendy: It gets better.

[00:20:14] Annette: Oh, okay. Numbers over audio are sometimes difficult. So through all of your collection, 2023, 13,700 bucks, but you spent on supplies and labor around $21,000.

[00:20:30] Wendy: Yeah.

[00:20:31] Annette: Okay.

[00:20:33] Sarah: So there’s a difference of–

[00:20:35] Annette: Ooh, this is looking good.

[00:20:36] Sarah: $7,500 difference. Is that right, Wendy? 7,500-dollar difference.

[00:20:39] Wendy: Yes. So then I thought my multiplier was crap. I’m like, we have to make changes now. I’m freaking out.

[00:20:50] Sarah: Yeah.

[00:20:51] Annette: Why didn’t you check on this? I’m just playing as devil’s advocate here. Did your bookkeeper do a six-month touch base, or was it just like, Hey, we’re going to do this for the entire year because we have to have a full year of slow season, high season? Was that the decision made in January? We’re not going to look monthly because it’s not going to be a good thing. Were you just like, let’s go a full year before peeking in on it?

[00:21:11] Wendy: Yes, we did know that there was a deficit. The thing is that we weren’t buying every month. So I would spend, and I thought, okay, well, once we collect some more, maybe it’ll catch up. When we collect more, but we’re not buying more yet.

[00:21:29] Annette: Right. There’s a lag.

[00:21:34] Wendy: The storage unit is not stocked. So now it’s like, okay, at some point I have to figure this out. And then when the year is up and you see your final numbers, then it’s forced.

[00:21:48] Annette: Is the cost of your storage included in these expenses also?

[00:21:52] Wendy: No, because it’s not– it probably should be. Only half of it’s being used for supplies.

[00:21:57] Annette: You use it for your other– okay, got you. All right. So you had a cow. Wendy had a cow. Did your accountant bring this to you and say, we need to make a change? When you have a cow over numbers– because I think this is a great lesson. We have cows.

[00:22:16] Sarah: Everyday. I just had before for this fall.

[00:22:18] Annette: Yeah. Let’s go through the emotional side of it, of like, you thought you were doing something great for your business, and then you’re like, oh my gosh, now I’m like, you literally are losing money, it sounds like. Is it you stop that day, you get on the phone with the accountant, or does she bring this to you and say, we got to triage this?

[00:22:34] Wendy: It’s my bookkeeper that I work really closely with. So we did talk it out a little bit, but what I needed to do was go in and look at– I don’t know that I knew where to start, but I had to dig into it more. I needed to see what was going on, so I ended up going to several houses and taking a look at what was going on in the house. And I also went to my storage supply to see what was in there. And then it dawned on me I didn’t lose money, maybe. I had money in inventory.

[00:23:10] Sarah: Hmm. You know. Inventory, Annette?

[00:23:13] Annette: Yeah. Ooh, a lot probably. Ouch.

[00:23:17] Wendy: So how much? I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out like, how much do we have in each house? And I realized I wanted to get this off the ground. It didn’t know how it was going to work out. And sometimes how I operate is I need to start doing it because then I’ll figure out the operational side as we hit some of the bumps in the road. Well, one of the other concerns was $4,000 in delivery. That to me was way–

[00:23:49] Annette: What is delivery? Define delivery for us because you got rid of the amazon delivery. So why do you have $4,000 in delivery?

[00:23:56] Wendy: Well, we had to get the stuff to the houses. So if I’m buying at Costco, not every house is going to be available. Not everything comes from Costco. So we buy who gives a crap toilet paper, and it gets delivered to my house. So then I take that to the storage. Sometimes Costco doesn’t have something like dishwasher soap or something.

[00:24:20] Yeah. Once we go shopping at Costco, it can’t all go to the houses. Also, my truck is not big enough to have enough supplies for every house. So what we were doing last year was we had two people who were in charge of supplies. They split the houses, so one took Scottsdale houses, one took Phoenix and North Scottsdale houses, and they would just monitor the supplies in the closet and then fill them in when needed.

[00:24:49] Annette: Got it. So this is their time, is in this $4,000 of delivery.

[00:24:53] Wendy: Yes.

[00:24:53] Annette: All right.

[00:24:54] Wendy: So then I’m thinking, okay, I can’t pay you every time you are going to go to the house. You need to be more efficient to do this. So I’m going to pay you a flat rate to keep a house stocked every month. You can be as inefficient as you want.

[00:25:10] You want to bring one roll of toilet paper every time, that’s fine. So that’s how we decided to do it. So they would just keep things in there. They’re also on the turnover team, so they’re at the houses anyway. So they would keep supplies in their cars. Some of them started to keep it in their garages, which I trust them, so that wasn’t a problem.

[00:25:33] But that’s going against the entire point of this, or one of the entire points of this– having supplies floating around, inventory floating around, sitting in the garages, taking up room in their trunk. So I knew that had to change. Didn’t know how to change it. So we revamped everything. And now what we have– well, I went around and did every single house.

[00:25:58] I wanted to do it all the same way, so I could be the person that knows how it’s done or what it’s like. And so I just filled up my truck with a little bit of everything and then went to each house, and with my team, we had come up with a PAR level, I guess that’s what you call.

[00:26:17] So we wanted to have free laundry detergents and 98 rolls of toilet paper or whatever and paper towels, a lot of them. They go through that so fast. So I go to the supply closets, and one of the team members kept stocking a lot of shampoo and conditioner, and their refill bottle is big.

[00:26:39] They’re the big refill bottles, so they’re taking up a lot of room. I kept buying it because I was like, we have no shampoo and conditioner. So then I would restock the big supply storage. And long story short, each closet is now set with a set amount of stuff per house.

[00:27:00] Annette: PAR levels for each of those. Okay.

[00:27:02] Wendy: I actually ended up taking a lot of stuff out.

[00:27:05] Annette: Wonderful. You gain the inventory back.

[00:27:09] Wendy: Yes. So now we know exactly what’s in the storage. We know exactly what’s in each house. I made a little sheet that I just take and I just say, we have this, we have this, we have this. Take a picture, upload it to Breezeway, post it inside the supply closet door. And so since I did that, now we know exactly what we have, and every house is set for three months.

[00:27:38] Sarah: That’s your PAR level. You’ll have enough supplies. And by the way, everyone, PAR level stands for periodic automatic replacement. And by the automatic, what Wendy’s saying is your team probably goes in there and counts maybe every month just to make sure that if your PAR level for sponges is 25 count boxes, it meets that PAR level.

[00:28:03] And if it doesn’t, there is some system to replenish it so that you are meeting your PAR level. How did you decide what PAR level was? Was it just like, let’s just pick a number? This was what three months means for this house, and just try it and see how it goes.

[00:28:22] Wendy: Pretty much, yeah. I spoke with one of my team members who was one of their turnover specialists, and she was also the one that was replenishing half the houses. And so we decided how much do people go through in a month, and then we multiplied by three. So after this three months, so April, I think we go back. We’ll know. We already know that one five-pound bag of coffee is not enough. So now in the middle of March, learning towards the tail end of that three months, what’s going to work.

[00:28:55] Annette: Is your inspector who’s taking the supplies to the home, are they still getting a monthly retainer, or if you’re going to do it quarterly, are you switching that?

[00:29:05] Wendy: Because what we are doing now is what I did, but passing it off to them, whoever’s going to do it. So we have our sheets. They will stock up, they’ll bring it to whatever houses. We can only do three houses in a day, so we’re doing it every three months. We’re doing it as the houses are open, and so it’s going to be probably half the cost of the delivery.

[00:29:32] Sarah: Nice.

[00:29:32] Annette: When you noticed that you had a lot of cash sitting in the inventory–

[00:29:38] Sarah: What did you do?

[00:29:39] Annette: Right. Now with the numbers, once you’ve redistributed that, what are the numbers? Is the cow going back in? I really should be cut off from this podcast at this point in.

[00:29:58] Wendy: Making it more interesting. So I looked at my Costco receipts and just decided, okay, each sponge costs $1, or whatever. I took the numbers from my PAR sheets and put them in a spreadsheet, multiplied it out, and it looks like we have $11,206 in inventory.

[00:30:23] Sarah: Wow.

[00:30:25] Annette: Great. So it’s not so bad.

[00:30:28] Sarah: Do you just then decide as a business owner, a small business owner, Wendy, that, hey, I’m just going to have this interest-free loan that my owners are going to benefit from while I get this program figured out and let that 11k even itself out over time with my new found PAR level tracking program?

[00:30:47] Wendy: Yes. So if you add those together, the 11,000 plus the revenue that we brought in, it’s almost 25,000, so 24,948. So we did come out higher.

[00:31:04] Sarah: Great.

[00:31:04] Annette: You did make money.

[00:31:06] Wendy: Yeah. So over time, I think it’ll catch up. We’re also getting better at the buying in bulk. So instead of buying 10 boxes of a toilet paper, I just buy 35. It’s half the cost.

[00:31:22] Annette: Boom. Right.

[00:31:23] Wendy: A the box of toilet paper is 50% off if you buy whatever. So I believe it will catch up eventually, and I could change the cost to the owners, but I’m just going to keep riding at that because we are in the positive, if we are including the inventory, and at that rate, the numbers compared to 2022, the cost to the owners has gone down.

[00:31:51] Annette: Wow.

[00:31:51] Sarah: So you are making money off of this program, the owners are saving money on this program, and your team is making less trips, which as short-term rental owners, I think it’s nice to really think about how we’re affecting the world. Wendy, do you happen to know what your business is making? What is that markup that you think you’re taking home from your supply program? Are you making 15% off of your supply program? 20%? Any idea there?

[00:32:21] Wendy: I’m not sure. I would have to do that math. So the total in the positive was like, what’s that, 3,700? So maybe $3,000. So I’d have to multiply it out. I didn’t figure it out.

[00:32:33] Annette: Yeah. 10%. It sounds about 10% of the total. Here’s what, unfortunately, the numbers don’t tell us. Let’s talk about the guest experience and really that friction between your team and those deliveries. What has that brought to your business, gaining this efficiency? Do you feel like the guests are having better stays now because they’re not running out of supplies? Do you just think, overall, your team’s able to focus on other things? Let’s talk about some non-number related side effects, if you would.

[00:33:03] Wendy: Wait.

[00:33:04] Annette: Oh, there’s more.

[00:33:04] Wendy: I have another [Inaudible]. I have another number I forgot about. So my team’s ordering Amazon stuff all the time, right?

[00:33:10] Sarah: Okay.

[00:33:11] Wendy: Think of how many expenses have to be categorized to each house.

[00:33:14] Sarah: Oh yeah.

[00:33:15] Annette: Right.

[00:33:15] Sarah: This is my favorite number, the bookkeeping number, the tracking.

[00:33:19] Wendy: The bookkeeping. The invoice was way long, and now it’s pretty short, which I like. The owners don’t go through and say, why did you buy 98 rolls of toilet paper? That seems excessive. And we are saving on bookkeeping time, so we are saving about $1,500 a year on bookkeeping.

[00:33:39] Sarah: Wow. I love it.

[00:33:41] Wendy: So that means one intended didn’t consider that at all in part of the equation. So I really, really liked that. I also really liked for our team that they get paid to do these things rather than Amazon getting paid to deliver.

[00:33:58] Sarah: Wendy.

[00:34:00] Annette: That’s some gold right there. That’s some gold.

[00:34:02] Wendy: So their initial goal was save the owner’s money, pay our team. Those were the two big reasons to do it.

[00:34:12] Sarah: I think Mostess should make money as well for offering. Because this, for you too, Wendy is another marketing notch on your website. The Mostess supply program saves our owners money, which takes in consideration high season and low season expenses, and your invoicing is clear and transparent and predictable.

[00:34:36] Annette: Ooh, predictable. That’s the one. Yeah.

[00:34:37] Wendy: And the owner is only paying for what is being used rather than paying to stock the whole closet.

[00:34:45] Sarah: Because of that PAR level. Let’s say the house sleeps 10, but you’re only getting four people, your PAR level, though, is still going to stay steady in terms of like, you’re not just going to add things to it because there’s room on the shelf. There is now a science or math behind that. And so you’re not going to fill it until it’s necessary.

[00:35:05] Wendy: And another unintended but great thing is that we don’t have as many boxes being sent to the houses. We did have delivery boxes. We still do, but–

[00:35:16] Annette: The amount of cardboard, right? The recycling of that.

[00:35:19] Wendy: Yeah, they don’t even always put that in the delivery box. So then the guest is like, hey, you got a box here. We’ll just put it inside. And so there’s fewer of that. That doesn’t happen as often because we don’t ship things to the houses as much. We do ship some things, but not as much. So that part has been good. I also can put whatever I want in that list of supplies. So there’s these things that I told the owners that we’re going to do, but I snuck one more thing in there that expense to me now.

[00:35:53] Annette: What is it?

[00:35:55] Wendy: The Poo-Pourri spray? Because we have a lot of friends traveling together and I just thought they needed that.

[00:36:02] Annette: I just thought they needed that.

[00:36:04] Sarah: Dear Poo-Pourri, we’ll be reaching out out for a sponsor– yeah, no. Wendy, I have a question, though, on that front, the things that aren’t covered in your supply program. Let’s say an owner is like– you have your new viral home, the Lavender Hayes, your Taylor Swift property, which that’s another podcast episode coming to you soon.

[00:36:19] Everyone, Wendy has a viral, very cool Taylor Swift-inspired rental. But let’s say, I don’t know, you get a Swifty bracelet with every check-in for your guests, I don’t know. Making it up. The K-cups. You don’t do K-cups, but an owner wants to have K-cups. That is their passion. What do you do then? Is that a line item on your invoice? And do you allow those special requested things? Talk to us about that.

[00:36:47] Wendy: Anybody that’s doing specialty coffee, anything that’s beyond this specified list, what I’ve decided is a specified list, is just going to be shipped to the house like it typically would be, like it was before. So Espresso is sending out the cups, and each house has different kinds of batteries they need, so we send those to the house. So yeah, we stick to that list. The only thing I’ve ever messed with was adding the Poo-Pourri. Because I didn’t think the owners would pay separately for Poo-Pourri, and I wanted it.

[00:37:17] Sarah: It’s your program. It’s your management program, so you can do that.

[00:37:20] Wendy: That’s right.

[00:37:20] Sarah: Okay. This is off the cuff topic. Did you get that email? I haven’t dug into it yet, though. Did you get the email from Breezeway that they’re now allowing inventory tracking per property?

[00:37:33] Wendy: Yes, yes. And I think I need to do that because–

[00:37:36] Sarah: Can you and I just meet for a nerd out happy hour, drink wine, and learn about the new Breezeway inventory program? That’d be fun.

[00:37:42] Wendy: We’ll just sit there and pretend we’re at a storage closet.

[00:37:47] Annette: That part of your operations, I’m going to circle back, when you said setting up your storage unit, that actually did sound fun to me. That part of the operation, I was like, I want to get those toilet paper. I want to get it all organized and ready to go.

[00:38:00] Sarah: Let’s talk about your storage unit. Is it on your personal property?

[00:38:04] Wendy: No.

[00:38:04] Sarah: Tell us about it.

[00:38:07] Wendy: So I don’t have a garage or a basement or a storage anything on my property. I have a storage unit down the street that I’ve always had for the random vintage furniture projects and random crap that goes in there. I combined two smaller ones to a larger storage unit.

[00:38:25] And actually, the day I was sitting there getting rid of stuff and making room, there was a storage unit neighbor who was getting rid of a lot of shelving units, and I was like, stop it right now. I’ll take those. So he helps me set them up, and it was amazing. I did have to buy some more.

[00:38:48] Sarah: I would like to know your opinion. If someone’s listening and they have one property or two, would you recommend a centralized supply program to them now that you’ve done both ways?

[00:39:02] Wendy: I don’t know if I would for one or two properties, although if they’re your own, I think you’re winging it anyway. I don’t know. It seems like in the beginning you’re winging it, and I don’t know that I would go through it and trying to do that. I have heard people do the same thing and just have their cleaning team come and pick stuff up at a centralized location. Our city is way too big for that. We can’t do that. And also I don’t want them running to a storage unit to pick something up. I feel like people need to be paid for that.

[00:39:34] Sarah: Absolutely.

[00:39:35] Wendy: Doing something extra, you need to be paid for that unless it’s like just assumed part of the job. So yeah, for one or two, I don’t know that I would do it.

[00:39:44] Sarah: I love that, permission to focus on other things at that time as you’re scaling. But think about how you can dial in your supply. So you have the centralized storage area, you have different supply specialists who have split the houses in there. They’re still responsible for that split number of houses. Is that right, Wendy? Still.

[00:40:04] Wendy: We have not decided on that. So we have the next round coming up, and so we’ll have to talk about that. I think it’s going to be more so which houses are available on which days.

[00:40:13] Sarah: Right.

[00:40:14] Annette: I’m still reeling about the bookkeeping, removing that from your bookkeeper and allowing them to focus also on bigger picture things with the properties instead of line iteming, all of that. It’s really freeing them up to focus on other parts of the bookkeeping that are really going to impact the bottom line. That was something I was not anticipating, you talking about saving there.

[00:40:40] Sarah: I’m sure expenses come in, though, in QuickBooks or whatever. Are you still tracking that Costco purchase and that Amazon purchase to supply your supply closet? I know you’re not line iteming them to the invoices, but are you still keeping a pretty good track of each purchase and what’s included in it?

[00:40:58] Wendy: Not necessarily. They’ll list it in the description like, paper towels, blah, blah, blah, blah, but not how much of each or anything like that. So when I go to Costco, I just buy the supplies. I don’t mix anything else in there. I made the mistake of buying bath towels. On my receipt, it says towels, so they assumed it was paper towels. So then I got, that’s not part of it.

[00:41:24] So that’s a mistake that we found. But it’s just being categorized as almost expense now, not going to any house or anything like that, so it just gets lumped over there, and it’s so much easier rather than having 10 expenses per house. And then also the questions have gone down, like here are the expenses. We don’t know which house these go to. Can you remember? And it’s just so much less confusion.

[00:41:47] Annette: Right back and forth with your bookkeeper. Another interesting thing that I want to share with everyone, I am hopeful. I’m pretty sure you do this. This is another added bonus of bringing this program. Hopefully all of this is going on your business credit card and you’re getting points for this on your business credit card.

[00:42:03] I know you have a fun program with your credit card points that you get. I think you’re still doing this. Can you explain how you utilize your reward points to incentivize and reward your team?

[00:42:16] Wendy: So my points go towards year-end bonuses. We do it by tenure, so how long you’ve been. So if you’ve been with us for four years, you get X amount. I use my points for that, and the points cover all of it. We have a team. We have probably anywhere from 12 to 14 people on our team during the year. And they stick around, so they’re getting expensive.

[00:42:42] Sarah: I love that, though.

[00:42:44] Annette: But are they? Because they’re getting better. That loyalty is–

[00:42:49] Sarah: And the cost of finding a new talent team is so expensive. I had one more question for you.

[00:42:55] Annette: The loyalty is priceless.

[00:42:58] Wendy: It, is. People are OGs now

[00:43:01] Sarah: I want to just say that I think the overarching theme here is two things. One, if you’re in the Scottsdale Phoenix area, you should hire Mostess because she’s got your back.

[00:43:09] Annette: She’s got the Mostess.

[00:43:10] Sarah: She does.

[00:43:11] Annette: She’s the hostess with the Mostess.

[00:43:11] Sarah: But too, Wendy, it seems like this is a beautiful blend of, yes, numbers, spreadsheet tracking, but also not being too specific and too analysis paralysis and making sure you count every toilet paper and see how many sheets people are using per stay. It’s that blend of just enough data to get the situation done.

[00:43:32] Annette: And I love taking the action. Actually, just letting it go for a full year. We talk about that a lot. If you don’t know this, listeners, Wendy is one of our beloved coaches inside our Hosting Business Mastery Membership.

[00:43:46] We’ll put a link there in the show notes. If you want to join us and not only be coached with Sarah and I, but Wendy’s in there, along with some other amazing hosts, Amy and Mike, but we talk to host all the time because they get very fixated on those months where Wendy was talking about it.

[00:44:02] It’s July, and the electricity bill is $600, and we’re buying supplies. Well, you hear a lot of that chatter not only in your own brain, but then you’re talking about it amongst your other hosts and business partners. But you got to take the highs and the lows, and you need to look at the full year because most of us are going to have shoulder seasons.

[00:44:22] We’re going to have high and low seasons. And I love that you’re like, we want to go with this program for an entire year. We need to let it go for an entire year so we can really see. Because I was like, why aren’t you looking at it six months? Well, you’re like, that wouldn’t have given us a good– this is your experiment.

[00:44:37] We need to see the full year. And I want to say kudos to that. If you want to try something in your business, sometimes you got to let it go for that full seasonality to see what the impact is going to be. So I think you taking that risk because it was a risk, and now it’s going to pay off. But looking at the numbers across 12 months.

[00:44:55] Sarah: Anything else, Wendy, you want to share about your experience for the past year and a half with this adventure?

[00:45:01] Wendy: Well, I will say that we talked about the supply program for probably six-plus months before we implemented it, and I just didn’t have the answers. And I think this is going along the lines, what you were just saying. Sometimes you just have to start. You won’t know all the answers. You just have to see what the bugs are and work them out eventually.

[00:45:25] I do wish that I had looked at the numbers a little bit sooner, although I don’t know if I would’ve been able to figure it out. I don’t know. But yeah, you don’t have to know exactly how many pieces of toilet paper in each house and all that. You’ll figure it out over time. So just give it a try. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and you can just start over, do something else.

[00:45:46] Sarah: Wendy, share with our listeners. They want to find more about you and your business, take a peek at what you got going on. Where should they reach out to you?

[00:45:54] Wendy: Our business name is Mostess. You can find us at mostess.host, is our website. We have, I don’t know, 12, 13 homes in Phoenix and Scottsdale and one in Cottonwood near Sedona. And you can follow us on Instagram at @mostess.host.

[00:46:09] Sarah: And if anyone’s interested in joining our program, the link that’s in the show now will actually benefit. Wendy, if she’s inspired you, you want to learn with Wendy as she is scaling her co-hosting business, please do that. Let us know that you’ve heard about our program through Wendy. But with that, I am Sarah Karakaian.

[00:46:26] Annette: I am Annette Grant. And together we’re–

[00:46:28] Both Annette & Sarah: Thanks for Visiting.

[00:46:28] Sarah: Talk to you next time.