Homeowners frequently ask us, “Should I provide linens?” Although there’s no right answer, I have to say that linens and towels are a very popular amenity, particularly for vacationers who are traveling long distances. Generally, those who rent the larger and more expensive homes expect to be provided with this amenity. Today’s vacationers like to arrive at their vacation home and start…well, start vacationing.
But the benefits to vacationers of your providing linens must be weighed against the added time and expense it can create for you, the homeowner.
Some of the challenges of providing linens
One of the biggest problems is finding someone to do the laundering after the tenants depart. If you use a cleaning company, their time is limited, and linen laundering is sometimes not included in their services.
Linens and towels also get stained easily, and it’s very important to provide clean, fresh-looking linens for your next guests.
Some options to consider
One popular option is to provide all bed linens but ask tenants to bring their own towels. This drastically reduces the volume of laundry for you or your housecleaners.
Another option for providing linens is to hire a linen service to deliver linens to your vacation home and pick them up after the tenants check out. Some will even make the beds! See our Home Services Directory for linen services near you. It’s expensive, but so is the cost of providing your own.
I do provide linens, towels, and beach towels for my own 4-bedroom rental home. I ask my tenants to launder the beach towels, since they leave on Saturday and in all likelihood will be finished using the beach towels on Friday. And I ask them to strip the beds on checkout morning and leave the used linens in the laundry room. In addition to a cleaning service, I have hired a woman to collect the linens and take them to her home to launder. Since I have three sets of linens for each bed, and multiple sets of towels, she always has a fresh set to lay out on the beds for the next tenants to use.
Some homeowners are lucky enough to live near their rental home and can take them home with them to launder each week.
Covering the cost
You can either absorb the cost of using your own linens or hiring a service, or you can charge an additional fee for linens. Again, larger homes and those charging more than $3,000/week usually include linens at no extra charge. Keep in mind that a linen fee, like any other added fees, is subject to the lodging tax. And if you do charge extra, it’s imperative that you note this fee on your listing.
A few suggestions
Whether you do choose to provide linens or not, we strongly suggest you follow these recommendations:
- Put plastic mattress protectors on your mattresses. (The regular mattress pad goes on top of this so that the plastic protector is not even noticed.)
- Put pillows into cotton protectors in order to keep your pillows stain-free.
- Be sure that all bedding is clean and stain-free. This includes mattresses, mattress pads, pillows, and blankets. Stained and dirty bed linens are a serious turn-off to tenants.
- Consider providing only bed linens and not towels, which add considerably to the volume needed to get cleaned during the turnover. Vacationers tend to use an inordinate amount of towels.
- Be sure to provide at least 2 sets of bed linens for each bed.
- Be very explicit with your tenants about your expectations regarding the linens prior to their arrival.
If you provide linens and towels, what system works best for you?
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