In 2010, 60% of the 1.5 million vacation rentals in the US were Rented by Owner, yet only 30% of those owners currently advertise their homes for rent. These 600,000 + owners are considered “casual renters,” traditionally only renting to close networks of friends and family. As the economy and housing markets continue to struggle, this large segment of the rental by owner market is expected to grow significantly as these owners become more active advertising and renting their vacation homes by owner.
Book by Owner provides the services and solutions vacation home owners need to successfully rent by owner. They have developed a unique business model that provides steady monthly income, multiple revenue streams, and operates on their own web based software. A Book by Owner franchisee enjoys low overhead, above average profit margins, and a flexible seasonal schedule.
Michael Cushing is the founder and president of Book by Owner. Michael was also the founder and president at SkiRez LLC, providing customized ski vacations from 1994- 2003. It was at SkiRez where he learned the property management business through many dealings with traditional property managers.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us how Book by Owner got its start?
Michael Cushing (MC): BBO was founded based on our personal experience of renting a vacation home by owner and the challenges we faced from a service standpoint.
FC: Please tell us about the range of services that you offer. What sets Book by Owner apart from your competitors in the industry?
MC: BBO takes the essential and reoccurring task of vacation rental management and combines them into one all-inclusive, unlimited service for a low annual fee, which our customers pay monthly, quarterly or annually. This provides our customers a fixed operations cost and the opportunity to increase profits as they increase business. Our competition is still operating on a traditional commission-based business model.
Our ability to take advantage of operational efficiencies and new technology are generating higher profit margins and new revenue streams in a traditional and tired business model. Our franchisees also enjoy a reoccurring revenue stream in a traditionally seasonal business.
MC: Daily duties include coordinating or delivering services, providing customer support, sales and marketing, and business administration.
FC: What is the ideal territory for a Book by Owner franchise? What regions of the country are you targeting for expansion?
MC: Any major resort destination worldwide. We are currently targeting the Western US but hope to quickly expand nationwide and internationally into Mexico, Canada, South America, and Europe.
MC: We are looking for entrepreneurial spirited individuals, couples or partners with a strong desire to live a resort lifestyle and own and operate a business in the hospitality industry. Strong technology-based communication skills and the ability to network and promote their business within their community are desired.
FC: What is the estimated initial investment, royalty and marketing fees, ongoing expenses, and profit potential for a Book by Owner franchise?
MC: The estimated initial investment ranges from $48k to $78k, including a $30k initial franchise fee. Our royalty fee is 6% of gross income. We expect our franchisees to generate a minimum of $300k in gross income and earn $100k in gross profit.
MC: We are hoping to have 50 locations open nationwide in 2-3 years and we are establishing strategic partnerships with large industry partners to spread the word of BBO and drive new business to our franchisees.
FC: Can you name a few franchises (inside or outside your sector) that you admire, and why?
MC: The NFL – excellent branding, organization, and teamwork. Choice hotels – consistent quality and service nationwide in a value category where profits are slim.
MC: We are offering a new approach to a traditional business model and our industry is growing rapidly. We are also a young company with a start up mentality where spirited entrepreneurs with fresh ideas, passion, and a desire to be involved from the start of something special are welcomed.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about Book by Owner?
MC: We are young but we are VERY passionate about our business and our industry. We embrace a startup mentality, love technology, and cherish powder days, tee times, big waves, hiking, biking, and sunsets. Come join us!
To learn more about Book by Owner, please visit their franchising website.