The Vacation Rental Dollar Store
By William May
Published: 01/16/13 Topics: Comments: -
There are two ways to make money with a Vacation Rental Home. One - Increase income (which we talk a lot about) and two - decrease costs. This newsletters is about the later.
Every now and then staff from our company have picked up products at the local Dollar Store. It was presumed the goods were inexpensive but not always readily in stock. The stores are not necessarily handy.
Of course high quality furniture, linens and kitchen wares are essential to keep a vacation rental in great condition to receive complimentary reviews and return guests. But it is not necessary to waste money on some things.
Recently, as I was awaiting a client in an unknown neighborhood and with time on my hands, I happened t spy a Dollar Store DollarTree.com- - across street and decided to take a look. Boy was I surprised.
First, that had a relatively wide variety of things for sale. And they had lots of them. Sure some of the products were of lesser quality but most were the same darn things that can be bought at Wal-mart, Target and other higher priced stores. Some things were cheesy like fake flowers.
The shelves were heavily stocked and everywhere I looked were giant signs saying "Everything $1." Being new to the concept I kept looking on the shelves and packages for pricing. Surely that $5.00 package of cookies couldn't be a dollar. Could those 4-packs of wine glasses be only a buck?
The most broken items in Vacation Rentals are wine glasses. We want good quality glassware but price is a factor for anything that breaks. Expensive wine glasses don't break any less frequently than expensive ones. The Dollar Store wine glasses were pretty good quality.
Twice I asked a wandering worker for directions and found them cheerful and actually very proud of the products and prices. These stores are smaller than Wal-mart but the first two staff members seemed friendly and anxious to help. They constantly straightened the shelves and were actively restocking.
It dawned on me that Vacation Rental owners could find dozens of different items in a Dollar store to outfit their properties. They could save a lot of money. Hundreds really.
I wasn't in need of any products, but after walking the aisles to make mental notes of what they stock, I sheepishly grabbed that bag of cookies and shuffled through the line. Apparently many people already knew the story of the Dollar store.
The line was long but the checkers were very fast because - you guess it - every item was one dollar. They didn't even have to look at the items to find that bar code.
We have a big sales tax in our state, so I was astonished when the checked said "That will be one dollar." It was a steal. How can anyone make, bake, package, deliver and retail 32 cookies for a dollar. 3 cents each.
Surely the secret is that they buy in huge quantities, they buy excess production from factories, they buy overseas. And they must work on narrow margins. The stores are no-frills but clean, well lit and maintained.
Some dollar stores also have online websites where the same kind of merchandise and pricing is available although you usually have to pay for shipping. But remember, when you drive to the store you are in a sense paying for shipping.
As I departed the clerk was especially cheery and I could see the other checkers were equally happy. They were actually having fun. When was the last time you saw that at Wal-Mart?
I might just go back for the customer service.
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0334 – 01/16/13
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