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Episode 003 - What You Need to Start Your STR Business

costs expenses str Sep 05, 2018

Over the last two centuries nearly 90 percent of the world's millionaires they have created their wealth through real estate. Here to tell you how you ride this way with less risk and less capital, about creating greater income is your host, best-selling author and speaker Michelle Russell.

Hi, it's Michelle the master of money mindset and I am here for your third episode of the short term rental revenue podcast. And today we're going to talk about what you need to get your STR started. What are the things that you need? And we talked a little bit about that before in a past podcast about you're going to need a little bit of money and the reason why is, it takes a little bit of startup cash in this business to get things started. Even if you were to find a property that you could lease out that had furniture. You're still going to usually have the first and last and a security deposit that you're going to have money for and maybe some utilities are going to require a deposit. So there's always a little bit of money even if it's a furnished apartment.  So I recommend that you have good credit and cash. And I would think at least five thousand dollars to start your business. Now I'm going to get a little detailed about being a person of integrity when you start a business. When you're starting in your own short term rental business or any business. I really - I'm trying to say this as nicely as I can without sounding like such a mean mom. Right. Because my kids always go, “gosh you're so mean.” But I'm not trying to be mean I'm just trying to be adamant about it.

Whenever you start a business you are responsible for a lot of people. And in an STR business, you're going to be responsible for your landlord making money. Your clients and all your guests having a good time and having a clean place to stay and everything being set for them. And you're going to be responsible to your cleaning company and the money that they make and the people that they employ and your maintenance people I mean there's a lot of people that you are going to be responsible to. Ok. So you need to be a responsible person. So I really want you to take a deep breath right now and just inhale and think for a second: Am I good with money. Are you good with money? Right. What do your finances look like right now? Do you have a lot of debt? Do you overspend? Are you constantly seeking now cash? Right. And I want you to be honest with yourself. If you can't control your money right now, how good do you think you're going to be at controlling your money when you're a business owner? Right. And I know that is such a hard question and I'm not saying you can't get better. You can always always improve. But here's the deal if you're starting this business and you are out of control with money right now. You need to find a business partner to work with who is good at controlling their money. OK. And let them teach you. Let them teach you some things. Let them teach you how to balance your checkbook. Because most people who are not good with money they don't even balance a checkbook they don't even know how to balance a checkbook. And most people go: “well we don't have checkbooks anymore I mean we don't write checks.” but you still have a checking account and when you're saying you're balancing your checkbook, it just means knowing how much money you have in your checking account and how much money is going out of your checking account. And at any given time how much money is in there. So you should have that much control over the money in your business as well. You need to know how much money is in your checking account how much money is going out and how much money is coming in and where your balances right now. And I recommend like I said if you can't do this yourself that you find a partner.

Now I'm good with money but let's say you know, I did have a time when I was not good at money. I had to really learn. When my husband and I were first out - when he first got out of college we had, I forget - oh well over a hundred thousand dollars in student loans. He had gone to private schools. I had student loans. So we had - when we bought our first house we actually doubled our debt because the House and the student loans matched and so we doubled our debt. and then we you know we were making so much money because he had become a doctor that we got all these credit cards and soon we've racked up the credit cards and we kind of won like out of control and it took a while to pay everything off and we paid off all our student loans and we paid our credit cards off but it was funny because for a while we would pay off our cards and then charge him back up and then pay off our cards and then charge him back up. And it took a while to learn how to control our cash flow and our spending. Right. And there is a learning curve. So I am not judging, depending on how young you are you. You know it might take you a little while you might not have a lot of control right now but it might only take you a few months to a year to learn how to get control. But in that time you need to have somebody who is in control. So let's say you have a best friend and she's really great at money in math, and you know her checking account and she never overspends and you know. This is the person that you want to call and say: “hey you want to go into business together because I'm looking at doing this and how about you manage all the money. You know. But obviously you can make it so that both of you have to sign any checks that, you know, it's a check some balance kind of situation. But at the same time that person handles all the money because they're good at paying bills. Because here's the last thing that you want to happen, when you have a rental property and the mortgage or the rent is due at the beginning of the month. You don't want to miss a payment or be late on a payment because that landlord has a mortgage and they are responsible to a bank and the bank will find them. And depending on how late you are, I mean you don't know what's going on in that landlord's life. I mean do they really have enough to pay their mortgage on their home and then again you know whatever you're not paying on the rent of that property and how many of their renters and their other properties that they own are not paying. I mean you have no idea what is going on the other life and you do not want to be responsible for them losing a property that they worked long and hard for. And I believe that of every business that I do, I am responsible. So when I take on a new business I know the roles that I'm playing. I'm like, OK I'm going to be this this this and this. So I take it very seriously. I am a CEO and as a CEO I am responsible for my employees and these people and these people and these people and my customers and blah blah blah. So you are taking on the roles and the responsibility of a CEO in your company. And you need to handle it as a CEO would handle it. Okay. And take it very seriously because it is very serious. It's very serious. There are people depending on you and you have no idea what they're experiencing right now. So get somebody to handle the money.

Now get somebody also with good credit because you need first last and security on a lot of places. But if you have good credit. You might not be needing a security deposit especially for your utilities. I have good credit. So when we just did another property down in Tucson I did not have to put any money down on the utilities there. I didn't have to put a security deposit down even on the guest house that we rented because I have good credit. And when you have good credit you get a lot of perks. There's a lot of perks involved. You know, you get lower car insurance and all these different things. So you really want to keep your credit good and you really want to you know make sure that you're good with money. So you're going to be putting bills on auto pay because I never, I don't pay bills. They're almost all on auto pay. They just come out at the you know a certain time of the month and it's all in my automatic checking thing and I just go in there and make sure things were drawn out and bra bra bra. So it's super easy to pay now - to you know, to pay your bills on time because almost everything you can put on automatic payment. So let's see. You need somebody with a good credit. First less security. Oh! and you're going to need probably about 3000 dollars for a one bedroom and then a little bit more for every bedroom that you add. And that's going to be for getting it all set up and already getting all the furniture. And that's a bare minimum and people that's like going to you know goodwill to buy the furniture. And wow. Oh my gosh! I had never stepped into a Goodwill before this last property because most of the properties I've ever bought are already furnished, right. So I had this awesome cool experience about walking into a Goodwill and I found so much stuff in there. Oh my gosh! It was so exciting. I couldn't believe it. I got to love C couches for sixty five dollars for the both of them and they were brand spanking new. Somebody had ordered them and they were the wrong color. And I mean what a find. But you can get some really great deals there. You just have to look around. What was really cool was when we went down to Tucson there was a bunch of Goodwill's down there. So we had been shopping at the Goodwill's appear in Phoenix Gilbert Chandler Queen Creek area. And we had gone to a bunch of them. But when we went down to Tucson there was a whole different type of stuff that was given away down there. So it was kind of cool to go to both of them. Anyways, and we had already touched on deposits on utilities. So like I said you're going to need good credit. You're going to need at least 3000 for all the stuff to furnish that. And then about 2000 dollars for you know first last and security. So I'd say a minimum of five thousand dollars to start up your business.

Now some other things you're going to need. You're probably going to want your business and to be on its own entity. OK and so like an LLC or something. So you can go to your state's website and look up a business name and see if anybody's using that and then you can hold it for so many hours I think it's like 24 hours or 48 hours. And then you can go to Legal zoom and create the LLC there. And I forget, it takes seven days or 14 days it doesn't take very long. I think it's less than two weeks for sure but it's about 300 dollars or give or take. And you can set up an LLC for your business. Now once you get your LLC set up then you just call the IRS or you go online and you can fill out a little form and you'll get an EIN number from the IRS which is your business identification. So just like you have a social security number your business has an EIN number and that's what you're going to pay taxes with. So you have your LLC with an EIN number then you're going to go to the bank, you're going to give them both of those documentations and you're going to open your own business checking account. And it's really important when you have a business that you keep all your business expenses separate. OK. Because you don't want to commingle funds.

Commingling funds means simply getting your business expenses mixed up with your personal expenses. And you can do that either on your personal account or in your checking account. If you buy personal stuff out of there you never ever want to do it. Business is business. Personal is personal. You never use business money on personal items you never use personal money on business items. You keep those accounts separate you keep receipts separate you never ever commingle funds. OK. It's very very important. And like I said you're going to be how we're going to teach you to start this is as if you do not have any of your own rental properties. By all means if you have your own rental property it's going to be a little bit easier for you because you're not going to have to lease anything. Go find a property or do any of those steps later on but you'll have that property in your back pocket. But at the same time you're going to want to start another LLC outside of your real estate LLC for this business because this business - your short term rental business is a completely separate business. It is not considered a real estate business. It's basically you're hosting people staying at a place so you're kind of like a hospitality business like a hotel right.

So you want to have two separate LLC. You've got your LLC, well you know you might have more if you have other properties. But you want to have your real estate stuff separate then your, you know, bnb stuff. Okay. Then your short term rental or CR stuff. Okay. So let's see, now you've got your bank account. You're not comingling funds. You're probably going to want to go and - you created your name - get some business cards made up so that when you go to look at properties you can leave them your phone number and a way to get a hold of you with you know an email address. There's some great great places. Oh! You know what's really nice is if you have like a phone number that gets forwarded to your phone and you can turn it off and on. Now there's quite a few things I can tell you about phone numbers too. I love having different phone numbers for everything. Because I've got phone numbers for my yellow signs in my real estate business. So I don't know if you've ever seen those. We call them yellow signs they're just signs on the side of the road that say: we buy houses and bra bra bra. I've got signs-  phone numbers that I put on cards postcards that get mailed to people, I got phone numbers that get put into letters when we send off letters to a list so every phone number has it's basically like when you do funnels inside of. I don't know if anybody knows how to do funnels but if you do funnels inside of like, you know, the Internet. How you can just keep track of them. I do that with phone numbers every phone number was you know, is linked to a specific marketing campaign or something. So I know which ones are converting and which ones aren't. So you'll be able to do that too with your phone numbers.

A great place to pick up really cheap phone numbers is kall8 and I believe it's k.a.l.l. 8 - the number 8. And I like using them. I also like having a 24/7 phone service that answers my phones. That way somebody always gets to talk to a human being. Now I used to do this. I do it with my real estate business all the time. And I did do it with my bnb business. But it was costing a lot because people call you and ask you questions just the silliest questions and that's usually always in the house rules book. But you know I was just like: “man I'm just paying so much for these silly silly things.” So I don't do it so much on my Airbnb business. And I kind of recommend that you don't either. So if you're used to using a service like Pat live or you've got you know 24/7 operators answering your phone. I do not recommend that you do that with your bnb because you're bnb people, all the guests they ask pretty much you could probably put it down on the list of 24 questions that they're going to ask over and over and over and over and over again. And so you're going to be paying big bucks for your people answering these simple questions that if you teach your guest too and you force them kind of to go to your house rules book, then you're going to save yourself a lot of money. So don't get a 24/7 answering service for your STR. OK. Don't do it. Let's see.

I do recommend always a business address. That's away from your home address and I love using UPS. I've had the same UPS box in Orlando for years and I love them because I know this sounds stupid but I loved the I knew years and years ago that when I bought my first home in Orlando that it was going to be in this particular zip code. I was like: you know I guess they've got them and people think the L.A. was at 9 0 2 1 0 or whatever that is. I would not live in California but in Florida. I knew the zip code I was going to live in. So I made sure I got a UPS box there years ago and I've had it forever. So that is the business address. You know I use a UPS box for that. And what's cool about UPS rather than a P.O. Box. The Postal Service is that UPS stores usually have a suite number you can put down, you know, 123 East TILs Street and Suite you know whatever. 15-30 or whatever it is and they have it looks like a suite. So people instead of saying, “oh is this a real legitimate business. Because they know it's a P.O. Box. They know when you have a suite number they're not sure if it's a real location because buildings have suites. So I like using UPS because you can just put suite number on there. OK. Now some things you're not going to need but you can have our property. You don't you don't necessarily need a property in order to be able to do this. And I'm going to teach you how to do this leveraging other people's properties and I think it's a really great way.

So you don't have to invest in properties that might lose their value. But as long as you're holding the property. Believe me it's never going to lose its value to you but you want to always be cash flowing. And it's all about the cash flow. Right. So you can or cannot have a property. It's totally up to you if you do, great. If you don't. Don't worry about it will eventually get you to a point where you're making enough money and you're doing deals in a certain way. We'll explain later and we'll have upcoming episodes on how to leverage in and buy your own properties. OK. You can or cannot have a website. It doesn't really matter. You'll be using Airbnb or Vacation Rental by Owner. One of those kind of, you know, vehicles to move your properties and market your properties so you really don't need your own website but if you want to and it's one of those things, you know, you are like: I want to go on Wix and build my own website then by all means do it. And if you've already got like a Clickfunnels account or Kajabi account and you really want to have your own website then have at it. But by all means you do not have to have one. And if you don't already have those things I don't recommend investing in that until you've got a lot of money behind you. You really don't need a website.

You don't need a GED or a degree or a doctorate or anything to do this. I mean you don't have to have a lot of education behind you. There certainly is a learning curve. But there's a learning curve with everything in real estate, and at any kind of other investing. You’re going to make mistakes and it's OK because we always fail forward, right.  And we learn something so. But the thing is don't ever be afraid to keep trying. Because that's where all the wins happen. You know you'll make it. I don't know you'll rent a property. Don't ever do this but I'm just saying for instance let's say you rent a property because your cousin called and she says: “Oh I've got this great property and you should come down here. Oh my gosh! It’s so beautiful and it just overlooks the lake and I talked to the owner and he's going to give it to you for seven hundred dollars a month and then you go down there and it is a shark you know by a cesspool [laughing]. And you signed a six month lease without looking at it. So you're never going to do that though, right. But I'm just saying even if you made that mistake you would never make that mistake again. Right. So it's either it's either going to work out or it's going to be a lesson you needed to learn. You know so don't worry about it. It’s going to come.

And like I said we talked a little bit about money and making sure that you were good with money or that you had somebody that you were doing business with. So now going to get a little serious about having business partners. You need to have people in your life that you trust and that you can have fun with. And I always want you to protect yourself though. I want to make sure that you have everything in writing. And now I want to make sure that any money that ever comes out of your account has to be signed by you and your partner. Ok so and that doesn't matter if it's your mom and dad, or your kids, or whatever, everybody. The right hand has to know what the left hand is doing at all times. And that's a very important thing. My dad and I flipped houses for a long time in Florida and I handled all the money. And it was all in my dad's business accounts. We would put him in our, you know, business accounts. I wouldn't say my dad's because it was ours and stuff but sometimes it was only his. But whatever it was definitely, you know, a mutual agreement thing he knew about everything I spent and I knew about everything he spent. So it was important when you have a relationship like that. That you all know what's going on and that you can easily find out if anything is going a lie. You have access to everything, right. And there's always checks and balances and there are certain times of the month that you set aside where when you have a partner you don't have to do this if you're alone. But if you have a partner you're going to be able to go over and check you know. OK here's the properties that we have, here's the income we're making. You want to know what's going on all the time. And so when there's two. I mean think of like Siamese twins you've got to work together always. And you know, but one might be good at one thing and what might be good at the other. But you've got to always be able to come together and know what's going on in your business. So you want to set aside monthly meetings to catch up on everything and to check your bank accounts. Make sure that the money is coming in and it's not going out anything that you don't know about. OK, so just because you know I've heard stories of people who even family members who've taken advantage of other family members and that's not a cool thing and it's probably not frequent. Let's hope it's not a frequent thing. But you want to prevent that from happening and the only way to do that is to make sure that there's checks and balances. Just like you know supposedly our government. So. All right. And let's see. Oh here's something too I wanted to go over with you is thinking outside the box. Now what's really cool about my dad was he was dyslexic and dyslexic people are so amazing. Thinking outside the box because they're not great sitting down reading or you know somebody teaching them something that they had to see visually. Right. Any kind of solutions or tables or formulas or anything. they can't see it's like on paper but they see it probably like three dimensionally in their mind they have a way of thinking of things in a way you know in this crazy unique way that makes their brain I think, function so much higher than most normal people. Because when - well I don't want to say that they're not normal but you know what I mean. But most people when they go to school they learn things a certain way. This is how you add. This is how you divide. This is how you multiply. Right. But when you don't have those rigid rules your brain could come up with a more unique and sometimes faster and sometimes even better way of doing things. And I think that's how my dad's brain functioned.

Now here's the thing, when you need money and you don't have money. Now let's say you want to start this business and you don't have a lot of money. You can find a way to make money all the time. There's always a way to make money. And I mean legal and morally and ethically there's always a way. And Tony Robbins used to talk about this. One of the reasons why you know even with all the people who worked for him he never gave away his events. Even 20-some odd years ago when I was there, the events were - what was it? For life mastery was like twenty thousand dollars or something back then. It's way more now. And that was like with the VIP set free. But he never gave that away. He never gave it to like his kids or family members or any of us. And the reason why is because when you give something to somebody for free it takes the value away from them. They don't they don't appreciate it like somebody who had to work for it appreciates it. So and you see this a lot with kids, I mean you can you can definitely see it on TV. Have you ever seen that that show with sweet 16 birthdays and here is these spoiled rotten little kids who are turning 16 and they're getting brand new cars that are like BMW and they're getting all this stuff and they just are these spoiled rotten kids. And they think it's funny but actually it's really not funny. It's actually very very sad. But the kids who had to work for that. The kids whose parents were working all these jobs and all these hours and they had to bust their butt to go to college. They appreciate being in college because they worked really hard to get there and the kids who get their first car even if it's a POS. the first time they put the key in the ignition and they are take it off the lot and they're driving home. And they had to scrimp and save and work their butts off for that car. Believe me they appreciate that car so much more. When you hand somebody even an adult something for free. And you see it on line. They give away free e-books and free this and free that. Right. And people won't even open them. They won't even read that stuff. Like I give away my free books on my website,  All the time there's free books are free reports and free stuff. And I can see people will fill out the forms but they didn't open the mail and download the book if it's a pdf or something. And you're like: Well that's crazy. They signed up for this thing to get the free book but they didn't even download it. They didn't even open up the e-mail and download it because why. Because it's free. So it has no value to them. Which is really really sad because I know I work really hard right in my books and making sure that the information is, you know, useful information. And that it's going to improve their life in some way, right. I'm constantly thinking about a person, you know, my avatar my perfect customer in front of me and how can I serve them. And imagine they just took everything that you worked for and just kind of threw it on the ground. They don't care. So when you have to work for this business, you're going to appreciate it so much more than somebody who would just be handed money. You're going to appreciate every property that you get, every you know - it's going to be amazing. Every time somebody books you're going to - you're really going to appreciate it.

So I want you to work hard for the money yourself. I don't want you to go and borrow the money from your parents or somebody else. Because here's what happens when you do that. You don't appreciate it. And if it doesn't work out you walk away and those people who worked really hard for that money. They're the ones who lack out right. Because now they're out the five grand or whatever it was that you borrowed from them. They worked hard for that money and they appreciate it and they are feeling the loss. You don't feel the loss. You should never borrow money from somebody to start this business. What you can do is you can find something to sell. I mean that's one easy way. Do you have an old beat up car do you have you know an extra TV or even the one TV. You know what, sell that TV and you can buy a new you know TV in a couple of months with the money you make from the business. I mean whatever you have to do your Xbox or whatever you have to sell. Just do it. Just make sure that you come up with the money that you figure out a way to come up with the money to start this business. You're going to appreciate it a lot more when you do. And it's going to force you to be like my dad to think out of the box. Right. You're going to pretend that you're dyslexic for a minute and you're going to go: “Hmm what would it take for me to find a way to earn this money. You know, what would it take for me to find this five thousand dollars within a week? What would it take? You know those are powerful powerful questions. We all have primary questions that drive us, right. So ask yourself better questions and you will get better results always.

So, you know, make sure you're moving and make sure that two, you know, necessity is the mother of invention. Right. So necessity is the mother of invention. Meaning when you when it's necessary that you find the answer for something new or necessary that you find the money. The mother of invention means you're going to invent a way or create a way to create that money in your life and bring it towards you and attract it. OK. So you need to do that yourself. Don't borrow the money from your parents don't borrow the money from friend don't borrow money from a spouse unless it's your spouse who's going to be doing the business with you. Right. You want to do it yourself. You want to find that money by yourself. And remember there's a learning curve involved in everything that any little don't. Don't be discouraged by any little, you know, misstep. because you're bound to make a few mistakes and it's OK because they're always moving forward, they're always giving you lessons that you need to learn. OK. Just be careful obviously and try not to make them expensive mistakes because those ones really stink. But make sure that you're always doing your due diligence that you're always asking the right questions and making ensure that you have you know you've checked the H.O.A.s ways on any place that you get. But we'll go through that in the next podcast about how to pick out a property. But there's going to be things that you have to do instead of check off your list. And you want to make sure that you're the one checking those off the list. You're the one doing the due diligence. You don't leave it up to somebody else because other people make mistakes. Other people forget something and you are the CEO and you are ultimately responsible. So until you get it all set in stone and you've got those people that you know you know can handle the responsibilities that you give them. Do it yourself check it yourself. Make sure that everything is you know all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted and you did it. OK. So let's say I think that's it. I think that's it for this one. Those are the things you're going to need. And let me just recap them really quickly here.

So a legal entity. You’re going to create an LLC. Right. And you're going to get an EIN number, a separate bank account, business cards. A smart phone does help - having a smartphone. And if you can have a computer or even a laptop computer. The older you get the more you want to see something really big. I do not like using my phone for anything. Even when you make the print big I would much rather do things on my desktop or a laptop. So smartphone and or a computer always helps. A UPS box. We're going to go over insurance later but you're going to have insurance for your business. There's also insurance, Airbnb gives you a million dollar policy. But we'll go over that in another episode but you'll need insurance. And good credit that you're going to keep. And it's going to keep getting better and better and oh you know what I'm going to touch really quickly. My friend Gabriel Brown, he has a business in Las Vegas Nevada. It is Vivix. Credit Solutions. And if your credit really stinks. His company is amazing. They're actually rated an A plus five of the better Business Bureau. And I don't think - I think he's the only credit repair company that is rated like that. If you go into his office, it’s amazing. He literally has shelves and shelves and shelves of all these books and I'm not even exaggerating, if you go in there you'll just see a wall of them. And in every office you go there's another wall of these books with all these papers in them and all of them are filled with letters of credit repair. He's been doing it for so long. And he keeps all these just every record from all the people that he's helped and there's thousands of them.

I am not exaggerating. You've got to go in there and it's Vivix V.I.V.I.X. Vivix Credit Solutions. I don't get anything for promoting him but you know what, I love him and he's amazing and he can help repair your credit because you will always need good credit to you know do any kind of real estate. I believe in always having good credit. And all right, so back to our list. So good credit. First last security about 3000 dollars for a one bedroom, deposits on utilities and the ability to think outside the box so you can get all this money yourself to start your business, right. Your startup capital is yours and your own. So I want to remind you if you're getting anything out of this please please just subscribe to our podcast. We're going to have lots of great information. I'm actually going to have Mr. Brown on the show later. He's already agreed to do it for me. And I'm going to have a lot of really great speakers and persons of authority who can help you in every aspect of your business, in every area of your business. So we've got a lot of really great people lined up. So please click subscribe. Leave a comment and introduce this to this podcast too. Some of your friends especially the ones you want to do business with. Not your competitors. Right. [Laughing] just your friends. Anybody you love, teach them how to make money. Don't give your enemies the fuel to go after you. Anybody who you love though do introduce this podcast to them.

And if you have any questions we're going to be doing Q&A's live on Facebook once a week. And I think we're doing the first one on a Friday or Saturday. But all the rest will be on Mondays and those will be 5:00 p.m. Arizona time. Arizona does not. We don't change our time here. So when it's 5:00 here it's usually like right now. It's three hours later on the East Coast. So we're on you know Pacific time right now. But when everybody else changes when you guys fall behind we're going to not change, which means that we change time zones because we don't change our clocks. We then become Mountain Standard Time and then we will be two hours you know behind Eastern Standard Time and one hour ahead of Pacific Time. So I know that's confusing, it's confusing to us too. Why do you guys change your clocks? I don't get it. Everybody should just keep them the same. But anyways we're going to be doing that, if you just look at our Facebook page you'll see the little memes there that will - I think I'll click them and lock them up on the top so everybody can see when that's coming. But if you have questions just send them into us via the messenger and we'll get to as many questions as we can every Q&A live.

So we're here for you we want to answer any questions that you have. We want to help you get this done. And I'm looking forward to serving you have a great day. Thanks again for listening.

Go and grow and God bless.


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