At Ascension Corporate Rentals, we know we are not the only ones to startup a short term rentals business. Sabrina Bethunin is originally from Venezuela, and she is the co-founder and managing director of MadeComfy, which operates from a Regus office in Sydney. She shares her top tips on finding your niche, serving your users and expanding your startup business. I hope you enjoy the article:
Getting comfy: how to launch a startup
Taking the plunge and launching a startup can be daunting, no matter how great your idea is. From finding a gap in the market to sourcing investors, there are countless obstacles to trip you up before you even get started. Less than a year into her own small business, Sabrina Bethunin shares how she got short-term vacation rental agency MadeComfy off the ground.
Find a gap in the market
Sabrina and her co-founder, Quirin Schwaighofer, created MadeComfy when Quirin wanted to rent out his flat on Sydney Harbour in Australia but wasn’t sure where to start. They saw a gap in the market to provide a service allowing homeowners to transform their spaces into vacation and short term rental accommodations.
Sabrina explains that while many other companies operate in the vacation rental market, MadeComfy has differentiated itself by catering for any type of home.
“Our properties are quite diverse – from really small apartments in the liberal, culturally diverse Inner West quarter to big mansions in the urban hub of Mosman,” she says.
But it wasn’t just about what Sabrina offers that made the difference. When she got going was crucial, as a well-timed launch helped kick-start the business.
“We started at the end of last year – summer in Australia – so we started in high holiday season,” she says. “We had a significant number of properties for Christmas and New Year, which allowed us to learn really fast.”
Go the extra mile
“Another way we’re different from other businesses is that we really support our users,” says Sabrina, adding that MadeComfy has a very hands-on approach.
“Our concept is that the homeowner doesn’t have to lift a finger. We manage the whole process, from offering advice to managing photography, styling the property, looking after guests and getting the house ready for when its owner comes back.”
MadeComfy has qualification standards for prospective properties, but if a house doesn’t meet these the company will step in to guide homeowners on how to make a few changes in order to get there.
Sabrina believes this user-focused approach pays off because the high attention to detail guarantees successful service, both for homeowners and vacationers, which, in turn, has led to an increase in referrals.
Grow your team
Like many startup business owners, Sabrina has worn many different hats within the company. “MadeComfy is my baby, and with any business you start by doing pretty much everything yourself,” she says. However, she points out, once your startup is off the ground, it’s essential to put together a good team so that you can focus on higher-level issues. MadeComfy now employs a sales director and works with third-party, 24/7 support services and experienced freelance photographers who have backgrounds in interior design.
As MadeComfy shows, launching a successful startup requires finding a niche, creating a tailored service and building up your company. But Sabrina feels that in the end, a lot comes down to strength of character.
“The main thing is to believe in the founding team,” she says. “You do face a lot of challenges, and you have to be really strong and believe in what you are doing.”
How to launch a short term rental startup