How Serviced Apartments Work In Nigeria

A serviced apartment is simply a fully furnished apartment, which offers long or short-term stay options. In the past, serviced apartments were not so common in Nigeria but they are increasingly becoming more popular. There are several serviced apartments located in different parts of Nigeria. Their popularity probably stems from the benefits derived in staying in such apartments compared to lodging in a hotel. Since they are designed and furnished like a proper home, serviced apartments are usually very spacious and comfortable for occupants. This is especially true for occupants with large families. Serviced apartments also afford its occupants some level of privacy that hotels do not provide.

Occupants also have the option of preparing their own meals, since the apartment will usually contain a kitchenette or a fully fitted kitchen. Another reason people prefer serviced apartments is that they are usually cheaper compared to hotels in the same area. These and so many other reasons are why the demand for serviced apartments is on the rise in Nigeria.

It is therefore not surprising that many individuals are offering their spare apartments and acquiring buildings so as to be involved in the business of leasing service apartments. Generally, the business is capital intensive especially when it comes to the cost of acquiring property for the business. However, it is a very lucrative business. As with many other businesses, one can start small, say with a one bedroom flat and expand as the business grows.

There are certain important things that should be considered before starting up the business.

Location.
A serviced apartment can be located in any part of the country, however there are a few things to bear in mind before choosing a location. Ideally serviced apartments should be located in an area that is easily accessible and centralised. The neighbourhood should also be safe and not overly crowded. Also note that service apartments located in a high-end area, will lead to a higher lease price and more profit for you. However, you should bear in mind that land and buildings in high-end areas are costly. Locating service apartments in proximity to grocery stores, restaurants and the likes is an added advantage for your business as this appeal to potential clients.

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You can decide to rent an apartment for this business but you’d have to seek the permission of your landlord or agent to do this. It is much more preferable to own such apartments rather than rent to prevent legal issues and the likes.

You should also ensure that the rooms are spacious and well ventilated. There are different options when it comes to the plan of the apartment itself. You can decide to run a one-bedroom flat, studio apartment, two-bedroom flat and so on. This will depend on your budget, your business plan and your target clients.

Amenities.
This is one of the most important aspects of a serviced apartment. A serviced apartment is supposed to be fully fitted with amenities that one would normally find in a home. You must ensure that your apartment(s) contains adequate, good quality amenities that will make your guests comfortable. If you can afford it, a luxury apartment should be your goal. Generally, the more amenities you have, the more comfortable your clients will be. Thus, by properly equipping your apartment, you will be attracting more clients. Well-equipped apartments can also be leased at higher prices. So ultimately, you will potentially be increasing your profits.

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For the interior of the apartment, the basic things needed are a bed (a queen or king sized bed should do). You also need a living and dining area (the size depends on your budget and size of the apartment itself). You need utilities like water and stable electricity (you might need to purchase a generator). You also need modern toilets and bathrooms and a kitchen. You can decide to go for a kitchenette or a fully fitted kitchen. Whatever you decide, ensure that the kitchen contains basic things like plates, tea cups, pots, cutleries, microwave, gas/electric cooker, toasting machines, kettles and so on. Other things like television, Internet connection, air conditioners and fans should also be provided. The list of things you can equip the apartment with is endless. However, you don’t have to over-do it. Just remember that the goal is to keep your client comfortable.

The facilities provided on the exterior really depend on your budget. If you can afford it, you can provide fitness facilities, swimming pool, a lounging area, a restaurant, whatever can make your clients comfortable.

Staff.
You may or may not decide to have an on-site staff but it is extremely important to have some security personnel on ground for safety reasons. Other staffs that you can employ if you wish include a receptionist, a manager (if you do not want to handle this yourself), an accountant and a maintenance crew (which include housekeepers or cleaners and gardeners). You might also need chefs if you decide to run a restaurant as well.

Clients.
You can decide to source for short-term stay clients or long-term stay clients or you can even seek contracts with companies that frequently need such apartments for their staff or expatriate. In the latter case, there is a guarantee for steady flow of income as these contracts are usually long term.
You can source for agents that can help you with marketing services if you not able to do so yourself. If you decide to market the apartment yourself, your marketing technique will depend on who your target clients are and what form of marketing will be most appealing to them. You can opt for digital marketing whereby; you market on social networks or the traditional methods using billboards, magazine and posters.

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Maintenance.
It is highly important that you carry out regular maintenance of the apartment. This is to ensure that the standard of the apartment is not compromised. So, regularly service things that need to be serviced, repair those that need repair and replace those that need to be replaced.

Extra profit.
There are opportunities to make extra profit in the business. You can provide extra services like car hire, laundry, restaurants, personal shopping and so on, for an extra fee. The extra services you provide will depend on who your clients are and the services they will most likely require.

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