Agreements can be complicated and daunting. We have found that in our 6 years of managing crashpads and crew houses that the more clearly we communicate our expectations, the better the experience for everyone involved. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve updated our contracts to include new rules that resulted from specific instances or to define and spell out what we had thought was obvious. It is certainly an ongoing process, but a very important one that is meant to protect both parties. In this post, I am going to elaborate on some of the rules and expectations that we have put into place with success. If you are new to the crashpad world, I encourage you to put this into your pocket and to compare with your prospective crashpads (and also, here’s what you need to know about crashpads). If a crashpad manager doesn’t have a contract at all, I would notate the lack of professionalism and then RUN! Lacking something so basic that communicates expectations is a big red flag, and unfortunately there are way too many people who throw up some squeaky bunk beds in their apartment and start calling themselves a crashpad business. I have seen too many new hires get taken advantage of, forced to break leases and damage their credit, and I have taken it on as my personal mission to empower and educate my fellow airline crew.
Part of our agreement is to ensure our clients understand our processes and management style. I explain our offer of a private custom-built Lux bed, exclusively for the use of Crasher, including privacy curtains, light, shelf and power-port, all utilities included, with access to all common areas (kitchen, W/D room, image room, etc..). It is notated that our bottom bunks are offered based on crashpad seniority. Our clients verify that they have an existing permanent residence, that our crashpad is not, in fact, their primary dwelling. Commuters agree not to stay at the crashpad for more than 16 days collectively within the month and agree to go home on their chunks of days off. And while we do offer limited full-timer availability on a case to case basis, we aim to serve Commuters with a safe and comfortable space. The Full-Timer contract is slightly modified with a strict maximum of 3 months. Finally, new clients must understand that first invoice, including deposit and monthly rent, are to be paid in full prior to starting their stay.
30 Days Notice.
Our deposit policy is really simple, and to reinforce the importance of communicating a leave date, we also post signs, remind applicants in the initial interview and list it on the client dashboard with the link. The deposit payment reserves and guarantees placement. The deposit is completely refundable with 30 days notice PRIOR TO checking out of the crashpad via our online notification form. The short notice form allows us to maintain organization among our 30+ clients and to prepare for upcoming vacancies. Providing a notice, just like apartments require, allow other airline crew to plan their stays as well. When clients fail to give notice, we are left with a vacancy that we are unprepared for, and if we cannot fill the spot, the deposit is used as a buffer between clients. At times we do make exceptions since we understand that the airlines don’t always provide 30 days before a transfer goes through, but I promise we will work with you as much as we can with a little communication.
Respect at our crashpads means adhering to quiet hours. We do our part to help with this by providing an Image room where the crew can prep themselves for early morning departures without disturbing their roommates. It means taking care of the space and surrounding areas, bringing in no more than one roller-board and one carry on, with the option to store a few hygiene items in a labeled container under the bed (here are some Commuter organization tips!). Belongings cannot block floor space, in respect and for safety, and no more than 5 hangers can be used in the closet (no more closet hoarders!). Clients sign that they understand it is not a hotel and everyone must clean up after themselves (get fancy and makeover your bunk with our 10 recommended items). Unclaimed items in the Lost & Found box are donated every 30 days to an amazing nonprofit, Mosaic Family Services
We do not tolerate theft, there are no illegal drugs to be on the property, and no overnight guests are permitted. These actions are grounds for immediate termination. We allow visitors at our crashpad, but they are not to be left unattended. Visits should be limited to 30 minutes and males are not allowed to enter our female crashpad.
We really love it when awesome clients send us more awesome clients though! Our new referral program pays out!
Candles nor open flames are permitted inside or on the property. I survived a house fire several years ago, so this is not only a preventative measure but it is very personal to me. The fireplace is not to be used and cooking food must never be left unattended. A couple of years ago, I almost had a heart attack upon entering one of the rooms to find a candle had been left burning. No exceptions, no burning flames.
We allow smoking in designated areas, however, butts should never be thrown loosely into a trash can and must be disposed of in receptacles for such a purpose.
We also detail the parking situation and arrangement, we warn clients that in DFW you cannot park in the alley-way (and could get towed) and we provide them with a parking map so expectations are completely clear.
Clients are not permitted to eat or drink in bedrooms or in any common area other than the kitchen and dining room. This is how big Texas critters get invited inside, which not only fosters a disgusting environment but becomes very expensive. We do our part by having the best pest control service on call; if anyone ever does see any critters, I can make a call to have someone out quickly to take care of it!
Everyone assists with taking the trash out when it becomes full, and we have a custom-built trash bin in the back for this. Bags must be tied off before placing into the trash bin.
Dishes are to be washed, dried and put away immediately after each use. The dishwasher is not to be used. Every client commits to this. This keeps everyone accountable for their own dishes. Fridge space is limited and you can imagine how quickly they get filled up with food, so we follow a specific set of rules to maintain cleanliness and organization. All items must be labeled and the fridges are cleaned out every last Monday of the month. Unfortunately, we do not cover the cost of items gone bad due to events outside of our control (such as power outages).
We ask each client to make a commitment to not flush anything down the toilet other than toilet paper, as it could result in major plumbing issues. The Diva Cup is an excellent alternative to pads and tampons- you’ll save $300 per year, cut down on waste and contribute to the environment!
In Case of Emergency.
Lastly, we require every new client to sign a liability release and to provide an emergency contact. We have a wonderful attorney who assisted us with the proper legal wording and we feel confident that our contract clearly communicates our expectations.
Our 24-Hour Happiness Guarantee.
Once our clients initial and sign the agreement, we grant them access to the crashpad or private room they reserved. While we require all of our clients to initial and sign the agreement, our 24-hour guarantee offers peace of mind to new hires, commuters and transfer flight crew. After all, we don’t want anyone to stay who isn’t happy with our accommodations. We started Dallas Crashpads and Crewhouses with the mission to provide a safe and comfortable space to my fellow airline crew… That is still our mission today! We want to give your deposit back just as much as you want it! We don’t aim to keep your deposit and would rather peacefully part ways than arguing over who keeps it. In the event that a new client wants to take advantage of the guarantee, they simply communicate that with us within 24 hours, and a $25 one night charge would be applied and covered by the application processing fee.
Clear Expectations and Communication.
I hope that this post gives you a more clear idea of our expectations for our commuting airline crashpads and crew house properties. While it takes effort and time, all professional crashpads and crew houses should have an agreement in place that defines and outlines expectations. The contract not only protects the crashpad but communicates to the new client what will be expected of them and clearly conveys how to be a respectful and contributing member of that crashpad community. Finally, if you are new to the commuter crashpad world, I hope you feel a little more empowered and a little more knowledgeable as you embark on this new adventure! Preparation, education, and communication are key to ensuring you have a positive experience.