Throughout the year, we are highlighting notable women in our community. We want to spotlight those who are shaping where we live and giving back to our neighborhood. Do you know someone you think we should feature? Let us know in the comments!


Summer is here! If you have been thinking about a getaway or even a nice staycation, chances are you have been browsing Airbnb or VRBO. (hand raise) Guilty! Short-term rentals are one of the most popular ways to vacation and it’s no surprise. What may be a surprise is how much goes on behind the scenes to make your short-term rental hassle-free and seamless.  Cue our newest Notable Woman, Mandy Brickner of Brick by Brick. She coordinates all of the ins and outs for local short-term vacation rentals and was happy to share her expertise with us this month.


Tell us a bit about your background and how Brick by Brick came to be.

I’m a former middle school teacher, and after having my second child and experience some major life events in early 2019, I was presented with an opportunity to shift into a much more flexible work option – managing a few Airbnbs owned by friends of ours. I tried it for a few months during my maternity leave and summer and realized this was something I could grow and make into a full-time job while giving me the flexibility I was looking for. I felt, at that point, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to be more present and available for the people in my life and myself. I took the leap, resigned from my teaching position, and officially launched Brick by Brick in the summer of 2019. I’ve definitely learned as I’ve gone, sometimes the hard way, but I am extremely proud of the big moves I made to help create the life I wanted for my family.


What services do you offer to clients?

I manage individuals’ short-term rentals as Airbnb’s. That means I do everything from creating the listing on Airbnb, corresponding with the guests, establishing and adjusting pricing, coordinating with cleaners, replacing any items in the home, scheduling maintenance, and pretty much everything in between.


How is the health of the short-term vacation rental market in Charlotte?

There is a large number of Airbnbs in Charlotte, especially smaller homes, but more and more people are seeing Charlotte as a vacation destination. With the continued growth of the city, I think we are only going to become more of a place that people want to check out. We’ve seen a lot of that already.


What makes a property popular on AirBnB or VRBO?

Location is huge – people want to be close to the “hot spots” – popular neighborhoods, attractions, sports venues, nightlife. Cleanliness is also one of the biggest factors people care about and look for, especially these days.


If someone is thinking about turning a property into a short-term vacation rental, what are some of the things they need to think about?

1. The upfront cost is one thing – you have to furnish the home, decorate it, stock it with linens, towels, kitchen and bath supplies, entertainment, etc.
2. It also takes some time to gain traction once going “live” on Airbnb. Guests usually look for homes that have a number of positive reviews, so building reviews can take time. Patience is important in starting out, as it may not be fully booked the first couple of months until guests see your home as an established rental.
3. Finally, short-term rentals, I tell clients, are definitely more high maintenance than long-term rentals, but that’s where I come in. They’re able to experience the benefits of short-term rentals (fun, unique, often more profitable than long-term rentals) without having to juggle the daily ins and outs required to have a successful short-term rental.


What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical workday for me, after my kids are at daycare, is a lot of running around – I’m an errand queen! I’m checking on properties, running in and out of stores and homes to restock supplies, addressing any needs in the homes, etc.  If it’s a slower day, I’m at home taking care of more administrative tasks on my computer (cleaning schedule, updating listings on Airbnb, billing, etc). I try to take advantage of my flexible schedule by fitting in a workout when I can, a lunch date with my husband, who also works from home, and whatever else needs to happen in a day (personally or work-wise).


What is the best part of your job?

Hands down the flexibility is the best part of my job. If my kids are sick, it’s no problem to keep them home or take them to an appointment. If we want to go to the beach for a weekend, leaving in the middle of the day on Friday isn’t an issue. If we want to travel to visit our family in Ohio, I don’t have to worry about time off. If I want to catch up with a friend who I haven’t seen in a while, I get to do that. The ability to be there for my family, my friends, and myself when I need to and want to is why I made the shift to a non-traditional job. I’m so grateful to my friends, John and Kate, who approached me with the idea of managing their personal Airbnbs for them. I’d never be in this position, with the flexibility I have now, without their belief in me to do this job well and grow the business that I have.


What is the best advice you have received that has helped you grow your business?

The best advice I’ve received that’s helped me to grow in my business is from my beloved aunt, Judy Lowry. She did some personal coaching with me during my first year in business. She encouraged me to lean into my growing expertise, know my worth as a businessperson, and be confident in setting reasonable boundaries for myself and my business.


If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?

If I had an extra hour in my day, I would love to squeeze in a little extra quality time with a friend, getting coffee or taking a walk, or with my husband. He and I both work from home, but you’d be surprised how little we see each other during the day!


You and your family live in Villa Heights. What are some of your favorite neighborhood spots?

We LOVE living in Villa Heights. We’ve been here since 2015, and have seen things change dramatically. Our favorite spots to hang with the kids or grab a treat are Free Range Brewing, Noda Bodega, Reigning Doughnuts in NoDa, and Cordelia Park.


What is next for you and Brick by Brick?

I have taken on a handful of new properties over the last few months, which has been exciting. I have a good amount on my plate at this point, especially with what’s shaping up to be a very busy summer and fall in the Airbnb world. I’m in a great spot right now in terms of how many homes I feel like I’m able to manage and do so well. I’m looking forward to helping my clients have a successful summer, fall, and winter with their homes now that people are more comfortable with traveling and able to do so more safely. I’m always open to connecting with new homeowners who may be interested in getting into short-term rentals, especially in the Villa Heights, NoDa, Plaza Midwood, and surrounding areas.