In the hunt for a replacement motor I learned about old Honda motors. The wikipedia page on Honda D series engines is where I started. Keeping in mind that we want this to be both low cost and durable to compete in an 24 hour race we set out to find a motor. The motor that was in the car was a DOHC CZ 1.6L motor which came in JDM Civics and CRXs. This motor provides a small power bump of 10hp over the equivalent motor sold in the US, the D16A6. The first place I looked was on car-part.com and craigslist and what I found is that there weren’t many motors locally we could get and they were all very high mileage. This means that we would probably have to rebuild the block and break in the motor. Wanting something quicker we asked friends who race old Hondas and were told to contact hmotorsonline. Looking at their website we found a direct replacement with low miles (~55k miles). Here is the link for the motor we ordered: https://www.hmotorsonline.com/shop/d-series/zc-88-92-civic-dohc-long-block/. After shipping (including delivery on a truck with lift gate) the cost of the motor was $1235. We hope to get the motor in the car in the next couple weeks.
The good reviews have arrived and they feel good. The skeptic in me now wonders how much they matter because when I look at similar listings they all have perfect review scores too. Either all our competition is being awesome (I doubt this), or bad ones have quit (maybe), or guests all feel like they have to write good reviews. It might be a little of all three. Our first month was the best month so far for income as we only had 2 guests for the full month so there weren’t very many days blocked off for cleaning. This month we have 7 days blocked off to clean in-between guests. This accounts for the reduction in money that we are getting. Our income per night rented is going up but our overall income for the month took a huge hit by not being able to rent an entire week out of the month. I wonder how much a good cleaning service would cost (and if it would cost less than the money we are loosing cleaning it ourselves). I’ve started to wonder if we have a friend or sibling who would be happy to do the work. It is hard to find someone you trust enough as quite a bit depends on them being dependable. To help compensate for this loss of income I changed the setting on our pricing (we use the website usewheelhouse.com for automated pricing) to aggressive, increasing the base price by $11/night. I struggle with if this is the right decision and if the only result will be that we will just get more last minute bookings as our pricing comes down as unbooked days approach. That being said, we have gotten several booking since I’ve made this change. I would like it if there was some nice metric I could look at to know how this is affecting our listing. Views have been going down for a while now, however that can just be a function of being about 50% booked through Christmas as the days people search for are not available. I really wish Airbnb would offer a A/B testing system for their hosts, it could really help me know what is working and what isn’t. Without science it is just guess work and faith.
We’ve had two wonderful guests and our third is in the house. Both left the house in great condition and were easy to communicate with. However we don’t have any reviews yet. I wrote good reviews of them. I know it will work out in the end, I’m just anxious and am wondering if there is anything we could do to communicate to our guests how important reviews are too us without asking for reviews. I hate it when people ask me for reviews.
I shouldn’t really worry because the real measure of our success is our bookings and on that front we are doing great. We are booked through the end of October, once in November and the week over Christmas. So far that is great, because we have yet to have an unbooked day. Percentage of booked days over time and the average nightly price should be the real measure, not reviews. However a review really would feel good.
I’m in the middle of listening to the book The Black Swan on Audible and it had changed my perspective greatly on several things. One is the probability of events outside normal is larger than commonly believed and is unknowable. These black sawn events can be good and tend to affect scalable activities. In order to collect these we need to be doing things that are scalable. Writing is a good example because you only write once regardless of how many people read what you write. It is no more effort for me if no one reads this or if millions read this. As a result I’m trying to do more scalable things in order to position myself to have the opportunity of collecting black swans of sort. This means that I have to daily accept that every time I do something it could be a complete failure. There are no guarantees things that are scalable will every pay off. However if they do, the amount they will pay off will dwarf and greatly affect the average, meaning that it can be orders of magnitude in goodness. If none of this made sense you need to go read the book and learn about now not all uncertainty is created equal and how that can affect your decision making. Of all the books I’ve listened to in the last couple years only two books have I listened to twice and I’m probably going to listen to this one a third time and buy the book to read in print because I want the concepts in this book to really sink in.