How to ask for a pay raise and how much?

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birdwatcher's picture
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02/22/2009

Hello Everyone,

Its been a while, but we've been busy and truthfully have not had many difficulties other than the usual PITAs and other innkeeping stuff that isnt really crazy. As you all know and the ones that dont we are coming up to a year on this assignment and we've gone beyond the call of duty as you may say-not that it was asked, but its just what we do and the owner is very very thankful and appreciates our hard work. She is very very hands off and lets us do our jobs, comes in every once in a while to pick up mail. She did however make a blunder when we had an innsitter for a week while we were on vaca about a "fine tooth comb" inspection-we promptly replied to the e-mail stating point by point and some was just BS cause we were not here and everything was ship shape when we left, some were legitimate. After the e-mail was sent nothing else was said to us. We did state that it was not right to have an inspection when we were on vacation and not here at the Inn and we would much rather have one when we are here and not gone for a week while someone else is doing the job. We also mentioned what the innsitter did not do...so this was just pretty much not mentioned again because i think that she realized that it was not fair nor corrtect.

Anyway, we would just like some advise on how to bring up a yearly payraise. We have not ever used housekeeping since we've been here, I've done all the gardening (except for lawnmowing) my husband has done most of the small maitenance and much more. I know you all don't know what our salary is, but as Innkeepers we don't make much-we are in the 25-35/year range plus we do get health insurance. We are a little nervous and would like to know about how much we should ask or should we just ask for a bonus at the end of the year?

Thanks in advance.

seashanty's picture
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who was that innsitter who was here for a while?  she was champion of stating her worth to owners ... she really was.  she also would negotiate when the offer of compensation was low ... a % of rentals.  she used to say it's all about the love or something like that.  i think it was inn keep r  to go and surely i read that she is gravely ill.  that is sad because she is a force to reckon with.

the biggest thing in your favor is higher bookings and income and good reviews.

so i would ask about the raise based on your selling points and if the numbers do not support a raise (i assume they do because you know the financials) then you want to have a time when a raise or a % bonus would be forthcoming. 

i also found it/find it very difficult to ask for a raise.  and i tend to jump in and do more than was asked or expected because i take ownership of whatever place it is and want it to be run/done right.  and sometimes, yes, it comes back to bite my backside when the boss/whomever basically says, 'we never ASKED you to do all those extra things'. 

i am concerned also that this inspection was done in your absence with an innsitter on board whom you did not hire.    

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 I hate to even suggest this.. But do you think the owner ...knowing your contract or year was coming up....INTENTIONALLY did the inspection while you were away so they would "have something"...

I agree with the others, go in  armed with numbers, facts, figures etc. have handouts for them. Tell them what you expect and why. Hopefully you will be more prepared than they are, and they will agree to your terms, or at least some of them.

Good luck

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12/13/2011

Instead of "asking for a raise", have you considerered, and/or is there any reason you couldn't, change your arrangement to a lease?   That is, you'd lease the operation from the owners of the real estate, for some fixed rent and/or % of profits or sales incentive monthly payment, such that the owners of the real estate would get a reasonable rate of return on the value of what they own, and you'd be paid for your mental and physical efforts bringing in revenue and controlling costs through your own efforts.

Before you explore this with the owner(s), if you haven't already, you could crunch some numbers to see if this might make sense for both sides and what the arrangement could be.  A very "reasonable" rate of return on real estate investments these days, at least in the Western Washington market where I am, would top out at 10% to 12% per year on the value of the real estate.  If you paid the owners that, would the numbers work for you, or are you better off with the pay you're getting, or even looking elsewhere?  What if you paid them a 5% return, which might be attractive vs 0.1% in the bank?  What if you also had an option to purchase as a further incentive to you?  What are the owners' long term plans with the property?  Have you discussed this with them?  If not, why not?  That's a rhetorical question - I don't need to know, but maybe you would want to?

FYI, I've owned a 4 room inn since 2009, located on an island in Puget Sound in the Seattle area, and this is what I've been doing the past 4 years - leasing it to an operator.  I came to own it only after having to foreclose on a loan I made on this inn (with a restaurant, since closed) in 2007 to folks who bought it at that time, commenced to operate it but lost money as it turned out (rooms were profitable, restaurant wasn't and did them in).  They eventually defaulted and I ended up with it.  I've been leasing it ever since, waiting for someone to buy it off of me as I never wanted to own such a property in the first place.  Been there, done that with a 135 room, full service Seattle hotel I was the controlling  and managing partner of for 17 years.

FWIW, see also my post to someone who asked about leasing at <http://www.innspiring.com/node/11544>  Especially the part about some local commercial real estate lawyer or practitioner who might help you with consulting on how to fill in the details?  I have no idea where you are or I could perhaps suggest someone from the days I had national contacts.

 

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birdwatcher's picture
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Armen-thanks but we've already been owners of our own inn, and honestly we prefer to manage one rather than own or lease one...

I dont know if the inspection was "intended" because of our year long here-but after we went point for point on the e-mail she sent we never got a return e-mail from her

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birdwatcher wrote:

Armen-thanks but we've already been owners of our own inn, and honestly we prefer to manage one rather than own or lease one...

Dear Birdwatcher,

That's understandable. 

FWIW, what made me think to throw out the lease idea and perhaps provoke some thoughts for the "good of the order" and for anyone else to maybe consider who reads these posts was your comment @ #5 - "we plan to be here a while".  And your mentioning that you were "coming up to a year on this assignment", which made it sound to me like you are on a year to year basis?  (I'm just making educated guesses based on your understandably limited comments and offering FWIW thoughts.) A typical lease (from 40+ years in commercial real estate) is often a year to year lease, or whatever the parties want to agree to for that matter, with options to renew a year at a time, with trigger/deadline dates for exercising the renewal options and renewal criteria, etc.  So I thought that might fit in with your goals and objectives of "we plan to be here a while" (@ #5) to give you some stability/security, while maybe giving you some written protections and financial incentives to do the "extras" you seem to have indicated you were doing?  I.e. your initial comment "we are coming up to a year on this assignment and we've gone beyond the call of duty as you may say-not that it was asked, but its just what we do and the owner is very very thankful and appreciates our hard work." 

It also fits in with comments by others about getting a % of increased sales, etc. but documenting that in some way to protect you so that you get rewarded for your efforts.   If not a lease, then in some other way ("contract"? per comment #14?)) vs emails exchanges that might not constitute a valid, enforceable contract in your state?  If you're concerned about the implications of an unannounced inspection, and "are a little nervous" about asking for a raise or bonus, maybe that's a consideration?  E.g.. comment #17 "is there any way to work out percentage sales increase during your term?"   That struck me as a good thought too, and "term" gets us back to do you have a year to year deal or what, and what is it based on?

I was also prompted to mention the lease thought given the Fri, 06/15/2012 - 10:50am post by "BillT" :  " Has anyone had any experience with leasing a B&B?. I have been innsitting for this customer for the last 9 years. They are offering it to me as a lease property. Has anyone got any advice?"

In closing, again, these are just thoughts for you and anyone else to do with as you please - accept, reject, modify, adapt, think about and use in the future, pass on to others, "roundfile", or whatever.  I'm a new poster here at this site, and trying to generalize my remarks for possible maximum application to whatever various situations arise.  I've owned and personally managed/operated hospitality properties (lodging, F&B, jazz venues, banquet space), but also financed them and owned them as an investor and leased them to operators, etc. so my comments come from a variety of perspectives.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

Have you increased business since you've been there?

birdwatcher's picture
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Yes some months were higher than others, but we do more than the last innkeeper did in the five years that he was here.

"Why" what bob-did i miss something? We've been owners and innkeepers now for 7 years. Five was owning and running our own and two years in two different inns, ( the first inn was sold) we plan to be here a while. We did not hire the innsitter and next time we go on vaca we will have things in writing and more than likely someone else. The owner has never been an innkeeper-big difference when you have owned an inn and have been an innkeeper than never have to deal with the day to day trials of doing the job. Actually our reputation DOES HAVE ALOT TO DO with it, because if we ever want another assignment our reputation goes a long way, so yes we consider the inn just as much ours as the owner does and we go to great leangths to make sure that we make everything wonderful to the guest.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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First, do you think they have enough profit to be able to give you a raise? If so, the best thing to do is be totally organized. Give the facts and figures. Show them the figures of how you've increased business. If the owners have never been innkeepers, then they're true business owners. Profit, loss, reputation....that's what they care about. Don't be emotional, it's just business.

Gook luck!

Hillbilly's picture
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 Sorry! I'm not trying to be mean, just real! Why do you feel if the owner does an inspection you should be there for it? 

That was my question! 

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birdwatcher's picture
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Bob-i dont think that its fair to have an inspection when there is an innsitter here for a week because we did not do the cleaning for that week therefore we should not be responsible for the fine-tooth cleaning inspection. Im saying that if she were to do an inspection we should at least not be gone for a week, I dont care if the owner comes in anytime she wants whether we are at the store or doing errands-thats her right, and she can inspect without any notice, but when the innkeepers are on vacation is not really fair to do one. Thats all im saying.

gillumhouse's picture
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My thought on this is that an innsitter is not going to be doing things they way they do - therefore if the inspection is done during their vacation, things are as the innsitter will have it, not as they would. I do not think she means they should be in the house & present, just that the inspection shows THEIR work, not the innsitter's. Things happen daily as you well know - if something broke after they left for vacation, there is no way to know it happened after they left and not before and was ignored. The chip wrapper behind the nightstand was missed by the innsitter and not by them.

Joey Camb's picture
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Do you have trip advisers you can produce as well? reviews on other sites etc?

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birdwatcher's picture
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02/22/2009

yup have received about 8-10 good reviews since we've been here.

birdwatcher's picture
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ok thanks, and we don't have a "contract" per say, we do have an e-mail telling us what we would be responsible for-thanks

Madeleine's picture
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birdwatcher wrote:

ok thanks, and we don't have a "contract" per say, we do have an e-mail telling us what we would be responsible for-thanks

Then you need to review that email point by point and show where you have made improvements on the things you were supposed to do (lower cost products/services used, increased revenue) and where you saved money for the owner on the things that are not even mentioned that you have been doing.

I agree it was odd the owner would conduct a 'fine tooth comb' inspection when you were gone. Did you hire the innsitter who did not follow the groundrules you laid out or did the owner hire the innsitter? Either way, I would not use that person again if they let things fall apart while you were gone. If the owner had never done an inspection before maybe word got back to them (and not you) that the innsitter was just 'sitting' and not 'inning'.

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Hillbilly's picture
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 Hello! As an owner and an innkeeper for 15 years I have to agree with what your boss did while you were on vacation. I would of performed an inspection as well! It's not your reputation on the line it's the owners! If a bad review happens on your watch who cares! You won't be there for ever. It belongs to the owner. If you are going to be hired as an innkeeper you better make sure who ever you hire to run the place while you are gone can do the job correctly! I'm sorry, but being an innkeeper at times has a lot of responsibilities that are not always spelled out in a contract! If you say you are doing as good as you say you are than they might give you a bonus or raise without asking! I am sorry but an inspection has no set date!  You were hired to be an innkeeper!  inspection can c

birdwatcher's picture
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i know that it doesnt have a set date, but i think that we should at least be here even if we are not on-site not gone on vacation...

Hillbilly's picture
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 Why?

Joey Camb's picture
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is there any way to work out percentage sales increase during your term? ie ask for a percentage of profits/turnover? ie then you can sell it as it is in your interest as an owner to incentivise us to work hard as we get a 5% of it? something like this? if you are at the top of your occupancy for your area it jiggers you for next year mind. 

Madeleine's picture
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It's going to be a little tricky asking for a pay raise for things you have been doing for free that are not in your contract. However, what you might want to do is go over your contract and highlight the things you are doing 'above and beyond' that are directly saving your employer BIG bucks. Housekeeper is not in your list? Find out what a housekeeper makes in your area. Ditto the gardening.

Compare what the owner is paying to what the owner could be paying if you had to hire people to do what you're doing for free. (Free because it's not in your contract and I am assuming the owner expected you to hire people to do things you weren't responsible to do.)

Then, you need a secondary list of how you have made improvements that have brought in more business or business at a higher rate than before. Has repeat biz increased since you've been there? Have TA reviews gone up and increased in number of stars?

What have you done to increase sales? What have you done to decrease expenses? Those are the things you need to bring to the table to ask for a raise.

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