Owning a Bed and Breakfast Now a Viable Career for Young- INN the news 09.09.08

30 replies [Last post]
JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Owning a Bed and Breakfast Now a Viable Career for Young
TransWorldNews (press release) - Monroe,GA,USA
By Shirley Anitra Swagerty Young professionals are joining the ranks of B&B owners after exploring how to start a business in the bed and breakfast industry ...
 

__________________

"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds." Will Rogers

 

Offline
Joined:
01/11/2009

ROFL! We don't own the place, we manage it. The owner owns 3 other businesses and knew he wanted an Inn, but couldn't commit to the hours, so he started looking for a full-time live-in in manager and that ended up being us! I love to imagine a far off time when I can buy a place of my own, but I can't even imagine how much of a struggle it must be.

__________________

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." - Mahatma Ghandi

 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

OK, easier to understand now! What parts of the day to day operations are you responsible for? I'm curious because several people are looking at being innkeeper-managers and I think they would be interested to know what all you are responsible for. Do you do 'everything' associated with running the business? Does the owner do 'some' of the things? How is that divided up?

Do you get a place to live along with a salary?

 

__________________

Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. - Oscar Wilde

 

Offline
Joined:
01/11/2009

Between the DH and I we do: the bookeeping and payroll, we make, serve, and set out breakfast if there are 10 rooms or less in house, we take all the reservations, do all the ordering, most of the handyman and maintenance stuff, all of the baking, product research, hiring/firing, employee management, menu development, housekeeping if the housekeeper isn't available, etc... I think we basically do everything but pay the mortgage! A lot of our decisions do go through our owner for approval though, since he's the one with the bank account.

One of the best perks of working here is that we do get to live in the Inn. Granted, our quarters are just like what seems to be the norm for most innkeepers:small, less than ornate, and out of the way. But it's cozy and warm. Plus, on the days when no one's here we can lounge on the sofa and start a fire in the main room and enjoy having all this space to ourselves.

Is it an uncommon thing to be an inn manager?

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

No, I don't think it's uncommon to be the inn manager. In an establishment such as yours (very large) it's the only way to do it. Being the owner/innkeeper would require that all of the jobs you mentioned doing would need to be filled anyway. It's much easier to make the money in a larger place to hire on staff than it is in a smaller place. Does the owner ever come by to greet the guests? We've found that in a few places...innkeeper/manager does all the work and the owner stops by to get all the kudos!

I must say, tho, that the idea of cleaning and serving 10 rooms is beyond my abilities. Maybe if I were 21 again...but not now. 7 rooms is my upper limit and 6 would be infinitely easier. We looked at a place with 10 guestrooms and I thought, 'how hard could that be?' Well, now I know!

It seems the owner has assigned about 75% of the tasks to you. Not sure if that's a lot or what! How many staff are you allowed to hire to help you? You certainly will have a lot of experience when you are done.

And I do have a lot of innkeeper space to myself...3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room. I couldn't survive if I had to wait for guests to be gone to light the fire!

I know one innkeeper here who may be looking for the sort of establishment you have, which is why I asked. Good way for her to get an idea of what the requirements are for the manager.

Glad you are liking it so far! When is your 'season,' when you will likely be the busiest? Also, are you the first managers under this owner or has this person owned the property for awhile? Curious as to what the expectations are for you for the season? Are you required to book 'x' number of nights or have 'x' number of repeat guests? Sort of like, how does the owner know you are doing your job? How will you be evaluated for raises or even to keep the job?

Offline
Joined:
01/11/2009

Yeah, he comes by periodically to help out and will say hi to guests while he's here. Usually if we have 8-11 rooms he'll help us cook, beyond that we have our actual cook come in. He’s refreshingly hands-on. The previous owners my husband and I have dealt with were apathetic and distant, yet somehow managed to be overbearing and demanding. UGH!

During peak season (summer and fall) we’ll be allowed to have one FT cook, (possibly 1 PT cook), 3 or 4 total housekeepers (1 FT and the rest PT), and two wait staffers (both PT). That leaved DH and I to take care of all of the misc stuff that will invariably come up and try to throw a monkey wrench in the day, lol.

Our owner bought the property with a different inn manager couple that he stuck with for the first two years. But they eventually got exhausted and decided to retire to FL. So he found us. Yay!

I cannot even IMAGINE having the living quarters you do! Wanna know what DH and I have? One room that fits a Q bed and dorm sized fridge and another that fits a couch and a lazy-boy. I think that was the hardest part to get used to. Especially since we had just gotten our first nice apartment back home with two bedrooms, two living rooms, giant kitchen, and partially furnished attic and then got the job and moved here. It’s a good trade though. “Home” wasn’t a very nice place, and we feel super blessed to be here.

Offline
Joined:
01/11/2009

I turn 21 in May and my husband's 21st birthday was 2 weeks after we became innkeepers. The more I look into it the more it seems that we might be the youngest innkeepers in the country!

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

inkypr wrote:

I turn 21 in May and my husband's 21st birthday was 2 weeks after we became innkeepers. The more I look into it the more it seems that we might be the youngest innkeepers in the country!

I'd have to go along with that observation! How long have you both been doing this?

Offline
Joined:
01/11/2009

Only about 3 months now. We're loving it so far, but we have yet to survive a busy season, lol.

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

There used to be a member here who was 19 when she started out. She's already been thru 2 inns and is now doing something inn-related but no longer an innkeeper. She used to say it was quite common for guests to ask for her parents when she greeted them!

Whereabouts, generally, are you located? Big B&B, little B&B, small town, what?

Offline
Joined:
01/11/2009

LOL! We get some genuinely confused looks from people when we greet them, but they generally react positively. The best part about being young in this industry is proving to people that being young does not equal being immature or irresponsible. At least not in ALL cases.

Our B&B has 17 rooms and is located in MA. At first I thought it would be harder to operate a larger Inn, but then, when you realize the business can afford to have a full-time housekeeper and seasonal cook it actually seems easier!

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I guess my initial reaction to that is...did you win the lottery? I know what it cost me to buy this place (7 rooms) and I know the hassle we went thru with the bank to secure financing with relatively little business-owning experience, so I'm having a tough time picturing how you bought that in these economic times.

Offline
Joined:
08/04/2008

When it's my turn, I'll too, be the youngest innkeeper I know. Our children are already 9 & 10. We will not be starting a family, but we will just keep BEING a family.

That's the part that has held us back till this point in time. We finally decided that waiting wasn't going to make it better or easier, so we figured that if we start looking now and CONTINUE to save our money, when we find what we love, we'll be ready for it.

Planning can take you so far, then it's time to put the plan into action or it's only ever going to BE a PLAN

 

 

IvyLee's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/09/2008

I know one of those couples as well, and they have a very 'different' way of running their B&B that is fantastic.  Since they're around my age (30), they are including things at their inn that appeal to a younger crowd.

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

IvyLee wrote:

I know one of those couples as well, and they have a very 'different' way of running their B&B that is fantastic.  Since they're around my age (30), they are including things at their inn that appeal to a younger crowd.

Such as...

Offline
Joined:
08/07/2008

I'd love to know, too! I did read about an innkeeper who liked to greet guests in her bikini. Their b&b was very shabby-chic. Ikea furniture, exposed concrete floors, toiletries in deli-style squeeze bottles.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

IvyLee wrote:

I know one of those couples as well, and they have a very 'different' way of running their B&B that is fantastic.  Since they're around my age (30), they are including things at their inn that appeal to a younger crowd.

"everybody loves a doiley"  I think I will have a tshirt made up with that on it.

Just kiddin.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Everybody loves a gnome in the garden too, don't forget    hahahaha!

__________________

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Odd that the article phrases it that way...'now' a viable career...

Offline
Joined:
08/07/2008

Bree wrote:

Odd that the article phrases it that way...'now' a viable career...

I noticed that, too. From the title, I thought it was going to be an article about foreclosures making B&Bs more affordable to those with smaller bank accounts...

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

stephanie wrote:

Bree wrote:

Odd that the article phrases it that way...'now' a viable career...

I noticed that, too. From the title, I thought it was going to be an article about foreclosures making B&Bs more affordable to those with smaller bank accounts...

On the old forum we had an innkeeper who started out when she was 21 or so. I wish she were here to help you with some of the comments she got from guests. (Where's your mom? as an example)

egoodell's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/01/2008

 That was Christy. They sold their B&B in California and moved back to Georgia. They no longer have a B&B. 

Riki

__________________

Riki Goodell
Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast
Arcady Vineyard Wine Tours
www.arcadyvineyard.com
Come! Let us show you the beautiful Monticello Appellation!

 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

egoodell wrote:

 That was Christy. They sold their B&B in California and moved back to Georgia. They no longer have a B&B. 

Riki

Right. Thanks.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Bree wrote:

egoodell wrote:

 That was Christy. They sold their B&B in California and moved back to Georgia. They no longer have a B&B. 

Riki

Right. Thanks.

Charlotte.

Offline
Joined:
08/07/2008

Thanks for posting this, JBJ! This topic has actually been on my mind lately, since (if all goes well and smoothly) I'll soon be the youngest innkeeper I've ever met!

It's becoming a concern of mine, since beginning to read other threads about PITAs, guests treating innkeepers like "hired help," etc. that my age will be a challenge when dealing with guests and other business partners, mainly because it implies a lack of credibility and authority.

I wish the article had gone into more detail, but it's nice to know I'm jumping in on an uptrend!

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

stephanie wrote:

Thanks for posting this, JBJ! This topic has actually been on my mind lately, since (if all goes well and smoothly) I'll soon be the youngest innkeeper I've ever met!

It's becoming a concern of mine, since beginning to read other threads about PITAs, guests treating innkeepers like "hired help," etc. that my age will be a challenge when dealing with guests and other business partners, mainly because it implies a lack of credibility and authority.

I wish the article had gone into more detail, but it's nice to know I'm jumping in on an uptrend!

From one so-called youngin' to another, what you will have is: Oh is this your family home?  As they think it was just handed to you.

My reply, "No I have only lived in the east for 5 years now.  We have a mortgage like everyone else" and that seems to shut them up.  Those are just the rude sticky-beaks.  Typically from one state which will remain un-named, but my least favorite guests are ALWAYS from that state.  Which has been in the news alot lately...

I have never been treated like the help here. Ever. (Except one babay shower we hosted and the person was younger than me that was rude).  I am not arrogant with guests either.  People love that we have not retired to run a B&B

The reason most do not get it, is that BIG HOUSES cost big money.  So to see someone younger, it throws them and then they sometimes get all in your business.

There are plenty of younger innkeepers out there now, as is illustrated by the article.  There are a few on this forum raising young families and running and inn.  I can think of 4 off the top of my head.

All inns are different and all innkeepers different.  Don't let anyone put you down for your age.  That is absurd. The lady who had this place before us was a cranky old bat.  I think sometimes youngsters can be refreshing.

Offline
Joined:
08/07/2008

Haha. And it's a comfort to know you guys will be here to vent to when it's my turn!

Funny story (in retrospect, not at the time): I'm on the BoD of my industry's association and organize their annual awards gala where we also award a scholarship to a local college student. I was pitching in at the registration desk so one of my volunteers could grab a cocktail and a guest asked me "Are you the scholarship recipient?" There were a thousand responses running through my head, but just swallowed them and smiled politely, "Nope." "Oh, you look just like her. How old are you?"

I know they don't mean to insult me...

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Youngsters Mid 20's- 30's do bring an entirely different perspective to the business. But I am curious as to what will happen when they do decide to start a family and if they will be able to handle both.  I know there are some here who do it and that is great!  Just something REALLY BIG to consider.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

catlady wrote:

Youngsters Mid 20's- 30's do bring an entirely different perspective to the business. But I am curious as to what will happen when they do decide to start a family and if they will be able to handle both.  I know there are some here who do it and that is great!  Just something REALLY BIG to consider.

It is very challenging.  There are days when you do not think it is a good idea - kids go through things, not just vomitting and fevers.  You can wish for a quiet "rolling eyes" child.  But that is not always the case.

Who is it on this forum whose son wants a shirt that says "Guests Suck"  Or maybe that was some of the innkeepers on the forum. 

Offline
Joined:
08/07/2008

Thanks for the warning--I've been following that thread as well and found it really interesting. Not really a concern for us YET, but the discussion was VERY helpful in refining our criteria for owners' quarters, proximity to family, etc.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Hey, I know the first couple! Great to see.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.