Compensation for Live In Help or How to Get Help in the Boonies?

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white pine's picture
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We have a seasonal 8 unit motel which DH and I have been running now for 3 years, and we hope to have the lodge B&B (eventually 8 suites) but 2-5 suites open this summer.  We still have finish work in the lodge and occupancy inspections to finish, but hopefully that will happen this spring.  We have a waiting list of guests for the lodge.

We have not been able to find any local help, and we are at least 30 miles from any small towns that we might find workers. With the price of gas, no one is willing to make the drive.  We are thinking of running an ad in the states teaching union newsletter advertising for summer help, as many of the campground hosts are volunteer teachers.   We were thinking of offering on site rooms in partial lieu of compensation, but this gets messy.  Does anyone here have live in help?  Ideas??

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seashanty's picture
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 had to google hot bunk!

  was told by a woman working on a cruise ship that's how it was working there.  no

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Question: If you have/had live in help where would they eat or prepare meals?

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Madeleine's picture
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Way back we had a bunch of Eastern European visa kids want to rent a room here for the summer season. 3 of them. They were going to hot bunk. I never even thought about them needing a place to eat!

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Madeleine wrote:

Way back we had a bunch of Eastern European visa kids want to rent a room here for the summer season. 3 of them. They were going to hot bunk. I never even thought about them needing a place to eat!

Spoken like the wife of a sailor.

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Not a sailot wife, but I know what hot bunk is.

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Madeleine wrote:

Way back we had a bunch of Eastern European visa kids want to rent a room here for the summer season. 3 of them. They were going to hot bunk. I never even thought about them needing a place to eat!

Right! Even cereal and sandwiches...thinking of a summer intern, all summer they would need a place to eat and prepare food, unless you did it all at the inn/B&B/hotel. ie breakfast is for you, then you are on your own til dinner... or whatever

White Pine wrote they are 30 minutes from a small town. So unlike those IN A TOWN who have mcdonalds nearby, this is another thing to work out. 

Madeleine's picture
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I guess I just thought they would eat at work. The ones awake at breakfast could eat here but it never crossed my mind. I was more concerned about 3 teenagers sharing a room and how the heck would I ever be able to clean?

Plus, it would have cost them too much. They wouldn't have had any money to go back home!

Yes. Sailor's wife!

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Madeleine wrote:

I guess I just thought they would eat at work. The ones awake at breakfast could eat here but it never crossed my mind. I was more concerned about 3 teenagers sharing a room and how the heck would I ever be able to clean?

Plus, it would have cost them too much. They wouldn't have had any money to go back home! (They wouldn't go back home)

Yes. Sailor's wife!

If anyone hires live in help, help! Let us know how this works, we are curious. Smiling Thanks.

white pine's picture
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Hi

Just a FYI we stay in the log cabin on the property, and the lodge has a large kitchen with a new range, micro and  fridge.  It once ran as a commercial kitchen.  We also have a freezer.  Plenty of room there for food and prep.  I would be fussy about keeping the area clean tho. 

The back stairs comes down into the kitchen from the entrance to the new "managers" suite of rooms...with private bath, bedroom and sitting room.

Oh, and there is a convince store in our town that does deli stuff and a family restaurant and a good tavern.  Another place a dozen miles will deliver pizza and bar-b-que to us.  McD's  half hour, movies one hour......not a good place for teens....

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Are you looking for a couple, or a live in housekeeper?

white pine's picture
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I have placed an ad with the state teachers newsletter.  Many of them are couples and work as campground hosts here.  I would love to have a couple who can handle whatever comes their way.   We will need housekeeping help with the motel, and we have grounds work (lawn, beach, boats) and painting that never ends.  If we get the lodge open as a b&b this year (and we are close) we will need more help.  I think a couple working part time would be great.   I may end up with an innsitter to help, for first short season with the lodge. 

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JB asked for ads. This is the ad we currently have on our chamber website:

"We are looking for a few conscientious people to join our cleaning crew at Harborfields Waterfront Cottages in West Boothbay Harbor. Saturdays 9 to 3 (or so) from late June through August. Additional dates earlier and later in the season also possible, as well as some Sundays and mid-week days possible. Duties include cottage change-overs and cleaning common areas; other tasks may be available if interested. No experience necessary. Guaranteed minimum hours, Good Pay, and Bonus at end of season."

We need to get on it, because we are not sure if our girl friday will be coming back! (We kept her busy an average of 30 hours/week all season last year, mowing, painting, and other chores, when she wasn't cleaning).

and here is the ad on the chamber site from one of the B&B's over in town:

 "We are looking to hire 2-3 Housekeepers for the 2014 season, beginning in late June. Hours are generally 9 or 10AM to 2PM, 2-6 days per week, with flexible scheduling options. Experience not required: we will train you. Hourly wage plus tips, with an end of season bonus of $.50 per hour for every hour worked all season.
Duties include breakfast clean-up, cleaning guest rooms and common areas, watering gardens, etc.
Our staff works as a team, in a supportive family atmosphere. We are proud to hire high school and college students from the Boothbay region. The majority of our staff return for several years.
We're looking for responsible, reliable, and trustworthy people with an ability to follow direction. A sense of humor is a definite plus."

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Thanks HF!

"Plus Tips"

Campground hosts are not housekeepers, they are like the camp nazis, some of them. I wouldn't compare scrubbin' toilets to campground monitors, White Pine. Smiling

Madeleine's picture
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Do you find the bonus thing works? DH wants to try that this year.

OnTheShore's picture
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re: end of season bonus

I think it helps. The key thing is that the worker has to understand that they only get the bonus if they show up consistently over the whole season that they are scheduled. The bonus also needs to be big enough to be meaningful. We are in such a seasonal market, a lot of our potential workforce is really going to struggle to get through the off-season, so every little bit helps. It is interesting that the other Inn is tying the bonus to hours worked -- I need to look at that and see how our bonus compares.

We pay pretty well, we think, and are willing to pay even more for the right people, but then we are only able to offer most of them just 6 hours/week.

One other thing that I think helps with retention (not necessarily recruitment) is to let the workers know how much you appreciate their help -- compliment them on their good work (assuming it is OK) and tell them "Thank You." -- we couldn't run our business without their help, so this is important to me.

We go so far as to give our workers a ride home, or go out to pick them up, if they are in dire straights and can't get a ride any other way (e.g. car broken down, no money for a taxi, boyfriend in jail, .....).

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We say thank you everyday. I let them know what the ta reviews are saying and thank them again. We've given gift certificates to something they've mentioned liking and we always give an unannounced $100 bonus on the last day.

Last year we were paying $12/hour for a 20 hour work week. It's steady. We also round up on the hours. Work 3 hours and 45 minutes? We pay 4 hours.

We give a raise at 4 weeks if the work is good.

We're flexible about needing time for family events.

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id make it very clear you only get the bonus if you work till the end of the season and a set date - gives them a target to work towards

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Can someone please post what they have posted in their LOCAL ad?

THANK YOU! 

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Looking at our local news paper I see this:

 

FT Seasonal Maintenance Worker Positions Available
xyz County is currently accepting applications for Full Time Seasonal Maintenance Workers in Parks & Recreation. Duties include: performing athletic field and turf maintenance, grass mowing, weed trimming, trash collection, custodial duties, routine grounds and facility maintenance and setting up and taking down for special events. Successful background check required. Have ability to: lift 75 – 100 pounds, climb ladders, possess dexterity to safely use various types of machinery and follow instructions. Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license. Hourly rate: $8.68, no benefits. Complete job description & application available at the XYZ County Government Center,  or apply online at:
www.xycwebsite.gov.

Application close date:  March 21 at 5:00.  EOE/AA.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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An add on Craigs list in the nearest yucky city.

"Spend the summer at the lake (in the mountains, by the sea).

Wanted - chamber maid and assistant manager for a 6 room Bed and Breakfast Inn.   Full time 5 days a week in exchange for salary plus room and board 2 minute walk to the beach.  This is a temporary, contract position lasting through the summer.   Work includes cleaning, dining service, greeting guests and other jobs as required.  Early hours with plenty of beach time.

Great experience for the hotel/hospitality industry."

When I was in college, I spent a summer as a chambermaid.  I loved it because I was out by 2 and able to go to the beach.  Emphasize the 'vacation' aspect of the job.

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white pine's picture
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Looks good...BTW what is a reasonable rate for said worker?

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

An add on Craigs list in the nearest yucky city.

"Spend the summer at the lake (in the mountains, by the sea).

Wanted - chamber maid and assistant manager for a 6 room Bed and Breakfast Inn.   Full time 5 days a week in exchange for salary plus room and board 2 minute walk to the beach.  This is a temporary, contract position lasting through the summer.   Work includes cleaning, dining service, greeting guests and other jobs as required.  Early hours with plenty of beach time.

Great experience for the hotel/hospitality industry."

When I was in college, I spent a summer as a chambermaid.  I loved it because I was out by 2 and able to go to the beach.  Emphasize the 'vacation' aspect of the job.

I wish we had a beach to entice them.

"Spend the summer with moonshiners and people missing teeth"  (I would probably get more using that title!) Park your RV and dawgs in the yard...ug

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

An add on Craigs list in the nearest yucky city.

"Spend the summer at the lake (in the mountains, by the sea).

Wanted - chamber maid and assistant manager for a 6 room Bed and Breakfast Inn.   Full time 5 days a week in exchange for salary plus room and board 2 minute walk to the beach.  This is a temporary, contract position lasting through the summer.   Work includes cleaning, dining service, greeting guests and other jobs as required.  Early hours with plenty of beach time.

Great experience for the hotel/hospitality industry."

When I was in college, I spent a summer as a chambermaid.  I loved it because I was out by 2 and able to go to the beach.  Emphasize the 'vacation' aspect of the job.

I wish we had a beach to entice them.

"Spend the summer with moonshiners and people missing teeth"  (I would probably get more using that title!) Park your RV and dawgs in the yard...ug

hahahahhaaha.  yours would say at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.   Relax and catch up on your reading.  

white pine's picture
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Thanks for the ideas.  The nearest college is an hour away..hospitality program is across the bridge in CA.  Don't think we offer enough in this small town to make any college kids happy.    I guess I am jaded by the younger generation.  They want to get paid for starting at the top...don't really want to clean toilets and CLEAN.  That is why I was thinking older folks with a better work ethic.  In my previous business, I had a steady stream of young folk who couldn't come in due to emergencies like the boyfriends birthday, or a party, or my manager who couldn't come in to work near Christmas because she didn't have her babies Christmas stocking done.....angry

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Not having a college near you may not be a problem if you do an internship. I went to a culinary school with a mandatory internship program and we had hundreds of sites across all 50 States and several other countries to pick from ranging from hotels, r&d for corporations, food magazines and small restaurants. So, to me, having 10-13 rooms could be enough to justify an internship but you would most likely have to be willing to train in all aspects of the business even if they did spend part of their day cleaning. On the plus side, our managers had the total power to fail us for the internship (and thus set us back 3 months and a bundle of money) if we did not show up and work.

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Mixed bag here. Last summer had 2 hirees who each lasted about 3 weeks. One in her 20's, one in her 50' s.

50 yo smoked like a chimney and needed to go out to eat midway during the shift. (We are not required to give breaks in this state even tho we have no problem with someone sitting down for a snack.) It's tough tho when the person has only just gotten there and 'forgot to eat'.

Same person left mid shift because her neighbor's boyfriend broke up with her. Which means she was on the phone instead of working.

Last call we got from her was confirming her next day of work after she missed work. She had asked us for an advance on her check to pay for a prescription she had to get after spending a day in the hospital for food poisoning from bad clams, bad hamburger, something she ate depending on who was telling the story.

Just remembered her attire... Low cut tshirts and lower cut pants with thong underwear.

The younger one missed 50% of her scheduled days and then just stopped coming altogether.

Neither of them bothered to let us know she wasn't coming back.

Other than that, our best luck for showing up and getting at least some work done has been college kids.

white pine's picture
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Sounds about right.....I will put some feelers out at the colleges...but I think it will be a long shot.  I was hoping for some teachers or some young retirees who would love to help while staying on the lake.  Sigh.....

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we have the sort of reverse problem our sea side places are very seasonal ie 7 months mad - 5 months dead so as the end of September approaches we get lots of door knockers who have seen the end of their jobs coming and are trying to find something else here as we are usually busy till about half way through December - trouble is now the economy is picking up people are struggling for chamber maid's as its starting to get really busy and we just can't get anyone who is any good or they don't stay.

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I wrote an e-mail to the teacher at our nearest college that has a hotel/restaurant management program. We did finally get someone. What helped us was that I was also interested in having a local who I could train not only for housekeeping, but also breakfasts and management skills. I was looking for an assistant innkeeper, but she had to start from the bottom, up to prove herself.

white pine's picture
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This is the scenario I would really like.  I have no one for back-up, but I could find no locals interested.  Two other places in town are also looking for help!    Bad thing is that I am seasonal.  No one wants to commit to a summer job.

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white pine wrote:

This is the scenario I would really like.  I have no one for back-up, but I could find no locals interested.  Two other places in town are also looking for help!    Bad thing is that I am seasonal.  No one wants to commit to a summer job.

I feel your pain, because you're also describing us. It took me years to find someone. No one wants to work. In the past I've gone to the temp agency and they couldn't find us anyone either...the only specifications I wanted was they be able to communicate in English and pass a background and drug test. We were offering way above minimum wage. Nope, nobody. Pathetic!

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The woman who agreed to work I paid $15.00hr plus her gas...she drove from 45min away.  That lasted ONE day.  She did a good job, but just couldn't find the time to come to work.  I won't do that again.  That is while I would love to find a live in.  Maybe I should consider an innsitter for the summer!

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white pine wrote:
  Maybe I should consider an innsitter for the summer!

You might seriously want to do that, or at least an 'aspiring' innsitter.  Good way to get some experience for the resume and you can get some more extensive help. You might check with one of the groups of innsitters, like Interim Innsitters, or post something on the PAII board 'help wanted' if you belong.

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muirford wrote:

white pine wrote:
  Maybe I should consider an innsitter for the summer!

You might seriously want to do that, or at least an 'aspiring' innsitter.  Good way to get some experience for the resume and you can get some more extensive help. You might check with one of the groups of innsitters, like Interim Innsitters, or post something on the PAII board 'help wanted' if you belong.

Is it just me or do most of the innsitters you see want to "manage" the inn and the "help"? I can do that, it is the labor that I am willing to hire out. But the live in option may be a good option for them to be an intern. I would hire an intern.  Smiling

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We get a lot of management wannabes and flower arrangers at this time of year. Lots of people who want to host our afternoon wine and cheese soirées.

Will try in this year's ad to highlight the great summer hours.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Is it just me or do most of the innsitters you see want to "manage" the inn and the "help"? I can do that, it is the labor that I am willing to hire out. But the live in option may be a good option for them to be an intern. I would hire an intern.  Smiling

Yes, white pine will have to screen out the management-only types.  That's why I think an 'aspiring' innsitter or innkeeper rather than an experienced (i.e. older with creaky knees) might be a better fit.  I can't tell you how many interns and students I've interviewed who really just want to do the management thing, too - not clean the toilets.  No matter what, you need someone willing to get their hands dirty.

white pine's picture
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I will have to give it some thought.  An aspiring might be OK, but I would like to find someone willing to return...hence the idea of a teacher with summers off.  Would be a lovely fit.  And we have a BEACH.  But we HAVE to have help this year.   Will consider all sources for help.  Thanks to all.

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I saw this today:

The Paradox of Effort
If you're only willing to do what is easy, life will be very hard.
But if you are willing to do what's hard, life will be very easy.
How is that working for you?

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What about contacting colleges with hospitality programs? They may have summer job postings for hospitality students who would benefit from some front-line experience.

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Around here, the government actually has a list. Maybe this will help you. Basically minimum wage minus $26 for meals and the rest depends on the housing. A room is just that, it must have storage as well and a shared bathroom. When it's a dwelling it must access to a washer/dryer, refrigerator, stove and microwave. So basically if they have access to the washer/dryer and kitchen it's $45 a week for up to 4 in the room and $26 a week for meals. 

$2.00 per meal, up to $ 26.00 per week
$25.00 per week for the room
$30.00 per week dwelling where the room accommodates 5 employees or more
$45.00 per week dwelling where the room accommodates 4 employees or less

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white pine's picture
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Thanks, interesting info.  I planned to talk with the accountant.

Joey Camb's picture
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don't get me started with people not wanting work! I know 4 b&B's looking for chamber maid's right now and no luck for about 3 months! bring on the EU people no one else will do it!

And its not just us either - they are opening 4 large hotels within 15 miles and I guarantee all their staff will be polish, Lithuanian, Bulgarian and Romanian.

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White Pine, I emailed you Smiling

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I am with Maddie. I think this is the year we finally go over the edge, and I go with it.

No one wants to work, so I get to do it. We do get offers for room and board for overseas workers, but that seems so drastic to me. It scares me. sorry I can't help

Madeleine's picture
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Not wanting to sidetrack this but I cannot do another season just the 2 of us. I'll cry just thinking about it.

birdwatcher's picture
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any colleges around? if you offer perhaps room and board, maybe you can have some for the season. Just a thought.

Madeleine's picture
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Sorry, I'm no help. We can't get people to show up who live 4 miles away.

You might want to check in with the foreign student program if you can offer a room for the student. J1 visa program. 

http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/summer-work-travel/ 

white pine's picture
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The big resorts half hour away used to hire college students (I was one) but now they all hire foreigners.  I really don't want to go there....maybe the teacher suggestion is the best.  I know they man some campgrounds near here, and we are nicer.   Really tho, no one wants to WORK, but DH and I can't handle any more. 

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