Advice for an aspiring Innkeeper

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Hello friends,

My name is Brent and I am considering getting into the b&b/inn keeping business. I have 3 questions for those of you that have experience running Inns and B&Bs. 1) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started? 2)Do you love it? 3) If so/not, Why?

Thanks so much for taking the time to lend your wisdom.

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Hi Brent,

Welcome!  It is always nice seeing a young person so interested in this business.  
You will get a heck of a lot of time being home, it just may not be what you have imagined in your mind.  Sure you will get family time, you can teach the young-en's how to make beds, fold sheets, dust etc.  But time to play catch may be few and far between, that is if you are busy!

One thing no one has mentioned as of yet is the location you are looking into.  I have nothing but great fondness for Costa Rica but traveling there as a tourist and actually living there may be quite different. (That would be true for any foreign land and culture other than your own)  If your plans become more serious, you may wish to travel there for an extended stay to actually determine if it is the dream location that you envision.  You would also need to research the laws regarding doing business in that area.  

There was a member of this forum a year or two ago that purchased a place in Mexico with a family.  I believe it had rooms and a restaurant on the property.  Anyone remember his/her ID?  There may be some interesting comments Brent may find helpful! 

Of course none of this was what your post was, but wanted to offer you some things to think about.  I love your openness to a new way of life, a better way of life for you and your family.  Keep reading the forum.  There is lots to learn! 

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As a businessman, owner of a gym, you probably already have a good idea of what it takes to keep a small business operating and generating enough revenue to support your own family (as well as those of your employees)... the marketing, customer service, bookkeeping, compliance with regulations, maintenance of physical facilities, etc.... 

Running an inn is really no different than any other business in those regards. One difference with an inn, though, is that you live at your business, and your guests are with you all the time -- you don't really get to close up shop, send the customers away, and go home for the night at the end of your business day...  So in that regard, it is much more like dairy farming (the cows need milking twice a day, every day, all year long....).

We are sailors, and used to campaign our racing sailboat in regattas up and down the coast, with a lot of offshore races, too. Taking over the "inn" here on the coast of Maine, we have given most of that up -- the summer sailing season is when we are busy with business. So maybe time to focus instead on our skiing?  Is surfing in Costa Rica a seasonal sport? Maybe think about an inn somewhere else with a different seasonality...

Another thing to consider as you contemplate getting in to this business -- there is generally a lot of competition in the lodging sector, how are you going to set your inn apart?

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   I love it!  But its hard work and tiring... but you must not show it.  We have a monster of a house which grows with every step you take.  The guests only see about 1/4 of the place so we have three levels of private space for us.  Since the place is big we can have live in summer help on the weekend which helps a lot as we take turns taking the monitor to our bedroom at night.  So we are like one big happy family, but we do have our low times and snap!

   Things always break when there's a full house of guests or you have plans, or you are the only one here.  So far this year we have missed out on weddings, birthday parties, getogathers, grandchildren recitals, etc.  I am the third generation of the family to work here.  Two great-granddaughters have helped with the cleaning when their family is here. (9 years old)  They love to follow me around and spray mirrors and sinks, make beds, and sweep the floors with the huge mop broom.  But only for a limited time and then they are complaining that they have to be quiet, can't swim in the pool because the guests are using it, and don't you ever do anything besides work.....  (Will your children like this lifestyle?)  I told one that I know how she feels but I survived and so will she.  

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Welcome

I'm new too. This is my second year of operation so I don't have the voice of experience but I can tell you what I've learned so far.

I now know that I can't do it all myself. Next year I'll be getting some help for my peak season-July and August- just so I can get a break. I'm up at 5 and in bed by 10. I do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry. DH will sometimes finish up the kitchen for me so I can start the rooms for change over, especially if all four rooms check out. Plus, if he didn't cook our personal meals, I probably wouldn't eat. Mind you, this has been a great diet and work out plan, haha. 

And, despite never having worked so hard in my life, I LOVE IT! I'm doing what I've always loved--cooking, baking and yes, cleaning. Something very satisfying leaving a room after it's been cleaned top to bottom, smells good and looks great and comfy and inviting. I'm my own boss and I answer to no one. We started this business because we wanted to move to the location (beautiful) and change our lifestyle (slow it down, although during the season it's anything but slow). We figure we should get about 10 years of hard work before we pick and choose our work schedule. We're living in smaller quarters but that will change in the near future as we renovate a building on our property to become our family home. One day, we'll either hire another innkeeper or sell the business or just sell the house. This is not a capital investment for us so we won't pay through the nose in taxes. We had the luxury of not borrowing any money and DH is a master at frugal living. We live within our means. I have no small children. Mine are grown and living on their own and I can't imagine having a small child doing what we do. It wouldn't be fair to them during the summer months. I'd need a sitter!

I'm very happy to have taken the plunge and be working at this. My health is good, I still have energy and I'm in not bad shape. Right now, everyone is checked in, my last load of laundry is drying and we're actually going out for a few hours to visit friends tonight and it's only 6:30. But this isn't typical. Usually I'm still in the laundry room.

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Brent212 wrote:

... 1) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started? 2)Do you love it? 3) If so/not, Why?

Hello, Brent. Shelley and I are brand new innkeepers. We just bought our property on the 1st of June. I still work full time as a consultant, so I am gone half of the time. Shelley runs it almost by herself when I'm at work. 

1) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Shelley would probably have a different answer to number one, but I wish we would have known more about how things worked and what things needed replacing. For example, we found that the dishwasher was horribly inefficient, so we had to replace that. Shelley found she really needs a double oven, so that is a purchase coming up. We found out the hard way that we can't plug the toaster oven in the same outlet circuit as anything else. Luckily, the PO's were staying with us, and they came and helped out during a busy breakfast morning when breakers started tripping. 

2) Do you love it?

Absolutely. I was originally thinking that I would retire within 5 years, but I hate being away. I love our town, our great guests, the music, the relationships and partnerships with other business owners, even the work is fun (well, some of it, anyway). I am seriously reconsidering turning our 5 year plan into a 2 to 3 year plan. 

3) If so/not, Why?

From a business perspective, almost everything we do and buy is a tax write off. The business pays for our lives, almost. Also, there is just something free about owning your own business. It's like having a child: some days are good, some days are bad, but it's those really special moments that make you really really glad you are a parent/B&B owner. 
Personally, it is something that my wife and I do together. Although we have pretty distinct roles, we collaborate on most everything (which means she usually gets her way. Smiling
Even though you will read many horror stories on here or hear about them from other innkeepers, they are the exception and not the rule. The main type of people that frequent Bed & Breakfasts are social people who are interesting and are looking to meet other interesting people. 
Another reason why is the endless possibilities for creativity. You have the freedom to try any marketing idea and you will get different people every time. Have a jigsaw puzzle contest weekend (this was a great story from our B&B mentors). Hold a craft or music workshop. Use your creativity to solve your marketing challenges. We are constantly thinking of ideas to get people to stay with us during the slower times, like mid-week and winter. If something doesn't work, try something else. 

I suggest attending the PAII conference in January as an aspiring Innkeeper. We went last year and we learned A LOT, and not just from the classes but from veteran innkeepers. I hope to see you there. 

Sorry for the long post, but I could actually write about another page on this subject. Truthfully, for Shelley and I, it is a dream come true. Good luck with your venture. 

 

__________________

Christopher and Shelley Smith, Innkeepers
The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast, Mountain View, AR

 

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Very insightful. Thanks so much for sharing. 

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ChrisandShelley wrote:

 We found out the hard way that we can't plug the toaster oven in the same outlet circuit as anything else. Luckily, the PO's were staying with us, and they came and helped out during a busy breakfast morning when breakers started tripping. 

 

Get that fixed as soon as you can! It's a pain in the patootie during breakfast. We used to have breakers tripping when someone turned on the hair dryer + A/C. Then, serendipitously, we installed a new outlet that required a new breaker box and all was fixed as if by magic. Until the following summer when we turned on the A/C in the kitchen at the same time the coffee machine kicked on. Sigh. Coffee or A/C? A/C or coffee? Had that fixed by the afternoon.

That was my $500 outlet. Nearly put me thru the roof until I realized it solved all the early morning emergencies. It was SO worth it.

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Morticia wrote:

ChrisandShelley wrote:

 We found out the hard way that we can't plug the toaster oven in the same outlet circuit as anything else. Luckily, the PO's were staying with us, and they came and helped out during a busy breakfast morning when breakers started tripping. 

 

Get that fixed as soon as you can! It's a pain in the patootie during breakfast. We used to have breakers tripping when someone turned on the hair dryer + A/C. Then, serendipitously, we installed a new outlet that required a new breaker box and all was fixed as if by magic. Until the following summer when we turned on the A/C in the kitchen at the same time the coffee machine kicked on. Sigh. Coffee or A/C? A/C or coffee? Had that fixed by the afternoon.

That was my $500 outlet. Nearly put me thru the roof until I realized it solved all the early morning emergencies. It was SO worth it.

 

Agree. We actually had a separate circuit put in for each room.   Now we can have AC, hair dryers, all kinds of awesome stuff and the house doesn't shut down.  (PO did not have AC, TV, hair dryers.)

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TBH

 

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We had an electrician come in and do some work. We still have to coordinate where we plug things in, but now Shelley has a decent system of what plugs in where. Hopefully, we can do some kitchen remodeling this winter and that will eliminate the problems. Hopefully. 

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ChrisandShelley wrote:

We had an electrician come in and do some work. We still have to coordinate where we plug things in, but now Shelley has a decent system of what plugs in where. Hopefully, we can do some kitchen remodeling this winter and that will eliminate the problems. Hopefully. 

If a kitchen remodel is on your list, I strongly suggest you move it up the list.   Having my new kitchen changed EVERYTHING about running the inn and also about feeling at home after moving.   I know budget concerns matter, but in my experience, doing the kitchen asap makes a world of difference.

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

ChrisandShelley wrote:

We had an electrician come in and do some work. We still have to coordinate where we plug things in, but now Shelley has a decent system of what plugs in where. Hopefully, we can do some kitchen remodeling this winter and that will eliminate the problems. Hopefully. 

If a kitchen remodel is on your list, I strongly suggest you move it up the list.   Having my new kitchen changed EVERYTHING about running the inn and also about feeling at home after moving.   I know budget concerns matter, but in my experience, doing the kitchen asap makes a world of difference.

We 'remodeled' as much as we could. We really needed to give the guests more room for the coffee set up, etc. We ripped out carpet (yes carpet) and wallpaper and made everything more streamlined. It is still a joy (8 years later) to see how well it flows and how nice it looks, especially at check in when it's the first thing the guests see.

I f we had the money...I'd expand the kitchen out another 10 feet to give us storage and a place for a wall oven, warming draw and a bigger stove.

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Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

ChrisandShelley wrote:

We had an electrician come in and do some work. We still have to coordinate where we plug things in, but now Shelley has a decent system of what plugs in where. Hopefully, we can do some kitchen remodeling this winter and that will eliminate the problems. Hopefully. 

If a kitchen remodel is on your list, I strongly suggest you move it up the list.   Having my new kitchen changed EVERYTHING about running the inn and also about feeling at home after moving.   I know budget concerns matter, but in my experience, doing the kitchen asap makes a world of difference.

We 'remodeled' as much as we could. We really needed to give the guests more room for the coffee set up, etc. We ripped out carpet (yes carpet) and wallpaper and made everything more streamlined. It is still a joy (8 years later) to see how well it flows and how nice it looks, especially at check in when it's the first thing the guests see.

I f we had the money...I'd expand the kitchen out another 10 feet to give us storage and a place for a wall oven, warming draw and a bigger stove.

 

We put in a double oven range.   It fits in the same spot as a conventional range but has two ovens.  Both ovens also have a warming feature.  It is REALLY helpful in the morning.  He is cooking bacon in one oven while I can make quiche in the other.  Then they both work to hold the food warm.

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

We put in a double oven range.   It fits in the same spot as a conventional range but has two ovens.  Both ovens also have a warming feature.  It is REALLY helpful in the morning.  He is cooking bacon in one oven while I can make quiche in the other.  Then they both work to hold the food warm.

We had to take the knobs off the cabinets to the side of the stove in order to open the oven door. Seriously, there is no way TWO of us could use the oven/stove/sink at the same time.

Now that we just bought a bottom freezer fridge we can finally have the fridge door and dish washer open at the same time. Really, it's a glorious dance we do here each morning.

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Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

We put in a double oven range.   It fits in the same spot as a conventional range but has two ovens.  Both ovens also have a warming feature.  It is REALLY helpful in the morning.  He is cooking bacon in one oven while I can make quiche in the other.  Then they both work to hold the food warm.

We had to take the knobs off the cabinets to the side of the stove in order to open the oven door. Seriously, there is no way TWO of us could use the oven/stove/sink at the same time.

Now that we just bought a bottom freezer fridge we can finally have the fridge door and dish washer open at the same time. Really, it's a glorious dance we do here each morning.

 

Your sit-com will be way funnier than Newhart's.  Can I be the nosy, annoying neighbor?

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

We put in a double oven range.   It fits in the same spot as a conventional range but has two ovens.  Both ovens also have a warming feature.  It is REALLY helpful in the morning.  He is cooking bacon in one oven while I can make quiche in the other.  Then they both work to hold the food warm.

We had to take the knobs off the cabinets to the side of the stove in order to open the oven door. Seriously, there is no way TWO of us could use the oven/stove/sink at the same time.

Now that we just bought a bottom freezer fridge we can finally have the fridge door and dish washer open at the same time. Really, it's a glorious dance we do here each morning.

 

Your sit-com will be way funnier than Newhart's.  Can I be the nosy, annoying neighbor?

All the jobs are open, pick a character!

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Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

We put in a double oven range.   It fits in the same spot as a conventional range but has two ovens.  Both ovens also have a warming feature.  It is REALLY helpful in the morning.  He is cooking bacon in one oven while I can make quiche in the other.  Then they both work to hold the food warm.

We had to take the knobs off the cabinets to the side of the stove in order to open the oven door. Seriously, there is no way TWO of us could use the oven/stove/sink at the same time.

Now that we just bought a bottom freezer fridge we can finally have the fridge door and dish washer open at the same time. Really, it's a glorious dance we do here each morning.

 

Your sit-com will be way funnier than Newhart's.  Can I be the nosy, annoying neighbor?

All the jobs are open, pick a character!

 

Awesome.   I can come over in the morning and grab a muffin off of a plate as you prepare to leave the kitchen.   My tag line can be, (as I knock on the kitchen door each morning at 9), "Are you busy??"   (Cue the laugh track and cameral on close up of Mort rolling her eyes.!)

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(in a previous life, I was an actor.)

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Or Rhoda... "Hi, I'm Carlton, your doorman"

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Lee2014's picture
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Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

 Really, it's a glorious dance we do here each morning.

   No wonder the guests come into the kitchen!

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BH, you're exactly right. That is one thing Shelley has wanted since we moved in. We're not waiting until winter to put in a double oven, we will do that ASAP. 

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I f we had the money...I'd expand the kitchen out another 10 feet to give us storage and a place for a wall oven, warming draw and a bigger stove.

LOL...I would add walls and a door for your sanity devil

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There is an innkeeper on forum - I don't want to speak for her and hopefully she will come in. (She has little time for forums) Raising two young sons and running the b&b alone - and it's working for her last I heard. So it can be done.

 

 

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She went into innkeeping because she was told it is hard work and she wanted her boys growing up knowing what hard work was.

She has home schooled up to now (I think she is considering sending them off to school this year). The boys are in 4-H, boy scouts, bell ringer choir at Church, and active. They have grown up being bell boys and assistants. They have taken some awesome vacations (on a shoestring but great trips). Their trips made ME jealous for the stuff they did. She has 4 rooms.

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Ok Brent, know first that I'm the odd one, mom & pop motel, 8 rooms, 16 beds, but no food to worry about. Working on 24 years as an innkeeper, 49 when we started, my wife, a 10 year old and my mother made up the family. We still learn every day, there will always be something that I wish I'd known, but I don't regret becoming an innkeeper, I/we still love it, hope to be here the rest of our days.

Now that said, your station in life, expectations, past work experience and maybe most important the expectations of your wife may be your deciding factors.

In past times I managed movie theatres, at times that meant being on the job for a kid show at 8:30 am and finishing for the day at the end of the late show at 2:30 am the next day, not physically hard, but many hours away from family.  Next job was in circulation with a daily paper which at times included delivering an early am route in another town, spending the day in the office, and doing telephone sales in the evening.  Sure those were the worst days, but I had 25 years where I most often worked weekends and holidays.  It also helps to have a wife that isn't afraid of work and doesn't know when to stop and take it easy. For most of our years I worked a full time job helping nights and weekends and she took care of the rest including a large flower garden, most of the business income was invested back into the business to get where we are today. 

Now none of that is meant to scare you away, the business fits us, we like the way of life, sort of like having family come to visit, but with years rolling by, yes there is plenty of work too, I look forward to having our daughter and husband join us in the future.  Does it fit you and your family, think about your expectations, get rich or rich in a way of life you enjoy.

 

 

 

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Jim & Maxine

 

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I give this same advice to all aspiring innkeepers: Inn-sit for someone for a week to 10 days. Run their place. Then you'll know if it's right for you. 

 

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Darren
Innkeeper & Owner

 

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1) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

I was a start-up in 1996 when Internet was just getting started to the masses. I had worked in a second job for over 10 years as relief night auditor in a hotel so had some experience about what records to keep, dealing with entitled jerks (so far only a couple have found us), and before I opened I was able to work housekeeping at a motel for a week or so to understand what was different between cleaning house and housekeeping. Most of what is needed to know now was not around then - social media, cell phones, texting....... This old bat has had to learn a lot in the last 20 years - and still learning  (and my Mother is in her grave on rotate with laughter because I am now in a business where I MUST keep house)

2)Do you love it?

Yes, I DO love it - have met so many wonderful people over the years either because of the B & B  guests or because of the tourism industry meetings, conferences, workshops, and not incidentally, this Forum .

3) If so/not, Why?

Although I do not consider myself burned out, I am 20 years older than when I started and so are my knees. And when my husband dies, I will put the B & B on the market. For now, it is set up (owners quarters and the rest of the downstairs) as he needs it to be to navigate and the house pays for itself so I will continue for as long as I can get up and down the stairs. IF that happens while he is still cranking along, I will desperately look for a high school kid to do the cleaning and hope the revenues will cover that.

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This is the most important part to consider if you have a family - how will you feel when there's something going on for your children and you can't go?  One of you has to stay behind because guests haven't arrived and they need to be checked in?  We've raised two kids from the ages of 2 and 4 here at our B&B.  Yes, you spend time together but you'll be working during that time and our kids hated that we couldn't do stuff with them.  They hated having to be quiet in their own home because they couldn't be kids as that might disturb guests.   You will live your life around the schedules of others -- no weekends off again as that's when you'll be making money.  We take midweek winter nights off to go to their ballgames and lose money - it hurts, but we do well and can afford to.

Just this past weekend we had plans with friends to go swimming at the local natural waterslide.  Housekeeper found a shower door broken off the hinges and someone was checking into that room.  We had to stop and fix it and hours later the kids gave up and said forget we don't even want to go now.  We lost out on family fun because someone broke the shower door off.  I'm not trying to make it sound horrible but Breakfast Diva is right -- people often have this unrealistic view that it gives you freedom to do more family stuff and that's not necessarily the case.  You also won't make a ton of money doing this and consider if you and your wife want to be together 24/7 365 raising a family in the business.  We'd both gladly go back to corporate jobs at this point after 10 years.  Oh, and don't forget the health insurance cost - it's staggering.  Good luck, I would definitely do one of those innkeeper weekends where you work at the B&B and get a feel for it.

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Yours is exactly the perspective I was hoping to get; someone who had raised a young family in this type of business. Very helpful. Thank you so much. 

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Hi, Brent.  You do get to spend time together, but it is work time.   Breakfast, clean up, check outs, laundry, more clean up, more laundry, grocery shopping, booking download, keeping the books, home repair, more laundry, check ins.   Then dinner.   Then back to breakfast etc.

 

None of it is difficult on it's own, but it makes for a very busy, very full day.   I had to force my DH to leave the house Sunday for a one hour kayak paddle.   If you love surfing, consider that your busy season will be the same as surfing season.  Can you balance?  

We love it.  Wouldn't trade it.   But are spending more time at home and less time at the beach or with friends.  It's a busy life.

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Thank you for sharing. Very helpful. Much appreciated. 

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Morticia,

A wide variety of answers was defiantly what I was hoping for. Trying to get a broad stroke on the experience as a whole. 

Personal info and Thought process: I am a 30 year old, Southern California gym owner. Married for over 6 years, with our first baby on the way. The fitness industry has not shaped up to be as enjoyable as I had originally hoped. I have found myself overwhelmed by work and have been much more absent from home than is healthy. No one wants the husband/dad who works himself to death and is never around. So, I started to consider a "family" business where my wife and I ran an inn together, we're home for the kids together, etc. I recently took a surf trip to Costa Rica, and started considering the concept of pursuing a small surf inn in central america. I enjoy construction/handyman work. My wife loves to host and cook. I figured it was an idea worth exploring. Hopefully that gives a better picture of where my head is. 

Why Innkeeping?: Slower and simpler pace of Life. More time with the family. More surf. 

Why Not?: Questionable cash flow, my wife might choke me to death if we worked together all the time, sizable financial investment to start. 

If not innkeeping, what then?: I don't know honestly. I am just exploring different work ideas. Trying to craft our ideal life situation. 

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Ok. So know this - we have a small innkeeping group we work with IRL (as compared to here) . One of those places (generally very busy) has 2 owners and 2 staff members. The owner is putting in 16 hour days.

We, OTOH, are not as busy and I'm sitting here waiting for the laundry buzzer and chatting online. Ooh sure, from 7am to noon was flat out busy and we'll still be checking in guests until 9pm but I'm not working 16 hour days.

Working with a spouse full-time while raising a family in the place where you work is not a simple task. Make sure your family unit has space enough to get away from each other. And that the kids have their own, dedicated space that guests are not allowed into.

We have good friends who own a resort. Their son grew up with the guests and made friends with the repeat guests (who had been coming for years and their parents hung out with our friends) But this family closes the resort completely in the off season and they have a whole other home in town. They get away from the job for 5 months other than brief trips out to check the property.

What I wish I knew then? That the economy was going to tank and we were going to lose so much in the value of the property.

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We have 2 rooms that were supposed to be OQ (owners quarters) - bedroom & bathroom, living room, and the sun room became a workshop for Himself. The living room became his art studio and my office became MY space that he invades regularly with opinions. BUT we do have our space away from each other and I also have my involvement with the City to save my sanity (3 rooms in Podunk does not generate a fortune but we live simply) and gives me some extra cash (city clerk gets a pittance). Did the victory dance before innkeeping BUT have missed going to graduations because it was too far, too broke, and guests (revenue) would come before we could get back although we did close for weddings when the kids married. Not certain I will get to go to grandson #2's wedding -July 2016 is a jam-packed month and it is 12 hours one way.

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Morticia makes many excellent points, but one I want to emphasize is having your own space.   Many of the inns we looked at over the years had very small innkeeper apartments.   Some had one room efficiencies.  We could never live like that.  I love 'tiny houses' as much as the next guy, but I need my space.  

I have heard of one innkeeper who sleeps in the basement during the season.  Nope, not us.  

We annexed a rental apartment to make our living quarters twice as big.  We could be renting this space, but instead use it for a TV/media room and second kitchen.   And we fill up that second refrigerator with inn food!!! (and beer, but that's another post....)

Imagine how you will live and make sure you have space for it.  

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Brent212 wrote:

 

Why Innkeeping?: Slower and simpler pace of Life. More time with the family. More surf. 

Sorry, but all 3 of those things are totally inaccurate. I have never worked so hard, had less time for family or could ever think of pursuing outside hobbies such as surfing. And as far as raising a young family, I haven't done it myself, but you'll find many here who will enlighten you about that.

I think you really need to sit down for hours and go through all the old posts on this site. At this point, you have an unrealistic view of what being an innkeeper is. Innkeeping is real life nitty gritty, 12-16 hour days, missing family gatherings, school functions and celebrations. 

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You are right BD..which is exactly why one of our innmates place is up for grabs right now Sad  

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Fair enough. That's what I was hoping to get here; a better understanding of the real life version of the picture that I have in my head. Thanks so much for your input. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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We have now entered our 15th year of innkeeping. I still enjoy what I do, but not always. When you have guests, you always have to be on your game. The expectations are great and with social media, the world will know any time you slip.

The one thing I wish I had known was how my spouse didn't enjoy the guest interaction. It works for us, but he's definitely back of the house and all guest/phone/internet/marketing is on my shoulders.

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That's a great concept to consider. Thanks so much!

Anon Inn's picture
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Welcome Brent!

There is a wealth of information and experience here.  If you've not done so already, Click on the "Home" button and take a gander at the threads.  Then keep going.  Often if you put a search term in the box at top right under the featured inn, you'll find a thread concerning the topic in question, sometimes not.  

After you've spent some time delving into the threads, you'll have a good idea of what to ask next  Smiling

Hint:  Question #1 would take tomes to answer.  #2 yep, we love it.  You meet a diverse group of people.  You often make them happy, and you can't beat the commute to work.  wink

Morticia's picture
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I think the answers to those questions vary as widely and as wildly as the people who respond.

How about these for you:

  1. Why innkeeping?
  2. Why now?
  3. If not innkeeping, what then?

I think if I have an idea of what you think innkeeping is, then the answers will come from there.

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I think if you do a search most of us have answered these or very similar questions in the past. Too much to even begin to say if I knew that when.....but...one thing..you are not going to get rich and have plenty of money saved up before you start. No one is giving out loans for B  & B's these days.

I did love it....and enjoyed every minute for 7 years...then burn out hit me and I got out...it was time and from what my friends fret about here these days....I am glad I did. I could not put up with all the crap they take these days from PITA guests expecting the world to special dietary needs. I would  have no patience with this at all. So it was good I loved it while I did it and got out while the getting was still good.

Good luck to you. I am sure others will pitch in here as well.

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If you wouldn't mind, could you describe your burn out process and why you think it happened? Everything is always awesome when you first start, but I'm curious what factors changed for you over time and caused you not to enjoy what you did anymore. 

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Honest Brent....I just got plain tired of cooking, cleaning and answering the same questions every day. We only had a 3 room place but that was what we wanted and was enough for us. But bending, stooping etc etc...I just was worn out and wanted my house back just for us. We had wonderful guests and none of the issues so many here talk about these days "entitled guest"...Which would really wear on me and maybe if that had happened, we would have left sooner. 

We have lots of wonderful memories...but enough was enough for us. We were retired and working way too hard for retirement. Fortunately for us, we did not need the income to survive, I have great retirement benefits so the B & B really just paid for itself and allowed us to live in a home we really love in a location we really love. We are still in it and won't be moving.

Good luck

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Innkeepers also burn out. Avoid the grass is greener syndrome. Everything is hard, expensive, complex, etc these days. Some will thrive, and you cannot determine this upfront. You cannot budget up front, because there will be so many things you never imagined.

You have a gym and some experience. Vwith an inb, you start from scratch.

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