How do I get experience

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11/06/2017

I have applied for several jobs in my area with B&B's and no one will even consider me. They are few and far between so when there is an opportunity in my area (Metro Atlanta) I send my resume immediately. I want to own a B&B one day and want to get some experience for my resume when I write my business plan.

I have many years experience in Marketing, Project Management, Budget Management, Cost Analysis, Events Management, Trade Show Management, Staff Management with small businesses and corporate. As my children got older and my salary requirements changed and I took a position as a Server/Events Manager for a Golf Course.  I lack hotel experience. I have even VOLUNTEERED my services to EVERY B&B in my area, and NO ONE responded. I enjoy entertaining, the fine details of a beautiful table and I am a hard worker. 

How do I get my foot in the door? I want practical experience. I have taken B&B classes, the business end. I want to start seriously looking to purchase in the next couple of years. I am just frustrated that no one will give me a chance.

Your advice?

g

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

Location does count.   Make sure you know how it counts in order of importance.

We looked at 4 or 5 B&B's in this town before we decided on the one we chose.   The reasons we liked it better - owners' apartment was not cramped, ocean view, house style, bargain price (cuz it needed lots of love.)  

I actually would have preferred a location closer to the center of town, but the owners' apartment and view cancelled out proximity.

For us, the living space is very important.   I've seen innkeepers live in a bedroom or even a basement for the summer.  We were not willing to do that.   Just something to take into consideration.

btw - in our town right now there are two inns for sale.  The more expensive one is the ocean views.  The less expensive is the close to town.  Both are beautiful and will likely sell as single family homes or condo conversions.   Which makes me sad.  

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JimBoone's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

but the owners' apartment, the living space is very important.  

I agree, think that is a very important consideration, initially the business may be a new adventure, but longer term the innkeeper has to have a life too. 

 

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gillumhouse's picture
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Definitely, which is what I liked about this house. We could have a living room to relax in together. THEN he made it into his studio and disposed of the "comfortable" chair I sat in. This winter, I have an electrician coming to look at wiring the "workshop" (originally half the porch converted into a sunroom) so I can move my office there to my side of the house (it has an entrance from the front porch if need be) and make the current office a guest lounge.

I want the next owners to have a comfortable space to live in.

JimBoone's picture
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In my view the public view of running a lodging property is different from the inside view, guess that is an echo of what others have said. From the outside I tend to see the movie view of beautiful people and lovely surroundings and all sorts of fancy activities, yet from the inside it reminds me more of my grandmother's house in the 1940's, more the black and white movie view of an old time boarding house.

Many here seem smaller properties, I'm different still as an eight room mom and pop motel. My inside view of me is that I'm the maid, the yardman, the resident handyman and you probably see me dressed for the part, the fun side is talking with our guests and playing businessman behind the scenes, but yes after 25 years I still enjoy what we do.

Early on an advisor at the University helped put together a business plan, lots of nice paperwork, but the reaction from my banker was more along the line of "I don't care about all that, show me the money, how much you got and what can you borrow against, I don't loan money on ideas". Best suggestion I can make is to get out of debt if you are not already and build as much of a nest egg towards buying your dream as possible.

Much of life is a compromise, our place was the general area, but not exactly my target, older and smaller. I continued to work an outside job till retirement, but over the years we made it ours, still enjoy and one of the kids now involved to carry on in the future.

 

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We are on our way. I am a planner and we are moving forward. Just sold HIS house to move toward NO DEBT. Next is MY house to move closer to our jobs and only rent a small house to add to our nest egg. We both have retirement $$ and next year this time we hope to only have minimal car loans. 

I understand that there is an inside view and an outside view. I am currently the director of a single owner, 2 locations Private International PreK. Any day I could take payments, clean floors, wipe noses, bodily fluids, help make lunches, manage an argument between any of my 8 teachers, order supplies, plunge toilets, teach a class in someone's absence and carpool in the rain. But when the phone rings or a parent arrives none of that matters. Holding it all together is MY JOB.

I appreciate your words about compromise. I focus so hard on the target location and size that I need to be ready to consider other options. I hope to be able to involve some of our 9 children to continue.

Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

  

JimBoone's picture
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You may have a vision of a larger more complicated operation, but your current position sounds like an ideal background experience to me, that ability to "hold it all together" is the key in my mind. My work background was as a movie theatre manager and later as a newspaper circulation manager, managing people and money and not being afraid to get my hands dirty. If you are managing parents and kids in preschool, wow, I think you could tackle most anything you set your mind to do.

Sound like you have a good financial plan as well and that is often key to what we can actually do. My goal was to work for myself in our favorite vacation area. One school of thought is that it is not how much a place costs, but can you pay the bills and have what you need left for yourself, in my case DW's goal was more along the line of smaller/cheaper and get the place paid out sooner. Compromise or just all we could make happen, we followed her thinking. Today I'd say it is not so much how much you make, but how much you keep and are you happy with life.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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We paid cash for our house and turned it into a B & B. If we had had a mortgage when we started, I do not know if we could have made it. (We did refinance the Illinois house, but son lived in it and paid the mortgage on that as rent until it sold - it was cheaper than an apartment)

We started before Internet (in 1996) and relied on Guide Books although I had a web site from the beginning, before I had a computer in the house. We also had less hotels in the area. Once I got my rail-trail Inn-to-Inn Package in the Pittsburgh paper, we took off. Now we have more hotel rooms than there is need.

Morticia's picture
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Good point about the money. We wouldn't have gotten anywhere without it.

What the bank required to buy a fully-established, money-making property:

  • 25% down
  • 6 months' operating capital in the bank
  • No debt other than the property (no car loans, no credit card balances, no school loans)
  • Enough personal income/savings to pay our utilities and living expenses (clothing, health care, food, etc)

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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

 

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Working in that direction. Thanks for the specific targets.

g

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Our background was a business degree and experience in retail and restaurants along with a chambermaid position back in college.  And of course, we love to show off the house and give parties.  I think your background will translate.

 

Best of luck!

OnTheShore's picture
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Foot in the door, practical experience: cleaning toilets, making beds, vacuuming and ironing.... If none of the B&B's in your area are currently in need of housekeepers, try starting at a hotel.

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"where even time relaxes...."

 

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Thanks, will do.

Morticia's picture
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You won't get experience if you are trying to sell the owner on your ability to host a party. That's the fun part of the job. Most innkeepers are frankly sick of emails and calls and applications where all the person wants to do is arrange flowers, greet guests, and run the front desk. And it's hard to get someone to let you see the back room when they don't know you.

Have you tried working at a hotel?

Have you tried contacting your state innkeeping association? Many times they know what innkeepers are willing to show someone the ropes.

Honestly? We applied for a business loan with zero innkeeping experience. If you're well rounded otherwise, if you've taken care of your own home, if you've taken classes, that goes a long way in building a business plan.

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Now that's the kind of stuff I need to hear. Maybe I'm highlighting the wrong things in my cover letter. Of course I know that there is not-so-fun work to be done, but I guess not everyone recognizes that. 

I will contact my states association, maybe there is someone that could use my help and allow me to help them too. 

Thanks for your information.

g

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10/04/2015

I am going to sound like a grump and I will warn you I've had a right day on so take what I say next with a large pinch of salt today (im usually very chipper)

What as an employer of inn staff (we have 8 now) in order of what I would be emphasizing on my cv (1) really good at cleaning and while its not the joy of my life I am thorough - this is what inn keepers need. I have 27 bedrooms needing turning over every day - If my housekeep is off I need someone who is flexible and will jump into the fray - no  Im the cook crap - you do whatever jobs need doing - you need to show you are not afraid of hard work or getting your hands dirty!

(2) DOn't be afraid of saying you want your own inn someday and you are trying to get experience- it shows why you have downgraded to housekeeper  - but make sure its clear its a few years down the line - no one wants staff who will be leaving in 5 mins to set up in competition.

(3) be happy to speak to guests but emphasis you know when to stop - you have to be fully aware of all the things that need to be done - ie all rooms cleaned by 3pm - breakfast room can come after and so on. Friendly but firm is the key.

(4) you can do the thing with friends (ie cook breakfasts) but make sure they are briefed that they are not your customers and to behave like guests - ie spring on you a dietary requirement last minute, be awkward, fussy - this is what you will have to deal with on the spot - nice people who love you and will eat anything you give them  are not helping you! This morning ive had 12 breakfast - 2 halal, 1 vegetarian and a whole shed load of poached eggs!

 

gillumhouse's picture
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It depends on how many rooms they have and what season it is. I have 3 rooms and an off-the-besten-path. I do not have a way to hire someone (or need). A larger facility might have need, but that need would be housekeeping staff. Next time, apply for housekeeping - THAT is really the nitty-gritty of B & B - rather than what you are qualified to do. That is not the kind of help needed.

We clean, we cook, we do laundry, we take reservations, we do marketing, we keep up with e-mails, we keep the books, we make nice with guests, we do everything except get a lot of sleep.

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Thanks. The nitty-gritty is what I want to do. I know I can manage a business but can I cook for a crowd? Can I cook to the level of most B&Bs. But I have not applied for Housekeeping and I see those positions also. I usually only apply for Assistant or Innkeeper. That is good advice. 

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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gmpilarski wrote:

Thanks. The nitty-gritty is what I want to do. I know I can manage a business but can I cook for a crowd? Can I cook to the level of most B&Bs. But I have not applied for Housekeeping and I see those positions also. I usually only apply for Assistant or Innkeeper. That is good advice. 

 

Except for hiring professional innsitters, the only people I have ever hired as an assistant started as housekeepers. I was then able to see their dedication, on-time record and how smart they are. For a small b&b, this is typically the only way through the door.

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Also its so you can see if its worth investing the time and energy in training them - ruddy hate training!

Morticia's picture
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gmpilarski wrote:

Thanks. The nitty-gritty is what I want to do. I know I can manage a business but can I cook for a crowd? Can I cook to the level of most B&Bs. But I have not applied for Housekeeping and I see those positions also. I usually only apply for Assistant or Innkeeper. That is good advice. 

 

Think about it this way - would you hire a complete novice to cook breakfast for 20 guests at your well-established business?

We also had zero experience cooking for a crowd of strangers. Do you have 10 friends you could invite over for breakfast? Cook breakfast for your family at Thanksgiving or Christmas?

We started off making a lot of casserole dishes until Gomez got comfortable in the kitchen. Took about a year.

Is it just going to be you or do you have a partner?

OnTheShore's picture
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For the cooking questions, some experience in a restaurant kitchen might be a place to start, if you can't get in to a B&B that will use you in that capacity. But again, entry level would likely be dishwashing or prep...

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