My wife says I have to take a morning off!

37 replies [Last post]
Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

Hi everyone! I have a little issue. We have a very busy property and many of you know who I am. This last year has been very difficult balancing running our Inn taking full care of my mom. We also help a great deal with my DW’s parents as well. Our kids are still at the age of living at home. We irk 7 days a week and try and balance everything the best we can.  It’s been months sense I have had a morning off.  My wife is demanding that I figure out away to have 1 morning off a week.  Any suggestions on how to go about this? Should I give a discount, breakfast baskets? Just tell people we don’t served on Sunday’s (or whatever day) hiring someone is difficult to do for 1 day a week so I’m not sure that’s an option.  I need to try and figure something out for this next year. Thank you!

__________________

Hillbilly

 

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

I also had a crazy idea of hosting a hands on newbie class so to speak.  They come and we teach them all about what life is like being an Innkeeper and how to run a Inn.  They would shadow us for a week and learn the trade.  After the week they would run the place for a week.  We would be around (just in case they jump ship or have issues they can't handle) but it would give us a little bit of a break and let people see if Inn-keeping is something they really want to do before they buy one.  But that might scare a lot of people away from having a Bed and Breakfast.  Haha!

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

Anyone think during our slow time of not serving breakfast but offering a nice discount would be doable?  We already lower the rates during our slow time.  Maybe we could lower it during the week and let people stay but no breakfast.  Just an idea.  Im also thinking of closing a few days as an option.  Its just hard doing that.  It always ends up with someone calling wanting 7 nights and it falls right in the middle of when you are closed.  Im also kicking the idea around of maybe delivering breakfast baskets the night before.  Having others come in a cook always ends up with issues.  You all know how it is.  You set the food down in front of them and they let you know they need a special breakfast because they are GF.  Not many people can be carrying enough to go and make them something else on the fly.  I'm glad to see people talking about this and to know that im not the only one who has this issue.  Thank you everyone for your suggestions.  Lot of things to think about and its nice to have ideas and suggestions.

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

This is an innkeeper maxim - as soon as you block a day off, everyone calls for a room. 

99% of them do not want to pay the rate!

You could try an off season, mid week, no breakfast rate. Be like Airbnb. They don't have to provide food. (I'm serious, I'm not be snarky.)

__________________

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

 

Silverspoon's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/16/2011

See post #20

 

We have done it...works for us.

"If your weekends are busy why not schedule your day off during the mid-week period.  Even if you have to discount your rooms for that one night a week it will be worth it to get some down time.  Otherwise, burn out WILL happen and then you will really be in trouble managing your more-than-full plate!

Just tell the guests when they book that Tuesday is "cooks day off" and provide them with several names of good breakfast places.  Sometimes, just having a Keurig and some muffins (that you put out the night before) will be enough for many guests. Give it a try and then adjust as needed."

__________________

Gardens are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful" and sitting in the shade.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Although I agree that is a good way to cut back, I also think it's important to grant yourself an actual vacation.   I have met 'burnt out' innkeepers.  They are not happy people.  We love you to be happy!

__________________

TBH

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

An idea we are kicking around - our area has a definite season and off season.  We've thought to close Mon- Wed on the off season.   Only open weekends.  Three days off a week for three months.  

Would something similar work for you?

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

He is in the south, in mountains so does get snow, but not like you folks. It is an area where people go year round (popular area).

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

TheBeachHouse wrote:

An idea we are kicking around - our area has a definite season and off season.  We've thought to close Mon- Wed on the off season.   Only open weekends.  Three days off a week for three months.  

Would something similar work for you?

When we first opened, innkeepers up the street sent all their mid week business to us. They did the same thing - only open for long weekends in the off season.

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

WE have a similar feeling to yours - that we owe it to guests to be available.  But what ends up happening is that the guest books the least expensive room, through b--kingdotcom.  So we have one room, for not much money, and we have to turn on the heat and lights and make a full breakfast for two people.   And THEN, pay b--king for the privilege!  

We are making either very little or no money.   And, not getting our days off.  

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

TheBeachHouse wrote:

WE have a similar feeling to yours - that we owe it to guests to be available.  But what ends up happening is that the guest books the least expensive room, through b--kingdotcom.  So we have one room, for not much money, and we have to turn on the heat and lights and make a full breakfast for two people.   And THEN, pay b--king for the privilege!  

We are making either very little or no money.   And, not getting our days off.  

Yes, it's the same show no matter how many in the audience!

BTW, we block the cheapest room until we have guests paying higher rates in other rooms. Just a thought.

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Closed tonight.   No reservations, so, Hubby closed all the rooms on line.   Take it when you can get it!

Lee2014's picture
Offline
Joined:
12/11/2014

  If you can't get someone for one day, make it two! (or more!)  You can make something ahead of time and the worker can cook it or heat it up if you are worried about their cooking skills.  Got any retired chefs in the area who would enjoy helping you out?   You never know until you give it a try!

__________________

Have a great day!

 

Anon Inn's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/26/2011

I’m late to the thread, but know that caring for a parent while running full tilt is a delicate and exhausting balance.  Two of my three average reviews are from the same couple - they essentially didn’t get the amount of attention they wanted while they were here.  I didn’t tell them I needed to be gone for the evening.  So first one left an average review weeks after their stay.  I didn’t respond because the reason for my not being available was personal and not related to the business.  Then  months later they left another average review with essentially the same comments.  This one showed up a couple of weeks after Dad’s death.  I didn’t respond to that one either.

My long winded point is that yes - you will need to schedule time off - even if you block two consecutive mid week days every other week on your calendar.  I am contemplating doing this even in the busy months this coming year.  Rest for you means more quality family time - and a better experience for your guests. 

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

I feel your pain. Yes, its very difficult taking care of parents and running an Inn.  Top it off having school age kids at home that need my attention as well.  No one tells you this part of running a Bed and Breakfast.  I didn't think about that when we started years ago.  Life goes by so fast and kids are only young once.  I'm going to have to make some big choices. 

Offline
Joined:
10/04/2015

we call it the sandwich generation - caught between elderly/infirm parents who had children later in life and own teenagers - we don't have kids and fortunately my parents despite being in their early 80's are pretty spry but know others who are looking after a father with prostate cancer etc

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

Our two hateful reviews came right after my mom's funeral and my dad's cancer diagnosis. I did not give out any info, just responded to the complaints.

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Morticia wrote:

Our two hateful reviews came right after my mom's funeral and my dad's cancer diagnosis. I did not give out any info, just responded to the complaints.

Not much you can say when that happens.  I'm with you.  High road.

Anon Inn's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/26/2011

heart

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Also, do you take a vacation?  

I can't imagine running this place without out two weeks closed a year.  We close a week before the season and a week after just to catch our breaths.   Don't let the biz kill you.

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

We do take a vacation once a year.  So we get around 7 days a year off.  But now that my mom is living with us full time its going to be a little harder to do that.

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Hillbilly wrote:

We do take a vacation once a year.  So we get around 7 days a year off.  But now that my mom is living with us full time its going to be a little harder to do that.

One week a year is not enough.   Make it at least two plus a few well chosen long weekends.  

Offline
Joined:
02/15/2017

Order breakfast sandwiches from a local baker or deli once a week or every so many days... We have a diner in town that we could even purchase a breakfast voucher from and send folks up there. Not too terrible if they know ahead of time...

Or if there is a local college with cooking courses, contact the instructor and ask what can be arranged...

And there's always individual yogurts, pastries, fruits, oatmeal packets (that work great with a Keurig too!)

 

Offline
Joined:
02/15/2017

.

 

Silverspoon's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/16/2011

If your weekends are busy why not schedule your day off during the mid-week period.  Even if you have to discount your rooms for that one night a week it will be worth it to get some down time.  Otherwise, burn out WILL happen and then you will really be in trouble managing your more-than-full plate! 

Just tell the guests when they book that Tuesday is "cooks day off" and provide them with several names of good breakfast places.  Sometimes, just having a Keurig and some muffins (that you put out the night before) will be enough for many guests. Give it a try and then adjust as needed. 

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

Yes, we thought about this and some will be fine with that and others will be pissed that they didnt get their full breakfast.  I don't think any amount of writing it in detail for select dates will help either.  People wont read it and then write bad reviews about how we didn't server them a hot meal.  I would have to make sure they know before booking that x-days we do not offer breakfast.

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Monday is doughnut day!!!   Have The local donut shop deliver on Sunday.   Invest in a bakery stand.  Put donuts out Sunday night.  

We had a similar conversation.    One weekend day a week is his day off.   I manage breakfast alone and watch the door while he sleeps in and plays golf or watches movies.    

Generic's picture
Offline
Joined:
02/24/2011

Do you have a restaurant nearby?
Can you hire someone to come in to do breakfast one day a week?
What's your least occupied day?

It's actually sometimes easier to take lunch off than breakfast, if you have someone to do rooms.

__________________

Permission to quote in whole or in part, other than usage on this forum, is entirely forbidden.

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

Or work out a deal w the nearby restaurant so your guests have a coupon for breakfast once a week.   

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

I think the time has come to look ahead a few weeks/months and schedule a day or two off for everyone.

If you do breakfast baskets you still don't get time off. Sometime has to make them up and deliver them.

We were under the impression we had to work every day. That's not true. You have enough stats now to know what days are slow. Start marking some of them as days off. Not just breakfast, the whole day. Of course, you really only get a few hours off after all the cleaning, but it's something.

If that's not what you want, look for someone who wants to practice their culinary skills one day/week. Could be a college kid or a high school kid or someone who's always wanted to run a B&B but doesn't have the money or time. Check at the kid's school or at church.

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

Are the boys involved now?  Sunday morning might be a good time for 2 boys to replace 1 man. AND you may be surprised - run an ad for someone part-time 1 morning a week - or heck, give yourself 2 mornings - if you take week days you may fins a Mother who could do a couple mornings a week, her ONLY time available. to work around kids.

 

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

The kids do help and will anytime I really need it.  The thing is that I hardly ever get to have my kids attention for very long.  Someone is always needing something.  So a simple thing of going to the lake to take my boys fishing is very difficult.  That's not good for our relationship.  I'm really struggling with this.  I'm almost ready to want to hand the keys off to someone else and do something different.

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

Hillbilly wrote:

The kids do help and will anytime I really need it.  The thing is that I hardly ever get to have my kids attention for very long.  Someone is always needing something.  So a simple thing of going to the lake to take my boys fishing is very difficult.  That's not good for our relationship.  I'm really struggling with this.  I'm almost ready to want to hand the keys off to someone else and do something different.

Before you throw in the towel - 7 days off per year is ridiculous. Obviously, you know your cash flow, so you know if you seriously need to work 51 weeks straight every year.

When we started 13 years ago, we did not close. Not for any reason. We were under the impression we owed it to our guests to be open.

It only took about 3 years before I had a complete melt down.

Now, my schedule is a bit more toward the lifestyle-retirement version of innkeeping, so take it with a grain of salt - we are closed for at least 8 weeks every year. It's really more like 10. We do not take time off in peak season unless it is handed to us by having no reservations. We probably lose $5000 by taking that time off because we plan it for really slow months.

Can you raise rates to force fewer, more productive reservations? Raise rates in peak season to offset closing for longer periods? Hire someone to run the joint a couple of days/month? You might look for innsitters in your area. If you are so busy you cannot take time off, then you have enough business to pay an innsitter.

Not a good idea to sacrifice your family to make money. Sure, you don't have to be pulled this way and that by family and guests. Take a good look at your calendar over the past few years and see where the gaps are. 

JimBoone's picture
Offline
Joined:
12/18/2014

Our experience was similar, first few years no time off, of course it was our vacation area so still fun at first. After a few years we took Easter and Thanksgiving weekends when our youngest was out of school, until a few years ago I worked a job and Maxine mostly ran motel 

Later we had some health issues and mom had a stroke, some hard years for a period, maybe a blessing to not be as busy as some. Still later we lost mom and youngest has his own family, time off grew to April and November, we usually spent those times with Maxine’s folks until losing them more recently 

By now we have become old folks, daughter Michelle and husband help look after motel (and us), this week staying at the home of daughters youngest son catching up with family and friends in the area 

if at all possible lock the doors and take a deep breath, it is hard to make that decision to block time when you know you could be earning income, but it gets easier after the first few times 

__________________

Jim & Maxine

 

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

Your kids are the MOST important, next to your wife. set your online reservations so one weekend a month you have a special 2-night minimum with breakfast Saturday and Sunday a breakfast to-go (or reverse) with to go boxes and yogurt cups, juice boxes (you know what I mean), apples, bananas, & ornages, muffuns, and breakfast sandwiches and to-go coffee cups for coffee/tea. Things that can be set out at 5 AM before you and the boys go fishing or whatever adventure chosen for that day.

I also like the idea of a guest chef (ask Foster about using your B & B as an internship for the culinary program, they may need more slots than their restaurant can provide). Those memories of you doing things together can only be created NOW. You do not want to be the Harry Chapin song - Cat's in the Cradle -

He'd say, I'm gonna be like you, dad

You know I'm gonna be like you

Hillbilly's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/22/2011

Its funny you wrote about that song.  Thats what im feeling!

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

Here is another thought - Whip through clean-up & room flips Sunday and take NO check-ins Sunday night. Take Sunday afternoon amd monday morning off - every week. Sunday belongs to you and the boys and Monday belongs to Jen and your Mom (maybe extend that to no check-ins until Tuesday). Money is not that important. Your family IS. You can eat beans & rice a couple times a week if you are a FAMILY (and yours is a loving family).

Offline
Joined:
10/04/2015

agency person? if you can get the same one every week 

Comment viewing options

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