Typical Day + Labor?

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02/07/2019

I'm curious what your typical day looks like. How many rooms do you have and what do you get help with? 

OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

Minimum wage here is $11 this year. We pay our employee cleaners $20/hour and contractors $25/hour (but during peak season, they only get about 4-6 hours per week (more hours in the shoulder season because we have more turnover). Our summer helper (who gets more hours), we're paying $15 (plus room).  We are on the end of a peninsula with a lot of summer tourism but low population (and thus limited workforce) -- a lot of places around here use imported foreign workers.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Our current state minimum wage is $10.78. 

We start our housekeeping team at $12.50. Our senior housekeeper makes $15.00. 

Our handyman makes $18.00. 

Even at those rates, we still have had trouble finding good people. 

We don't have the opportunity to offer tons of benefits. We give everyone a free breakfast, and after a year of service, our team members get 2 weeks paid vacation. We're looking at adding a 401k plan as well. 

 

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Hillbilly's picture
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What do you all pay your employees? Now that minimum wage is going through the roof we are having a difficult time finding help. Unfortunately we are in a market that everyone wants a discount and we have to be competitive in order to get bookings. Everything around us seem to be raising their rates to compensate for the higher wages. Just wanted an idea of what everyone is doing with this issue. We have a job opening but are having a difficult time filling it.

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Morticia's picture
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We pay higher than minimum wage (which is $11/hour here) and we still can't get workers to even call. We also have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Our one employee makes $13.50/hour. We try to give a minimum of 20 hours/week, but things are slow right now. So, we have the housekeeper painting and mowing and resealing the driveway so we don't lose them when we start filling up.

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

To avoid having to do the taxes and all, we use an agency and pay well over $20 an hour. Of course things cost more here anyway. But this way, it's all just expense. And we have only weekdays covered, we still do the weekend ourselves... though if I could get for the weekend, that would be great and cut down my hours... even with them here, I still help with the beds and do all the laundry... no one seems to be able to do all that I do, when I do it all, within my usual time frame... habit does have it's advantages, I can spot dust or a smudge on a mirror from 20 paces Smiling

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OnTheShore's picture
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Not sure our data will be all that helpful to you, but I'll throw it out there as you might find a useful nugget, or at least find it interesting.

I don't think we have a typical day.

TLDR: develop systems to help simplify and expedite routine tasks, including guest management/communication systems that help free you up a little bit.

We have 9 cottages/houses that collectively have 9 full kitchens, 13 bathrooms, 18 bedrooms (not evenly distributed, and not counting living rooms that have beds...), and a total of 45 beds of various sizes. With every bed fully occupied, we can accommodate up to 56 guests. The newest of these cottages was built in 1956, although some have had significant renovations more recently. The oldest structure on the property was built circa 1780. The property has been in the family since the early 1800's, and the hospitality business was started the grandparents in the late 1940's.

These are traditional seasonal "housekeeping cottages" (a.k.a. vacation rentals), open from mid-May through mid-October (+/-). During July and August (peak season), we rent by the week (Saturday to Saturday), although if we still have some vacancies by the start of our season (like we do this year) we'll start to accept shorter stays to fill in the gaps. May, June, September, and October, we have a two-night minimum for most of the cottages, three nights for our two larger units.

We do not do breakfast (or anything else to do with food or drink) -- thus the "housekeeping cottage" moniker: since all the cottages have full kitchens, the guests get to make their own food! We do not clean in the cottages nor make beds during occupancy, just on changeover....

We host weddings in June and September (6 was our max, we only have 1 this year, 4 has been typical). In addition to all of this, we operate a boat rental business (separately incorporated) based on the property as well (we are waterfront and have a large dock).

There are two of us (husband and wife team), plus a "full-time" summer helper (who's work effort is split between maintenance of the cottages and grounds, and the boat rental business), and a crew of cleaners (a mix of employees and contractors). In addition, we have some long-time returning guests who help us out quite a lot, too. The husband has a full-time academic-year job, located 4 hours away. He is on the property full-time from late May to late August, and commutes on weekends the rest of the year. The wife is on the property full-time from mid/late-April (opening up the cottages) through the end of October (closing the cottages for the winter). She has other things that she does during the winter, back at our "winter" home.

All of our laundry is done off-site by a service that picks up and delivers in our area twice a week. We own all of our own linens and towels (as opposed to other services where you are renting their linens and towels), and we have a large shed where we store all this stuff. Guests who wish to change their towels or sheets during their stay can bring their soiled items to the shed to exchange for fresh ones. We have a system where the bed sheets are color-coded by size, since we have twins, fulls, and queens.

We have a pretty good idea of how long it should take to changeover each cottage between guests (from 2 hours for the smallest, up to 5 hours for the largest) -- a full change-over of all 9 cottages entails about 26 person-hours, and generates about $300 worth of laundry! Fortunately we don't have full change-overs every Saturday, since we have some guests who stay multiple weeks.

To expedite the process, we have a large tote box or bin for each cottage that is labelled and packed with all the sheets, towels, and other supplies that will be needed to change-over that cottage. These get packed ahead of time, during the week, while sorting and putting away the clean laundry returned by our service. On Saturdays, we will go around ahead of the cleaners to strip the cottages that are changing over as soon as the guests have left. This gives us a chance to assess the condition of the cottages, see if there are any maintenance issues, and collect any tips that might have been left (which we pool and dole out so as to achieve equity). Thus when the cleaners come in, they will grab the bin for their assigned cottage, a cleaning tote, vacuum, mop and bucket, and then use our golf-cart to transport all this to their cottage.  All in all, it takes a lot of preparation and coordination. After the cleaners are done, but (hopefully) before the guests arrive, we go around to put fresh cut flowers (from our wildflower meadow) in the cottages, which again gives us a chance to inspect and assess conditions.

Ours is a large property with a lot to do even not on change-over days, so to keep from being tied to the office, we have the business phone forwarded to one of our cell phones (which is also useful in the off-season when we are not on the property). When we are out and about, we hang a sign on our office door, for example:

"We are on the property.... somewhere. Ring the bell like you mean it! (it's a big property) or phone XXX-XXX-XXXX,"

or

"We are in town on errands, back soon. If an emergency, call XXX-XXX-XXXX,"

or

"We are out of town for the day, back late, call XXX-XXX-XXXX."

You get the idea.

If guests haven't checked in yet, and we want to go out to dinner, we post a sign, leave some lights on in the cottage, and go. We have our phone with us should an issue come up.

It's really the boat rental business that ties us to the property more than the cottages. We are pushing for more week-long rentals of the boats as well....

 

 

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

    Two people, one bossy house, and part-time summer helper.  Everyone lives on campus while working. (7 rooms and one cottage)

     7am the one to do breakfast starts breakfast.

     8am the Dining Room pocket door is pushed open.  The second person comes downstairs to start their day as the first person retires to the back porch for a break.

     As people leave, rooms start to be clean-the rest are called out of bed...

     Breakfast is served until 10am when the door is pulled shut and the dining room returns back to private area for us all.  The person less busy cleans up from breakfast.

     WED 11am Lawn care group arrives with truck, equipment, and people... Best decision we made!  Thanks to Innkeep who said, "Hire out what you hate the most."

    11-3pm cleaning rooms and public areas, laundry, scrub pool, paperwork, etc.

      3pm  Hopefully the first guests of the day arrives.  (We try to greet everyone.  Hardly do self check in.)

      4pm-7pm  Brownies are made so the house smells delicious and inviting.  They are sitting in the front hall to be eaten.

      7pm Day is done if everyone is check in, The House is behaving itself, etc.  Supper is made or ordered, etc.

      If not than the second person takes the phone and stays up until everything is taken care of.

 

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PhineasSwann's picture
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We have 10 rooms and serve a full breakfast. Our typical day, assuming at least 50% occupancy:

  • I'm up at 6am to do breakfast prep. My routine is to let the dog out and do a quick walk-around of the property to make sure everything looks right (lights, no trash on ground, etc.) Set up continental foods on sideboards, get coffee going, start bacon, etc. In winter I'm up earlier since we start breakfast at 7:30am and I may have to shovel decks and sidewalks. 
  • Breakfast served from 8-9:30am. Usually have one of my staff in to help so I can be front of house and she can cook our entree of the day.
  • At 8am or 9am our second team member may arrive. Helps with breakfast and then can start working rooms. Lynne's usually down by 9am. 
  • Weekdays our handyman shows up at 9am. May work on small projects for 30 minutes.
  • At 9:30am we have a Team Breakfast where we all eat and review our plans for the day. And have a few laughs.
  • After that, team will finish breakfast cleanup, do room services, or clean and reset rooms for turn-arounds. Following room services, will clean main house and common areas. 
  • Check-outs gone by 11am (team members are all trained to handle charges, etc.) Laundry is done constantly throughout day. Either I or Lynne handle phone calls (we carry a cordless around the property so we don't miss a call). We tend to divide up work based on our skills. (Me: Marketing, bills, paperwork, menu planning, mowing grass. Lynne: Wedding & Event planning, purchasing, gardening, maintenance)  
  • At 3pm team members mostly leave and check-ins can start arriving. Lynne and I do a quick walk-through of rooms prior to check-in to make sure everything's perfect. We do greet and orientation/check-ins when guests arrive. This can continue until 9pm. After 9, we do self-check-in letters. If they all get here by 6pm we may walk down street and eat dinner out. If not, it's dinner in while we wait.
  • We're usually upstairs by 9pm. Watch a little tube. I usually fall to sleep first. Hopefully no one has a problem and calls. 

 

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02/07/2019

This gives me a much better sense of the hours involved, thank you.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

7 rooms. Typical day:

  • Gomez up at 5:30 to do breakfast prep. Get coffee going, cut fruit, etc.
  • Me up at 7 to set tables
  • Breakfast served from 8-9:30. Gomez cooks, I serve.
  • 9:30-10:30 - we eat breakfast, breakfast clean up, print out arrival sheets for that day, make up cleaning schedule for housekeeper (1, works about 2-4 hours)
  • Say goodbye to departing guests, shoo off arrivals who think it's ok to check in at 11 because everyone is gone, right?
  • 11-3 - all daily chores like cleaning rooms, laundry, grocery shopping, any outside appointments, menu planning and baking for afternoon snacks and morning starter. Website work, social media, take deposits on incoming reservations, return phone calls, gardening, accounting and bookkeeping, maintenance work, go for walk.
  • 3-7 - check in time. Finish up laundry, eat dinner, wait for guests to arrive.
  • 7 pm - print out late arrival sheets, run credit cards for same.
  • 8 pm - Gomez in bed, me reading and finishing up website work
  • 10 pm - me in bed, fingers crossed no one needs anything.
  • Start all over again the next day.

Our housekeeper also mows the lawn and does painting jobs. We do everything else.

That period from 11 - 3 is the busiest in terms of what has to be done in 4 hours. Essentially everything.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

We are up around 7AM, breakfast from 7:30A, full breakfast at 8A or 9A. Break. Room cleaning 11A to 3PM, more of less, depending on day, loads of laundry, etc. Check-in from 3PM to 6PM. Signs on door before 6PM.

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02/07/2019

So ... ~12 hours per day, every day? Two people full-time and one part time?

Morticia's picture
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NRV Runner wrote:

So ... ~12 hours per day, every day? Two people full-time and one part time?

It's never a continuous 12 hours. (Like right now, I'm goofing off. The housekeeper is cleaning, Gomez is out grocery shopping.) But, in peak season? It's more like 16. If you like to wait up for guests to arrive, it could be more like 20.

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Morticia wrote:

It's never a continuous 12 hours. (Like right now, I'm goofing off. The housekeeper is cleaning, Gomez is out grocery shopping.) But, in peak season? It's more like 16. If you like to wait up for guests to arrive, it could be more like 20.

And I imagine that weekends are especially busy, right? How do you keep the job sustainable and avoid burn-out? How tied to the property are you?

Morticia's picture
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NRV Runner wrote:

Morticia wrote:

It's never a continuous 12 hours. (Like right now, I'm goofing off. The housekeeper is cleaning, Gomez is out grocery shopping.) But, in peak season? It's more like 16. If you like to wait up for guests to arrive, it could be more like 20.

And I imagine that weekends are especially busy, right? How do you keep the job sustainable and avoid burn-out? How tied to the property are you?

In peak season we are completely tied to the property. We do not go out at the same time. However, we know a lot of innkeepers who are a lot more casual than we are and go out to dinner several times/week.

If you have help it's easier.

We take a total of 3 months off every year. I might take 4 next year! We started off taking zero days off. No good. We need a vacation, too.

A lot depends on your location. Who are your guests? What is your season? Are you year round or seasonal?

 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

3 rooms-I am it - no typical day. Since I am City Clerk, on several Boards, and in the Community Band, I have a lot of meetings and duties in addition to guests.

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02/07/2019

For breakfast, do you have a cook and server or does one person do everything? 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

My guests tell me what time they want breakfast- between 6 - 10 AM. I get up 2 hours before chosen time to make breakfast. I cook, serve, and clean up. I usually set the table last thing before going to bed (between 11 and Midnight) unless waiting for a check-in . I have a beautiful 1912 door so no self-checkin.

I do laundry (sunny todayso will be hanging sheets on the line). I also do all the cleaning. Sometimes mow grass but do have a lawn guy at least once a month to whack & mow. The permineter is blueberries, blackgerries, and red raspberries. I have also complicated the poor man's job even more, by planting a peach tree last week..

JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

We have 8 rooms (total of 16 beds). We don't feed our guests so that simplifies our work. For many years wife Maxine did nearly everything with me being the extra help outside of my weekday job hours, These days (our mid-70's) we are (much) slower, our daughter has assumed many of our jobs and her husband assists outside the hours of his weekly job.

Typical day varies widely. More guests on weekends, the coming holiday weekend will center around cleaning between guests, yesterday we (mostly Duran & Michelle) pressure washed the front of the building (porch) and the old cars on display, in the evening they trimmed some trees for a neighbor. Day before was cutting grass, helping mom get the veggie garden planted and patching up the mower deck, there always seems to be a project to keep us busy.

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