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karilyn

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Hello. I'm brand new to this forum, so anything I say/post that is just wrong, please let me know.
Before I make the "plunge" and actually acquire a B&B, I thought it might be beneficial to first work in one to gain first-hand experience of all the "inns" and outs of daily innkeeping. My background is essentially food/catering. I love people and hard work. I want to do this. How do I start the process of becoming an "innsitter"?
 

Alibi Ike

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What do you mean by innsitter? What does that mean to you? Working alone at an inn when the owners are away? Fulltime work as an inn manager? Are you available to work anywhere at anytime or are there restrictions on what you can do and where you can go?
 

EmptyNest

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With no experience in running an inn, it is unlikely that someone would hire you to "sit their inn". I suggest you look for an inn who might like to have an intern to learn the ropes before you think about innsitting.
 

karilyn

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Alibi Ike and Catlady,
Innsitting to me means first learning the ropes through apprenticeship/internship for awhile at an established inn/s. I understand that there are B&B owners out there who need a break and would rather not close down while they're gone.
I would be available to go anywhere anytime......and after 2-3 years of innsitting, I would possibly know for sure if I do want to acquire one of my own and where. Plus hubby will retire in that time frame, and we would do innsitting together or be inn owners...
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue.
 

bbinnsitters

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I sent you an e-mail let me know if you got it. Where in the "Midwest" are you located? Check out my website and feel free to call if you have any questions.
 

YellowSocks

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Again, where in the Midwest? Shoot me an email!
=)
Kk.
 

karilyn

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Karilyn, you might want to read this thread https://www.innspiring.com/node/4418 Even though the discussion became very heated, I think there's a lot of good info there.
To all the regulars here, I'm not trying to stir up anything!.
I did see it, Breakfast Diva, and please let me state right here and now that I'm not out to make any enemies.....I have the utmost respect for all people: inn owners and inn sitters alike.
 

domestique

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Hi and welcome!
I was also interested in opening a B & B and thought it would be a good idea to test-drive the idea. I had been a guest at many area B & B's so eventually asked some of the owners if I could intern/shadow. I spent several weekends over about a year, learning their various operations in all seasons and also attended a regional training conference.
After learning the ropes at the inns I liked, I was given the opportunity to run them for a weekend. When that went well, I became their "innsitter".
My approach has been a little different from others--I work with two inns only, and I trade my time for inn stays. Both owners have been happy with this arrangement, and enjoy taking a weekend for themselves. I can invite friends or family to stay when I sit if there is a vacancy. This makes it more fun for me and they enjoy being guinea pigs.
Full disclosure: I haven't taken an innsitting job that is longer than a weekend because I work a full-time job that also includes a lot of travel. But I consider all of my experience training for the day when we complete the purchase of our own B & B.
Hope this helps and good luck!
 

karilyn

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Hi and welcome!
I was also interested in opening a B & B and thought it would be a good idea to test-drive the idea. I had been a guest at many area B & B's so eventually asked some of the owners if I could intern/shadow. I spent several weekends over about a year, learning their various operations in all seasons and also attended a regional training conference.
After learning the ropes at the inns I liked, I was given the opportunity to run them for a weekend. When that went well, I became their "innsitter".
My approach has been a little different from others--I work with two inns only, and I trade my time for inn stays. Both owners have been happy with this arrangement, and enjoy taking a weekend for themselves. I can invite friends or family to stay when I sit if there is a vacancy. This makes it more fun for me and they enjoy being guinea pigs.
Full disclosure: I haven't taken an innsitting job that is longer than a weekend because I work a full-time job that also includes a lot of travel. But I consider all of my experience training for the day when we complete the purchase of our own B & B.
Hope this helps and good luck!.
More food for thought......thanks Domestique!
Yes, I have only attended one conference, but just getting on this forum has given me tons of info.
I'm not new to customer service, as I was the Catering Manager for the University of Ne.....and I had my own catering bus before that, and worked in a catering firm......and and and.....a college degree.....but the inn bug has bitten me and it won't go away (not that I want it to)
 

Tom

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Karilyn, you might want to read this thread https://www.innspiring.com/node/4418 Even though the discussion became very heated, I think there's a lot of good info there.
To all the regulars here, I'm not trying to stir up anything!.
OMG !! "the Inn-keeping is not rocket science" thread.
No, not trying to stir it back up, I was here then, but the gist of the thread all the way round is right on: Indeed, none of the elements of innkeeping are rocket science, but the whole package, and keeping all the balls rolling is a real challenge and innkeepers fight so hard to build their individual business that it is hard not to be posessive.
That said, there are other threads that basically warn aspirings to plan to be able to get away or you will get worn down, and become a little grouchy (have we ever seen any grouchyness in the forum?)
We used an insitter after our first year and the break was well worth it. Past B&B operators' style was a little different, but guests were happy. We plan to do it again. We solicited innkeeper interest and checked references.
Once we did have a neighbor come check people in when we knew we would be arriving very late. Eventhough she had hospitality and managerial experience and had a detailed walk-through and a list, it did not go according to plan; she didn't show people room features they needed and didn't serve the evening snack -- but since she opened the wine fridge and said help yourself, guests didn't mind!
It take some basic skills, but to run an inn also takes a professional balance of hospitality and business sense. It is going to be hard to pursuade an innkeeper that you have that professional balance without substantial on-your-own experience.
 

Breakfast Diva

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Karilyn, you might want to read this thread https://www.innspiring.com/node/4418 Even though the discussion became very heated, I think there's a lot of good info there.
To all the regulars here, I'm not trying to stir up anything!.
I did see it, Breakfast Diva, and please let me state right here and now that I'm not out to make any enemies.....I have the utmost respect for all people: inn owners and inn sitters alike.
.
No, I didn't think you were Karilyn. I apologize if it seemed that way. Innsitting is a great profession and it takes time and experience to attain the skills to be able to step in and take over someone's b&b. Do whatever you can to get hands on experience. You're very wise to plan on getting experience before you make the decision if you want to have your own b&b one day.

 

Joey Camb

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I would say as well what you have to keep formost in your mind is people's B&B is their baby and all is takes is one screw up and it gets on trip adviser etc and it looses those people a ton of business that is why people are so cautious they just won't risk the back lash so it is something you have to be aware of. If you make a mistake it is not one person who is affected it is them plus the future loss of revenue stemming from that review. I don't want come off like a grump but you can see why people are cautious, once that is out on the internet there is no taking it back.
 

Alibi Ike

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Alibi Ike and Catlady,
Innsitting to me means first learning the ropes through apprenticeship/internship for awhile at an established inn/s. I understand that there are B&B owners out there who need a break and would rather not close down while they're gone.
I would be available to go anywhere anytime......and after 2-3 years of innsitting, I would possibly know for sure if I do want to acquire one of my own and where. Plus hubby will retire in that time frame, and we would do innsitting together or be inn owners...
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue..
karilyn said:
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue.
In re emailing out of the blue that you'd like to take up my time to learn my business and then open up a competing business- you need a bit more finesse than that.
First, go to the state association and ask them if they know of any innkeepers who are willing to work with you. Having someone call first and pave the way for you with an open-minded innkeeper is a much better way to go.
Second, what are you bringing to the table other than a desire to learn? What am I going to get in return? You will be taking up a lot of mental space while you are here working with me. I had better learn something, too. What can you share with me to make my business better?
'I love to cook and talk to people,' is not going to get you in the door here. (I don't remember if you said that or not, but it's what I hear all the time.) Just like any other job, what are you bringing with you to enhance my business while you are here?
Also, to yourself, define your passion. Is your passion for cleaning toilets? Unclogging toilets? Getting blood stains out of white comforters? Wine stains out of carpet? Knocking on doors in the middle of the night when there is a fight going on? Is it bookkeeping? Scaring off telemarketers? Designing and maintaining a website? Managing staff? Getting up at 5 AM to make breakfast after your last guest rang the bell at 2 AM?
It's easy to be passionate about the fun parts. But being dragged down by the unfun parts is what causes people to sell.
Is hubby on board? Gung ho? Ready to sacrifice his retirement days to doing this? Is he willing to trade 5 days/week for 7 days/week? Willing to forgo vacations in peak season?
When you take an innkeeping course, he should take it too. It's always bad when one partner can make time for the classes, but the other can't because whatever else they are doing is 'more important'. You'll put a lot of your money on the line in opening a B&B, so everyone needs to be on board. Even if hubby will only be a 'silent partner' he needs to know what you're up against every day. And how you can't just close up to go to a wedding or party.
 

JBloggs

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Let me put it this way (without referring to that old heated thread).
If I bought a $500,000-1.5 million dollar car, would I just hand you the keys?
Would I say, okay I will thoroughly train you on my time when I have a business to run without any remuneration on my end?
Offering to assist at an inn may work if you approach it the right way. But like all job training or internship, don't expect to be handed the keys to the mansion right off the bat. :)
Just some food for thought.
There are a ton of inn-sitters out there with experience. Can you offer something they do not? I notice many inn-sitters do not CLEAN, they say they will do everything out but the down and dirty work. So this may appeal to some who ALREADY cannot find household help! (just some off centre ideas to toss your way).
 

karilyn

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Alibi Ike and Catlady,
Innsitting to me means first learning the ropes through apprenticeship/internship for awhile at an established inn/s. I understand that there are B&B owners out there who need a break and would rather not close down while they're gone.
I would be available to go anywhere anytime......and after 2-3 years of innsitting, I would possibly know for sure if I do want to acquire one of my own and where. Plus hubby will retire in that time frame, and we would do innsitting together or be inn owners...
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue..
karilyn said:
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue.
In re emailing out of the blue that you'd like to take up my time to learn my business and then open up a competing business- you need a bit more finesse than that.
First, go to the state association and ask them if they know of any innkeepers who are willing to work with you. Having someone call first and pave the way for you with an open-minded innkeeper is a much better way to go.
Second, what are you bringing to the table other than a desire to learn? What am I going to get in return? You will be taking up a lot of mental space while you are here working with me. I had better learn something, too. What can you share with me to make my business better?
'I love to cook and talk to people,' is not going to get you in the door here. (I don't remember if you said that or not, but it's what I hear all the time.) Just like any other job, what are you bringing with you to enhance my business while you are here?
Also, to yourself, define your passion. Is your passion for cleaning toilets? Unclogging toilets? Getting blood stains out of white comforters? Wine stains out of carpet? Knocking on doors in the middle of the night when there is a fight going on? Is it bookkeeping? Scaring off telemarketers? Designing and maintaining a website? Managing staff? Getting up at 5 AM to make breakfast after your last guest rang the bell at 2 AM?
It's easy to be passionate about the fun parts. But being dragged down by the unfun parts is what causes people to sell.
Is hubby on board? Gung ho? Ready to sacrifice his retirement days to doing this? Is he willing to trade 5 days/week for 7 days/week? Willing to forgo vacations in peak season?
When you take an innkeeping course, he should take it too. It's always bad when one partner can make time for the classes, but the other can't because whatever else they are doing is 'more important'. You'll put a lot of your money on the line in opening a B&B, so everyone needs to be on board. Even if hubby will only be a 'silent partner' he needs to know what you're up against every day. And how you can't just close up to go to a wedding or party.
.
'I love to cook and talk to people,' is not going to get you in the door here. (I don't remember if you said that or not, but it's what I hear all the time.) Just like any other job, what are you bringing with you to enhance my business while you are here?
I had been a catering manager for the University of Ne for 8 years.....before that, I owned my own catering business, before that, worked in a catering firm.
What I bring to the table is 20 years of Catering experience and managing and thinking on my feet. Catering is often times making the best situation in the worst venue: Taking crews and trucks someplace and making the event magic. Staff calls in sick, trucks break down, storms knock out power, desserts get accidentally dumped, rental companies don't show up, you've been on your feet 15 hours and still have to be warm and friendly to the University president and his wife. Should I go on? Snow storms, cranky employees, hurting yourself (cuts, burns, slips) even before the long day gets started......And the bottom line is you still LOVE it. And get up and do it again tomorrow.
I want to take what I've learned and use it to effectively and succussfully run a different kind of business, but much of the same. I have been through boot camp.
 

JBloggs

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Karilyn, perhaps there is a barter found there in providing some cooking classes at an inn and in turn some innkeeping training/experience? Cooking classes for the public or the innkeeper themselves. Plating, presentation, etc
Not all innkeepers are trained or have experience in cooking. This might be something they would consider?
 

Penelope

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Alibi Ike and Catlady,
Innsitting to me means first learning the ropes through apprenticeship/internship for awhile at an established inn/s. I understand that there are B&B owners out there who need a break and would rather not close down while they're gone.
I would be available to go anywhere anytime......and after 2-3 years of innsitting, I would possibly know for sure if I do want to acquire one of my own and where. Plus hubby will retire in that time frame, and we would do innsitting together or be inn owners...
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue..
karilyn said:
I live in a smaller midwest town, and there just aren't many around.......thinking about choosing a city - say Kansas City, and just emailing them on their website touting my keen interest in learning the business plus helping them out at the same time. I already have the passion; I just need the venue.
In re emailing out of the blue that you'd like to take up my time to learn my business and then open up a competing business- you need a bit more finesse than that.
First, go to the state association and ask them if they know of any innkeepers who are willing to work with you. Having someone call first and pave the way for you with an open-minded innkeeper is a much better way to go.
Second, what are you bringing to the table other than a desire to learn? What am I going to get in return? You will be taking up a lot of mental space while you are here working with me. I had better learn something, too. What can you share with me to make my business better?
'I love to cook and talk to people,' is not going to get you in the door here. (I don't remember if you said that or not, but it's what I hear all the time.) Just like any other job, what are you bringing with you to enhance my business while you are here?
Also, to yourself, define your passion. Is your passion for cleaning toilets? Unclogging toilets? Getting blood stains out of white comforters? Wine stains out of carpet? Knocking on doors in the middle of the night when there is a fight going on? Is it bookkeeping? Scaring off telemarketers? Designing and maintaining a website? Managing staff? Getting up at 5 AM to make breakfast after your last guest rang the bell at 2 AM?
It's easy to be passionate about the fun parts. But being dragged down by the unfun parts is what causes people to sell.
Is hubby on board? Gung ho? Ready to sacrifice his retirement days to doing this? Is he willing to trade 5 days/week for 7 days/week? Willing to forgo vacations in peak season?
When you take an innkeeping course, he should take it too. It's always bad when one partner can make time for the classes, but the other can't because whatever else they are doing is 'more important'. You'll put a lot of your money on the line in opening a B&B, so everyone needs to be on board. Even if hubby will only be a 'silent partner' he needs to know what you're up against every day. And how you can't just close up to go to a wedding or party.
.
Alibi Ike said:
Also, to yourself, define your passion. Is your passion for cleaning toilets? Unclogging toilets? Getting blood stains out of white comforters? Wine stains out of carpet? Knocking on doors in the middle of the night when there is a fight going on? Is it bookkeeping? Scaring off telemarketers? Designing and maintaining a website? Managing staff? Getting up at 5 AM to make breakfast after your last guest rang the bell at 2 AM?
I REALLY don't mean to sound snarky about this, but is this your passion? Was that why you started your B&B?
It sounds to me like a passion to provide hospitality and run a biz from your home will entail all of these things, but this is NOT why you got into it, either. Does she need to know that this side of the coin exists? Abosultely. Is this a fair thing to ask her about her passion? Maybe not so much.
Rose-colored glasses need to be taken off- yes. In their place does not need to be a negative "you'll never be able to do this without a passion for the seedier side of the job" type of attitude.
I came onto this forum over a year ago as an aspiring. I am still, but you'd never know it. I couldn't handle all the "you'll never be able to get a full night's sleep or drink a hot cup of coffee all in one sitting if you become an innkeeper" type of pep talks from the forum members. So, I stopped asking questions.
I will be an innkeeper one day. It will happen. Yes, I have the passion for cooking and making guests happy. Which is why I am sure a lot of innkeepers opened their doors. Yes, I understand that cleaning toilets, making beds, answering the same questions over and over again, and taking the bad with the good are all part of it, too. And YES, she needs to see that, too. But...why did YOU open your doors? And Ike, this is not directed at you, personally. But why does any innkeeper open their doors? Did you know about cleaning toilets, blood stains, puke stains, thread counts, or cold coffee when you started? Again, Ike, not directed at you.
Just an observation from an outsider who likes to "people watch"
 
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