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SecondAct

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Questions for all of you ... when you bought your inn, did you only consider properties that had private baths for all the rooms? Did your inn contain all private baths? Did you have to add private baths? I know that a long time ago there was a topic on private versus shared, and the cost of adding baths was discussed. Did we say what an average cost for adding a private bath would be?
 

JBloggs

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If you are buying turn key you need private baths. Avg cost is 8k+ depending on fixtures. That is my own estimate.
Only considered properties with private baths. You cannot afford to buy and renovate a "turn key" and take the rooms out of stock and lose income while doing it. My 2 cents.
 

Copperhead

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We only considered having private baths! Our purchase was quite unique and we did a lot of renovation but our circumstances were much different! Cost of adding a bath...well that is a very hard question to answer as it is based on where you are changing an existing space, where the existing plumbing is located and they type of fixtures you go with - basic or high end.
 

gillumhouse

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I bought a house and turned it into a B & B. The first 10 years were 3 w/shared. DH could never understand why I wanted to put in another bathroom. By the time I was able to convince him - it was post-Katrina and costs had ballooned. PLUS I had a snakey contractor - when he quoted the price I took it as total project, not per bathroom (we had to renovate the original when we created). We took half of the room I used for storage and made it a bathroom - moving the original claw-foot tub to that bathroom and giving it a 48 in shower. The original bathroom got a 60 in shower to replace the claw-foot tub. You do not want to know how much he reamed me for. I can only say I was distracted by having to fight DH to get it done, believed the praises of a local couple (did not think about they were prominent locals and we were not - different treatment), and niavely trusted for honesty.
IF you really want to succeed, have private baths. You can operate with shared if that is all you have to work with but you will reach a level and not get beyind it - no matter what you do. To truly succeed requires private baths.
We just up-graded the owner's bathroom using the slave labor of 2 of our kids. Cost (using existing fixtures) included replacing the floor (unnecessary but unknown until in the process), new plumbing for tub/shower, 2 visits by a plumber, and one visit by an electrician (because DH insisted, either of the kids could have done ir) and we have about $3000 in costs.
 

wendydk

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If you are buying turn key you need private baths. Avg cost is 8k+ depending on fixtures. That is my own estimate.
Only considered properties with private baths. You cannot afford to buy and renovate a "turn key" and take the rooms out of stock and lose income while doing it. My 2 cents..
Joey Bloggs said:
If you are buying turn key you need private baths. Avg cost is 8k+ depending on fixtures. That is my own estimate.
Only considered properties with private baths. You cannot afford to buy and renovate a "turn key" and take the rooms out of stock and lose income while doing it. My 2 cents.
As an Inn with one SB and two PB, I disagree that you cannot afford to buy and then renovate baths for a "turn key". It's certainly more affordable to buy something that has good revenue coming in and then tweak it a little in the off season to make it yours than it is to start totally from scratch or buy an underperforming Inn just to have all PB. Since bath renovations involve only inside work, it can be done any time of year, including the slow "shoulder seasons", so lost revenue need not be a factor.
For instance, we are for sale at less than $250k. Our annual revenues are 18% of our asking price, including the one shared bath. There is an Inn for sale the next town over with the same number of rooms, same square footage, but all private baths for sale for $50k more. There's a larger one near that one with five rooms all with PB for $100k more than we are. They both bring in less than half of our revenue, and all Inns in that town close in the winter. Which seems like the better deal now?
In the end, it all depends on you.....a location that you love, an Inn that you can manage, and financing that will allow you to sleep at night. It's your baby, listen to everyone's advice and then go with your own gut.
 

Don Draper

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It will come down to an individual assessment every time...like Little Blue points out hers could easily be purchased and changed later. It depends how much of your working capital you will need to use for your down payment. Don't plan on having income from the property to convert the bath...plan to have the $$ on hand.
All private baths will certainly be easier from a marketing standpoint, but it honestly depends on the demographic. We get many single men travelers here based on our location, and they wouldn't bat an eye about sharing a bath. You need to see what your competitors are doing and where you fit in.
Second, if a move to MI would be in the cards for you and your husband, Little Blue's property really seems like a steal to me!!!
 

wendydk

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Innsider is so right about demographics. Many larger, more elegant Inns cater to an older, more affluent guest. Those Inns could never survive with SB's. Our demographic is far younger and more active. For some reason, the University of Michigan especially loves us. We've had tons of student, faculty and administrative couples from there. They hike, they bike, they climb, they wine tour, they go on daytrips far and wide.
I just broke it down YTD and here is a little suprise for the doubters. The shared bath room only rented 27 nights less YTD than our second floor PB room, and 32 nights less YTD than the 1st floor PB. The SB might not rent as often as the PB rooms, but it's not that far behind, either! And only $30 less per night. It was the first one booked this weekend, and is so far the only one booked next weekend.
 

Skamokawa

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We bought two existing houses. There was 11 feet of space between them. We used the new upstairs space to install two bathrooms for upstairs bedrooms and the 11 feet downstairs for the entryway and sunspace. We still had to add three baths for existing bedrooms. Only our personal bedroom has a bath across the hall. It is also the laundry room.
This is a late 1800s house, so the previous closet space became a shower and toilet. Sinks in the two smallest rooms are actually out in the room, as in standard hotel rooms of that era.
As we were doing rehab down to the studs anyway, adding the baths and related plumbing and electric was almost a no-brainer. I say almost because shared baths do not bother us either, but after some very good advice from folks on the forum, we saw the importance of private baths. Even the room for our personal guests only, has a private bath.
When looking at properties, ask why private baths were not added, you may be able to see for yourself that the addition would not be possible, or require the kind of outlay that would take years to pay back.
In our experience, any kind of remodel is a major mess. When we stayed at a B&B in shoulder season in Victoria BC that was undergoing remodel, we were not told when we booked, and we were not happy as guests. Ladders and plastic in the hallways really do nothing for the atmosphere of a place! (We would have been fine with it if told in advance)
Plan as much as possible beforehand. There will be plenty to occupy your time after!
KathleenM
 

seashanty

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my vote is for private baths. all private baths en suite. ask on the forum about bathrooms in hallways. ohboy.
i ran a b&b with eight guestrooms. when we started ... two had full private baths (shower/tub/sink/toilet), two had half baths - sink and toilet only, four had no bathroom. i had two shared bathrooms ... one with a tub/sink/toilet - we added a shower fitting but could not afford to reconfigure the bathroom and only someone 4 feet tall or shorter could stand in the tub ... one shared bathroom had shower/sink/toilet.
i lost many bookings when people called me to ask about the bathrooms. or walkins would come and ask to look. some people would call me, tell me i seemed very nice, the place seemed sweet, but they needed their own bathroom. one IN the room.
the next year in the off season (bitter bitter cold winter) we expanded the 1/2 baths to include a shower and added a bathroom to a room with nothing. my bookings went way up. the place was 'new' the first year so i can't say it was all because of the bathrooms.
a warning .... it was not easy to add the bathrooms.
first ... we almost did not get permits and approval from the town. this to me is the biggest obstacle. you cannot buy a property with the idea that 'you can always add bathrooms later on' ... because you might not be allowed to it does not matter what the realtor says, what the seller says, what the town says ... it is not until you go through the permit process that you find out.
second ... we almost did not have enough money
third ... the plumber and electrician we contracted with fit us in around their schedules and we almost opened for the season with a mess on our hands.
fourth ... configuring the bathrooms to fit into the rooms meant that our smallish guest rooms became even smaller.
as a guest, before becoming an innkeeper, i stayed at an inn that was doing renovations when i was there. it was their quiet season. they did not have the courtesy to tell me they were doing renovations. so, 7 am til 5 pm, during my stay, i heard saws and compressors and nailguns and loud talk in the room down the hall from mine. i was not happy.
 

wendydk

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Well, no doubt if you have two similar Inns in the same area, the same size and asking price, buy the one with all PB. If you have more money than know-how, buy the Inn with all PB.
However, don't let anyone tell you that SB don't work, because it's working just fine here...of course, our SB guests only share with us.... I hype that fact on the website, so I will be the first to admit that may be why it's rented so often.
 

muirford

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Innsider is so right about demographics. Many larger, more elegant Inns cater to an older, more affluent guest. Those Inns could never survive with SB's. Our demographic is far younger and more active. For some reason, the University of Michigan especially loves us. We've had tons of student, faculty and administrative couples from there. They hike, they bike, they climb, they wine tour, they go on daytrips far and wide.
I just broke it down YTD and here is a little suprise for the doubters. The shared bath room only rented 27 nights less YTD than our second floor PB room, and 32 nights less YTD than the 1st floor PB. The SB might not rent as often as the PB rooms, but it's not that far behind, either! And only $30 less per night. It was the first one booked this weekend, and is so far the only one booked next weekend..
Little Blue said:
I just broke it down YTD and here is a little suprise for the doubters. The shared bath room only rented 27 nights less YTD than our second floor PB room, and 32 nights less YTD than the 1st floor PB.
That's not quite enough information to remove all doubt. Is 27 room nights 1% of your annual, 10%, 50%? 27 room nights is not a big deal for me, but it might not be for everybody.
Our room with a private but detached bath brought in 1/3 less revenue than our best-renting room last year. Quickbooks doesn't allow me to calculate quickly what the room nights are, but since revenue is a factor of both price and occupancy, maybe that's a better number for comparison anyway. The detached bath room brought in 10% less revenue than the next room up the rung, one with two full beds but an ensuite bath.
 

Copperhead

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Innsider is so right about demographics. Many larger, more elegant Inns cater to an older, more affluent guest. Those Inns could never survive with SB's. Our demographic is far younger and more active. For some reason, the University of Michigan especially loves us. We've had tons of student, faculty and administrative couples from there. They hike, they bike, they climb, they wine tour, they go on daytrips far and wide.
I just broke it down YTD and here is a little suprise for the doubters. The shared bath room only rented 27 nights less YTD than our second floor PB room, and 32 nights less YTD than the 1st floor PB. The SB might not rent as often as the PB rooms, but it's not that far behind, either! And only $30 less per night. It was the first one booked this weekend, and is so far the only one booked next weekend..
Question Lillte Blue - (sorry if you already answered & I missed it) Is the room with a SB really a SB or is it just not ensuite?
Very intersting stats on your room rentals. Wonder how much is due because the difference in cost? My cheapest room (all have PB) has been renting first since about this time last year, before it was easily my slow seller. Difference in cost - $10 lower than 2 similar ones and $30 lower than my 2 jr suites. Clearly a 'cost cutting' choice.
 

JBloggs

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Right, the bath may not be the factor in some of the stats. If I had a SB and it was with two doubles I would rent it more than with one full size/double bed. I can guarantee it. There are so many variables. But LB is saying her SB room does rent. Is it price point related? Yes. I would say it is. You would have to discount the SB - it is only logical.
From the perspective of an inn with all private baths - only one is detached across the hall - not shared, and is nicknamed "the plague room" as none of my guests - unless absolutely last resort or meager priced, will book that room due to the bath situation. That is HERE. That is my 6 years of experience in this location in this B&B.
Not only that, I have had a few situations where someone booked the room with detached bath due to price point or last resort and the spouse went ballistic and they left. This has happened to me twice. Absolute hissy fit, demanding they will not stay and left.
Why set yourself up for that? From the get go - if you are fresh and new and can do anything you want - add private baths in every room.
 

gillumhouse

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Well, no doubt if you have two similar Inns in the same area, the same size and asking price, buy the one with all PB. If you have more money than know-how, buy the Inn with all PB.
However, don't let anyone tell you that SB don't work, because it's working just fine here...of course, our SB guests only share with us.... I hype that fact on the website, so I will be the first to admit that may be why it's rented so often..
As one with a history of shared baths and still have one, I will say that it depends on your market. If you will have a preponderance of hikers, bikers, outdoorsy guests it is less of an issue than if you are going to have "culture & site-seeing" guests. The former don't care if the price is right and the latter DO CARE no matter what the price.
I like the spaciousness of the shared bath - it has a 60 inch shower, pedestal sink, handicap height toilet, and an antique washstand in it - but wonder if I would have been better off with the 2 tiny bathrooms I could have had (if I had thought it out enough) when we did the reno. I could have punched a doorway in one room for ensuite small shower, toilet & sink and a wall cutting the room in half for the other small shower, toilet & sink detached bath. Hindsight says smaller would have been smarter.
 

wendydk

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Innsider is so right about demographics. Many larger, more elegant Inns cater to an older, more affluent guest. Those Inns could never survive with SB's. Our demographic is far younger and more active. For some reason, the University of Michigan especially loves us. We've had tons of student, faculty and administrative couples from there. They hike, they bike, they climb, they wine tour, they go on daytrips far and wide.
I just broke it down YTD and here is a little suprise for the doubters. The shared bath room only rented 27 nights less YTD than our second floor PB room, and 32 nights less YTD than the 1st floor PB. The SB might not rent as often as the PB rooms, but it's not that far behind, either! And only $30 less per night. It was the first one booked this weekend, and is so far the only one booked next weekend..
Question Lillte Blue - (sorry if you already answered & I missed it) Is the room with a SB really a SB or is it just not ensuite?
Very intersting stats on your room rentals. Wonder how much is due because the difference in cost? My cheapest room (all have PB) has been renting first since about this time last year, before it was easily my slow seller. Difference in cost - $10 lower than 2 similar ones and $30 lower than my 2 jr suites. Clearly a 'cost cutting' choice.
.
It's a shared hallway bath; our smallest guest room shares it with D. and myself. That room rents for about 80% of the room nights that each of the PB rooms do, and it brings in about 25% of total annual room revenue.
And, sure...it's the lower room rate that brings them in. It does not hurt that it has cable TV, queen bed and an electric fireplace. Our #1 guests just stayed for their 10th time in 6.5 years, and that's the ONLY room they've ever reserved. Because they always stay during busy weekends, I have never upgraded them, so it's the only room they've ever stayed in.
In truth, we stay out of guest's way where the bathroom is concerned, don't keep any of our stuff in there, and it's always fresh and clean, so to the guests, it's probably more like a private detached. Our situation with that room is unique, and so I guess it cannot be compared with a true shared bath among guests.
If I'm going to be completely honest, the damn thing has rented more this year than I cared for. I would love to have my OWN bathroom!!
 

seashanty

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forgot to talk price. $18,000 in 2007 to add or expand 3 bathrooms. this had to include running ventilation piping up through two floors and out through the roof and also drainage down into the basement and connecting with the water supply up into the bathroom.
 

wendydk

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forgot to talk price. $18,000 in 2007 to add or expand 3 bathrooms. this had to include running ventilation piping up through two floors and out through the roof and also drainage down into the basement and connecting with the water supply up into the bathroom..
Our small upstairs private bath was installed where two 4x4 foot closets were located. Cost us $3,500.00 for everything, including the labor. Large shower, pedestal sink and stool, laminate floors, drywalled, and the plumbing and lighting included. This also includes all the venting, piping, bringing water in and waste out, as there was no water or plumbing on that side of the house. That was in 2002.
Edit to add: I am in no way saying "go with Shared Baths right from the beginning, it's the bee's knees!". I am saying if you find an operating Inn that you love, with great location, revenues, reputation and a younger active demographic that happens to have a shared bath or two, AND it's within your price range, don't let the shared baths scare you away, whatever anyone else says.
 

wendydk

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Right, the bath may not be the factor in some of the stats. If I had a SB and it was with two doubles I would rent it more than with one full size/double bed. I can guarantee it. There are so many variables. But LB is saying her SB room does rent. Is it price point related? Yes. I would say it is. You would have to discount the SB - it is only logical.
From the perspective of an inn with all private baths - only one is detached across the hall - not shared, and is nicknamed "the plague room" as none of my guests - unless absolutely last resort or meager priced, will book that room due to the bath situation. That is HERE. That is my 6 years of experience in this location in this B&B.
Not only that, I have had a few situations where someone booked the room with detached bath due to price point or last resort and the spouse went ballistic and they left. This has happened to me twice. Absolute hissy fit, demanding they will not stay and left.
Why set yourself up for that? From the get go - if you are fresh and new and can do anything you want - add private baths in every room..
Joey Bloggs said:
only one is detached across the hall - not shared, and is nicknamed "the plague room" as none of my guests - unless absolutely last resort or meager priced, will book that room due to the bath situation.
Joey, have you considered putting an electric fireplace in that room? It's plenty big enough, and they are very affordable. That might be just the thing to make that room more desirable! Dimplex makes fireplaces in all shapes, sizes and wood styles. They're cheap to run too.
 

seashanty

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consider carefully what a shared bathroom means for your guests
guest wakes in the night, in whatever state of dress or undress and has to use the bathroom ... they pull on additional clothes - a robe or whatever - or they don't - but they still have to exit their room to use the bathroom ...
sometimes, they inadvertently lock themselves out of their room
sometimes, they get to the bathroom and a guest from a room they are sharing with is already in there
sometimes, the guest using the bathroom ahead of them forgets to lock the door and an embarrassing situation ensues
sometimes a guest with their OWN private bathroom whose spouse is using their bathroom will slip out into the hall and use the shared bath as though it is their second bathroom ... leading to 'issues'
all the above happened in my place. and then some.
not to be indelicate, but if i wake up because i have to use the bathroom, the need to use is now ...... not in five minutes or even ten. (and i'm not exaggerating) as a guest, i now book only rooms with private bath en suite.
 

wendydk

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Got an estimate from a contractor friend this spring to split one large first floor bathroom into two smaller bathrooms.....$5,500 including fixtures and labor. I guess it pays to know a contractor (and to offer to pitch in and help yourself).
There is no way we could have done even half of what we have with this house if D. wasn't so darn handy.
 
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