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wendydk

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Had an interesting conversation with an Aspiring Innkeeper today. Given the following parameters, what is the highest number of guest rooms you would personally want to deal with on your own day in and day out in a fairly busy area.....let's say, for arguments sake, 50% annual occupancy with some seasonal fluctuations.
  • minimum help from Sig other or spouse
  • no staff at all
That means breakfast, cleanup of kitchen and dishes, cleaning rooms, laundry, yard or garden work, shopping, greeting and checking out guests, taking and dealing with reservations, all marketing, everything.
What is the maximum number you could handle and still stay sane?
 

seashanty

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on your own ~ do you mean as a couple or as solo innkeeper?
 

muirford

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What does busy mean - 35% occupancy, 50% occupancy - 100% for three months then 10% the rest of the year?
I can't imagine doing more than 2 or 3 with anything approaching 50% occupancy. Maybe more when I was in my prime but not in my current lack-of-physical-fitness.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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3 or 4 sounds about right but I'd like a qualification of what a "busy area" is.
40% annual occupancy?
50%?
higher?
Generally busy year-round? or 8 months of 10% and 4 months of 90%?
 

seashanty

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i have no spouse, i'm a widow.
i ran an eight room b&b with one part time chambermaid and i was exhausted when we were full. and i do mean exhausted.
3 or 4 rooms on my own was good ~ and i was able to handle the flips. but still, getting the whole place clean and the windows done (salt water buildup on windows in a harbor village is not pretty), shopping and all the rest ~ relief help was needed! and when it was time to relax ~~ well, relax time was devoted to marketing and bookkeeping. you know that reservations and inquiries come at all hours and you need to keep up with those. and the laundry!!!!! i used a service for the sheets and bed linens and still was running laundry constantly for the towels and robes.
also, a two night minimum stay on weekends would have helped ~ enormously(!) but the area was a one night stayover place for a lot of people taking a ferry in the morning. so a two night minimum would have cost me lots of business on a friday, saturday or sunday nite.
 

wendydk

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3 or 4 sounds about right but I'd like a qualification of what a "busy area" is.
40% annual occupancy?
50%?
higher?
Generally busy year-round? or 8 months of 10% and 4 months of 90%?.
Let's assume 50% annual occupancy.
 

Copperhead

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"fairly busy area" is very subjective IMHO. Would this mean heavy travel for X months then drizzle to no business for the rest? Would it mean 50+% business much of the year? This would all make a difference in the answers due to need of time off - I think back to that couple that were hired innkeepers - even with staff they were burned out within a few months.
I have 5 guest rooms that I do 95% of the work. DH is the handy man if things need fixing. He helps with breakfast, does the yard work (except flowers), pool, etc. We average 50-55% occ. for the year.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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What does busy mean - 35% occupancy, 50% occupancy - 100% for three months then 10% the rest of the year?
I can't imagine doing more than 2 or 3 with anything approaching 50% occupancy. Maybe more when I was in my prime but not in my current lack-of-physical-fitness..
muirford, Whoa! is that too freaky or what?
Essentially, same questions within a couple minutes of each other. Does this mean I'm thinking things through like a seasoned vet like you or you have a little robot in my computer spying on me? LOL
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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"fairly busy area" is very subjective IMHO. Would this mean heavy travel for X months then drizzle to no business for the rest? Would it mean 50+% business much of the year? This would all make a difference in the answers due to need of time off - I think back to that couple that were hired innkeepers - even with staff they were burned out within a few months.
I have 5 guest rooms that I do 95% of the work. DH is the handy man if things need fixing. He helps with breakfast, does the yard work (except flowers), pool, etc. We average 50-55% occ. for the year..
Thought of another qualifier.
Newbie or someone who has at least run or worked at a B&B before?
Frankly, the Tim_Toad of today, five years into my experience could probably handle the 3-4 rooms I nominated before.
If its me five years ago and only armed with the pile of "how to books, limited mentoring advice from the unselfish innkeepers we'd stayed with in the past, it would be a stretch.
The physical tasking involved, no problem, the sociological and guest relations aspects of it coming in cold, maybe a learning curve that would distract from getting all the freakin' work done.
 

Morticia

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I wouldn't do this alone at all. I've been on my own for the past couple of weeks while hubs handles a family illness and it's not something I would do without him by my side for the long term. If I had help every day I would consider it. Otherwise, I give kudos to all of those who do this by themselves (like SS) or do this with a spouse who does something else 'during the day' (as many innkeepers do).
 

gillumhouse

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I have 3 and I do not think I would want 4. One more room does not sound like much - but is a BIG difference. I have a DH who does the dishes - at HIS pace - which means at times he is in the way more than he is a help BUT I do have to be careful of that delicate male ego.... Just the amount of dishes generated by 2 more people for breakfast would be a killer, not counting the sheets, towels, robes, and the more frequent appointments with the dreaded ironing board! And I will close before I will deal with all the workman's comp, FICA, etc of hiring some one.
 

wendydk

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"fairly busy area" is very subjective IMHO. Would this mean heavy travel for X months then drizzle to no business for the rest? Would it mean 50+% business much of the year? This would all make a difference in the answers due to need of time off - I think back to that couple that were hired innkeepers - even with staff they were burned out within a few months.
I have 5 guest rooms that I do 95% of the work. DH is the handy man if things need fixing. He helps with breakfast, does the yard work (except flowers), pool, etc. We average 50-55% occ. for the year..
Thought of another qualifier.
Newbie or someone who has at least run or worked at a B&B before?
Frankly, the Tim_Toad of today, five years into my experience could probably handle the 3-4 rooms I nominated before.
If its me five years ago and only armed with the pile of "how to books, limited mentoring advice from the unselfish innkeepers we'd stayed with in the past, it would be a stretch.
The physical tasking involved, no problem, the sociological and guest relations aspects of it coming in cold, maybe a learning curve that would distract from getting all the freakin' work done.
.
Good point, and something that many aspirlings don't give enough weight to in the decision making process.
 

Morticia

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I have 3 and I do not think I would want 4. One more room does not sound like much - but is a BIG difference. I have a DH who does the dishes - at HIS pace - which means at times he is in the way more than he is a help BUT I do have to be careful of that delicate male ego.... Just the amount of dishes generated by 2 more people for breakfast would be a killer, not counting the sheets, towels, robes, and the more frequent appointments with the dreaded ironing board! And I will close before I will deal with all the workman's comp, FICA, etc of hiring some one..
gillumhouse said:
And I will close before I will deal with all the workman's comp, FICA, etc of hiring some one.
Not trying to convince you, just commenting...everytime I see how much goes out for a 15 hour workweek (egads) I wonder if this is worth it. Everytime I get to walk out the door or clean my OWN house in a relaxed manner, I am glad we hired someone this year. Even with all the taxes involved.
You all know how I was last year with out busiest summer ever (80% occ) and doing everything just the 2 of us. I was stressed to the max. Early arrival? Go to hell. Late arrival? Follow the early arrival. Don't like what's for breakfast but didn't bother to mention that until it was put in front of you? Keep me away from sharp knives! Knowing the housekeeper is coming in and will simply ask me, 'What do I do with these wine-stained sheets, towels, blankets, quilts and all the stains on the carpet?' and that I don't have to actually handle it myself? Priceless. Seriously. She's getting a raise tomorrow. And all the tips that were left today on her day off? She's getting those, too.
There is nothing quite like being able to let someone else handle the mess so I can be gracious to the idiots who made the mess. (Note to anyone- the idiots are 2% of the guests but they take up 75% of the time needed to do this job.)
Everyone here tonight is a repeat. They love it. They are kind, share their wine, laugh and tell us great stories. There will not be a mess of any kind tomorrow for the housekeeper.
 

muirford

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What does busy mean - 35% occupancy, 50% occupancy - 100% for three months then 10% the rest of the year?
I can't imagine doing more than 2 or 3 with anything approaching 50% occupancy. Maybe more when I was in my prime but not in my current lack-of-physical-fitness..
muirford, Whoa! is that too freaky or what?
Essentially, same questions within a couple minutes of each other. Does this mean I'm thinking things through like a seasoned vet like you or you have a little robot in my computer spying on me? LOL
.
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
Essentially, same questions within a couple minutes of each other.
Dude, I like the robot idea
.
 

gillumhouse

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I have 3 and I do not think I would want 4. One more room does not sound like much - but is a BIG difference. I have a DH who does the dishes - at HIS pace - which means at times he is in the way more than he is a help BUT I do have to be careful of that delicate male ego.... Just the amount of dishes generated by 2 more people for breakfast would be a killer, not counting the sheets, towels, robes, and the more frequent appointments with the dreaded ironing board! And I will close before I will deal with all the workman's comp, FICA, etc of hiring some one..
gillumhouse said:
And I will close before I will deal with all the workman's comp, FICA, etc of hiring some one.
Not trying to convince you, just commenting...everytime I see how much goes out for a 15 hour workweek (egads) I wonder if this is worth it. Everytime I get to walk out the door or clean my OWN house in a relaxed manner, I am glad we hired someone this year. Even with all the taxes involved.
You all know how I was last year with out busiest summer ever (80% occ) and doing everything just the 2 of us. I was stressed to the max. Early arrival? Go to hell. Late arrival? Follow the early arrival. Don't like what's for breakfast but didn't bother to mention that until it was put in front of you? Keep me away from sharp knives! Knowing the housekeeper is coming in and will simply ask me, 'What do I do with these wine-stained sheets, towels, blankets, quilts and all the stains on the carpet?' and that I don't have to actually handle it myself? Priceless. Seriously. She's getting a raise tomorrow. And all the tips that were left today on her day off? She's getting those, too.
There is nothing quite like being able to let someone else handle the mess so I can be gracious to the idiots who made the mess. (Note to anyone- the idiots are 2% of the guests but they take up 75% of the time needed to do this job.)
Everyone here tonight is a repeat. They love it. They are kind, share their wine, laugh and tell us great stories. There will not be a mess of any kind tomorrow for the housekeeper.
.
I totally understand why you have help. I was commenting on the fact the I have 3 becasue I can handle 3. With 4 I would probably be looking for help although DH is as much work as having 2 extra rooms at times. All I have to do is sit down and I hear my master's voice...... Can you tell today has not been a good day?
 

wendydk

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Anyone doing it (or done it) with kids at home? How would that affect your answer?
 

gillumhouse

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Anyone doing it (or done it) with kids at home? How would that affect your answer?.
Several have kids at home. Socks decided to be an innkeeper when she was told it required hard work. She was looking for that as an atmosphere to raise her DS5x2 in only wheb she started this they were DS3x2.
 

Samster

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No more than 4 rooms, definitely. And then, you have to look at it to see if it is worth the stress and aggravation. Seriously. I'm not being negative, just realistic. If you are looking at 50% occupancy, year round, it will be a lot of work for one person. If you have low occupancy, with breaks in between the influx of guests, you might be able to handle it on your own. Also, if you are constantly flipping one night stays vs. an average length of stay of several nights, that is also a HUGE factor.
I would be able to handle 3-4 rooms on my own if it was a weekend business, no problem. You have several days to recuperate from the weekend and to have somewhat of a life.
It is tough to be on your own...no question.
 

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