If I could start over...

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Biekervi

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3-way switches. If remodeling, renovating electric, add 3-way switches that let you turn off a downstairs hall light or outside lighting from in your own living space. ... and, what all the others said, just responding to the "wish done differently"
That is a great time saver idea!
 

Morticia

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Do you charge different rates based on local events that drive demand? If so, how do you project the pricing?
The first year we didn’t change rates based on events. It took a few years to feel confident that we could charge such ‘outrageous’ rates, plus there was a fair amount of (foolish) pushback in the b&b community about doing so.

We still are not able to double or triple rates the way hotels do. But, that’s my area; it’s different in other locations, even within the general area.
 

Morticia

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Back to the original question: I wish we had known more about how people who work in hospitality plan their year. We came into this assuming there was no way we could pay the housekeeper who worked here in the off season. What we didn’t know was she did not expect to continue that workload. She was planning for time off. (She worked 6-8 hours every day. Seven days/week in peak season.)

Because we didn’t know this, and the PO had already arranged for her to be hired elsewhere and thus didn’t tell us, we said we didn’t need her. Big, huge, colossal mistake.

I know there are owners who do 100% of the work themselves but, it turns out, we are not capable of that. We spent every spring looking for summer help that we could not always find.

Understand which parts of this business you actually want to physically do every. single. day. Do you want to clean makeup off linens for an hour every. single. day? Do you want to know how sloppy those lovely guests are? Do you have time to do ten loads of laundry while simultaneously answering the phone, the door, emails, texts; planning breakfast; shopping for food; mowing the lawn; shoveling the walkways; plowing the driveway; fixing the broken pipe under the sink that is leaking water all over your wood floors; replacing and painting the ceiling that collapsed in another bathroom because of said leak upstairs; wrangling with the powers that be over any and every new regulation?

The list is a lot longer.

If you cannot see yourself working, solidly, for twelve to fourteen hours every. single. day, then be sure you hire good help. Keep in mind when your work day slows down (it does not end, you do not get to ‘go home’ and let second shift take over) you then have to be your partner’s partner. You have to be what you are now, but with limited privacy, and no separation between ‘work’ and ‘home.’
 

alias annie

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Our pricing has increased over the past 14 years since we bought this Inn. We take government guests, so we honor per diem rates, but have started charging for breakfast (those guests get a meal allowance on top of lodging). The past 2 years we have kept our rates where they are but before that we increased in $5 increments to reach the level where we are. We do not discount for AirBnB listings, and are only using one OTA - which we may drop before 2021. There are no other b&b's in our area, the AirBnBs are priced way too low. The local hotel is cheap and draws the kind of guests we don't want. The reputation of the Inn has stood the test in time (40 years). We are the 5th innkeeper.
 

TheBeachHouse

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Do you charge different rates based on local events that drive demand? If so, how do you project the pricing?
We don’t change our rates for popular times, but we do change our policies. We are a summer resort. We have a three night minimum for Fourth of July and a separate weekend celebration in August. Two night minimum any other weekend.
 

TheBeachHouse

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Best advice, have a separate apartment with a door that locks. Be able to prepare food, take a shower, watch tv and sleep without walking through the common area of the inn.
 

JimBoone

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Biekervi, this has been an interesting thread, each post brings up new thoughts. You are welcome to PM me, which I think puts us in contact via email if you desire more detailed answers. At times I fear I write too much. Random additions below.

Pricing: my knowledge of this business was limited to having been a motel guest in the area and thinking, yeah, I'd enjoy doing that work. In most things I learn the hard way, maybe that's not all bad. Initially my guide was photocopies of a crude hand written notebook of the guests in the prior year and watching a sign board at a larger property in town. Of course we didn't go to town on weekends to see that the price on the sign went up. My bad. Later I met and spoke with other property owners. Thirty years ago town was mostly a few large motels and many mom and pop places. Today mostly large high rise properties, I'm one of the last little places, although another town a few miles away still has the smaller spots.

Pricing, event, non event, hotel vs b&b: Never used OTA's, until about five years ago everything was pencil and paper, other than the weekday/weekend change, rates pretty much same year round. Lot of changes around that time. We got OLD too fast. Found this forum, thanks to friends here began online reservations (yes, it means my sweetie doesn't do computers, so I get the job usually). Retired from my "day job". Convinced our daughter and husband to move to our area and get involved with the old folks. Also thanks to friends here, attempted to move more to a B&B feel in our rooms. We now adjust prices some, but still tend to stay consistent. At this point in life I'd rather have longer stays than higher prices. Wouldn't make it without our daughter, but even there she is a grandma not a kid.

Neighbors: Probably too much to put in a public forum. Neighbors family built the business, was another owner before us, but still think there were some hard feelings that they business had not gone to family. Suppose that's changed over the years.

Life changes, doing it yourself: we started with a preteen and my mother, an 11 room motel became an 8 room motel with an expanded living area. Mom's gone, younger son grew up. Initially figure rooms would go back in business, but never happened, you never have enough room in this business. We always did nearly everything, in some ways doing is easier (mentally) than finding and dealing with employees and keeping all the necessary records that go along with hiring. At this point in life, was that a smart decision?

Shut off valves: I'm all in favor of adding, yet as years pass and I need a new faucet, guess what, shut off valve is gone bad and needs replacing also. Helps to be a bit of a handy person.
 

Biekervi

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I would say spend some time finding out about your neighbors.If they are also in the same business then spend some some nights at their place and see what they are all about. Mine have turned out to be the business neighbors from hell. Turns out mine don't have any interest in doing anything that doesn't benefit them. It's been a battle getting them to do the right things for our small community. I have had to get on the good side of our residents to force them to make changes in the way they conduct business. Im very much a outsider so its been a long road
That has been a consistent theme with this thread and one we’re taking really seriously. Thanks for the input.
 

Biekervi

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Best advice, have a separate apartment with a door that locks. Be able to prepare food, take a shower, watch tv and sleep without walking through the common area of the inn.
We definitely want to be able to have our “own space.” We’ll make sure to keep this in mind. Thanks for your input.
 

Biekervi

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Biekervi, this has been an interesting thread, each post brings up new thoughts. You are welcome to PM me, which I think puts us in contact via email if you desire more detailed answers. At times I fear I write too much. Random additions below.

Pricing: my knowledge of this business was limited to having been a motel guest in the area and thinking, yeah, I'd enjoy doing that work. In most things I learn the hard way, maybe that's not all bad. Initially my guide was photocopies of a crude hand written notebook of the guests in the prior year and watching a sign board at a larger property in town. Of course we didn't go to town on weekends to see that the price on the sign went up. My bad. Later I met and spoke with other property owners. Thirty years ago town was mostly a few large motels and many mom and pop places. Today mostly large high rise properties, I'm one of the last little places, although another town a few miles away still has the smaller spots.

Pricing, event, non event, hotel vs b&b: Never used OTA's, until about five years ago everything was pencil and paper, other than the weekday/weekend change, rates pretty much same year round. Lot of changes around that time. We got OLD too fast. Found this forum, thanks to friends here began online reservations (yes, it means my sweetie doesn't do computers, so I get the job usually). Retired from my "day job". Convinced our daughter and husband to move to our area and get involved with the old folks. Also thanks to friends here, attempted to move more to a B&B feel in our rooms. We now adjust prices some, but still tend to stay consistent. At this point in life I'd rather have longer stays than higher prices. Wouldn't make it without our daughter, but even there she is a grandma not a kid.

Neighbors: Probably too much to put in a public forum. Neighbors family built the business, was another owner before us, but still think there were some hard feelings that they business had not gone to family. Suppose that's changed over the years.

Life changes, doing it yourself: we started with a preteen and my mother, an 11 room motel became an 8 room motel with an expanded living area. Mom's gone, younger son grew up. Initially figure rooms would go back in business, but never happened, you never have enough room in this business. We always did nearly everything, in some ways doing is easier (mentally) than finding and dealing with employees and keeping all the necessary records that go along with hiring. At this point in life, was that a smart decision?

Shut off valves: I'm all in favor of adding, yet as years pass and I need a new faucet, guess what, shut off valve is gone bad and needs replacing also. Helps to be a bit of a handy person.
Great input JB. Don’t worry about writing too much. We’ll take all the advice we can get. This has proven to be a gold mine of great resources with amazing insight and we really appreciate all of the honest and open responses.
I hope to create additional threads with some thought provoking questions in the future. I know you’re all busy and want to be respectful of your time. Also, getting the information in small bites helps me with my documentation for our planning.
 

Biekervi

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Back to the original question: I wish we had known more about how people who work in hospitality plan their year. We came into this assuming there was no way we could pay the housekeeper who worked here in the off season. What we didn’t know was she did not expect to continue that workload. She was planning for time off. (She worked 6-8 hours every day. Seven days/week in peak season.)

Because we didn’t know this, and the PO had already arranged for her to be hired elsewhere and thus didn’t tell us, we said we didn’t need her. Big, huge, colossal mistake.

I know there are owners who do 100% of the work themselves but, it turns out, we are not capable of that. We spent every spring looking for summer help that we could not always find.

Understand which parts of this business you actually want to physically do every. single. day. Do you want to clean makeup off linens for an hour every. single. day? Do you want to know how sloppy those lovely guests are? Do you have time to do ten loads of laundry while simultaneously answering the phone, the door, emails, texts; planning breakfast; shopping for food; mowing the lawn; shoveling the walkways; plowing the driveway; fixing the broken pipe under the sink that is leaking water all over your wood floors; replacing and painting the ceiling that collapsed in another bathroom because of said leak upstairs; wrangling with the powers that be over any and every new regulation?

The list is a lot longer.

If you cannot see yourself working, solidly, for twelve to fourteen hours every. single. day, then be sure you hire good help. Keep in mind when your work day slows down (it does not end, you do not get to ‘go home’ and let second shift take over) you then have to be your partner’s partner. You have to be what you are now, but with limited privacy, and no separation between ‘work’ and ‘home.’
This is a great reality check. You make it sound so glamorous. 😁
Today I often work 12 hours in the office and then another 2-3 remotely. So I am not afraid of work. That said, we do know that there are things we don’t want to HAVE to do everyday such as laundry. On our list is a process of reviewing what services are available and what we may need to hire out to do.
I really do appreciate the thoughts on the approach to help. This will be a summer location and I know lots of the businesses in the area struggle to find help during peak. My hope is that we go in eyes wide open!
 

MRA

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Something we DID do, when anything was done to the plumbing, we had a shutoff valve installed - at tub, toilets, showers - every place water flows in the house has a shutoff valve............................
To bounce off Gillumhouse, not only did we have to install a whole bunch of shut off valves at bathtubs etc., we also installed manifolds. Our place is on the large side with 5 buildings, yours may not apply, but there was only one gas line and one water line for all the buildings, so if something had to be worked on, you pretty much had to shut down everything. With manifolds, we can now shut down each building by itself to work on either the gas or water. Or even just to narrow down a problem. Huge difference.
 

Morticia

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This is a great reality check. You make it sound so glamorous. 😁
Today I often work 12 hours in the office and then another 2-3 remotely. So I am not afraid of work. That said, we do know that there are things we don’t want to HAVE to do everyday such as laundry. On our list is a process of reviewing what services are available and what we may need to hire out to do.
I really do appreciate the thoughts on the approach to help. This will be a summer location and I know lots of the businesses in the area struggle to find help during peak. My hope is that we go in eyes wide open!
Oh, yes, glamorous!

Gomez was used to working 12 hour days and being on call 24/7. I had a ‘9-5’ job and refused to take my pager home. Even he couldn’t take the ‘non-stop-ness’ of this after the first year. If you are looking at seasonal work, then yes, you can go all in for 6-7 months if you know you have a huge break coming up.

In our best years we did not have a day off for generally 150 days. In our first few years we never took a vacation. No weddings, no birthdays, no events, we had to plan to take time off after three of our grandkids were born in peak season. We didn’t get to see them for weeks after they were born. And then it was a flying visit—hey, cute kid, ok, gotta go! Some members of our family don’t speak to us because we could not take off when two of their kids were married six weeks apart on two huge holidays.

We didn’t really think about that part when we were looking.
 

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We had gas fireplaces. We started having people add real wood to them and causing all kinds of damage and messes. Plus in the summer they would have the fireplace on and the air conditioner blower full blast. We just recently switched them all over to LED. It has been a life saver and people are really enjoying them.
We had gas fireplaces. We started having people add real wood to them and causing all kinds of damage and messes. Plus in the summer they would have the fireplace on and the air conditioner blower full blast. We just recently switched them all over to LED. It has been a life saver and people are really enjoying them.
There is no way for our guests to get into the firebox of the gas stove in the cottage without some serious tools. And we simply turn off the gas when it's warm enough to use the AC. We have discontinued taking reservations for the winter months so the gas stove-AC issue just never comes up. If it did, we would turn the AC off remotely...smartest thing we ever did was to put master controls for the split systems in our own hands.
 

GoodScout

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We also have sealed gas-log fireplaces. And yes, we always had the guest who cranked the AC so they could fire them up.
This year, we turned them off and cut the gas during the summer months and no one really complained. Only downside was when we started them back up, I had more maintenance issues with pilots and burners than ususal. But yes, sealed gas or LED is the way to go.

I have the occasional guest who asks why we don't have REAL wood fireplaces in the room. What I want to respond is, "Real fire in your room? Hell, you people can't even operate the remote controls!"
 

Biekervi

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We also have sealed gas-log fireplaces. And yes, we always had the guest who cranked the AC so they could fire them up.
This year, we turned them off and cut the gas during the summer months and no one really complained. Only downside was when we started them back up, I had more maintenance issues with pilots and burners than ususal. But yes, sealed gas or LED is the way to go.

I have the occasional guest who asks why we don't have REAL wood fireplaces in the room. What I want to respond is, "Real fire in your room? Hell, you people can't even operate the remote controls!"
Definitely a common theme from others and we’ll be sure to stay away from the real fireplaces.
 

Morticia

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I think we turned the gas off to the fireplaces in the summer after one or two years. For all the same reasons. Fireplace on, A/C on, windows open. Plus, even the pilot light adds heat to the room in the summer. AND, I cannot tell you how many times we’ve gone into a room to clean and found the guests had piled stuff on top of the fireplaces! (They look like free standing wood stoves.)

We have had industrious guests fiddle with the gas supply and the electronics. And any number have asked us to turn them on in the summer. ‘The guy’ who does the servicing is never available to do that.
 
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