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sixstones

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My husband and I are considering purchasing a B&B 40 minutes from our home. We are told by current owners that most guests stay Thu-Mon due to tourism. Is it feasible to think we can manage the inn while not living there full-time? By accepting reservations, doing other "office" work remotely from laptop and with cell phone, would stay at B&B when guests are present. Has anyone tried this? Successes/failures?? Thanks!!
 

JBloggs

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It's feasible that you would be spending all your time there. :)
 

egoodell

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I think 40 minutes away would be a very long haul..unless you are not doing any of the room cleaning and laundry...what about how guests check in when they feel like it? I would hate sitting there until 9pm for a check in and then have to drive 40 minutes home!!!
We do breakfast around 8:30 which has us in the kitchen around 7am. Then clean up. Then laundry. Then room clean. We are ready by checkin around 4-7. Then check in and answer questions etc. And what about emergencies?
Riki
 

sixstones

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I think 40 minutes away would be a very long haul..unless you are not doing any of the room cleaning and laundry...what about how guests check in when they feel like it? I would hate sitting there until 9pm for a check in and then have to drive 40 minutes home!!!
We do breakfast around 8:30 which has us in the kitchen around 7am. Then clean up. Then laundry. Then room clean. We are ready by checkin around 4-7. Then check in and answer questions etc. And what about emergencies?
Riki.
I would be there for check ins 4-6, spend the night, do breakfast and clean whenever guests were present. I would never leave guests alone overnight at the B&B. If we had no guests let's say Mon, Tue, Weds, come to my current home and then return to B&B when new guests are due. Our area is very big on tourism, primarily on weekends.
 

JBloggs

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I think 40 minutes away would be a very long haul..unless you are not doing any of the room cleaning and laundry...what about how guests check in when they feel like it? I would hate sitting there until 9pm for a check in and then have to drive 40 minutes home!!!
We do breakfast around 8:30 which has us in the kitchen around 7am. Then clean up. Then laundry. Then room clean. We are ready by checkin around 4-7. Then check in and answer questions etc. And what about emergencies?
Riki.
I would be there for check ins 4-6, spend the night, do breakfast and clean whenever guests were present. I would never leave guests alone overnight at the B&B. If we had no guests let's say Mon, Tue, Weds, come to my current home and then return to B&B when new guests are due. Our area is very big on tourism, primarily on weekends.
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sixstones said:
I would be there for check ins 4-6, spend the night, do breakfast and clean whenever guests were present. I would never leave guests alone overnight at the B&B. If we had no guests let's say Mon, Tue, Weds, come to my current home and then return to B&B when new guests are due. Our area is very big on tourism, primarily on weekends.
I am here cleaning and working when we have guests and when we don't have guests. I actually do less when we have guests checked in. Hard to explain - but it all needs to be done by then and I can't be out scruffly and running around. Then there is the laundry - I have it going round the clock - when everyone checks out the laundry keeps going.
Next question for you - most B&B require by law the owner/innkeeper to live onsite. Is this an established B&B and what are the laws of the land in this big tourism area? I know many insurance plans require you to be present.
(Just throwing this atchya as food for thought)
As an innkeeper I feel as if I am tied to this B&B more than anything, I can't imagine not being here for everything, although I know there are some who do this. It would be hard to not accept bookings midweek. We do as much midweek here as we do weekend. :)
 

sixstones

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I"m curious, how many rooms do you have? We only have 4 and maybe I"m underestimating the work but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon. THanks for the insurance question, I have a call in to our insurance agent and atty regarding that as I'm not really sure. It's not that I necessarily wouldn't take midweek bookings but apparently they don't happen very often, according to the current owners, except for select times of the year.
 

JBloggs

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I"m curious, how many rooms do you have? We only have 4 and maybe I"m underestimating the work but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon. THanks for the insurance question, I have a call in to our insurance agent and atty regarding that as I'm not really sure. It's not that I necessarily wouldn't take midweek bookings but apparently they don't happen very often, according to the current owners, except for select times of the year..
If you have a 5 night booking, it would be hard to turn it away if it runs into midweek or begins midweek. (Just saying, as it happens) and afterall this is what we want, rooms booked.
If check out is 11am (some B&B's have a later check out), hard to be done by noon. You would still be cleaning up from breakfast.
We have 6 rooms. They are only on occasion all filled where there is a mass exodus on the same check out and I have to clean them all on the same day.
It is great you are proactive and working it all out in advance. Those who are selling will tell you it is all fun, remember. You came to the right place for reality in innkeeping. Don't be discouraged, the answers here are truthful, that is very valuable.

 

sixstones

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We are trying to go into this eyes wide open :) We realize there will be midweek bookings and won't turn them away but feel they're not the norm, at least for here. But I worry it will be either too much back and forth from my home to B&B or being at B&B for prolonged periods. We are expecting that on occasion but not as the norm. Ha, I am a little discouraged, wondering if this is really the right timing in our lives. Hmmmm..........That's why I came here, looking for open and honest questions from those who have gone before me :)
 

Copperhead

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We are trying to go into this eyes wide open :) We realize there will be midweek bookings and won't turn them away but feel they're not the norm, at least for here. But I worry it will be either too much back and forth from my home to B&B or being at B&B for prolonged periods. We are expecting that on occasion but not as the norm. Ha, I am a little discouraged, wondering if this is really the right timing in our lives. Hmmmm..........That's why I came here, looking for open and honest questions from those who have gone before me :).
Welcom sixstones! Joey has given you the best advice - check the laws and insurance. Most states and insurance companies are now stating someone live on premises.
We have 5 guest rooms and I can not fathom living 10 minutes from the B&B, much less 40. There is too much to do (though it would be a way to make yourself stop, hummmm). Being completely through with your work by noon is highly unlikely IMMHO.
Also questioning the fact that there is no business to be had Mon - Thurs. if this is a busy tourist area. Why would that be??? Seems more like a marketing issue or the fact that the current owners do not want (or need) that business.
Good for you to check this out with your eyes wide open and your ears perked to every word all while keeping your mind full of questions and conserns. This is a business, one that takes man hours (and many of them) to work. Read lots of these threads to get a handle of the details of this business. Good luck, in what ever you do.
 

Morticia

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I"m curious, how many rooms do you have? We only have 4 and maybe I"m underestimating the work but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon. THanks for the insurance question, I have a call in to our insurance agent and atty regarding that as I'm not really sure. It's not that I necessarily wouldn't take midweek bookings but apparently they don't happen very often, according to the current owners, except for select times of the year..
sixstones said:
I"m curious, how many rooms do you have? We only have 4 and maybe I"m underestimating the work but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon. THanks for the insurance question, I have a call in to our insurance agent and atty regarding that as I'm not really sure. It's not that I necessarily wouldn't take midweek bookings but apparently they don't happen very often, according to the current owners, except for select times of the year.
Have you seen the place after an hour's cleaning of 4 rooms and common spaces? Sorry, ONE room is 45 minutes, so unless you get them all to check out at 9, you'll be there later than noon. (I have 7 rooms and on weekends we're just sitting down to lunch at 2 PM when the first guests are arriving.)
What you really need to think about is living there from Thurs thru Mon. Don't schedule any guests in on Tues & Wed and you can probably do ok. EVERYTHING takes more time than you think it will and guests WILL be knocking on the door at 11 AM for that day's check in. They will also be knocking on the door at midnight.
If you plan to live there 5 days/week you can do it. Now, if you both have other jobs you need to be at during the same time, probably not a good idea.
To me, 4 rooms is like having a 1/2 day of vacation. But that's because I run around knowing I have 7 rooms to clean. Once you're organized, things fall into place.
Here's probably the biggest mistake I think aspirings make: they think this job is sequential. Task A, then Task B, then Task C. I've seen lovely plans for serving breakfast from 8-9 without a calculation for getting up before 6 to get everything ready and then waiting for a guest who rolls in at 9:10 AM and sits there until 10:30. You were going to clean the kitchen from 9 to 9:30, but now you are still talking and pouring coffee and the phone is ringing. It goes on like this all day. You think you can clean from 11 to noon but the phone rings and the doorbell rings and a guest doesn't check out until 11:45. And tonight's guest shows up at 11:30 and takes up more time because you have to help them find something to do while you clean their room.
This should be the aspirings' mantra: There is nothing sequential in innkeeping.
There are days when it does all fall into place. But not many of them. Please keep in mind there is a lot more to this than baking and cleaning and talking. If the present owners are making it sound like you just rake in the money with little effort, well maybe so where you are, but not so much where a lot of us are.
Plus, if they have been doing this for awhile, you may lose a fair percentage of their repeat guests who LOVED them and don't think you can measure up. (Yes, happened here.)
 

egoodell

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I"m curious, how many rooms do you have? We only have 4 and maybe I"m underestimating the work but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon. THanks for the insurance question, I have a call in to our insurance agent and atty regarding that as I'm not really sure. It's not that I necessarily wouldn't take midweek bookings but apparently they don't happen very often, according to the current owners, except for select times of the year..
sixstones said:
I"m curious, how many rooms do you have? We only have 4 and maybe I"m underestimating the work but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon. THanks for the insurance question, I have a call in to our insurance agent and atty regarding that as I'm not really sure. It's not that I necessarily wouldn't take midweek bookings but apparently they don't happen very often, according to the current owners, except for select times of the year.
How can that be??? Normal checkout is 11am and it's hard enough to get them to check out in time with that. How can they clean 4 rooms by noon????? We have two rooms and could not do that. You need to talk with some other B&Bs in the area. They must be anxious to sell to be telling you all this. I'd check their TripAdvisor reviews to see how the rooms are reviewed.
RIki
 

seashanty

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so no (or few) guests monday nite, tuesday nite and wednesday nite .... but if you have a long weekend, you might end up with guests who want to add on the monday nite. i would say tuesday nite and wednesday nite were my thinnest times, but we still had guests and i was always trying to encourage the bookings ... which you will likely want to do to increase your revenue.
are there no innkeeper quarters? i would want to live in it! can you? plus as has been mentioned, for certain licenses it's required.
there is always so much to be done ... maintenance, repairs, redecorating, deep cleaning, repainting or painting touchups, yard work, shopping, cooking ... such a long list! and cleaning after guests leave takes longer than you might think. the laundry takes longer than i ever dreamed. to me, a clean b&b is absolutely essential.
guests do not always check in and check out and finish breakfast during pre-set times ... things happen ... they arrive early or late or have car trouble or get lost or get delayed or whatever.
welcome and keep us posted!
 

The Farmers Daughter

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Hmmmm well, in my experience, I think you may start out gung ho, but the reality will set in soon enought and you will be asking yourself "what was I thinking?" Its just not practical....unless you consider hiring help, then yes as long as you have all your bases covered.
 

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Welcome sixtones.
but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon.
Sounds like the current owners are making it sound like an easy peasy life full of porch sittin and bon-bon eating so that you will buy their place and free them from it.
 

Morticia

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Welcome sixtones.
but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon.
Sounds like the current owners are making it sound like an easy peasy life full of porch sittin and bon-bon eating so that you will buy their place and free them from it..
swirt said:
Welcome sixtones.
but the current owners claim to be done with clean up by noon.
Sounds like the current owners are making it sound like an easy peasy life full of porch sittin and bon-bon eating so that you will buy their place and free them from it.
It's midnight and I'm eating bon bons, but that rarely happens mid-day.

 

The Andiron

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Hi.
A year ago, we were you! And we had all kinds of ideas about how it would be...and whaddya know, it ain't like we thought it would be. At all!
We live nearly three hours from our inn. ! ! I have a job that I love (which comes with a salary we need of course) near our home. My husband's full-time gig is the inn. He's at the inn from thurs noon to monday noon. I go up late thursday nights and telecommute on fridays, and then go home sunday afternoons. We live in an exceptionally crappy trailer (!) while there. This situation is probably the way it's gonna be for awhile. And you know what? It's fine. Really, it's fine!
There are reasons why it's working for us.
The inn we bought was not owner-occupied previously. So, we inherited front desk, cleaning, and maintenance staff. We've kept the cleaning staff pretty much the same (we have 11 rooms). The rest of the staff work far less now than they did previously, since the mister and I actually enjoy the running-of-the-inn part when we're there.
Our inn never had overnight staff, really - and had a system for late check-ins that still works. So that's been a help for us (even though we sometimes hang out in the lodge area til late guests arrive, we don't actually have to do so).
Nor is our inn a bed and breakfast. The previous owners offered (and we continued) a voucher system for breakfast for people who want it. We really don't emphasize it, and we don't hear complaints about it. No, it's not for everyone but we no longer bill ourself as a b and b - just as an inn.
So - these things all help in us not being there all the time.
BUT the fact is - we are 150% THERE when we're there and that has been absolutely critical to our success and sort of overwhelming - we thought we would be there maybe every other weekend, or would just have more flexibility. As everyone has said, that's just not so. Our days are cuckoo banana nuts. It never ends. We have had ONE day off together in our first year.
We drive a lot. My kindle reads books to me while I drive - i didn't even have a car before we bought the place!
What I'm trying to say, though, is that we did it. We've done a year bi-located, not being on-site, coming home for a few days then there for a few days - and, it's worked. Our reviews are great. We're happy. We're doing what we set out to do, and really having fun doing it. I can't say that we'll say the same thing in a year or in five or ten years...but for now, it's working.
Will your plan work? I don't know (<--understatement of the year). But I do know that there's a lot of ways people do this thing and while it for sure won't work out the way you have planned...that doesn't mean it won't work out!
 

JBloggs

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We had a guest say to us this past weekend after asking where we moved from etc, "Oh yeah this is the laid back lifestyle." I didn't correct him and say "From the pot into the fire!" is what it really is.
Again, if you are not running an inn, it does look like bon bons and lemonade on the porch. We're glad we give guests that impression, we want THEM to relax and enjoy all our hard work.
 
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Ditto to all of the above.....I live on site w /only 2 cottages but work down the street.Guest have locked themselves out at times or want the bikes to use, so working close is an asset.Our code here is the Innkeeper/Owner has to live on site and YES the Innkeeper has to be the owner in this town. It is alot of hard work but I still enjoy it all 8.5 yrs later.Mary in Bridgewater
 

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Welcome Sixstones. I have 3 rooms in Podunk. I live on-site and cannot imagine even living next door. I, because I am in Podunk and a bit over 6 miles from the Intestate, have a very liberal in actuality (posted and printed policy says 3 to 7 PM) check-in. For instance, I am late checking in responding mainly because my eyelids were not functioning in an open position most of yesterday. It was 3 AM before we got the guests in-house and they needed (not wanted - needed was the word) a 7:30 AM breakfast so I did not bother going to bed until after 1 PM after doing what I absolutely had to - and between phone calls, I actually got about 2 hours of good sleep in the 4 hour window I had until band rehearsal.
Maybe it is because I am NOT an organized person, but my days never go as planned.
A 10 minute drive is long enough to fall asleep behind the wheel. With a 40 minute drive the possibility/probability of joining the singing group Asleep att he Wheel is even greater and increases your chances of joining the harp section or working your guardian angel overtime. Personally, I think I went through a lot of guardian angels in my 10 years of working graveyard shift as they collapsed from exhaustion. Fortunately I was driving on country roads during non-commute hours........
 
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