Pet deposits

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Trini

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We are a pet friendly inn and charge just a nominal additional fee for guests that want to bring their dog. Usually this works out fine, but there are occasional problems. Housekeeping has reported that a current guest's room has dog pee all over the place. Looking for advice from more seasoned innkeepers... Do you charge a refundable deposit? if so, how much? Is a written policy required to charge a fee after the fact or is this kind of thing a "given"? Looking for a diplomatic way to alert guests of damage deposits. Thanks in advance for your responses! :)
 

JimBoone

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After some ill experiences and our own health and allergies we chose not to accept pets, but as to a fee or damage deposit it may come down to the style of your operation. If your flooring is stone, tile or vinyl and pet pee means a more involved mopping may be time to increase the nominal fee a bit and/or not have these specific folks as guests in the future. If your flooring is carpet and pad and these folks have used your room as a kennel for an untrained pet, then I'd be very annoyed and the only real solution is an expensive replacement of the carpet and pad, and I'd probably be pointing out the damage to the guest and asking for some compensation, yet after the fact, you likely lose.
This sad experience may be a teaching moment, would be for me anyway. I see several choices: 1, no pets, but probably bad for business if you have a following of pet owners, 2, if this is an isolated experience, raise the pet fee slightly to cover such events and consider it the cost of doing business, 3, consider a sizeable up front refundable damage deposit, but that too may deter the nice folks, 4, start thinking about your next room design/upgrade using hard surface flooring.
 

Morticia

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What policies do you have in place right now? Do you have anything the guest signs at check in that relates to damages? Because these guests are still in house, I would go to the room to speak with them and point out what their pet is doing is unacceptable and if they can't stop that from happening, they will be leaving in the morning.
As to policies - you have to have them written down. And they are still hard to enforce. However, one big one is the dog cannot be left alone in the room. Ever.
We did not allow puppies or dogs that used pee pads. Dogs had to be fully trained to relieve themselves outside and they had to be with their people at all times.
Up the nominal fee to something that discourages people who have not trained their dog, but think it's 'cute' to travel with them. There is a tipping point you will have to experiment with. If the rate is too high, you will suddenly have a lot of 'service animals.'
I'd say $35 is a good starting point. Or, less if you make it per night. Say $25/night or $35/stay.
The straw that broke the camel's back here was a guest who never took her dog out. We didn't know that until she checked out. She spent most of the day in the room so we were not able to clean until she left.
We now only allow legacy pups. Dogs we know and love!
 

Tom

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We have had 2 of 5 rooms OK for pets for 10 years. Have had a few problems, but not enough to make me want to change to no-dog or change policies. We charge $25 per animal, once per visit and we spend it on extra room cleaning.
In most cases problems have been dogs left alone, even just during breakfast, and often rescue dogs that haven't been acclimated. Most expensive is scratching at the door -- it took me about 3 hours to refinish one (I did not charge for it, it was a many-repeat guest with a new dog). I have one other slightly damaged I have put off fixing; I'll make a removable protective panel to hang for it when I do. The panel and the protective cover for chair and bed will be part of welcome conversation: glad you're here, what protection can we offer?
Dog owners are usually good and have paid or offered to pay when damage is obvious. We just get unusually good guests so I've not implemented a pet deposit policy.
Most useful is we say "no pets without prior approval" and almost all the time they call and showing that tiny bit of responsibility means a lot about how well the pet will behave. I'd say the best possible policy is to have a person-to-person talk about dog's behavior and needs. If dog is young, ask if it is trained, ask if it goes up on furniture, talk about what they'll do when at breakfast, observe: is it a barker, a jumper -- if so ask how they will be able to keep neighbor guests happy -- make it clear: their dog = their responsibility.
 

Morticia

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We have had 2 of 5 rooms OK for pets for 10 years. Have had a few problems, but not enough to make me want to change to no-dog or change policies. We charge $25 per animal, once per visit and we spend it on extra room cleaning.
In most cases problems have been dogs left alone, even just during breakfast, and often rescue dogs that haven't been acclimated. Most expensive is scratching at the door -- it took me about 3 hours to refinish one (I did not charge for it, it was a many-repeat guest with a new dog). I have one other slightly damaged I have put off fixing; I'll make a removable protective panel to hang for it when I do. The panel and the protective cover for chair and bed will be part of welcome conversation: glad you're here, what protection can we offer?
Dog owners are usually good and have paid or offered to pay when damage is obvious. We just get unusually good guests so I've not implemented a pet deposit policy.
Most useful is we say "no pets without prior approval" and almost all the time they call and showing that tiny bit of responsibility means a lot about how well the pet will behave. I'd say the best possible policy is to have a person-to-person talk about dog's behavior and needs. If dog is young, ask if it is trained, ask if it goes up on furniture, talk about what they'll do when at breakfast, observe: is it a barker, a jumper -- if so ask how they will be able to keep neighbor guests happy -- make it clear: their dog = their responsibility..
I really should not be laughing this much, but your 'what protection can we offer?' was too funny!
 

Tom

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We have had 2 of 5 rooms OK for pets for 10 years. Have had a few problems, but not enough to make me want to change to no-dog or change policies. We charge $25 per animal, once per visit and we spend it on extra room cleaning.
In most cases problems have been dogs left alone, even just during breakfast, and often rescue dogs that haven't been acclimated. Most expensive is scratching at the door -- it took me about 3 hours to refinish one (I did not charge for it, it was a many-repeat guest with a new dog). I have one other slightly damaged I have put off fixing; I'll make a removable protective panel to hang for it when I do. The panel and the protective cover for chair and bed will be part of welcome conversation: glad you're here, what protection can we offer?
Dog owners are usually good and have paid or offered to pay when damage is obvious. We just get unusually good guests so I've not implemented a pet deposit policy.
Most useful is we say "no pets without prior approval" and almost all the time they call and showing that tiny bit of responsibility means a lot about how well the pet will behave. I'd say the best possible policy is to have a person-to-person talk about dog's behavior and needs. If dog is young, ask if it is trained, ask if it goes up on furniture, talk about what they'll do when at breakfast, observe: is it a barker, a jumper -- if so ask how they will be able to keep neighbor guests happy -- make it clear: their dog = their responsibility..
I really should not be laughing this much, but your 'what protection can we offer?' was too funny!
.
My "in case you forgot" drawer has the tooth brushes, little toothpastes I get from my dentist, band aids, ibuprofen and a few high quality condoms. With my clientele, they probably have raised more eyebrows than ... , but I pride myself on concierge service.
 

Morticia

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We have had 2 of 5 rooms OK for pets for 10 years. Have had a few problems, but not enough to make me want to change to no-dog or change policies. We charge $25 per animal, once per visit and we spend it on extra room cleaning.
In most cases problems have been dogs left alone, even just during breakfast, and often rescue dogs that haven't been acclimated. Most expensive is scratching at the door -- it took me about 3 hours to refinish one (I did not charge for it, it was a many-repeat guest with a new dog). I have one other slightly damaged I have put off fixing; I'll make a removable protective panel to hang for it when I do. The panel and the protective cover for chair and bed will be part of welcome conversation: glad you're here, what protection can we offer?
Dog owners are usually good and have paid or offered to pay when damage is obvious. We just get unusually good guests so I've not implemented a pet deposit policy.
Most useful is we say "no pets without prior approval" and almost all the time they call and showing that tiny bit of responsibility means a lot about how well the pet will behave. I'd say the best possible policy is to have a person-to-person talk about dog's behavior and needs. If dog is young, ask if it is trained, ask if it goes up on furniture, talk about what they'll do when at breakfast, observe: is it a barker, a jumper -- if so ask how they will be able to keep neighbor guests happy -- make it clear: their dog = their responsibility..
I really should not be laughing this much, but your 'what protection can we offer?' was too funny!
.
My "in case you forgot" drawer has the tooth brushes, little toothpastes I get from my dentist, band aids, ibuprofen and a few high quality condoms. With my clientele, they probably have raised more eyebrows than ... , but I pride myself on concierge service.
.
You just keep knocking those jokes out of the park...
 
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