Putting Feelers Out...New Smyrna Beach, FL Motel

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So we bought a 20-room motel one block from the beach. Our plan was to spend Year One renovating and building up the business, working 18 hours a day. (CHECK!) Year Two was to back off a little bit, take a day off here and there, but we still work quite a bit and that's okay. (CHECK!) Well now it's almost Year THREE and our plan was to find a couple to live on premises, take care of the day-to-day, and we'd be the extreme part-timers working 25 hours a week.

So my question for all you long-timers is: how realistic is it to think we can find a couple to run this place on a daily basis, take care of maintenance issues, and really treat it as their own? How do we figure out an appropriate salary? (I'd imagine a base + incentive pay?) The office is open 8am to 9pm, but you know how that goes, and if they're on premises instead of us, they will need to be the ones on call 24/7. I will do all bookkeeping, My husband will continue to do "projects" (painting, repairs, etc.) along with the new employees. We will live close-by and be very available and visible. We have housekeepers, so the couple won't be responsible for cleaning guest rooms, but they will be doing laundry (no big deal, we have commercial washer and dryer). It's a cute little place with the absolute nicest guests in a resort town, so they won't be dealing with bums or drugs or anything.

The apartment has a living room and kitchen (attached to the office, so it's not entirely private because it's a little bit of a staging area) and an upstairs bedroom and bathroom and balcony--one block from the beach!--which is completely private.

I know how difficult it was to find part-time office employees and housekeepers, and I'm wondering how difficult it will be to find a couple to fill this position--or is it even possible right now? We'd sure appreciate any thoughts or suggestions! THANKS for reading!!
 

gillumhouse

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but they will be doing laundry (no big deal, we have commercial washer and dryer).

I hate to disabuse you of a thought, however the above statement almost had me spraying my monitor with my coffee. I have 3 rooms with a large capacity washer and keeping up with THAT laundry is interesting. 20 rooms, on the beach will generate a huge amount of laundry daily - and there may be sand in that laundry to contend with also (not certain how the washer will like that, or the drains. Laundry service is a better choice to get innkeepers.
 
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but they will be doing laundry (no big deal, we have commercial washer and dryer).

I hate to disabuse you of a thought, however the above statement almost had me spraying my monitor with my coffee. I have 3 rooms with a large capacity washer and keeping up with THAT laundry is interesting. 20 rooms, on the beach will generate a huge amount of laundry daily - and there may be sand in that laundry to contend with also (not certain how the washer will like that, or the drains. Laundry service is a better choice to get innkeepers.
Oh, I've been doing it for almost two years. And they were doing it for 20 years before that. You just throw in the loads throughout the day; it's really not a big deal. Fold at the front desk. A lot of little motels work that way. Front desk workers are used to doing the laundry.
 

JimBoone

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Well now it's almost Year THREE and our plan was to find a couple to live on premises, take care of the day-to-day, and we'd be the extreme part-timers working 25 hours a week.

The office is open 8am to 9pm, but you know how that goes, and if they're on premises instead of us, they will need to be the ones on call 24/7.
I sort of understand, a bit over 30 years ago our idea was to sort of retire and run a little motel in our vacation area. Wonderful ideas here on the forum, but as motel people we are the odd ones, I think only a few of us on the forum.

Negative thoughts: you have the pride of ownership and all the profits yet seem tired of the grind, how large a salary would it take to make you want to continue? I don't mean to sound ugly but think on that a few minutes, isn't that what you're asking?

What would make this job/business better for you? Seems like that would also answer what would make it more appealing to the folks you would like to hire. Would there be a benefit to dividing the load? Guess I'm thinking an older settled couple may be ideal for handling your money and happy being at home but maybe not ideal at hustling with the washing and handyperson jobs. On the flip side the young person good at those jobs may not like being tied down at home. Think outside the box.

We are smaller 8 rooms, mom & pop, did everything ourselves, well mom did, I worked outside until past retirement age and was the night and weekend helper. For us, I'm the old person that handles the desk, calls, and odd things that happen. Linen gets sent out these days. Daughter and son-in-law live nearby and do the hard work and help look after mom and I.
 
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I sort of understand, a bit over 30 years ago our idea was to sort of retire and run a little motel in our vacation area. Wonderful ideas here on the forum, but as motel people we are the odd ones, I think only a few of us on the forum.

Negative thoughts: you have the pride of ownership and all the profits yet seem tired of the grind, how large a salary would it take to make you want to continue? I don't mean to sound ugly but think on that a few minutes, isn't that what you're asking?

What would make this job/business better for you? Seems like that would also answer what would make it more appealing to the folks you would like to hire. Would there be a benefit to dividing the load? Guess I'm thinking an older settled couple may be ideal for handling your money and happy being at home but maybe not ideal at hustling with the washing and handyperson jobs. On the flip side the young person good at those jobs may not like being tied down at home. Think outside the box.

We are smaller 8 rooms, mom & pop, did everything ourselves, well mom did, I worked outside until past retirement age and was the night and weekend helper. For us, I'm the old person that handles the desk, calls, and odd things that happen. Linen gets sent out these days. Daughter and son-in-law live nearby and do the hard work and help look after mom and I.
You make some excellent points; thanks for your reply! I think I see where you're going...we would not be trying to get them for a cheap price. We're planning on providing accommodations a block from the beach (rents are 2-3K in our area) with a good salary.

My husband is 72 and we had a three-year plan to work 80 hours a week, but when that three years is up (this spring), we want to enjoy life a little and don't mind paying someone else to watch the shop! Your best point is older, settled couple vs. younger hustlers. We will think about that.

(By the way, I think laundry sounds a lot worse than it is. The office is open 13 hours a day...there's plenty of time to fold during Law & Order re-runs. It's never been an issue for any part-time or full-time managers. Just part of the job.)

Anyhow, I've always been in the bar and restaurant business....never had to hire any hoteliers! I was just wondering, in this horrible labor market, do these couples still exist and how far in advance do we need to start looking?
 

theinnonthird

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So we bought a 20-room motel one block from the beach. Our plan was to spend Year One renovating and building up the business, working 18 hours a day. (CHECK!) Year Two was to back off a little bit, take a day off here and there, but we still work quite a bit and that's okay. (CHECK!) Well now it's almost Year THREE and our plan was to find a couple to live on premises, take care of the day-to-day, and we'd be the extreme part-timers working 25 hours a week.

So my question for all you long-timers is: how realistic is it to think we can find a couple to run this place on a daily basis, take care of maintenance issues, and really treat it as their own? How do we figure out an appropriate salary? (I'd imagine a base + incentive pay?) The office is open 8am to 9pm, but you know how that goes, and if they're on premises instead of us, they will need to be the ones on call 24/7. I will do all bookkeeping, My husband will continue to do "projects" (painting, repairs, etc.) along with the new employees. We will live close-by and be very available and visible. We have housekeepers, so the couple won't be responsible for cleaning guest rooms, but they will be doing laundry (no big deal, we have commercial washer and dryer). It's a cute little place with the absolute nicest guests in a resort town, so they won't be dealing with bums or drugs or anything.

The apartment has a living room and kitchen (attached to the office, so it's not entirely private because it's a little bit of a staging area) and an upstairs bedroom and bathroom and balcony--one block from the beach!--which is completely private.

I know how difficult it was to find part-time office employees and housekeepers, and I'm wondering how difficult it will be to find a couple to fill this position--or is it even possible right now? We'd sure appreciate any thoughts or suggestions! THANKS for reading!!
Congrats on your venture and for having stuck it out these first few years!!!
Here's my two cents, from a fellow hotel owner/innkeeper of 20 guest rooms, also here in Florida.
We are in our 18th year now, with each year having gotten busier and busier and busier. For the first 9 of these 18 years we lived onsite and did everything ourselves (besides housekeeping). Since then, we moved out and have had an assistant innkeeper who lives on site. We still work the day shift EVERY day, but no longer work evenings or have to be on call during the night. It is still a labor of love though. A great place to advertise is on the bbteamdotcom website. You can place a wanted add there and also browse the page were prospective innkeepers are looking for an opportunity - at no cost. We found our first innkeeper through this page. The two that followed happened to be former guests of ours that saw our wanted add on our facebook page. Also, make sure you consult an employment attorney beforehand, so you understand the dos and don'ts in regards to your employee's rights to overtime pay, how on-call time is handled, etc., especially as your expectation is for them to be working 24/7. Yes, nighttime when they are sleeping can still be considered working hours if your expectations are for them to remain on the premises and available.
And in regards to the laundry... We do our own laundry as well, and it takes up a huge chunk of our day. If you have 2 people working, then it is indeed (mostly) no big deal, but for just one person, it can very quickly turn into a headache. Especially whenever you have chatty guests with 17 1/2 "very important" questions to ask and 23+ travel stories to tell you. Nothing is less fun than folding laundry at 9 pm because you fell behind in laundry during the day. Make sure you include a flat screen with streaming service in your laundry area. Makes my hubby much happier doing laundry :)
And one last thing to note: NOBODY will ever work as hard as you and care as much as you about your business than yourself. Good luck with finding the perfect person/couple! They are out there somewhere - you've got this!
 

JimBoone

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1] I think I see where you're going...we would not be trying to get them for a cheap price.

2] My husband is 72 (this spring), we want to enjoy life a little and don't mind paying someone else to watch the shop!

3] I think laundry sounds a lot worse than it is. The office is open 13 hours a day

4] I was just wondering, in this horrible labor market, do these couples still exist and how far in advance do we need to start looking?
1] No not really "price", the employee wants the same thing that you want, "enjoy life a little".
2] I'm coming up on 80, so yes, now is the time. Health and energy start dropping faster after 70
3] Not so much laundry but time, staff the office for 13 hours and on call for the other 11 hours, isn't this the part you desire to escape from, that constant responsibility? Married to the job?
4] With help wanted signs at every business it seems a difficult market. The trend seems to be "quality of life" more than just dollars. My real suggestion is what can you do [for you or the future employee] to make the job more enjoyable? Perhaps a day person to staff the office, 24/7 seems difficult to sell these days.

I find your quest very similar to my own. I waited too long. We are smaller, live on site, made it difficult to hire a manager. I made the pitch to our daughter to be that person, move next door, help, and slowly take over. Too quickly reached that point where going, doing, and enjoying life seemed to take more energy/effort than we had to offer. We are blessed and cared for, but that play time got a way.

I don't have the answer, but I can see we need to change. Wife/mom was always happy to be at home while daughter is more like me/dad, restless, don't think she will want to just sit here day after day and live the way mom and I did, at least hopefully she will find fun in life before getting too old to enjoy.
 

gillumhouse

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Oh, I've been doing it for almost two years. And they were doing it for 20 years before that. You just throw in the loads throughout the day; it's really not a big deal. Fold at the front desk. A lot of little motels work that way. Front desk workers are used to doing the laundry.

I do not look at 20 rooms as little. I am pushing 80 and am quite happy with 1 room at a time. Today I am playing catch-up on laundry - grandson left & flipped room for the incoming but laundry now - and then had 2 rooms for timekeepers as part of a sponsorship (slapped a breakfast in font of them yesterday as I worked on the feast) so they need flipped & laundry today while the regular guests are out. Many years ago I worked as relief night audit at a Howard Johnson and part of that was veing front desk. Had folding laundry been part of that job, I would not have taken the job.
 
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Congrats on your venture and for having stuck it out these first few years!!!
Here's my two cents, from a fellow hotel owner/innkeeper of 20 guest rooms, also here in Florida.
We are in our 18th year now, with each year having gotten busier and busier and busier. For the first 9 of these 18 years we lived onsite and did everything ourselves (besides housekeeping). Since then, we moved out and have had an assistant innkeeper who lives on site. We still work the day shift EVERY day, but no longer work evenings or have to be on call during the night. It is still a labor of love though. A great place to advertise is on the bbteamdotcom website. You can place a wanted add there and also browse the page were prospective innkeepers are looking for an opportunity - at no cost. We found our first innkeeper through this page. The two that followed happened to be former guests of ours that saw our wanted add on our facebook page. Also, make sure you consult an employment attorney beforehand, so you understand the dos and don'ts in regards to your employee's rights to overtime pay, how on-call time is handled, etc., especially as your expectation is for them to be working 24/7. Yes, nighttime when they are sleeping can still be considered working hours if your expectations are for them to remain on the premises and available.
And in regards to the laundry... We do our own laundry as well, and it takes up a huge chunk of our day. If you have 2 people working, then it is indeed (mostly) no big deal, but for just one person, it can very quickly turn into a headache. Especially whenever you have chatty guests with 17 1/2 "very important" questions to ask and 23+ travel stories to tell you. Nothing is less fun than folding laundry at 9 pm because you fell behind in laundry during the day. Make sure you include a flat screen with streaming service in your laundry area. Makes my hubby much happier doing laundry :)
And one last thing to note: NOBODY will ever work as hard as you and care as much as you about your business than yourself. Good luck with finding the perfect person/couple! They are out there somewhere - you've got this!
Whew! Been busy but read your reply and thank you for the recommendation for bbteamdotcom. I found another site so I'll post on both.
We will consult the attorney--good idea!
And I probably wasn't clear: we certainly plan to keep our part-time 25-30 hour a week person, and then we will be pitching in also for coverage, so the newbies will get some time off.
THANK YOU for the words of wisdom. Your advice is VERY HELPFUL.
 

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