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birdwatcher

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This seems to be the best place to ask for opinions, answers and advise. Here is the scenario:
My husband and I have owned an Inn now for four years. This is the short version, anyway our goal was to own, operate and experience the wonderful life of Innkeeping and WE LOVE IT. Although the Inn we bought was not a running B & B at the time we remodeled, cleaned it, landscaped it and thought well "if we build it they will come" it didn't exactly go that way. Dont get me wrong...we did good, reveenues have increased from year one, but not enough to put it back into the B & B and we are very rural but not so far from everything, we have a very unique place and its nothing that anyone has seen before. In other words we are a "diamond in the rough" and because we don't have the $$$ for extensive advertising and with the economy going south this year we are seriously hurting. Now the good news is that we bought the place as residences, we live in a small unincorporated town and it has been a B & B on and off since 85.
So this is our sort of "saving the place" plan, we wanted to work for another Inn for a number of years until we can open back up with good credit (which we are in dire staits now) and at least be able to save this wonderful place. Not to say that if someone walks thourgh the hedges as we did and fall completly in love with the place we would not sell..we would. Anyway, we have an offer from another Inn in another state that wants us; the thing is that we don't know if the offer is standard:
20% commission on all B & B revenue (4 rooms,2 suites and 2 cottages). 10% commission paid on retail items sold, $20 bonus foe each night inn is full, a 2 bed. apt with all utilities paid for.($17K value)
Est. income in '09 was $28K
Its seasonal April-Nov but we can reside there all year long. We don't really want to mention the Inn but their revenue has been very consitent since '07.
Appreciate all advise, opinions and HELP?!
Thanks in advance!
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Sorry to hear your palce is struggling.
We are also an off the beaten path B&B, but close enough to the "city" nearby to attract not only folks visiting town but also coming for our very centralized location for day tripping.
Our "city's" average annual occupancy rate for small lodging under 10 rooms is just over 70%, so the potential is there. From our research we knew that outlying B&Bs should expect to be anywhere from 10-20% below the in-town places, so we're still comfortable where we're at financially.
This is our fifth year of operation after starting from scratch and our third year was our high water mark so far at just under 50% AAO for the year. We took a slight dip last year and this year will probably be a little less than last year, but we have a secondary income stream and we're gonna get through it.
Our goal from the beginning was that if we could get to 45% or above once established, this could be a comfortable living at our size. We fully accept that unless we add at least one more room, we'll never get rich doing this, but we love living here, feel like we do this pretty well and the response even in these trying economic times has been very positive.
We have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, etc. in place if something should happen to one of us, the market collapsed, we got tired of doing this, we came to our senses about working together, etc.
Was the 28K for 2009, for your place or the one thinking of hiring you two?
I don't see how you afford to do it frankly. 20% of that isn't enough to live on even with the free lodging and possibly all the leftover food you can eat.
280k, then maybe it pencils out.
Knowing what we all know about the long hours of physical labor, the required marketing efforts for a B&B even in a popular area, the reuqired people skills, etc... I'd not undervalue those assets you possess even if times are tough and you feel up against a wall.
The economy is bouncing back and there are signs that it isn't just a fleeting recovery. We can all only hope that a lot of the excess has been wrung out and that eventually our average guest types will start feeling more secure and have been paying down their debts, reining in their spending and will begin to pamper themselves with little getaways.
My biggest fear for you is that the distance you'll be away will make keeping your property up hard to do and relying on others or contractors to do upkeep and repairs is expensive and not always reliable.
How often do you foresee yourselves being able to break away and get home to check on things, etc?
What is the job market like near home for the skill sets you both possess?
Even if it required long commutes, my gut tells me that getting jobs anywhere within an hour each way from home for decent pay would be preferable to the inevitable disconnection you'd probably feel from your property being that far away and plowing your energy and headspace into someone else's business dealings.
Just some food for thought and most certainly should not be taken as my trying to tell you what to do.
Good luck and keep your chins up, if you survived four years, you possess a set of very diverse work skills that 95% of the world's workforce does not.
 

Copperhead

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I wish I knew the answer to this...I believe there are a couple of members that can provide you with this info.
One question they may have is: You mentioned 28K for '09 as est. income...Is that the INN's income or the income for the resident inkeeper? Does that include the value of the apt. or is that additional?
 

birdwatcher

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I wish I knew the answer to this...I believe there are a couple of members that can provide you with this info.
One question they may have is: You mentioned 28K for '09 as est. income...Is that the INN's income or the income for the resident inkeeper? Does that include the value of the apt. or is that additional?.
The 28K is the income for the innkeepers this does not include the value for the apt.
We are not in a great place for jobs, its a very poor job market here even in good economic times, we know we are not going to get rich doing this, we just want a comfortable living. You made good points (first response) and we both thank you for it. Yes, you are right about being so far away from our property and you are right not to make a decision because we are against the wall. If only we could forsee the future...but we cant. We love this profession and we truly had a plan B and a plan C, but plan B (getting a job) is not so easy here and plan C is not working out either (selling) which will just break my heart. We know we've made it this far...so why not go the mile right? W promised to give it 5 years we are coming up on 5 next year.
Thanks, can't wait to read other's advise.
 

GeorgiaGirl

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If you took the Innkeeper position would you leave your current home/inn empty?
Another question, is your only problem right now is not having enough funds to do the extra advertising you think would help get people in the rooms?
 

swirt

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The inn apartment is only a $17K value if you have no place else to stay. You have a house already, unless you are going to rent it out while you are gone.
$28K per year (if all things go well) split two ways??? $14K per person? Seems like you could make that someplace else without working so hard. It also seems like it is way short of what you'd need to come back to your inn and save the place.
 

seashanty

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as an innkeeper/not owner, the package sounds average. much more generous than some.
how much is your mortgage and taxes?
is the offer only open to you as a couple or can one of you be at the other place if you have bookings at your own b&b? if the offer is for you as a team, must you both be there all the time or is it for maintenance and yard work that both are to be there? (you see where i am going with this)
during the 'off season' for the place that would employ you, can you get guests into your own place or are you seasonal as well? it looks like you are year round.
how will you keep your own property secure if you are not there?
i totally understand the need for the income and think i get the reference to credit ~ you are at the end of your rope financially it seems?
a question you are not asking, and please do not be offended. but your website needs big, beautiful pictures to show your place and the area off to better advantage. especially on the main page. it looks like you already have the pictures ready to go ~ if you are willing ~ i am sure others here would be happy to offer suggestions for revamping your website which i assume you maintain yourselves.
 

Breakfast Diva

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If you took the job and left your home/inn, wouldn't you still have a mortgage to pay? It doesn't seem like 28K would be enough to put you in a good position.
Without knowing what kind of income you're currently bringing in, it's very difficult for us to get the whole picture. Do you think that if you had more money to advertise your B&B you might be able to stay where you are? How are the B&Bs in the bigger areas around you doing?Could you take on some long term renters/roommates to bring in some income?
I'm so sorry you're going through this stressful time.
 
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