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Running a B&B while working full time?

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boop68

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We are both trying to work full time until our new B&B gets up to full occupancy -and it's driving us crazy!! Is anyone else doing this, and if so, what tips do you have for finding the time for everything that needs to be done??
 

Morticia

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Do you run the Mount Magazine Lodge? It seems like a rather large property to manage if you are also both holding down outside jobs.
Now, if you don't manage that property, here's my take on owning a business while devoting all of your time to other endeavors...it doesn't work. If you want business, you have to run a business. If no one is answering the phones, no one is available for guests to talk with, no one is doing all the work that needs to be done around the property, then it'll eventually fail.
We are talking here about one of us taking an outside job because the season was SO bad. BUT, that means the projects don't get done. Which means guests come back to the same issues as this year. Not good. Guests need to see constant maintenance and improvement or they look elsewhere.
 

gillumhouse

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I do not think it is possible to have a successful B & B if BOTH of you are working full-time elsewhere. One cannot serve two Masters. I do not think one can give an employer what is contracted for as a full-time employee while attempting to get another SERVICE business rolling. To give service, one must be there to give it.
Better for one person to serve the Master holding the paycheck and bennies while the other serves the guest business by giving true service. There is one innkeeper here who does work full-time and B & B, but with one room and states the breakfast parameters that work for her. And I believe she works graveyard shift. Having been there, I know sleep is something she must be giving up....
 

EmptyNest

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Sorry, but someone has to be in charge of the inn FULLTIME. It is just not possible to do justice to the business if someone is not there in charge. I know it can be tough if you need the money, but you have to decide what business you are in.
Where are you located? How big of an inn do you have? Who is running it now??? Do you have staff?? If so, who is supervising them. If you really want to make it in this business, it requires a 'hands on" and a personal touch with your guests.
Service is what appeals to people. You can have the most upscale beautiful inn in the world, but if you don't treat your guests with a personal touch, you will lose them. I have said time and time again it is the innkeeper that brings guests back and referrals from those satisfied guests. If you are not there to give it your all, then you are doing a disservice to the B & B.
 

Suzie Q

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Hi!
We have one guest room, formerly having had two in our previous residence. The two room inn was rather common looking and had few guests. We have PLENTY of guests at this location, semi rural, up on a hill. Since we changed locations, we only have one room.
Hubby and I each work a different shift, I work nights, he works evenings. I greet the guests, and eventually get enough sleep for the night ahead. Hubby helps me with breakfast when I get home. I then clean and get a nap before the next set of guests come.
We are anticipating moving to another home, a Victorian or lake side. The largest problem we face is making sure each bedroom has a bathroom in/nearby. That and how far/close it is to a "major city" such as Omaha.
So far, work and bnb'ing is working
Carol
 

swirt

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DW and I both have full time jobs while we run the B&B and run it successfully. The caveat is that we are in a seasonal getaway area and we run it when it fits around our work. Weekends only for most of the season, but the two months that DW is not working (she's a teacher) we open full time. Granted our B&B is not supporting either one of us, so it doesn't have to support either one of us. There is no financial pressure that way at least. We are full for just about every opening we make available for guests and we could easilly ramp it up to support one of us if one of us decided to quit working. Location, location, location works to our favor. There are a lot of inns that couldn't successfully do what we are doing. (okay there is all the positive stuff)
The negative is that we rarely have a weekend because we are just working FULL time. We get run down pretty rapidly.
Tips to getting things done?
  • Online reservations. They will save you a lot of time answering the phone.
    On our answering machine, we encourage people to book online...if they have questions, we'll call them back.
  • Answering machine - We rarely answer our business line (again, most places can't get away with this, but we are fortunate that demand for our place far exceeds the supply of rooms...location, location, setting) If people have questions, we call them back.
  • Divide up the work and stick to roles as much as life allows. We each do our parts and don't have to worry about the other part, because I know DW will get her part done....if an emergency happens, we know how to do the other person's job. This whole recommendation is just to avoid daily confusion over who is going to do what.
  • Since you have outside jobs, you may be able to afford to hire some things done (like repairs or upgrades).
  • Since you have outside jobs, recognise that you don't have to bend over backwards to be all things to all people. You aren't as desperate for every possible guest so when someone calls and wants you to rent out your rooms for 2.5 days for a wedding and wants all kinds of things you don't usually do....you can say, "I'm sorry, we don't provide that service."
 

seashanty

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both working full time outside the b&b ... that is a lot to handle. i cannot imagine it. i only have lots of questions.
do you have help? are you working different shifts? how many rooms? what type of breakfast do you offer?
i know one couple ... they both work outside the b&b. breakfast is continental. there are just three guestrooms. but, still, they race around trying to get everything done. and sometimes they have to say 'no vacancy' because they need to get caught up with cleaning and laundry and LIVING. it's a nice place but very basic and low rates.
 

Mini

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It just plain doesn't work.
We tried it for 2 years, me working outside and DH home trying to do the renos, greet guests for 6 rooms, make and serve breakfast, and chat with the guests, clean rooms, keep the place looking nice. I would come home from my 8 - 5 job and start working again at the b & b, do the books, do the shopping for b & b and well just no life and as we all know our busy time is weekends, so never a weekend off. DH, a carpenter, was just not getting the renos done and we had and have many. In June/08, after a few months of my DH pestering me to quit my other job (which I loved), I did give my notice. I haven't looked back. Our b & b is busier than it was before I quit and I now have a life again. I can wake up in the morning and actually be with the guests instead of missing out on that fun stuff. Guests like it when the innkeepers are there to chat with. No more stress wondering if DH remebered to clean the toilet in one room or to check the corner of the shower for a bar of soap or the best one was "I sure hope he is home at check in time" (he always lost track of time) or "I hope he doesn't sleep through his alarm". Since I have quit that other job in June (which I thought I needed), he has managed to put in 2 additional bathrooms, including jetted clawfoot tubs and has made two rooms into one. But best of all I have my sanity back.
Oh and I had an office job with my own private office so I had my b & b phone on call forward to my cell. I was actually taking reservations at my other job which was so bad. I felt guilty all the time.
Hey I have my life back and absolutely love being at home all the time, even though it is hectic. At least I know what is going on here. I am finding out how few clothes I really need.
My son, who lives in Colorado, has a web design company and gives me as much or as little copy editing work as I need so I do manage to make ends meet when we are not so busy. If at least one of you could stay at home, you will partly get your sanity back. I didn't have it when there was one here full time.
Oh and did I mention, DH and I did not get along in the kitchen for the first couple of months. It wasn't easy but we have gotten it all together now and know our place there.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Running a B&B is more than a full time job in itself. It is all consuming. It is not just physically draining. That is what I don't think any aspiring comprehends. It is MORE than being self employed, it is more than owning your own business, you live inside of it, you are always there. As others have said, you cannot be successful at any job unless you give it your all, you cannot have other jobs - this is it 24/7.
Case in point - burn out big time when say even one of you works the B&B full time and another leaves to work outside the B&B. Then comes home and works the B&B, there is no break, no relief, it is never ending. Even in the slow season you work work work work.
We went away for a few days and came back to it piled up and waiting for us. Took DH all Saturday to seal up the door on the cottage and a couple walls where air is getting in, repaired a fence, cleaned out leaves that were a disaster from the guest entry (not even the leaves everywhere else). That took him from 8am til 730pm on his Saturday. This is what it is like - every weekend of the year. No breaks.
Meanwhile I was the inn-side innkeeper working all day in here.
 

Morticia

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It just plain doesn't work.
We tried it for 2 years, me working outside and DH home trying to do the renos, greet guests for 6 rooms, make and serve breakfast, and chat with the guests, clean rooms, keep the place looking nice. I would come home from my 8 - 5 job and start working again at the b & b, do the books, do the shopping for b & b and well just no life and as we all know our busy time is weekends, so never a weekend off. DH, a carpenter, was just not getting the renos done and we had and have many. In June/08, after a few months of my DH pestering me to quit my other job (which I loved), I did give my notice. I haven't looked back. Our b & b is busier than it was before I quit and I now have a life again. I can wake up in the morning and actually be with the guests instead of missing out on that fun stuff. Guests like it when the innkeepers are there to chat with. No more stress wondering if DH remebered to clean the toilet in one room or to check the corner of the shower for a bar of soap or the best one was "I sure hope he is home at check in time" (he always lost track of time) or "I hope he doesn't sleep through his alarm". Since I have quit that other job in June (which I thought I needed), he has managed to put in 2 additional bathrooms, including jetted clawfoot tubs and has made two rooms into one. But best of all I have my sanity back.
Oh and I had an office job with my own private office so I had my b & b phone on call forward to my cell. I was actually taking reservations at my other job which was so bad. I felt guilty all the time.
Hey I have my life back and absolutely love being at home all the time, even though it is hectic. At least I know what is going on here. I am finding out how few clothes I really need.
My son, who lives in Colorado, has a web design company and gives me as much or as little copy editing work as I need so I do manage to make ends meet when we are not so busy. If at least one of you could stay at home, you will partly get your sanity back. I didn't have it when there was one here full time.
Oh and did I mention, DH and I did not get along in the kitchen for the first couple of months. It wasn't easy but we have gotten it all together now and know our place there..
knowlesl said:
Oh and did I mention, DH and I did not get along in the kitchen for the first couple of months. It wasn't easy but we have gotten it all together now and know our place there.
That wasn't asked, but it is SO important...when you go from being 2 individuals with jobs where you are in charge (of whatever) to being 2 individuals in charge of the same thing...watch out! It took us longer than 2 months to figure this out!
 

Copperhead

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B68 - Several others stated questions that really would help to answer (or mostly provide our opinons) to your thread. And Swirt really provided a lot of good info.
The words that got me were your reference to "full occupancy". This hit me like a sore thumb. Is this is what income is NEEDED in order for you to 'make it'? Take a look at rates at neighboring B&Bs or comparable hotels - you may need to up your rates. If your rates are comparable and you really need 'full occupancy' to make your bills and live the lifestyle you want unless your are in the heart of 'tourist central', IMMHO you are dreaming!
We opened our B&B while both working full time and did so for 1 1/2 years but at that time we only opened on weekends and it was a building time for our B&B name. Then I quit to run the B&B full time while DH continued to work for another year. We have been full time innkeepers ever since.
As others have said, you need to be hands on in this business. Before opening our B&B we traveled to many B&B's. Two of those stood out in my mind when we were planning. Those 2 did not have onsite innkeepers, no personal interaction and we left feeling as though we had 'missed out' on part of the B&B experience. Both of the B&B's were charming, etc. but we never felt the need/urge to go back.
 

greyswan

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If DH wasn't retired from gov job, one of would still be working for $ and benefits.
 

ginocat

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Having a bed and breakfast IS a full time job for at least one person. I don't know how old the two of you are. If you're young then perhaps you have the stamina to do it but something will have to fall though the cracks eventually. Bed and breakfast hosting is very personal and hands on. You must give your 'all' to make it successful.
And then there's this question. What will the cost be to your relationship???
 

Suzie Q

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It just plain doesn't work.
We tried it for 2 years, me working outside and DH home trying to do the renos, greet guests for 6 rooms, make and serve breakfast, and chat with the guests, clean rooms, keep the place looking nice. I would come home from my 8 - 5 job and start working again at the b & b, do the books, do the shopping for b & b and well just no life and as we all know our busy time is weekends, so never a weekend off. DH, a carpenter, was just not getting the renos done and we had and have many. In June/08, after a few months of my DH pestering me to quit my other job (which I loved), I did give my notice. I haven't looked back. Our b & b is busier than it was before I quit and I now have a life again. I can wake up in the morning and actually be with the guests instead of missing out on that fun stuff. Guests like it when the innkeepers are there to chat with. No more stress wondering if DH remebered to clean the toilet in one room or to check the corner of the shower for a bar of soap or the best one was "I sure hope he is home at check in time" (he always lost track of time) or "I hope he doesn't sleep through his alarm". Since I have quit that other job in June (which I thought I needed), he has managed to put in 2 additional bathrooms, including jetted clawfoot tubs and has made two rooms into one. But best of all I have my sanity back.
Oh and I had an office job with my own private office so I had my b & b phone on call forward to my cell. I was actually taking reservations at my other job which was so bad. I felt guilty all the time.
Hey I have my life back and absolutely love being at home all the time, even though it is hectic. At least I know what is going on here. I am finding out how few clothes I really need.
My son, who lives in Colorado, has a web design company and gives me as much or as little copy editing work as I need so I do manage to make ends meet when we are not so busy. If at least one of you could stay at home, you will partly get your sanity back. I didn't have it when there was one here full time.
Oh and did I mention, DH and I did not get along in the kitchen for the first couple of months. It wasn't easy but we have gotten it all together now and know our place there..
Yeah, every now and then hubby gets after me for something in the kitchen or vice versa. I am basically oven (cookies, breads, quiche, etc.) while he juggles stove top. I try to get things like the eggs, tortillas, breakfast meat, etc. set out for him and he can get the balance done rather quickly.Sometimes I forget to ask about the juice, sometimes he forgets the potatoes or breakfast meat. We are there for each other.
 

boop68

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DW and I both have full time jobs while we run the B&B and run it successfully. The caveat is that we are in a seasonal getaway area and we run it when it fits around our work. Weekends only for most of the season, but the two months that DW is not working (she's a teacher) we open full time. Granted our B&B is not supporting either one of us, so it doesn't have to support either one of us. There is no financial pressure that way at least. We are full for just about every opening we make available for guests and we could easilly ramp it up to support one of us if one of us decided to quit working. Location, location, location works to our favor. There are a lot of inns that couldn't successfully do what we are doing. (okay there is all the positive stuff)
The negative is that we rarely have a weekend because we are just working FULL time. We get run down pretty rapidly.
Tips to getting things done?
  • Online reservations. They will save you a lot of time answering the phone.
    On our answering machine, we encourage people to book online...if they have questions, we'll call them back.
  • Answering machine - We rarely answer our business line (again, most places can't get away with this, but we are fortunate that demand for our place far exceeds the supply of rooms...location, location, setting) If people have questions, we call them back.
  • Divide up the work and stick to roles as much as life allows. We each do our parts and don't have to worry about the other part, because I know DW will get her part done....if an emergency happens, we know how to do the other person's job. This whole recommendation is just to avoid daily confusion over who is going to do what.
  • Since you have outside jobs, you may be able to afford to hire some things done (like repairs or upgrades).
  • Since you have outside jobs, recognise that you don't have to bend over backwards to be all things to all people. You aren't as desperate for every possible guest so when someone calls and wants you to rent out your rooms for 2.5 days for a wedding and wants all kinds of things you don't usually do....you can say, "I'm sorry, we don't provide that service."
.
thanks for the tips. We are currently only open on weekends, so are in a similar situation. Yes, online reservations made a BIG difference when we got set up! We are looking at one of us staying home full time soon, but not sure the economy is promising enough right now to give up a steady income!
 

boop68

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both working full time outside the b&b ... that is a lot to handle. i cannot imagine it. i only have lots of questions.
do you have help? are you working different shifts? how many rooms? what type of breakfast do you offer?
i know one couple ... they both work outside the b&b. breakfast is continental. there are just three guestrooms. but, still, they race around trying to get everything done. and sometimes they have to say 'no vacancy' because they need to get caught up with cleaning and laundry and LIVING. it's a nice place but very basic and low rates..
only 3 rooms - only open weekends right now - full breakfast. Tried weekdays with a continental breakfast & let them leave whenever they wanted. Hated asking guests to "put the OJ back in the fridge before you leave"!!
 

boop68

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B68 - Several others stated questions that really would help to answer (or mostly provide our opinons) to your thread. And Swirt really provided a lot of good info.
The words that got me were your reference to "full occupancy". This hit me like a sore thumb. Is this is what income is NEEDED in order for you to 'make it'? Take a look at rates at neighboring B&Bs or comparable hotels - you may need to up your rates. If your rates are comparable and you really need 'full occupancy' to make your bills and live the lifestyle you want unless your are in the heart of 'tourist central', IMMHO you are dreaming!
We opened our B&B while both working full time and did so for 1 1/2 years but at that time we only opened on weekends and it was a building time for our B&B name. Then I quit to run the B&B full time while DH continued to work for another year. We have been full time innkeepers ever since.
As others have said, you need to be hands on in this business. Before opening our B&B we traveled to many B&B's. Two of those stood out in my mind when we were planning. Those 2 did not have onsite innkeepers, no personal interaction and we left feeling as though we had 'missed out' on part of the B&B experience. Both of the B&B's were charming, etc. but we never felt the need/urge to go back..
by "full occupancy" I just meant a "steady" occupancy - not 100%. We've been open only a year, and are just trying to build up business until one of us can stay home full time.
 

EmptyNest

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both working full time outside the b&b ... that is a lot to handle. i cannot imagine it. i only have lots of questions.
do you have help? are you working different shifts? how many rooms? what type of breakfast do you offer?
i know one couple ... they both work outside the b&b. breakfast is continental. there are just three guestrooms. but, still, they race around trying to get everything done. and sometimes they have to say 'no vacancy' because they need to get caught up with cleaning and laundry and LIVING. it's a nice place but very basic and low rates..
only 3 rooms - only open weekends right now - full breakfast. Tried weekdays with a continental breakfast & let them leave whenever they wanted. Hated asking guests to "put the OJ back in the fridge before you leave"!!
.
I hate to tell you but if you are depending on 3 rooms to support you full time with no one working..IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN..unless you have 100% Occupancy

 

YellowSocks

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both working full time outside the b&b ... that is a lot to handle. i cannot imagine it. i only have lots of questions.
do you have help? are you working different shifts? how many rooms? what type of breakfast do you offer?
i know one couple ... they both work outside the b&b. breakfast is continental. there are just three guestrooms. but, still, they race around trying to get everything done. and sometimes they have to say 'no vacancy' because they need to get caught up with cleaning and laundry and LIVING. it's a nice place but very basic and low rates..
only 3 rooms - only open weekends right now - full breakfast. Tried weekdays with a continental breakfast & let them leave whenever they wanted. Hated asking guests to "put the OJ back in the fridge before you leave"!!
.
I hate to tell you but if you are depending on 3 rooms to support you full time with no one working..IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN..unless you have 100% Occupancy

.
catlady said:
I hate to tell you but if you are depending on 3 rooms to support you full time with no one working..IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN..unless you have 100% Occupancy
I thought she said the goal was for ONE of them to stay home full time, not both.
=)
Kk.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I got a good laugh the other day. There is an historic home for sale for nearly $2 mil in our town, historic meaning tons of history in the place and only two owners. Anyway - someone said to me how they considered "just buying it" and turning it into a B&B.
The repair alone on this place would be in the million range, over 10,000 sq ft home, and to turn it into a B&B - well we know those costs. Guess what, if I was filled up or had super high occup I would encourage it! Not that this person had 2 million dollars, he lives in an 900 sq foot house. But hey, we did it, so anyone can right?
 

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