Is this the year that you take the big step and change your life?? Run a Bed and Breakfast
Change is hard. Moving is one of the most stressful things we do in life, so the decision to move AND change your life (run a bed and breakfast in a small town like Niagara on the Lake) must be terrifying, but once you are settled in to your new home and the first Bed and Breakfasts guests have come and gone, you will sit back a say what was the problem?
Those first guests are terrifying. That first breakfast, anyone who knows me – knows that I am not a cook, how did I use every pot, pan and bowl in the kitchen? However I got through it, and now think REALLY it was not that hard. Some people think running a bed and breakfast is a dream and others think it is a lot of hard work. For me, it is my pleasure.
When I started the process, the first thing I did was google to see what people were saying negatively about running a B&B. If the following issues are going to bother you – stop looking. On the other hand if you think you can handle the following keep reading.
Here is what I read and my response.
1. Calls late at night. Yes, it does happen. and it really depends on what is late. My phone used to ring late at night more for real estate than the B&B but with technology my phone shuts off at 10pm. More and more people use the internet, the number of calls is way down. If this is your big hang up .
2. People who want a discount – Everyone loves a discount including myself (why is Boxing Day sales so popular), be prepared for this, if people stay 2 nights mid-week I give a discount. Saves me from doing the sheets. Also when they call for one night and I tell them about the discount they sometimes stay 2. Everyone wins
3. Arrival time. Ok so maybe this one is a little annoying. Yes every summer I have a couple of people who say one thing and do another. My attitude is that check in is between 4 – 8pm. I arrange my day around this. If someone has asked for an early check-in say noon and then do not show by 2pm and I have to run out, I do! I leave a little note on the door saying I will be back at 4pm. Really! Not something to get in a knot over. and again with technology, I send an email to people a couple of days before arrival asking them to text me their arrival time. AMAZING how many people do.
4. Dietary needs – I am aware that more and more people have dietary needs. Yes some are more severe than others. Some are just trying to cut back. Yes sometimes they will see you bring something out and the temptation is too great for them and they eat it after you have made a special breakfast for them. I take that as a compliment not an annoyance. As for really dealing with dietary needs, with a little practise and imagination they become less of a hassle or challenge. Here in Niagara on the Lake, there is a group of us owners who will gladly share our recipes for, gluten free, vegans, lactose free and any other things that come your way. Here we help each other provide service to the guests. This is one of the reasons I think I chose well by buying in Niagara on the lake. The association is strong and we socialize with one another.
5. Early Mornings. Yes when you run a bed and breakfast, you the owner, are supposed to serve breakfast. Most of the owners I know get up around 7am and serve breakfast at 9am. Mainly because the stores and attractions do not open until 10am and people are on vacation. I will admit that my first year I was up at 6:30am – I think it was excitement and nerves. As with all jobs, you get a routine for what works for you. Some of my friends get as much prepared in the evening as possible, other do everything in the morning. I have slept in to 7:45am and had breakfast ready by 9am. The difference for me is MY ROUTINE, I like to check my emails, do a little prep work, have a coffee, do a little prep work. Basically I enjoy mornings so I do it at my pace.
6. Cleaning Rooms/bathrooms. Who would or who does like do that? I do not like cleaning my own bathroom. However how long does it actually take? In the 12 years I have been running the bed and breakfast I have never had a disaster. Most people take their clothes home (which is most of the mess), put the towels in a pile and the garbage in the can. Total time it takes for me to clean a room - 30 minutes, amount of time for a bathroom - 10 minutes. So basically people who complain about cleaning 3 bathrooms – 30 minutes of their day and not everyday.
People need to complain about things so this is it – the worse that a B&B offers. If this is too much for you again stop looking – if on the other hand your attitude is closer to mine – read on, read why people buy b&bs.
The only reason I have found that people do not buy a bed and breakfast - finances.