Want To Run A B&B? Marry a Plumber
I remember, in the long distant days when I worked in an office 9-5 and had weekends off, chatting to the nice lady who cleaned the office loos. I came back to my desk and remarked to my colleague that it must be really nice to have a stress free job where you just cleaned the loos and then went home and didn’t worry about your job.
Many people come on my courses, currently living the 9-5 office existence, and long for the stress free existence of running a B&B. But I’m afraid there really is no stress free job.
The other week just as the guests walked in for breakfast, the power went. Now I’m lucky enough to own an AGA and a gas hob so, if I’ve planned, I can still cook breakfast. But I rely heavily on all of the electric gadgets in the kitchen; electric kettle, liquidiser for smoothie, orange juicer, toaster, grill, breadmaker….not to mention a fridge full of sausages & bacon slowly warming up.
If it’s your own home & the electricity goes, it can be a bit of an inconvenience. You tell the family they can dry their hair later, have cornflakes for breakfast and stop whinging about the lack of hot water. This isn’t so easy when you have guests in who are paying over £100 a night for the pleasure of staying in your luxury B&B.
Then there was the day when it rained and rained and rained. Rob started construction of an ark and gave the chickens straws to pull to decide which 2 would be coming with us. Unfortunately we have a dodgy water table & a poorly constructed septic tank ( oh for a mains water supply ), which filled with water and then overflowed all over the lawn. Of course it happened on a Friday afternoon and the septic tank emptying man was going home for his tea. So when the guests turned up ( to a house full of scented candles ) they were asked if they might minimise the loo flushing and not use the lovely large bath for two, or indeed shower. Luckily the septic tank emptying man, fresh from his Friday night, arrived the next morning. Unfortunately it was 6 in the morning – so there went the guests lie in……..
Or the time when the guests had a shower at 11.30 one night and, rather than turning the tap clockwise, tryed to pull it towards them, taking the whole thing of the wall, leaving water shooting into the bathroom.
And the incident involving the non flushing toilet & the bucket. Rob drove round all of Shropshire, Herefordshire & Powys looking for a spare toilet flushing part. But apparently the toilet, fitted 18 months before, was now defunct so there were no spare parts available and it required a new toilet to be fitted. This was beyond my husband’s plumbing capability so we needed to wait for our plumber. The guests who arrived that day were presented with a bucket – there was some confusion and a very panicked lady guest, who thought she was meant to use the bucket as a toilet, rather than to flush the toilet with – and a bottle of wine for the inconvenience.
The main problem with running your own business is that the buck stops with you. Something goes wrong at work, you may not want to, but you can always delegate up to your boss to take responsibility.
So if you decide to run a B&B, do so with your eyes wide open & be prepared:
- Find a good local plumber & electrician ( when I say good I mean one that won’t mind dropping everything he or she’s doing – even at 3 in the morning and driving straight over ) or better still go on a plumbing course or marry a plumber
- Make sure you know where the stopcock & fusebox are before you have an emergency
- Have a stock of goodies in that you can give to guests to sweeten the experience when things go wrong or be prepared to give them a discount on their stay
- Have a list of local B&Bs readily to hand and be prepared to pass your guests onto them
- Make sure you have a freezer / fridge full of items that can be used if the breadmaker/juicer/liquidiser won’t work.
- Have emergency, lights, heating & cooking supply – my Mum used to cook some wicked breakfasts on a small campstove.
- Finally pray that your guests are filled with that great British spirit & will enjoy the rustic pre electricity & running water living
Karen runs courses on how to Set Up, Run & Market a B&B.