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Relaunch Guidance Sought

 
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davhill



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Kendal, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:05 am    Post subject: Relaunch Guidance Sought Reply with quote

Greeting, fellow UK folk.

This is a here we go again. After two pitiful years (all that walked in through the door last year was £5,600), I'm about to execute Plan B.

My gaffe is a two-bed detached former stable jut outside Kendal in Cumbria. It has an ensuite shower room downstairs and and an ensuite batjhroom (with corner bath) upstairs. The modern kitchen is less than a year old and has a big American fridge freezer, washer and dryer, gs hob and fan oven. There's gas CH throughout, plus SkyQ and WiFi.Outside, there's a new gravel driveway that accepts two cars and there's a picnic set. The frontage can also take two more cars behind a steel gate.

I was trying to rent out just the ground floor and this year will probably amount to 15 lets. Apart from one vile review that trashed the business last year, the reviews have been good.

Plan B, however, is as tempting as it is viable. I've been invited to move to Marple (90 miles away) and live ostensibly rent free.
So I'll be getting Cumbrian Cottages to run my place for me.

The thing I'm struggling with is changeovers and specifically bedding. This is panning out as follows...

The man says get two seats of bedding, (which I'm pursuing now). So that'll be duvet covers, pillow protectors and cases, mattress protectors and fitted sheets for three doubles. The first question is, do I really need six duvets?

I'm going for white as it can be bleached and as I expected, the prices are all over the place.

Re. changeovers, the going rate with Cumbrian is £60 a go, for bed change, laundry etc and hoovering/dusting. For £30 a month, I also get access to the maintenance team and the input of a housekeeper.

The question then is should changeover costs be pro rata? For eample, two guests staying means 1/3 for the bedding/towels have been used. Or is it pay the £60 each time and gloat when six stay?

This is getting lengthy so I'll all it a night. However, any guidance will be gratefully received.

David
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CarolineJ



Joined: 29 Apr 2017
Posts: 58
Location: North coast of Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cumbrian Cottages is part of cottages.com, isn't it? If you've signed the contract but haven't got access to the owners' portal yet, ask them for the discount code for Out of Eden - it'll give you 10% off and I've found their cotton hotel bed linen very good: https://www.outofeden.co.uk/category/cotton-bedding

I have one spare duvet for each size of bed rather than one for each bed, ditto mattress protectors.
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Cymraes



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 430
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CarolineJ wrote:


I have one spare duvet for each size of bed rather than one for each bed, ditto mattress protectors.


Same here but I'd also have at least 3 sets of linen for each bed. If one set gets trashed by guests or lost in the laundry then you've got a breathing space to replace. One in use and one in the wash doesn't give you much time to get replacements especially if you are not on site
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 940
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that white is the easiest to manage - add some coloured cushions to stop it looking too plain.

Like Cymraes we also have at least 3 complete sets of bedlinen. In fact we have more pillow cases since they often get stained by make-up, sun cream, eczema cream etc.

You'll also need spare pillow and mattress protectors and one spare of each size duvet is handy. We use duvet protectors from Out of Eden which are quite lightweight and will hopefully help the duvets last longer.
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Jo

Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
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davhill



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Kendal, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a little update - and another question for everyone.

I've signed up with Cumbrian Cottages, and the 'takeover' will take plce on 22nd December next. My let is expected to go live immediately after Christmas but there may be a first let over Christmas and/or New Year.

The other aspect is just an idea to run past you all.

The changeover cost is £62 each time. This will include taking the used linen, replacing it with laundered linen (up to three double sets plus towels). It alo includes cleaning the house 'from top to bottom'. So this covers two double bedrooms plus tiny upstairs landing, living room, kitchen, on ensuite shower room and the upstairs ensuite bathroom.

Here's what strikes me as badly planned. Say I have a full house, of six guests, plus one infant and two dogs. This, including a £10 per dog cleaning fee woud cost me £82, which is fair enough.

But suppose Sid & Ethel show up having booked, with no others and no hangers-on, canine or otherwise?

The C cottages man says I won't lose out because the guests are paying for the whole place and may go from bed to bed. Really?

I expect that the guests would select their favoured sleeping place, probably the upstairs double with the ensuite bathroom with corner bath with shower over.

This again is fair enough but (and it's a big but) what about this?

Sid & Ethel use one set of bedding and one set of towels. However, two thirds of the linen and towels may not be used at all. Why remove and launder linen that hasn't been touched by human hand? Apart from the cost, how many polar bears will this discommode?

My initial thought is that this can be monitored easily. I'm sure the changeover team can tell the difference between a bed that's been slept in and one that's virgin. Ditto towels, which guests currently leave in the downstairs shower cabinet. If the sofabed has been used, this would be obvious.

In my view, the obvious thing to do is to provide a biggish laundry basket and add a note, 'Please put used linen in here before leaving, thank you.'

As used linen will collected by the team, the basket would be empty when new guests arrive.

Asother option might be to ensure the laundry puts clean laundry into a sealed bag. This would mean guests making up bed(s) as required but a sealed bag might even be reassuring. Sealed = pristine.

This would certainly work with the sofabed, which I usually half make, leaving guests to put the duvet into the cover themselves.

As you can see, this is new to me! What do we think?
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 1055
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sealed bag? Would that be plastic???

I think you are not understanding that your cleaner(s)will need to turn the property around as fast as possible. That means they will go in and tackle it exactly the same way they do all their other changeovers. To deviate from the usual system means they will miss things and complaints may result.

I think your changeover and linen costs are surprisingly low for the Lake District. I would not dispute them at all.
Yes, guests may use separate bedrooms, not always but it does happen. Guests sometimes object to stripping beds ( are you going to make sure your mattress protectors are pristine e and washed regularly?)
Guests will object to maki g up theirs beds as this just does not happen any more.

All in all I think what the agency are offering you is very good value.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6097
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If guests are under-occupying but paying full rate they’ll expect to be able to use all the facilities, and may even want separate bedrooms, and would expect everything made up.
I'd ditch the sofa bed completely, particularly if the only bathrooms are ensuite, which gets rid of that problem.
Cleaners might be able to tell unused beds and towels (particularly if towels are folded or rolled), but there again they’d only have to get that wrong once to create a big problem...
From a costing angle, my feeling is that if they’re offering a full changeover, clean and laundry service for sixty quid I’d keep very quiet and bite their hand off.
It also makes me wonder what their standards of cleaning are, but I assume the agency will be the ones to manage the complaints from guests if the cleaning they provide isn’t up to guests’ expectations.

PS - crossed with Zebedee’s post!
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 940
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cleaning price is very low for 6 guests although I'm not surprised. We booked a holiday through Cumbrian Cottages a couple of years ago and the cottage was OK but the cleaning was well below par. We had to ask them to get the cleaners back to clean one of the showers - the plughole was backed up with hair & soap which flooded into the tray when the water was running and the seals were black with mold. I think the person who took my call the first time lost the message so I had to chase them & it took them nearly a week to get the cleaner back - it wasn't a good start to our holiday.

Is the sofa bed in a bedroom? If not, I wouldn't offer it unless you're offering low budget accommodation. Each guest needs somewhere to store their clothes and bags away from the main living space.
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Jo

Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
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davhill



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Kendal, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well thank you people.

I'm sure you're aware that this multi-letting by remote control is very new to me so your input is extremely valuable.

The mattress protectors will be new - I'm buying all new bed linen before my place goes live. I've already established that they will be in the wash each time so I expect they'll be pristine at all times.

I've found in the past that my sofa bed goes down well with the teens and twenties, especially as there's a TV in the living room and this room can be closed off from the rest.

It's important to bear in mind that my sofa bed isn't a charity shop reject. It's a nearly new leather one with a state-of-the-art action inside and no-one has ever complained about any lack of confort or difficulty of use. It's in the living room but this is a large room and a large unit gives plenty of space for the storage of goods.

In any event, it's all coming together and I'll take the hint about not questioning the changeover costs.

Thank you again for your advice.
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