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Unrealistic expectations?
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NeatandPicky



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 353
Location: Pissouri Bay, Cyprus

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

e-richard wrote:
But it was remarkable how diligent the gardener has become, how caring the pool man is and how thorough the new maid is.


COYS wrote:
Buying a mop does not make you a cleaner.


It helps - a little - to know you're not alone! Laughing
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CircÚ



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 362

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the other side of the fence : as caretaker/manager/pool expert/IT fixer/cleaner/gardener all combined in a husband & wife registered business we've had to sack owners mid season!
Only once, and for the simple reason that the owner was two months behind with his payment of our invoices, and never sent the promised emergency float for expenses such as plumber call-outs and welcome packs. Usually we wait until the end of the season to ditch an unsatisfactory owner, as we don't like disappointing holidaymakers.
Now the online reviews make our lives even harder. It's not our fault for example if the bedlinen & bathrooms don't get top marks when the owner hasn't spent the money upgrading them. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 658
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CircÚ wrote:
From the other side of the fence : as caretaker/manager/pool expert/IT fixer/cleaner/gardener all combined in a husband & wife registered business we've had to sack owners mid season!
Only once, and for the simple reason that the owner was two months behind with his payment of our invoices, and never sent the promised emergency float for expenses such as plumber call-outs and welcome packs. Usually we wait until the end of the season to ditch an unsatisfactory owner, as we don't like disappointing holidaymakers.
Now the online reviews make our lives even harder. It's not our fault for example if the bedlinen & bathrooms don't get top marks when the owner hasn't spent the money upgrading them. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.


Figuratively speaking - you can however, make a sow's ear from a silk purse.
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 649
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been watching this with interest and particularly interested to read Circe's post.

We have our own gites and are caretaker/manager/pool cleaner/gardener/cleaner/DIY etc. for another owned by friends.

We take full responsibility for paying the bills, advertising, bookings, deciding what needs doing//buying/fixing, 'managing' the guest etc. but can only work within the money earned by the property as the owners have stated clearly, on several occasions, that they are not prepared to put money in.

So, the decor and standard is slowly dropping as things don't get done or are 'patched up'. They just don't see the deterioration as they spend little time there and are so in love with it and have low standards. They think that we are lucky to live here and probably enjoy 'popping up' to cut the grass, weed the garden etc. at their property "because it's so lovely here."

And, sadly, the owners are amongst the worst for heavy handed-ness in their use of the house, furniture etc. and whenever they leave I always have to play hunt the TV remote (usually down the back of the sofa) or collect up pens, pencils, DVDs, socks, toiletries left under beds, in drawers, under chairs etc. etc.

Sigh .....................
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7104
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't get me talking about off site owners! The stories I could tell. Causing me more problems through lack of thought or slap dash approach to things they say they'll deal with.

The point about lack of investment is something I have come up against and it is a hard one to crack. Decor, here, makes a big difference to booking but the owner just didn't see that. He also didn't want to spend money.....so after trying to manage it, spending my own time trying to deal with the worst, I stepped away.
Less stress.

I also had someone who had a bad attitude to solving issues with clients when I was looking after things (they were on site owners who would leave for 5 weeks July/August). There was one lot of guests guests who had an issue I could have solved easily but they wouldn't let me spend money. ....consequently things went from bad to worse and they became a right PitA. The owners arrived back half way through their 2nd week and the next thing I know they had the guests over for a bbq, cocktails the works. I was furious as they'd been horrendous. Mrs Owner had found out they had a certain type of business and wanted to engage (she was impressed by status and money)
I told the never again.

Mousie
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 658
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting opinions from the other side of the fence & I'm fascinated that there seems to be a bit of a 'them & us' scenario prevalent on both sides. I am an ardent advocate of teamwork, absentee or otherwise. In all honesty I couldn't defend owners who refuse to invest or maintain adequately or expect something for nothing.

However, I'd be intrigued to hear whether those making a living in the sector would treat an attentive & diligent owner any differently?
For example;
If they regularly reinvest in upgrading.
If every year, the house, grounds & facilities are professionally & fully prepared, thoroughly spring cleaned, function & safety checked prior to seasonal rentals.
If they supllied 2 complete brand new sets + spares of all towels, bed linens, protectors, throws etc every other season.
If they paid in full & in advance for 'annual' keyholding, garden, pool care etc, then paid changeover & any ad-hoc bills 4 weekly without fail.
If they paid all utility bills etc online & on time & made sure you were kept fully up to date with any relevant booking admin.

That's kind of my situation & reading between the lines it looks like we are being well & truly mugged off so I'd be interested to hear (theoretically) if you could or would 'work' with the likes of me.
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Zingara



Joined: 09 Apr 2013
Posts: 585
Location: Antibes, PACA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You and I clearly operate the same way, COYS

I envy the owners who've managers like CircÚ, GillianF and Mouse....
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7104
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

COYS.....to answer your question, you wouod be valued!

It is all about teamwork. Of course thre will be the odd thing that crops up but if you have an honest open relationship then these can be discussed.
One villa I managed (at the moment take a break from renting) the owner is a really good friend now. Yes there have been issues but I approach it that if it happens once we learn and put things in place....twice and. That's when the frustrations would arise.

I have high standards and I've learned to relax them more over the years. Normal Holidaymakers really aren't as demanding as we think (though of course there are the ones that kick off over ridiculous things.)
Less stress.

I sympathise with your situation. The cleaning team/managers are either taking advantage, or clearly aren't cut out for the job. I had a cleaner at one villa who was fabulous. She was always one step ahead, engaged with clients (got huge tips!) and was mine and the owners ears. Sadly there are few of them out there. Yet I know that owners took her for granted.

I sometimes mull over what I'd do if I was an off site owner and dealing with this type of issue.

Mousie
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 324
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mouse, I'm an offsite owner, 230 miles away. Up until 5 years ago I had real difficulties finding a reliable cleaner. Then 2 friends started a business providing housekeeping and maintenance. At first they cleaned the house themselves all year to perfection, extremely high standards. But as the business grew they have had to employ cleaners for the peak season months.

This is when problems started. Cleaning on the whole is good, but it's the housekeeping side that can be poor - eg.
.Beds not made properly
.Pillow protectors not used
.Insufficient towels provided ( should be 2 per person, often only 1 put out)
.Old linen used (I provide new expensive linen regularly, but the old keeps being used)
.Fire alarm system not checked at each changeover
.Not enough dishwasher/washing tablets supplied.
..... The list goes on!

I have found the problems when I go down unexpectedly, and they are repeated each year as different staff are employed. What we have realised is that staff just don't prepare the property to the same standards that I or my housekeeper would. So Mrs H and I work together to solve these issues each year as they arise. We've accepted that perfect staff aren't out there and that her employees need constant monitoring and training.

It's all about team work, but it takes all sides to participate. For those of you who have difficult housekeeping suppliers, you have my sympathies.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 658
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed Giraffe, it is or should be a team effort & I get the point about hiring staff & growing a business. Trouble is that as it gets delegated down the wage gets lower, less motivation etc. Bottom line is that the company, the manager or whoever it is that's taking payment for services rendered are ultimately responsible for what they or their delegated staff deliver - or don't.
Mouse, I take your point about holidaymakers expectations but ultimately it is our expectations that are the issue. I'm not sure I'd concur about standards entirely, I don't see a problem with setting high standards & there is a very fine line between relaxing them or lowering them. As long as we were crystal clear from the off I see no reason why I would lower our standards to allow for the shortcomings of others. Having made my living in an ever changing building industry for many years I know the true value of setting & maintaining high standards. Once you start to let them slip it's a long way back up.
You are absolutely right about taking advantage though. I can see that very clearly having had a few days to reflect (& vent here!) & it leaves a very bitter taste. Having stepped in as a favour for neighbouring property on more than a few occasions, Mrs COYS & I know only too well the time & effort involved in carrying out a thorough changeover service. We aren't quite as naive as they clearly think so I'm afraid this particular gravy train will soon be reaching the station.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7104
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Mouse, I take your point about holidaymakers expectations but ultimately it is our expectations that are the issue. I'm not sure I'd concur about standards entirely, I don't see a problem with setting high standards & there is a very fine line between relaxing them or lowering them. As long as we were crystal clear from the off I see no reason why I would lower our standards to allow for the shortcomings of others. Having made my living in an ever changing building industry for many years I know the true value of setting & maintaining high standards. Once you start to let them slip it's a long way back up.


Totally agree and apologies....I obviously gave the impression I was talking about the cleaning side of the business, I wasn't. I would not lower my high standards there. I was talking about the decor and maintenance side of things. For example for years I ran round every changeover and painted over the marks on the walls. I stopped doing that one year when we ran out of paint. No one mentioned it, it never effected bookings or repeats. I assume guest's expect a degree of wear and tear as the season progresses. Now I don't do it....less stress Razz

Mousie
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Frenchlady



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 112
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have been looking after gites and holiday homes for 15 years and have had property owners that we would rather not have worked for. One bounced a cheque on us after having chased them for 2 months. The good ones we are stilling working with now. It is trust and communication. There is nothing worse than e-mailing an owner at the end of a changeover where the property has been left in a poor state or damage occurred and the owner does not even bother to reply. It is amazing that they can soon e-mail us when they have offered the property to family/friends at very short notice and want it cleaned!! Often owners seem to side with the guest because they don't want to upset them and want them to return (we don't). We report when things need purchasing, updating etc but mostly this just falls on deaf ears. We had one owner at the start of the season that introduced wifi and they just left the box balanced on a cushion on a chair in the lounge when they left and seemed to think this was ok. My OH had to sort this out with wiring etc and we suggested the owners (or us) should buy a small shelf to put this on away from little fingers. Guess what - silence - and the box is still on a chair. BBQ is a awful and too small for amount of people, but again our feedback is totally ignored. Thankfully we have good owners too (the ones we are still with) who take pride in their property and maintain it or ask us to, and pay us on time. We will not take on a property now unless we see it is being maintained and in good order. No amount of cleaning will cover up a scruffy looking house and it is us that would suffer the consequences.
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CircÚ



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 362

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coys, I would never expect to be paid in advance for caretaking but I do like my invoices paid promptly.
We don't have a 'one size fits all' attitude to our clients as they all have different houses and they use them/rent them according to their family's needs.
Some clients who don't rent out want very little done other than security checks & meter readings. At the other end of the scale we have clients with pools & gardens who want everything done for them, and for their paying guests if they rent out.
We haven't expanded the business to employing people as (a) it's too expensive in France and (b) we'd lose control over standards.
Yes we've used a number of casual workers to clean over the years but always under supervision. Some have only lasted one shift.
Many of our clients have become good friends over the years, others are simply pleasant people to do business with.
Communication from both sides is important to ensure jobs get done on time and to budget (theirs and ours), and we actively contribute to plans such as 'when will we have to change the pool liner' and 'how many new bottom sheets do we need from the John Lewis Clearance?'
Mutual trust is a vital factor. This can take a year or two to develop with a new client and we always discuss this with them at the outset.
Who the 'eck is going to take over from us when we hang up our brooms, spare ADSL filters, pool hoovers, mower (we don't even have a lawn or a pool ourselves Laughing ) in a couple of years (maybe next year?) I do not know.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 658
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CircÚ wrote:

Who the 'eck is going to take over from us when we hang up our brooms, spare ADSL filters, pool hoovers, mower (we don't even have a lawn or a pool ourselves Laughing ) in a couple of years (maybe next year?) I do not know.


Can't tempt you with a spell in Greece then CircÚ? Wink
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CircÚ



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 362

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holiday yes, working NO!
OH won't fly so that complicates travel, plus we have one crumbly Mum to look after here and another (younger but flakier) to worry about in the UK.
Personally would love to revisit Corfu & Athens from my student days, but I'm daydreaming in current circumstances. Sad
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