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Coco

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  1. This happened to a friend of ours last year.  He had a holiday home in this village and came to see us on Easter Monday before returning home and to tell us that he had put the house on the market.  When he told us the price we felt that it had been grossly underpriced so he intended to phone the agent when he got home the next day.  By the time he got home there was a message to say that he had had the full asking price offered.  He asked if he could get out of it and the only way at that stage, even before compromis de vente, was if he recompensed the agent for their lost commission.
  2. Good try Cat!!!

    If you've never been to France before then I should stick to two centres.  Trying to do too much you will miss SOOO much.  Not only are there the towns like Dijon and Beaune to see but there are also wonderful wine trails to follow.  We did a similar holiday in 1997 (JUST Burgundy) and didn't get to see half of what we wanted.  Start in Chablis and work your way south.  It's a wonderful trip.

  3. Personally, my take on the menu is that if you know anything about cooking you're not taken in by the fancy words of menus these days, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.  I've just started doing that dessert that has just won the Great British Menu competition- can't remember how he markets it but I call it jelly and ice cream cos that's wot it is and I get the most phenomenal response when it's served up!

    Cat, I was with Visit France for 3 years and had a great response but last year I had less than half a dozen bookings, hardly covers the cost.  PM me for my latest favourite.

  4. I do hope I don't sound patronising or condescending when I say "Well done you!"  That is so much better than it was.  Just a couple more points:  On the cost page you have "evening meals will be charged for" in bold print; you already clarify elsewhere that they are 25 euros and I don't think anyone would be expecting them for nothing, so I don't really think you should emphasise the fact by putting it in bold. 

    Secondly, you have pointed out the time that you and Colin will be putting in and therefore you think your prices are fair.  First of all, it would appear that you have reduced your prices from the last time I looked, so I do think they are more competitive, but unfortunately, in this business, certainly until you are well established, you can't really worry too much about how much time you are putting in.  If I calculate the time my husband and I put into our place then we are working for a couple of euros an hour, but what else would you be doing?  Spending rather than earning, no doubt!  I agree about the wording on the one night issue.  I have decided to do similar this year - we get so many one-nighters in August that I can't afford to turn them away but they are a lot of work.  Initially I was going to say that there would be a supplement for one-nighters but have now decided to up the price as a whole but offer discount to those staying for 2 or more nights - it's all a psychological game.

    Pictures of the rooms is a great improvement - if people find out about us from some of the websites that I advertise on that have only one or two internal pictures they always email me and ask if I have any photos of the other rooms.  People want to see what they are getting for their money.

    Overall though I think your improvements are great and hopefully will bring in some business.

    One last question:  Are you advertising on any of the holiday company websites?  So far this year about 70% of our business has come from just one website that we have paid a pretty nominal sum to advertise on.

  5. Are you the same person who was wanting to rent out her artist husband a while back?  If so, you are clearly prepared to have weeks when you are not offering art courses so why not do standard B&B?

    To be honest Catherine I think you are very over-priced.  OK, so you say you have to make a living, but at the same time, you're not are you, you have no bookings.  I've got lots and lots of bookings.  I've got enough to get by and have done for the last three years.  I would love to charge a lot more and often our guests tell us we SHOULD charge more but you have to go with the local rates.  You don't even have photos of all of your bedrooms on your website.  You MUST have photos so people can see what they're paying for.  I may be wrong but from reading your description only one room is en-suite, the other two rooms have shower rooms next door to them, am I right?  You say that non-artisits travelling with an artist pay 700 euros per week.  That's an aweful lot of money for B&B and evening meal in a room that isn't even ensuite.  Two artists sharing pay 1800 euros and I presume an artist and non-artist pay 1600.  So the non-artist is paying 100 euros a night!  That's quite a lot over the odds.

    I'm sorry, I know this sounds rather rude but it's no good saying you can't afford to do ordinary B&B if you're not getting the bookings doing the art courses.  As Gay says, it may be worth trying to do the art courses out of season and just go with ordinary B&B during the busy months.

  6. [quote user="KathyC"][quote user="suzi05"]

     I have to say though that we don't make any money at it (we charge 28€ a head for adults) but it's pretty good fun getting to meet everyone!

     

    [/quote]

    Wow, that must be one hell of a meal if you don't make any profit at those prices! What are you feeding them?

    [/quote]

    NOT AT ALL!!!!  We charge 25€ and we're some of those that Will is talking about who are thinking of giving up evening meals this summer.  I absolutely LOVE cooking and entertaining but having recently submitted this year's tax return it meant I was looking at last year's figures for our B&B and we made an extra 1270 by cooking 150 dinners so we made about 8.5€ per meal.  Now that figure is what we "made" after I have taken into account the money I spent on food and wine, because as Will points out, B&B or gite owners don't have the potential to buy in bulk or have vast turnovers so can buy no more cheaply than if cooking for an ordinary family meal and yet, because you are charging those sort of figures you have to provide something a little bit "special".  The 8.5€ per meal does not take into account fuel for the car to go to and from the supermarket or gas and electricity for cooking, for which I think we can easily deduct a further 2 euros per meal, plus preparation time for the meals, and most of all, the 3 or 4 hours that we then spend with our guests serving and eating the meal!  It also doesn't take into account breakages on crockery and glasses, serviettes, flowers for the table...... On average last year we had 4 guests per meal, so that 150 meals equates to 37 nights work at aproximately 6 hours a night (shopping, preparing and serving), that's 222 hours for me and about 150 for my OH, so 372 hours of work for less than 975 euros remuneration; that's a maximum earner of 2.6 euros an hour - for what is absolutely KNACKERING work.  You try doing 22 nights in a row in August and then see what you think to the profit!!!

  7. Interesting results in our local villages, here, 119 voters, 70% Sarko 30% Sego, next village 600 voters 62/38, local large village 1100 voters 60/40, local small town 1600 voters 58/42, departemental capital 11,220 voters 44/56!  Departement as a whole 56/44.
  8. How long's a piece of string really Lee?  What do you regard as big enough for B&B?  Your own accommodation plus 2, 3, 4 or 5 letting rooms?  Also, it would depend where your property is, country or village doesn't necessarily give much of a guideline as to the costs, apart from the fact that IN a village will probably make it more expensive.  For example, my parents live in the same canton as me but in a village on mains and pay around 600 euros per year for hab and fonciere, we have a similar sized house, with about 1/4 acre more land and yet our combined bills are 300 euros.  And yet I know of people living in Herault who are paying about 3000 euros, again for a similar sized property to ours.
  9. That's right Will, even for serving fruit juice and coffee at breakfast you need a licence from the customs office.  Here in Manche it is easy to obtain and free.
  10. As I said before, if your earnings are below a certain thresshold then you are exempted, or pay an extremely low amount but the actual amount that should be paid doesn't change.  Ours has always remained at 150 euros for the last 8 years from when we were in the UK making no French tax return to being here with quite  a high income declared in France, we then didn't have to pay anything for a couple of years because our income dropped dramatically and wasn't high enough (but the bill came through nonetheless, for the same amount of 150 euros, it just said that we didn't have to pay it)  and now with 4 full years under our belts and a reasonable income we do have to pay again - 150 euros.  And that rate was the same as the previous owner had paid who was a high-earning Parisian.  Same for absolutely everybody else I know.  Friends in Limoux paid the same on their house for the 3 years they had it as 2nd home owners, the same when they lived here for a year with a low income and the same now that they have a pretty good income.  My parents pay the same now that my dad has retired and receives a very good pension to when they lived here before he was able to receive his pension and was just living on savings.

    Oh and incidentally, our income isn't mentioned anywhere on the bill.  I think you may well find the reason for these discrepancies is that different departements operate differently.  We had some B&B guests staying here last week from Poitou Charente who are convinced that come his 60th birthday later this year his taxe d'hab and TV licence combined will drop to 1 euro.  I told him that this is absolute rubbish as he and his wife will be both be getting very good pensions but he argued black was white that this is the case because he has seen his neighbours bill.  My parents are over 60 and it certainly isn't true here - but in the end I just said that he was obviously fortunate to live in Poitou Charente.  I doubt it is true, his neighbour (French) is possibly on a very low income.  But you can't really argue with the guests can you? [;-)]

  11. If you owned the house in December 2006 then you will be liable for both hab and fonciere for 2007, it doesn't matter when you started living in the house.  Also taxe d'hab is not related to your income, only in that if your income is below a certain thresshold then you will be exempt from it but you still have to pay it whether you have submitted a tax return or not, otherwise all these second home owners would be exempt, and they're not!!!   Both of these taxes are usually collected in the autumn.
  12. Both the guy that does groundworks for us and the mason we use (who have both been on courses to bring them right up to date on TVA rates) would beg to differ with Nick slightly.  They would say that if the trench being dug is to house replacement pipes for old ones to the mains, then it would be at 5.5% because it is renovation.  To dig a trench to make a new link to the mains then it would be at 19.6%. Same as our roofer charged 5.5% for putting a new window in an existing dormer but charged 19.6% for creating a new dormer in the extension to our house.
  13. The answer is, no you don't need to be registered to make public liability insurance valid.  A lot of people don't need to register, especially if it is not their main source of income, but they should still have public liability.  It's not at all expensive, so best to get it.
  14. Absolutely not, couldn't eat them unless it did![blink]
  15. [quote user="Quillan"][quote user="Cassis"][quote user="opas"]

    Why would forumadmin or a mod have need to change a persons password anyway?

    [/quote]

    The only legitimate reason would be if they had lost their existing password and requested a new one.  Which I had not.
    [/quote]

    Moderators and Admin don't normally have to do that, if you go to the login and enter your email address then next to the password box there is an option (I forgot my Password) which then sends a new password to the email address given if they are a member. If you spoofed a persons email address you would get the email.

    [/quote]

    Why would you?  Surely the mail would go direct to that person's email address and therefore to them, not you?

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