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  1. [quote user="Mikey"] there are pros and con either way. we have 4 gites around large courtyard, we like to think we are on site but out of sight. the pros are if there's a problem you are on site to deal with it and help guests if needed, plus we have a pool which i clean daily so being on site saves me driving miles for this. being invited to BBQs and drinks by the guests. the cons are that i feel we lose our summer, we don't use the pool, that is for the guest, however if i know the guests are out for the day i will use it. we keep out of sight but as i have a large collection of DVDs which i lend to the guests and have a list in each gite the guests come looking for me. i also grow some veg which i give to the guests. i can understand how some ppl don't like to go to comlexes or gites where the owners are on site because of fear of being spied on etc, last yr one family said how great it was at ours as the last place they stayed at the owner were always spying on them and tellingn them "don't do this or that". my priority is our guests, and i move heaven and earth to make  sure they have a good time. Well said ref priority of guests, [/quote]
  2. Location, Location, Location, We spent approx a year looking at sites for our gite, we wanted a place on its own, views you,d kill for, and a place on its own grounds and fenced in for security (children) We wanted a place that was for the customer to enjoy the peace or make as much noise as they wanted without worrying anyone. Room for a pool, but within a short distance of us the owners. we have been told by gite owners we know who have a shared complex that if they could they,d change to a gite they didnt live next door to. The only time we have found any problem so far is the waste side of life, ie we have 4 seperate waste bin area. 1 is for paper/card 2 is for tin/plastic 3 is for glass 4 is for plastic bags of general non/recycle waste. now due to all the verious bank holidays we have here in france , the summertime collections are on a two weekly system in this area, week one we have bags only taken away, week 2 we have plastic, the glass and paper are taken to the local recycl  bin area near to the village, The problem is that if you put the wrong bin out it wont be emptied, and if its a bank holiday, you need to find out just when the bin will be sorted. We look after all the waste bins and dont ask the customers to put them out but make sure only the correct stuff goes into the correct bin, this is the only time the customer would see us except if asked for us to call. We feel the customer wants a private holiday and not feel they are being spied upon every time they use the pool etc. We live 3k away approx 10 min if needed, We try to offer what the customers want, the sound of children enjoying the pool/gardens, or the sound of silence (so much so you could hear a mouse fart) No give me a gite on its own anyday, I say this as a holiday maker and as an gite owner.
  3. [quote user="Judyc"] Pun You may not be trying to preach to anyone, but you are making a jolly good job of it!  As Itf says, many of us have been running gites for a number of years and have learned from first hand experience.  You remind me of my working life when every year a new university graduate would arrive and immediately tell us where we, who had been doing the job for years, were all going wrong.  After all, they had  a degree and had learned it all out of a book.   No doubt they had valuable contributions to make but to think they immediately knew everything and we were all numbskulls did not go down well. I am intrigued to know what your job was that makes you so qualified to lecture to us idiots?  Obviously something not requiring spelling and grammar. Many of our guests (and us included) have stayed in places where there were rules and regulations and lectures and beauracracy, and guess what....they invariably hate it and never go back.  Ditto Itf again - when our guests arrive, they are shown the gite, (including the fridge with the wine and cold beer) shown the pool and told how the alarms work and shown the file that contains all the information they could need.  Then they are offered a cup of tea or a cold beer and made to feel welcome.  There are fire alarms in our gites, but I certainly don't feel the need to show them they work.  We have tested them and know they do.  The guests will correctly assume they do.  Perhaps we are lucky (or not) that we are on site.  The guests can and do come to us for all sorts of information and help, and we have done everything from booking restaurants, to accompanied visits to doctors and dentists to dealing with the sudden death of a guest.  I am concerned from your posting that you think pool checking is a once a week thing?  I hope I am wrong.  A pool can turn extremely quickly, particularly in the thundery weather and if it happens on any day other than a Monday, to tie in with your regime, you could be in for a nasty shock.  You say you are sure that your guests don't want the owner to be there every day - I am sure they would prefer you to be there for pool cleaning and checking every day, than be swimming in a cloudy pool.  Mine is cleaned and checked at 7am every morning, at no inconvenience to the guests. And guess what?  Guests don't always do what your rules/lectures have told them!!!  Wait until you are up to your arms in s**t trying to clear the fosse pipes because teenage girls ignore the notices not to put anything except what nature intended into the fosse.  Plastic cotton buds followed by an half a loo roll is not fosse friendly and has a nasty habit of blocking everything up.  Wait until you see the abuse your gite will get from people who are just thoughtless with other people's property.  I spent ages one winter sanding down and varnishing the kitchen worktop in a gite.  It looked beautiful.  We were then invited into the gite for a drink early in the season, and watched in horror as the guest cut up a lemon on my worktop, having ignored the chopping boards right next to him.  The customer may be king, but even kings can be a royal pain in the ****. Every guest brings a new situation or problem that you learn from and sometimes you might want to scream with frustration.  It doesn't mean we don't enjoy what we do.  We have been running our gites for eight years, and consitently have a repeat/referral booking rate of more than 60%.  We must be doing something right, and if we are it is through talking and listening to our guests, talking to other gite owners and reading some of the excellent advice given on this forum. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on this forum.  But please, don't try to teach granny to suck eggs when you have only just finished reading the book about where to find them!    Hang on a minute, by telling your guest how to use the pool security system and showing them the cool wine in the fridge. is in your words not a lecture but if I say it  to  my customers, in your book im giving lectures, ref your long term service to the gite world, the new" by  french law" pool regulations only came in two years ago, and Im sure more new laws will also come in during the future, will this give you old hands some sort of  "I was here first so no body dare tell me of any thing new" This thread is for every member and no body is speaking to you alone, If I felt the need to have a word with you only, I'd use the P.M. system. ( But I dont.) The day you feel you have no more to learn is the day to put the mirror away and tell the world you know it all.     [/quote]
  4. [quote user="ltf"]Pun, please stop thinking that you are the only one who knows how to run a gite business successfully. There are lots of people who do this and have done so for a number of years (myself included), so please stop preaching to us what we already know and get back on topic. It is only your first season after all - 5 years down the line you may not feel so self-righteous. [/quote] I.T.F. I am not trying to preach to anyone but if you look at the complaints that come on this thread from customers you'll be the first to understand that the gite owners have no  body or set  of    gite rules  to abide by, its not like the trades people here in france who have to operate by a siret number and comply with a set of rules, except for pool rules we the gite owners have a free hand and by the state of some of the gites ive seen and the danger from all sorts of things from wires hanging out of walls, chimney not cleaned and smoke coming into rooms, etc. As i live here in france i know who and how to complain or report such danger, but the average holiday customer wouldnt know how to go about these problems, If gite and b/b owners had to comply to a set state by law and had a way of showing they are legal (such as the siret system) I feel the cowboys who think they are providing a good service but are not, wouldnt be so quick in operating in such a way as they do. and the customers would know who is and who isnt legal, if only registered gite /b/b owners could advertise.then the customer wouldnt have to worry  as a set standard would apply throughout the gite/b/b system. Im not trying to go off the subject as cleaning for each new customer would be or could be part of such a system, ie if the gite / b/b wasnt clean then the customer at least has a body to complain to and randam checks by who ever was such a body  and if the owner continued to supply such an unexcepted gite / b/b the means of identification (siret number or what ever system was used) could be removed making operating impossible. I.T.F. Im not for one second trying to get at any owner who provides a good service, but if you are a good owner and only want to give the best then you would have no problems wanting to have a set  of rules both for saftey and a clean gite/b/b. Its long overdue and a point that has to be said, we are not all singing from the same sheet are we? regards Pun.
  5. [quote user="Anna"] I never hear on this thread any mention of smoke alarm inspection, wells made secure etc, all this has been seen by us as an area that needed to be taken care off and has been done, on the change over all safety is checked in front of the customer and ie smoke alarms shown tobe working, pool alarm and a full talk ref french law as to the use of the security system and the first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the kitchen are located for use if needed.. they are also shown the telephone numbers for english speaking emergency services and then they sign to say they understand all thats been shown ref the above   Dear Pun Sorry, but you must make your guests feel like "richt numpties"! A talking to from you, as above, will be just what your guests will appreciate, after a long tiring journey, to make them feel like they are about to have a relaxing holiday in France! Nothing more to say on this subject really, I think this says it all !!!   [/quote]Until things go wrong and you then are pleased very pleased you new where to find the verious items or who to call .
  6. I never said the gardens or pool was only taken care of during hand over, the terms and conditions in our case state that the pool p,h etc is inspected every monday, and weather allowing the large lawns are cut as is the outside area,s around the gite. A  lot of thought and attention has gone into making this both a holiday to enjoy and a very safe one from our point of view. I never hear on this thread any mention of smoke alarm inspection, wells made secure etc, all this has been seen by us as an area that needed to be taken care off and has been done, on the change over all safety is checked in front of the customer and ie smoke alarms shown tobe working, pool alarm and a full talk ref french law as to the use of the security system and the first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the kitchen are located for use if needed.. they are also shown the telephone numbers for english speaking emergency services and then they sign to say they understand all thats been shown ref the above (We the owner are not on site and if any accident should happen the customer has a chance to do the right thing) A very important point is we do live here in france we dont leave people to do change overs and if needed we can be at the gite in 10 mins. ref checking the pool p.h. every day, You are wrong, and the customer Im sure would not want to feel the owners are one site every day. We are not new to the servicing of people and do understand that no matter how hard you try you,ll not please all the people all the time but you can only do your best . It's very easy to give all kinds of views on how to do this and that, and spend time talking, but how many people on this very thread run any sort of gite, b/b ect ?
  7. The one thing a lot of gite owners seem to forget is this, the CUSTOMER is on holiday and we do not  ask them to spend the last day of the well earned rest cleaning our gite, We heve a set condition we want all our customers to share, this is our standdard of cleaning and not someone,s idea of how they think it should be. so far this year we have had two rebooks befor the customers have even returned home.   The second mistake a lot of people make (besides not even being in the country) is not allowing enough time for change/overs, Why not have a days gap between change over times if you feel your causing yourself stress by trying to do a record breaking time for change over. the same day as the previous customer is leaving. Our gite is clean, very well furnished, and the ground are also ready for the start of a holiday/pool clean and p.h.ect all sorted a welcome pack provided and a nice vase of fresh flowers displayed on the coffee table, "Why," because the customer is the most important part of our efforts, without a happy customer you,ve nothing.  
  8. Zeb' do you really think the cleaners will do as good a job in the same time as the owners?? I didnt say time sheet I said a time for each item, and by doing that you will see if any item is causing delays and then you can question the right or wrong of the costings. I my self do not employ cleaning staff and we still use a item time sheet, it gives us a good idea of the longer timed jobs and also helps with timings for the not expected delays through no fault of the normal change over, ie just last week (friday) we had people arriving at 4pm but at 9am we found no hot water, the oil centrial heating system only just over 1 year old had a hick-up, we had to get to the heating shop to speake to the owner, lucky for us he came out then, (in france you dont always get service anything like that, by the time the customers had arrived all bells ringing and no problems and due to the fact we had our timed item sheet to see how much time we needed to complete the change over we new all was well.(2 extra hours used from normal change over If how ever we employed cleaners I dont think the same concern would have been there, it would have been a phone call to say no hot water we cant work without it. Ours is a larger gite than this question is about and its got a pool tobe cleaned and made ready as far as p.h. etc goes, plus large lawns etc so Im sure you can see it pays to know what your doing and be ready for any hick ups. You can't beat a tried and tested method and this one really works, the people who are asking the question dont seem to have any method and as has already been said they are at the mercy of the change over staff due to not being on the job them selfs.
  9. This very question was asked last year and the solution isnt here asking other gite owners how long it takes for a hand over etc, all gites are different, ie size, in and out and the amount of furniture you have in yours maybe a lot more or less than is in say my gite, ie I have a four poster in the main bed room so i'd take longer cleaning this room, If the cooker had been trashed ie needed a complete clean this can take 2 hours if food was burnt in the oven and all had tobe cleaned using chemicles etc. the solution you need is by means of your own cleaners filling in a detailed sheet telling you how long item for item had taken, only then can you yourself decided if the cleaners are working or not and by having an item by item tick sheet system can you see that all the work is being attended to. I had this very same talk a year ago and said then you owe it to both yourself and the next customer to have enough time to allowe for any problems that may come along to be sorted, State in your terms/conditions the arrival and leaving times and any penalties for late departures, if you dont and your having to start the prep for your next customer late, your not giving yourself a chance,
  10. Well mr Browns had his last say ref the budget,  I wonder how many people have had enough of the U.K. and have decided to move to france and has this latest budget put a stop to any brits who thought they'd return to the u.k. from france. be interesting to here the both school of thoughts on this subject.
  11. Cassis, The garden/field has not got any trees on it, and its not a french garden at the moment, the question was ref what he should consider buying, my reply was to give a bit of advice of how he wanted the garden to look in the future and when he'd decided how he wanted the garden to look ? was it the best idea to buy such a machine. Nothing to do with french fully stocked gardens,  
  12. A lot of people think that because they now have a bigger piece of land than they've ever had that they must have a ride on mower, the first thing you should be doing is askiny yourself what the long term plan is for this ground, ie maybe a pool, trees, large shrub borders, play area etc etc, its when these sort of things are thought of you then find that if you have a garden of interest ie trees / bedding area's/ etc that a ride on lawn mower is not the ideal way of cutting the grass due to the fact that you cant get around half the area and you end up using a much cheaper hand powered lawn mower and you may find you get a better job done. just a thought, a garden full of interest or a well cut field??? also the fuel the ride-on , Ive both ride on and hand held, and I find the area I have as lawn/orchard is 2 acre this includ, pool and 21 friut trees and large borders and bedding areas for roses and lavender beds, And I still find I use the hand held inspite of this large garden, The ride on is handy but dont make the mistake of making a garden around the lawn mower.
  13.  when we met I was in H.M.Army always being sent away and not having a lot of time to spend as a couple and having spent so much time with my soldier friends while away it was some times hard to settle back into a so called normal family life, and just when it seemed to get normal the red flag was flying and away I'd go again serving queen and country, Having left the Army and in a short time we started our own company , again the passing like trains in the night thing came about due to work and trying to make sense of running your own company If it wasnt one thing it was something new , My company was very worth while and it allowed us both to retire early (me at 53 and my wife at 49) that was 6 years ago and we have lived here ever since. we get on very well because of the values we have both learnt, and one is this, its later than you think it really isnt worth fighting, if anything its a waste and as I cant stand waste, why do it. The second point I think is to share the good and the not so good things, dont keep them to yourself, they belong to both of you. We both have a liking for the garden and as seperate things and our own individual space things go, I like motor anything, and my wife likes to go and spend time doing shopping and we feel after 31 years married we know what buttons not to press. I myself dred the day my wife isnt here and I know she feels the same if I wasnt around so we wake up every day and thank God we have all the day to ourselves. if you think spending all your time together is a crime?  then whats the point in getting old together.    
  14. I do understand what some regular gite owners are saying inas much that all the points so far are in the welcome info pack, just waiting to be read, But its like buying a new car, how many of us read the hand book befor we go for a run in the car?? I feel we can all try to better our efforts as gite owners by sharing all we have to offer. And again what may seem like old hat to the regular gite people can infact be a new idea to some of the newer gite owners. The day one stops learning is a sad day, This thread has  been  and is a good one and I hope is leading on to better things.
  15. Tresco. two questions asked, not one, and I was not the only person to comment on the 2 questions ,having said that if you feel people are going off the subject? and its so wrong of them, why are you joining in???
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