Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Innkeepers - Do you know what is stored in your garage?

Just heard some upsetting news about one of our clients.  They had a garage fire that was a total loss.  Fortunately, the B and B main buildings did not suffer any damage.  However, it brings to mind the following question - Do you know everything that you have stored in your garage or for that matter in all of the rooms in your bed and breakfast?

Disaster situations happen whether they are from a fire, flood, earth movement, or wind damage.  For whatever reason, you are now faced with a loss that can be devastating to your business.  All insurance policies are different.  However, if you can provide your insurance adjuster and agent with a list of all that has been lost, you will be one step closer to replacing those lost items and getting back to business. 

A garage sometimes becomes a storage place for those things that you just can't find room for anywhere else. The items may be in plastic storage boxes (extra bedding and linens, seasonal items, decorations) but that just keeps out the dust.  It doesn't save the items when disaster strikes and the items are destroyed. 

Then there are the bulk items you get from the discount stores that find their way into the garage as well as supplies for your amenities.  There isn't any room for all of the excess in the main buildings.  Yes, it pays to buy in bulk, but when the bulk items are destroyed there is no more back up to draw from. 

What about the extra refrigerator and freezer, both of which are so important to every innkeeper and usually reside in the garage.   They will need to be replaced along with all of the contents inside of them.   Plus don't forget that there may be an extra wash and dryer that also resides in the garage.  They are a vital part of keeping the laundry flowing so that it can all get processed in a timely manner. 

Finally, don't forget the items you would usually find in the garage - tools both large and small, garden items both hand and mechanical, lawn mowers, snow blowers, pool equipment, maybe even water heaters, water softeners, pool motors etc, etc.  The list just keeps going on and on. 

So, if you haven't done so already, be proactive.  Take your laptop computer (if you have one) and set yourself up in your garage and start making that inventory now.   When you have finished that large repository (and don't be surprised if it takes you a few days to get it all down) start on your kitchen next.  You will be amazed at just how much "stuff" exists in an innkeeper's kitchen. 

When you are finally finished with your inventory, save a copy and put it in a safe place off-site (maybe leave a copy with your insurance agent).  Just be sure that you update it regularly when major changes or additions take place.

Of course, we always hope disaster doesn't strike and that the innkeeper never has to access that list.  But the old Girl and Boy Scout motto of  "Be Prepared" is always good advice. 

Lynda and Howard Lerner
Inn Caring


  1. Good afternnon I'm interested in my own bed and breakfast after retirement. But I don't know how to get started.

  2. One of the best ways to get started is to take a class on what it is like to actually run a B&B. Reading books is useful, but you need to really see what it is that you will be doing. That is why we created our 4 day hands on seminar for Aspiring Innkeepers or Interim Innkeepers. Take a look at our website for more details.