I apologize if this has been previously discussed - I looked in past posts for an answer but didn't see anything related.
This question is largely directed toward hosts of whole-house rentals, but might apply to others who can imagine staying in a whole-house for a vacation, as well. Otherwise, if someone is hosting guests in a room in their home many of the potential issues would already be addressed being on-site, and likely not add up enough to need to do something like this.
Okay, my question:
When someone stays with us (because we don't normally greet them personally) I send out a rental package with the instructions on their stay...
- directions on finding the house,
- house rules that they are to share with everyone in the group,
- operational instructions (I ask that 2 people read through),
- check-out list along with instructions for finding the waste depot
The operational instructions include how to handle garbage. As (hopefully) the world becomes more eco-friendly, our area has strict rules about disposing of garbage. There is a centrally-located "manned" waste depot where everyone takes recycling and garbage. They check to make sure things are disposed of properly: plastics in one bin, paper in another, cardboard, metals, organics for composting, and anything else left over.
Our kitchen has built-in bins to separate the garbage accordingly. We also have a garbage compactor that will hold 1-2 weeks worth of garbage for our large family. Part of our Rental Policies (agreed to before we accept a rental) states that guests are expected to handle their own garbage to avoid extra fees.
This is the current case in point: the last group told me - after they had left - that they didn't have time to take their garbage away. And, they had actually arrived early while we were still prepping (that's another story!) so I took the time to explain it all to him in person - I know they were aware of how this all works.
They left 7 extra-large bags of garbage for us in our foyer (I mean, they had 2-3 standard-large bags in each!). None had been separated, except for one that was completely filled with cardboard. We spent a total of 3 hours dealing with their garbage, separating it so that it was acceptable to go to the dump, then of course had to take it in.
As well (also noted in our up-front policies) is that the group is to leave the bbq and kitchen as they found it. Some groups will eat in restaurants all the time so they don't have to cook on vacation, while others just love to cook in our kitchen that is ultra-well equipped... BUT, cleaning up their kitchen mess is not included in the cleaning fee (it nearly always needs additional cleaning to be up to snuff but people are expected to make the effort). In this case the kitchen needed SO much work.
Also, the heat was left at full-blast (my cost is about $30 a day to heat an empty house in winter); windows were left open; garbage/small items left all over the rooms - all things that are covered in the Check-out list.
I really should charge an additional fee to cover these items. I usually talk myself out of it, unless there is something so blatant that I cannot justify it. I don't want the hassle, or appearing to "nickle and dime". I usually end up just feeling crappy about it all, making everything normal again and eating the cost if it is less than about $200.
But that got me to thinking... perhaps I should have a list of charges / fees that I leave at the house and let the guest fill it in. I suppose such a thing would look like a mini-bar in a hotel suite where you mark down the items you want and expect to be charged for it at the end of your stay.
It would look something like this:
$50 - kitchen cleanup
$10 - remove food (alcohol gladly accepted for free)
$20 - bbq cleanup
$30 - first bag of garbage
$10 - each additional garbage bag
$10 - broken dishes
$75 - each unregistered guest (it is only $15 if they register ahead)
Rather than looking punitive, it may offer another option to guests in case they don't want to handle any of those items and are willing to pay for someone else to handle it for them. Even if they don't fill in the sheet this will tell them in advance how much they should expect to get a bill for so that I can recoup those extras that I keep absorbing.
This is getting rather lengthy, so I'll just leave it here and look forward to hearing from a host and potential guest perspective on whether this is a good solution.