Hiring Employees - Use a staffing service or post the position on Indeed?

I’m looking to grow my real estate business by hiring an employee. In particular, I am about to purchase a motel and will be looking for a facility manager or even a general manager to help run the place. I will be automating as much of the business as I can (keyless entry locks, text message alerts to cleaner, etc.). I know this is a bit outside the land investing realm but thought I’d ask if anyone has any experience with hiring. Did you use a staffing service or just post the position to indeed?

Hi @jonesmatr - sounds wise to hire some help from the get-go. Do you anticipate this being a full-time position, a part-time position, or an independent contractor who helps you out for a few hours per week?

@retipsterseth This is where I am a bit stuck. I’m not sure what level of commitment I’ll need from an employee, just yet. The closing date is the 15th and the motel is in New York but I live in Virginia. I’ll be going to NY for the closing and staying at the motel. There is a house on premise that the current owners live in and that I would offer as part of my employee’s compensation, and I will be staying there until I get everything switched over and running the way I want it.

The property consists of 7 motel rooms and 12 seasonal cabins situated on about 3.25 acres. I know I can hire out for the cleaners and landscaping/snow plowing to contract workers. My goal is to automate as much of the operations as possible. I’m working with the booking engine ResNexus (which has been a great experience, so far) and they have confirmed that more and more boutique motels, like mine, are moving toward fully automated operations similar to Airbnbs.

I guess my concern is making sure I have someone available for emergencies but it might be a non-issue as long as I properly communicate my offerings and manage guests’ expectations. There is an office area where the current owners take walk-ins. I really don’t want to offer that as an option but I wouldn’t mind having a gift shop for additional revenue. That would require someone to be there and I think a person in the office would result in walk-ins. This might be an option down the road and ResNexus does offer a POS system (well, the payment processing company would provide that but it would be linked to the booking engine).

My other option is to approach the sellers to see if they would be interested in working part-time. Strangely enough, they are buying a house about a block away. However, there are in their 70s and might be burnt out on the whole idea.

I know that’s a lot to unpack but I would welcome any thought.

@jonesmatr that’s interesting. I’ve never heard of a motel being fully automated with nobody on-site like this… but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible these days. I know A LOT of Airbnb units are operated like this. It’s just a matter of outsourcing each job to the right third party, as you said.

It would be interesting to find out from the current owner how many of their customers materialize as walk-ins vs booking ahead of time. If they rarely get walk-ins, it probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing to just stop allowing them altogether. Or perhaps there’s some kind of kiosk system these days that could be used to handle those (if the ends justify the means, of course).

This kind of self-serve model is a big thing in the self-storage industry (totally different type of business, I know), but I didn’t realize it was being done with motels.

Anyway… given that you’re in a different state, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to just start with a part-timer employee who can be your boots on the ground and take care of issues as they come up. I’m sure there will be a need for this in the short term. You can always find other solutions after you’ve been in the deal for a number of months, but given that you can’t get to the property easily, if it were me, I would probably find someone local who could help me as I’m working the kinks out.

@retipsterseth Thanks, Seth. I like the idea of a kiosk system. I’ll ask my rep with ResNexus about that. They also service the self-storage industry. I just finished reading AJ Osborne’s self-storage book and a lot of what he talked about had similarities with the motel business model. I believe they have kiosk systems now.

Thanks again for being a sounding board on this topic. Sometimes just talking about a challenge helps organize your thoughts.

@jonesmatr for sure! If you make any big discoveries about kiosks being a big problem solver, be sure to follow up and let us know here! It would be great to learn more about what those things can (and can’t) do for the motel industry.

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