80's Motel Refurb

Motel Mingle Forums Refurbishment 80's Motel Refurb

This topic contains 27 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by image Ballina Colonial Motel 3 years, 11 months ago.

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #3201

    Kate
    Participant

    Hi All, we have a 1980’s motel in county Victoria. Exposed double brick, dark rooms, old bathrooms. We know we need to update and bring into the current era, but unsure of how much we should be doing. Bathrooms is a given, we need to update this for sure. With regards to the rooms, has anyone left exposed brick and made it work for them? Or painted the brick rather than rendering? Any ideas, or links to photos, would be great. We would love to look at a 80’s motel that has been brought into the current era, using the exposed brick as a feature. Anyone know of a motel in Victoria who has successfully done this? would love to take a road trip and visit. Thanks.

  • Author
    Replies
  • #3743
    image
    Ballina Colonial Motel
    Participant
    • Topics Started 10
    • Replies 87

    I have just finished yet another bathroom and today started on the next one and it got me thinking about Health & Safety. Yes, I know it rules the world! But, we do have a duty of care to ourselves, when we are doing the work.

    You may be paying Worker’s Comp for your staff, but what about yourself? A very grey area and given you are likely the work horses of the motel, if you are down, who does your job?

    You just can’t afford to be casual about these things and whilst you as owners can walk across your roof without support ropes or a hard hat, that is quite a risk to take. My advice, particularly when doing renovations, is wear the appropriate clothing and protection. We are not talking steal cap boots here, but be mindful of shrapnel that can cut or sever and put you out of action. Also your eyes and lungs; you only have one pair, so protect them from dust and contaminates etc.

    Appropriate foot/head wear, gloves, masks, eyewear and maybe a long sleeve shirts sometimes.

    Also many of us oldies need to be mindful of back, neck and knee injuries. Have the right tools to do the job, to make things easier. It is worth the spend. Use an old room pillow to cushion the blows!

    And lastly; take your time. You are not a tradie, so always think ahead as to the how you can most easily achieve your objective. Like driving fatigue causes mistakes.

  • #3386
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    Thanks for the handy tips Ballina Colonial, any more that you may have would always be handy!!
    Yep we are 3.5 star rated and at last review, we were told we were close to a 4 but with a few tweaks we could go up. I told him, (as I mentioned in an earlier post) not interested in going up,3.5 is perfect for us. A couple of “improvements” could be, down lights, some of our wardrobes you could be bigger and basically that was it.
    Anyway I can’t see us dong any refurb in the near future!

  • #3384
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    🙂

  • #3381
    image
    Ballina Colonial Motel
    Participant
    • Topics Started 10
    • Replies 87

    Busybees, or anyone else for that matter, you are always welcome to come and visit us on the Northern Rivers on NSW.

  • #3375
    image
    Ballina Colonial Motel
    Participant
    • Topics Started 10
    • Replies 87

    I are not sure if any of you are STAR Rated, but this was one of the reasons I started on such a major refurbishment in order to retain my 3.5 STAR. 50% of Ballina Star Rated properties lost 1/2 a STAR because they had not spent their money wisely in maintaining the appearance and meeting current customer expectations. I got smart and although Star Ratings Australia marked me down to 3 STAR, I got a ‘dispensation’ from them such that I can retain my 3.5 STAR until the work is finished.

    If you are STAR Rated and are refurbishing, do not just replace new for old. Look at the STAR Rating criteria for 1/2 or one STAR above you and cherry pick what you can easily incorporate. In a Bedroom, this may be lighting, the standard of carpet or bed. In a Bathroom, it would be floor to ceiling tiling, back to wall toilets or mirrors inset in the tiles. Simple stuff.

    Now I am not a tradie, but I have learnt a few tricks. For example, you can tile on tile and save yourself a huge amount of time and mess. A product by Dunlop called ‘Tile All’ (available in Bunnings) is skimmed over the existing tile (use a mix with more liquid than recommended for ease of application & wear rubber gloves) allowing you to waterproof and tile over it.

  • #3373
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    Good morning guys,
    Its interesting to read comments on refurb. There are many arguments as to why and why not, and we should respect those that don’t/can’t. The current climate hasn’t been that kind to everybody and some people have and are still struggling. We have seen people walk away from their dream and lose absolutely everything. There are whole towns that are suffering due to the downturn in the traveling public,and reps and the weather (North QLD). We have also seen some towns suffer due to the poor insight of their local councils, that keep allowing more and more accommodation providers to be built or converted. The bottom has fallen out at Dubbo,Tamworth and to a lesser extent Parkes, (all of these are NSW cities/towns). Councils are for another forum though!!

    Ballina Colonial.
    I wish we were handy men, where we could do a lot of the work ourselves, I would love to come visit and meet you one day, BEFORE you retire!!
    Yep being the owner has the advantages for sure, because whatever YOU do spend, you will get back when you sell, and good for you. And as you are there (or have been) for the long haul that too makes a difference. If we didn’t have to pay “rent” we would be able to do a lot more than what we have done, and we are here for the short haul! As the lessee, though we get nothing back, except maybe a quicker sale! And as I said, our landlord is not forthcoming. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from starting a project and seeing it to completion especially when you have done the hard work.

    Mountain Man,
    Just because the lessees perhaps cannot afford to refurb does NOT mean they are all tatty and dirty. We are lessees and our establishment is far from tatty and dirty.In fact our cleanliness rates above 4 if not 5 in all our reviews. We maintain our rooms and they are more than acceptable. We can sleep at night because we know our rooms ARE clean and are comfortable and affordable, which by the way, doesn’t mean they are cheap!

    Mr Peterson,
    Unfortunately they will always be poor quality motels and that’s where we can shine. We are not 5 star neither are we 4 star, and quite honestly I wouldn’t want to be either (customer expectation is way too high). We are a 3.5 star and have had so many people not only return on numerous occasions, but have commented on the standard of our rooms, and are pleasantly surprised as to how are rooms are presented, maintained and the facilities that we offer.

    So please guys don’t make such broad generalizations where every one who doesn’t refurbish is lumped into some dingy little dive where no wants to stay, because that is definitely not the case.

    BTW:I applaud all of you and not just the three in this conversation, that have done the refurbs yourself. Well done.

  • #3372
    Mr Petersen
    Mr Petersen
    Blocked
    • Topics Started 4
    • Replies 61

    We all know the deal with Leaseholds. If we allow the landlord’s unwillingness to assist (and why should they if they don’t have to) to stop us from making renovations, then we would go broke. Improvements should bring better income and occupancy and therefore a better sell price.

    Too many owners just run their leasehold down, steal the cash and sell for peanuts. We spent about $350K on our last leasehold. We made up the spend when we sold and we benefited financially along the way. We are about to do some work on our new place and will increase the rates accordingly.

    There is no place for poor quality motels. And no need to sell rooms for peanuts. We are business owners and we are here to make a sound profit and investment.

  • #3371

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    Yes refurbishment is something that just has to be done. Don’t know about anyone else, but I would be embarrassed to let dirty or tatty rooms out. Some of the rooms that have not been done are let last here because I want to do the best I can for my customers.
    I have stayed in many motels where I wonder how the owners sleep at night.

  • #3370
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    🙂

  • #3369
    image
    Ballina Colonial Motel
    Participant
    • Topics Started 10
    • Replies 87

    I guess I knew you would come up with that comment. Luckily, or unluckily I own the freehold. But… and this is a big BUT, I will never see that spend back in my pocket. The value of a freehold motel is formulated (just like a lease) on who comes through my door and the profit I make off them.

    However, I get job satisfaction from doing the work; am proud of the results and will add a bit of ‘blue sky’ to the price when I sell and retire next April. Work done will make it easier to sell. In fact, I already have half a dozen people interesting in buying the place; some other moteliers and some customers

  • #3368
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    I would love to say that I had that kind of money to put into the business that is not mine! We are only here for about 5 years. and we are not “long termers”. To spend that much $$$ on the landlord’s superannuation when he doesn’t give back seems a bit excessive. Perhaps if he were willing to go halves we might consider it.
    We too have an old motel so could do with a facelift. We have done some superficial ones, few new beds, painted bathrooms, little bit of landscaping type work, but nothing major.
    We would have to get tradies in so the cost outweighs our benefit, though I can hear some of you already saying….. you get out what yo put in to it and surely when you go to sell it will improve your value, but in the current climate i can’t see the value.

  • #3367
    image
    Ballina Colonial Motel
    Participant
    • Topics Started 10
    • Replies 87

    I empathise with Mountain Man, in doing as much of the refurbishment work yourself. Older motels (mine is 1974) are a work in progress. We have to be looking at ‘reality motel’ not ‘reality block’!

    I started refurbishing our Bedrooms back in 2010, completing five before the money ran out. The remaining seven were not done till 2013. Total cost $52,000 (excluding any new bed requirements). Then last year I moved on to the bathrooms, which if you are going to do them effectively, requires a complete strip out and start again. To date I have completed three. The estimated final bill for all twelve Bathrooms is $51,000.

    Add to that the paving and fencing of the pool area and other bits and pieces; I are looking at a $120,000 spend. Had I decided to use tradies, I would have to add another $50k. Now I have a friendly bank manager, but not that friendly, so you have to earn the money first to be able to spend it. I also do the work in the shoulder period and can count no more than a dozen times that I may have been able to sell that twelfth room.

  • #3335
    Mr Petersen
    Mr Petersen
    Blocked
    • Topics Started 4
    • Replies 61

    Yes of course leases are good for landlords, guys. But we can still make money and still afford to make repairs. mtnMn, well done for doing that big refurb for $4500 each. That is good and I realise that you did it all yourself. But YEARS! I am sure it would take me years too.
    I wonder how that compares to a fast and efficient refurb by PRO’s. Done in weeks and revenue can go up very quickly. Doing it over years makes the first rooms you did, old by the time you finish. And rate increases are going to be a long time coming.

    I am here to work on my business and not to slave over the place. However, I need to find a way to improve my property quickly and reasonably priced.

    New photos will attract new guests and regulars will appreciate your efforts and know that you are a mover.

  • #3333

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    I guess to be fair, the solicitors do what is likely for them drudgery and keeping everything ‘standard’ probably makes their life easy.
    We had 2 accountants, one supposedly a motel specialist, one a partner in a big accounting multinational, look at the books and both failed to find that the vendor had hidden outside income into the motels books. Hence, based on their advice we ended up paying too much for the lease.
    Of course now, with nearly 10 years experience, we would find this discrepancy ourselves but, being new to the game at the time, we took advice which proved to be incorrect.

  • #3331
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    Yes the brokers all told us leasing was the way to go!! No-one told us about negotiating the terms of the lease!! The solicitor we had….well say no more! nice man but….

  • #3330

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    Yes BB, leases are awesome for landlords…….bank away, no more to pay!

  • #3329
    Busybees
    Busybees
    Participant
    • Topics Started 22
    • Replies 231

    Hy Mountain Man,

    I wish I had read this 3 years ago before we bought the lease!!!

  • #3317

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    We had our motel on the market a couple of years ago and it didn’t seem inclined to be sold, plus our lease was getting down toward 15 years so we made the decision to stay put, extend the lease another 10 years and refurb the rooms. This is involving ‘brightening up’ 40 year old bathrooms, new beds, curtains, plus all the other soft furnishings and fittings including light fittings and switches/powerpoints followed at the end of it all by carpet. The total cost for each room is probably around $4500 per room and I shudder to think what that may be if I bring tradesmen into it. The only tradesmen I have used is the carpet layers. The refurb time is measured in years (19 rooms) rather than weeks.
    If we were in the position to do it I wouldn’t do any of it.
    With hindsight, I wouldn’t have a leasehold again but we are committed so we have to make the best of it.
    A word of experience to would-be leasehold buyers: unless you are quite fortunate or very astute you are buying a depreciating asset. Don’t buy a lease on a motel that needs work unless it is ridiculously cheap and, if you possibly can, buy a freehold. Don’t listen to the crap from brokers about how good a lease is, they are working for the landlord. Negotiate the terms of the lease…..just because they talk about a ‘standard lease’ doesn’t mean you can’t require the landlord to pay land rates, building insurance, and commit them to spending x per year on improvements. If someone had given me that advice 10 years ago we would be a lot better off now.

  • #3316
    Mr Petersen
    Mr Petersen
    Blocked
    • Topics Started 4
    • Replies 61

    Your costing makes sense. Yes it would be about $50 per day judging by my last bathroom. Probably cost me 5K for the whole bathroom totally gutted and rebuilt.

    We are also a leasehold and I am intending to do a few refurbs like this. I don’t want to spend 3-4K on each bathroom but I don’t want to spend the time doing it myself. I can do the demo!

    I will also have to spend some time and effort with new carpet, repaint, new TVs, new AC units. And I want to make some money too.

  • #3315

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    I realise that a pro will do it quicker. However I am doing this while running a motel & 2 small children. If my wife goes out I am answering phones and checking people in too. sometimes I might only get a couple of hours in.
    I largely avoid busy periods and have rarely lost more than $200 with the room out. Factor in the cost of tradesman…..probably $500 per day and I think I am way ahead. Plus things are done the way I want it.
    Also we are a leasehold, so costs have to be kept down. I’ve seen too many leasehold owners who won’t invest in their business and I won’t be among them.

  • #3312
    Mr Petersen
    Mr Petersen
    Blocked
    • Topics Started 4
    • Replies 61

    3 weeks for a bathroom? I understand that you are doing it yourself but a pro would have it done in a few days. You are back online and ready to pull higher revenue. Just 10 rooms will take 30 to 40 weeks. Good luck with that.

  • #3310

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    I’m in the middle of doing another bathroom and half the tiles are loose so the whole lot is coming up. I hate doing the bathrooms…..so time consuming and dusty.
    Yes, those annoying customers do disturb the work don’t they? Bathroom takes me at least 3 weeks, then room is back in service, do the bathroom next door, then pull both rooms out for 2-3 weeks to do the paint and carpet (we have the dreaded interconnecting doors) all the time balancing bookings, children and (god forbid) leisure time.

  • #3277

    TIDYWAZZA
    Participant
    • Topics Started 8
    • Replies 83

    I am on your side. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. I too know of the time and the timing required to do these refurbishments. Sometimes I get the bedroom done then need the room then have to return at a later date to do the bathroom.

  • #3271

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    Fortunately our toilet pans are mostly tall enough to cope with the rise in floor level. Probably good to keep in mind that a lot of modern pans are quite low….we had one complaint once (about a newer pan) and on investigation we found it was pretty low. Still, one complaint in 9 years does not drive me to change the pan for a taller one.

  • #3229

    TIDYWAZZA
    Participant
    • Topics Started 8
    • Replies 83

    Mountain Man, are you raising your toilet pans and basins ? I have visited several properties with double tiling and it is surprising how difficult this makes a getting on and of the toilet. i know the raised height is possibly only 25mm or so but it does make a difference and the wash basin is also affected. My bathrooms were created it the 1960’s and probably similar to yours are cemented in not glued and impossible to remove. I have been experimenting with Haymes seamless fleck 2 pack epoxy coating. Non slip I have even extended the floor coating into some showers.

  • #3214

    Mountain Man
    Participant
    • Topics Started 2
    • Replies 26

    Be warned that painting bricks is a very time consuming affair if they have deep recesses. Bag them first.
    We are half way through a cosmetic renovation and, doing it ourselves, it takes a long time, trying to work around busy periods etc.
    We are tiling over floor tiles in the bathrooms and re-grouting the walls. Along with paint, carpet, new electrical fittings and soft furnishings. They are coming up a treat….not completely modern but much fresher and cleaner. With a leasehold be careful not to spend too much.
    Our method of doing each room evolves with each one done.

  • #3207
    image
    Ballina Colonial Motel
    Participant
    • Topics Started 10
    • Replies 87

    Kate hi. I know we are not in Victoria, but I have a couple of example motels here who have ‘attacked’ the exposed brick issue. If you go onto Wotif and look at the images for the Ballina Travellers Lodge and the Fun ‘n’ Sun, you might get an idea of what can and can’t be done and what works and does not work.

    The Travellers Lodge have created a ‘feature wall’ which is quite interesting, but the down side in another room is too have painted the bricks white in the bedroom, which looks very clinical/hospital/padded cell look and is not good at all.

    The Fun ‘n’ Sun has painted white brickwork, but then done a change of colour in order to get a contrast.

    Both these motels are 3.5 Self-rated and not sure how that compares with yourself. If you are STAR Rated then exposed brick is becoming more and more of a no no. So be aware.

    Hope this helps. Fire a few more questions at me if you need too.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.