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With fall and winter coming our guests love having a wood burning fire in our fireplace. It is a sought after amenity. Because of the high cost of supplying wood, we have changed our policy this year to supplying the guests evening fire (4 logs of wood) only. So, if they stay for 2 nights we would supply them with 8 logs. If they would like to burn more they are welcome to purchase additional bundles @ $7 per bundle (4 logs).
Last year we didn't limit the supply and we went through 3 chords of wood because the guests burned wood ALL day long for the ambiance. Homeowners that live on the Island don't even use a chord of wood in a year. After the 3rd chord we just didn't buy anymore wood as it was late winter, the dry wood supply in the area was nearly gone and what was left was very expensive.
What are your firewood policies?
Well, with our home we have a gas burning fireplace so we don't have that problem, however in our rental agreement we state that the fire place would only be turned on Nov-March.
I know the shimmer of the fireplace is a really lovely sight but the cost is way too much.
We have a gas grill and we provide propane for our guest to use the grill. i would suggest that in the winter add an additional cost of ($30-$50) to offset the cost to you, because your guest would really appreciate the convenience of having wood onsite.
That just my thought.
Yes, CSDircks, the cost is too expensive to have them burn all day. Plus, our vacation rental is in the North West of British columbia and October - February is considered the off season so we do drop our rates. Our expenses are much higher in the winter with electricity, heat, and firewood where we don't use any wood and not nearly as much electricity during the summer. We make up the loss of the higher winter costs during our summer season.
We do have wood on site which is now in a locked enclosure. My cleaning crew will only have access to the wood. But my cleaner will set up the initial logs and then the back up logs will be under the hearth or in the unlocked wood box by the entry door.
How do you keep your guests from using the gas fireplace?
We allow them to use the gas fireplace, but we added a timer to is so it goes after an hour. This prevents it being left on when no one is enjoying it or over night. We also run a gas line to the grill and that also will turn off after an hour. It may not answer your question about use, but it does help keep the gas in the tank.
I too, have a woodburning FP and in the beginning I would leave the entire stack of wood for their use. We had renters for 1 week and they used up over 1/2 of the cord of the new wood. They must have burned the fp 24 hours a day to use so much wood. and it wasn't even that cold out. We immediately moved the wood to a locked area of the yard, covered it with the tarp and now ration the wood they get. I normally leave about 8-10 pieces. If they want more, they have to go buy it at the grocery store.
I have another unit with a gas fp and I turn the pilot off from April till September. I actually had someone ask me in July if they could use it! I said absolutely not! We also post a sign at the fireplace asking they burn it no longer than 3 hours at a time and to NEVER leave it on when not in the house.
I have a small "Cowboy Cottage" with a wood burner stove. I keep a bucket of wood next to the stove with tinder, probably 8-10 pieces. I keep the rest of the wood out by the firepit outside. I am lucky to be surrounded by woods so there is never a shortage of wood to burn, but the convenience of having a truckload of wood delivered to 13" so it fits nicely in the woodburner is a nice touch for the guests. I don't see it impacting my costs much at all but this is only my second year of doing this and I am tickled to get guests finally starting to book so I don't mind if they use the wood. I like the suggestion of locking it up if it starts to become too expensive but for now I am enjoying the rentals and the extra income and am happy to be able to supply the firewood.
As an update to the original post.......Here it is the end of January and we still have firewood. My housekeeper has been giving our guests 4 peices of wood per night's stay and we still have 2/3rds of our wood left. We have had no complaints.
One guest did opt to buy 4 additional peices of wood but my housekeeper never set it out for her. So that part didn't work.
All in all, locking the wood in the wood shed has struck a good balance with our guests.
Thanks to this original post that I read months ago, I was able to head-off any potential firewood issues this winter. Previous winters had been insanely expensive. My cabins are on a mountain and having a fire at night in winter seems more like a right than a luxury. But I could never figure out an effective way to stop my renters from going fire-wood-crazy.
It seems that when it's free they will burn it 24/7 no matter what the temperature is outside. For some weird reason (brain fart?) it hadn't occured to me to limit the supply...I just kept making requests that were ignored and then would whine to myself that they were using so much.
After reading the post here (a real 'duh' moment) I locked the woodshed and had no more issues....when I restricted the amount provided and charged a fee (albeit a very small fee) for anything over that, they were all perfectly happy with 5 logs and didn't need more. Only 1 renter all winter wanted to pay for addtional wood. I now still have 1/2 a chord left and I'm thrilled to pieces!
Trace! It's great to know that this forum works.
Yep it has turned into the perfect solution for us too. When I was researching for solutions I was told that a 5 star hotel left 1 presto log per night. So I thought 4 real logs was quite generous in camparison.
I also mention in my rental agreement "while supplies last" regarding the firewood. If we do run out before the end of the burning season that is how it goes. It is extremely hard and thrice the price to find aged wood at the end of the season so they will have to wait until next year.
And....you are welcome.
We have a cabin in the Adirondack mountains and one of the main reasons people rent in the colder months is because of our fireplace. I had one renter who stayed for 3 nights and went through a 1/2 cord of wood and all of the kindling and paper that should have lasted for weeks....we were not happy! I have put something in my contract that states that if an unreasonable amount of wood is used, it will be deducted from their security deposit.
I don't allow people to bring their own wood because only hardwood should be burned in a fireplace...much of the wood that is sold in bundles in our area is pinewood and that causes creosote buildup in the chimney. It is also illegal to transport wood (over an hour I think) in NY to avoid the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer and other pests that kill trees.
It all depends!!!
Depending on how you market your cabin, your competitors and your prices. If you are making a large profit, want to pamper guests, competitors offer it for free and wood is cheap, do not limit it.
If you are like the other 99% (where did I hear that before?) you may want to establish a limit, an allowance or an option to pre purchase wood at a given price, and anything above that has a fee.
Similar to hotels, where they leave two water bottles in the room, either free or with a price tag on them, and anything else you order, it is billed to your room. You should use the same policy.
Here in Normandy France the wood burner is the main heat source...so not to supply would be a bit tricky! Wood here is the cheaper & greener option for heating...our own wood burner hasn't been out for 7 weeks now & the cottage we encourage folk to keep it going...lot less cost than electricity that's for sure!
A corde of logs here is 140€ - we burn probably 5 cordes per winter.
I think it all depends - but if I was up a mountain with snow outside I'd love a wood fire in the evenings...especially if the photos of your rentals shows a fireplace.
On the rare occasions that we have a winter guest, we tell them there is so much wood on the property and to just help themselves. My homes have a lot of trees and we loose lots of branches thru out the winter. Many of the branches stay on the ground for years, making perfect firewood.
I agree that the cost of firewood adds on to our expenses during the colder months. It has been custom for us to supply firewood during the winter months.
This year we have added a $35 charge (weekends) or $50 (week) to our guests for firewood between mid-October to mid-March. This helps cover some of the costs.
During the other times of year, our guests have the option to purchase firewood directly from our vendor to use in the outdoor firepit. They can order a 1/4 face cord for $35 and pay the vendor directly.
I too have thought about locking our wood supply and leave out a 1/4 face cord for each guest at the beginning of their stay in the winter months.
I have a large wood-burning fireplace in my cottage. I have a wood bin filled with small, medium and large firewood. I calculated that this bin full costs me $12 and it seems to be enough wood for my week long rentals. One of the things guests always mention is how much they enjoyed the fireplace and the wood supply. Some have noted the feature in their guest reviews. For $12 it's a cost effective way to please guests and get their return business.
My cottage is located in Oregon and we have lots of wood here. A cord generally runs $200 or $225.
We have a small Tuliviki FP, it is made of soapstone that will radiate heat for 12-18 hours after a single fire. You are only suppose to have a quick really hot fire and then let the heat radiate otherwise you will cause damage to the fireplace. We have always supplied wood for it because the “logs” have to be extremely small to fit in the fireplace and to have these quick hot fires. After having multiple guests who clearly did not follow the simple instructions which we rewrote (we had multiple friends who had never used the fireplace read them over so that they are simple enough for anyone to understand and follow) we now make it clear in the rental agreement that the fireplace is first and foremost for heat and not to be used for ambience. We now only keep enough wood in (and directly around) the cabin for the length of the guests stay. Having this fireplace used correctly cuts down on heating cost of the cabin so for us it is worth supplying wood for the guest to have fires during their stay.
In our own house we do have a regular wood burning fireplace and I have noticed that we go through a lot more wood on days when we are home. So it is possible that people who spend most of their time in your rental are using a lot more wood during their stay than someone who is going out and exploring the area. I would include a certain amount of wood (enough for 1 fire a night) in your rental fee and then offer guests the option to purchase more wood (for cheap). You could even talk to them about taking it out of their security deposit, put this in your rental agreement for winter guests. However do not use this as a way to get more money from guests because normally a wood-burning fireplace is a plus to potential guests and if you already have the wood it is not a huge cost to you. In our area there are a bunch of different people/companies that will deliver a cord of wood for a very reasonable price.
I have received so many requests of so many different things, that I have a list of services and prices now. Whatever they want and I can provide or coordinate, I offer and add my administrative fee to the cost. I send the guests the list of services and prices, and they select what they want and I just bill their credit card.
Instead of offering a plain and boring week's vacation, they can now get:
Every new request is an opportunity to grow the list and I just keep the contact phone number to provide the service. It is optional, but most people select more than one service.
I actually don't supply any wood. Although I'm sure it would be appreciated, it's easy to purchase if they want it and it also limits the amount the FP is used, which also lowers any small risk of a fire. (I did have one genius try to use my outdoor BBQ grill as a bonfire with wood and all, so maybe I'm a bit jaded.. haha) I offer plenty of other ammenities so this is just one activity I choose not to promote.
We have a wood burning stove and supply all the wood because we need to be sure of the quality of fuel used. Otherwise guests would bring in unseasoned wood or use stuff they find around the place. The risk of creosote build up with the use of inappropriate wood is much higher than the risk of them using all our wood store.
We have an open wood pile we keep stocked with enough to see a group through a stay. If they need more they can pay an additional fee to have more added to the pile.
If I were planning a cozy retreat and chose a vacation home with a fireplace, I would consider that an amenity of the home and would certainly expect to have firewood at my disposal without extra fees or purchases. While my vacation home is lake-front in the mountains of North Carolina, we are mostly a summer community and attract only 4 or so fall/winter/spring rentals. When people come to the mountains in fall/winter, or a cold rainy spring, they are drawn to properties with fireplaces. I appreciate families who choose our home during these off-seasons and welcome them with a fully stocked, convenient wood bin.
I don't live in the area, but have a go-to maintenance man who comes over to blow leaves, shovel any rare snow falls, and checks the wood bin. It would be more of a nusiance & expense to have him drive mountain roads to purchase, deliver, and stack just a minimum of wood in order to regulate our guest's use. So far in 13 years of renting, I haven't felt firewood is an expense our off-season rental rates can't handle.
I used to supply unlimited firewood to my guests and it took a few inconsiderate guests to make me change my ways. We have a house in the Adirondack mountains with a fireplace and a firepit. Unfortunately, we had a few people take advantage and had to add a blurb in our contract that they will not use an excessive amount of firewood. We had one guest go through 1/2 cord of wood in 3 days. They ended up turning off the furnace in my cabin and used our fireplace as the main heat source during their stay...total fire hazard! It is very difficult to get wood delivered in the middle of the winter and had to beg and borrow wood from friends to last us the rest of the season.
We used to stack all the wood on our porch and now it is behind the house and not as convenient to get to. We do stack enough wood on the porch for their stay. We live 3 hours away and have to pay someone to go over and do this for us inbetween guests.
Those few inconsiderate guests that we all seem to have each year cause me to rethink my rates rather than skimp on amenities. Fortunately those are greatly in the minority, but unfortunately rates must be slightly increased for the majority to cover maintenance/upkeep issues based on the lowest common denominator of behavior.
I'd love to have a firepit for roasting marshmellows & cozy fall evenings, but I don't think I can support that amenity appropriately...and the added thought of that inconsiderate minority abusing such a potential fire hazard and burning down the house causes me to scratch that off my list. I'll just stick with regular firewood, keeping sheets/towels in good order, and replacing abused floats, cushions, and chairs for the lakeside dock.