By Machelle James
As I write this, I am still recovering from a week-long food coma. We had family come into town last week for two very special reasons. Not only was it Thanksgiving, it was also AJ’s 50th Birthday – ON THANKSGIVING!
We rented a huge cabin near us so we could all be together to celebrate the big day. What we all found interesting was the actual cabin itself was just perfect. Four bedrooms and a HUGE loft. Unfortunately for us, it was not clean. Being that we are in the Hospitality Industry as well, it was super disappointing to rent a cabin that still had someone else’s clothes shoved under the sheets at the foot of the bed. Also, when Jenna found A LOT of dried dog poo in her loft area, that sent me over the edge.
I will say after we emailed the homeowner with our numerous concerns and sent over photo evidence, he offered to send over a house cleaner and asked if he needed to hire a new cleaning crew. I would say a big “YES,” as we read online that the cabin wasn’t clean for another family as well. But we declined because at this point, we had already scrubbed and disinfected all the surfaces and threw the undergarments in the trash.
There were more disappointments, but I don’t want to totally throw this guy under the bus. The reason I decided to share this with you all is because we have to leave a review of our stay online. Do we really want to share every discrepancy with the public or do we just tell the homeowner and hope he makes it right for the next guests?
We as campground owners will also be faced with this as our guests leave us and give us a review. Is our campground clean? Are our cabins cleaned 100% and sheets changed every single time? What about our store? How is our communication and customer service with our guests? I can only say that we will have a checklist of daily, weekly and monthly tasks for us to complete to make everyone’s stay clean and comfortable.
This is building trust in us, as you know when you come here you will not have to worry about seeing dog poo, trash in your camping spot or trash stashed around the property. I know we will make mistakes, as this is how you learn what works and doesn’t work. I would hope our guests will come to us and let us know if a situation arises so we can make it right with them.
In the end, we did get our cleaning fee waived, so that was something. But it does make you wonder if the sheets were even washed!
Our septic system update
We had to have concrete sections poured into the septic tank. I cannot tell you exactly why at this point, but I am sure it has to do with the filtering of the waste in the septic tank. We have had concrete poured in when it was about 45° outside and freezing temps at night. It’s good to know that we can continue having work done when it’s cold outside, just not when it’s snowing! Luckily for us, we have only had one snow day in the past two weeks and even that was a super light dusting of snow.
We just had the outside forms removed from the tank and now we can see what it looks like. It looks like a massive bunker to hide in if an earthquake hit us! This process is very time-consuming due to not only the size of the tank, but also the expertise of the workers and the weather play a huge part in how fast it gets completed.
Our general contractor update
I hate to have to admit this again, but we still haven’t been able to give our bank the final numbers for our loan. Our general contractor came out again and brought his right-hand man to see the project in person. He said he will give us a price to give the bank in a few days. He said our estimates were close and we shouldn’t be too far off-base from our original estimate.
I will say we just got our estimate from our electrician to do everything he needs to do to get electricity to all the sites, septic, store and more. This will be a whopping $105,000 (all parts and labor) and another $30,000 from our local power company. (AJ is helping me describe this next section as I know nothing about electricity). This includes 5 transformers at 600 amps each supplied by two primary lines. Our power company does not support 800-amp transformers as they do in big cities. We currently have aerial power lines to our cabin that need to be removed and replaced with underground utilities. This process is included in the pricing above.
AJ had great advice when applying for an SBA Loan. Keep every receipt, canceled check, bank statement and/or proof of work you have had done before the loan funds. This goes into your Equity Injection towards your loan as you will need 30% of your own money that goes towards your loan. This is to prove we have a stake in the result of our investment – otherwise known as ”Having skin in the game”!
I think we could write a book just about how the SBA loan process really works. I can REALLY see why people would quit the process. It is such private and personal information about you, your finances, your spending habits, and your credit rating. Let’s save this topic for another day as I cannot believe how long this process is taking.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thank you all for following our campground journey.
See You in the Trees, and please leave a comment!
AJ, Machelle and Jenna
Read previous articles here.
Machelle James and her husband, AJ, are building, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.