Owners I spend a lot of time on this blog, and in my day job as a vacation rental manager, talking about the ‘cost of doing business’, and have referred occasionally to that cost being emotional at times as well as monetary. So….yesterday…I had cause to experience that for myself for the first time this year when I walked into Osprey Cottage after our guests had left.We provide a cleaning service as part of our rental rate. For me, that’s pretty much a no-brainer. I’ve rented properties in France, UK and the US and have never been asked to do a complete clean of the property before I left. There’s invariably been a pre-departure checklist asking for the place to be left in a tidy condition, with kitchen surfaces wiped down, food removed from the fridge, garbage disposed of, and the dishwasher started etc. So, when we came out to Ontario I was a little surprised that it’s considered the norm here to ask guests to leave the property in an ‘as found’ condition. This goes back to the days when a cottage was opened up at the start of the season, and the owner didn’t go back until the end, relying on guests to do the changeover for them. There’s also a factor of distance and the considerable challenge of finding someone willing to drive an hour or more to get a few hours of underpaid work on a Saturday.Anyhow, I digress and the cleaning issue is one I will come back to, as I’m finding those who have never rented before find it very surprising – if not shocking – that they are expected to clean floors and bathrooms; vacuum and dust, and remake beds, before 11am on the day they leave.So….back to Osprey. Yes, we do have a checklist that we ask our guests to follow. It’s simple and not onerous in any way. “We have provided a cleaning service to make the morning of your departure more pleasant. However, please leave the property in a tidy condition etc, etc.” Walking in to a complete disaster area yesterday was quite the surprise. I’m not going into detail as I am sure all my readers have had this experience at some time or another but suffice to say there was probably more food on the floors – throughout the cottage – than went into stomachs during the week. Food fight came to mind. The checklist had been ignored and they just walked out. Every light left on, every ceiling fan on full blast…..it was a Marie Celeste situation.Anyhow, rant over. We have cleaners. It was cleaned. Event over, and we have repeat guests arriving today for a two-weeker. We will not make comment, nor seek recompense for the damaged screens, because after all, it is the cost of doing business. But, if they ask to come back again…nope, nada, not ever….and I wouldn’t put them in any of our other managed cottages either. I’m not easily offended by guests and the way they leave the cottage – this is a business and rough goes with the smooth – but on this occasion….well, I’ll leave it to you to guess my emotional stance on this one. And I’m off to my anger management class!