Monthly / Long-term Reservations

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There is a variety of special functionality available to handle long-term reservations.  This will help clarify some of the recommended procedures for handling long-term stays, particularly for those paying monthly.


The "Monthly" Reservation Type


First and foremost, any reservation that is charged on a monthly basis (as opposed to all at once) should have its Reservation Type set to "Monthly" (or any Reservation Type whose "Base Class" is Monthly in the Reservation Types Pick List.  This tells the program to only charge one month at a time.


In addition, Monthly reservations are in a different color, and can have special rules apply for the initial dates and amount charged when it's first created (see Program Options / Monthlies).  You can even specify a "month" to mean a specific number of days, instead of a calendar month, e.g. 30 days, for the purposes of "adding a month" to a reservation or auto-calculating a "month" at a time.


Finally, Monthly reservations are eligible for the Monthly Billing function to allow one-click billing of all due reservations at once.



Recommended Reservation Settings


For proper handling of long-term reservations, certain fields should be set initially and maintained properly, particularly if you're using Monthly Billing.


As mentioned above, the Reservation Type needs to be a Monthly-Base-Type (usually just "Monthly").


First-time Setup:


If you're just setting up Campground Master and entering reservations that have already been there, here are some rules to follow:


1. First Night: This shouldn't be in the future.  Set it to an appropriate past date.  It doesn't have to be exact, but it should generally be on their monthly anniversary since you're charging rent based on that.  For instance if they started in 2016 but are next due on the 18th, you can set the First Night to the 18th of last month.  However if they are past due on payments, it's best to set it as far bask as needed so it starts before they were last paid in full.  Of course they should also be set to Checked In.  Make sure checking it in doesn't change the First Night from what was set above (answer "No" to the prompt that comes up about arriving today).


2. Auto-charged thru date:  This should be set to the end of their last billing period.  For instance if you've billed for the month of May already (prior to using Campground Master) and you're using calendar-month billing, set it to May 31st.  If they start on dates other than the 1st, of course, it should be adjusted accordingly (e.g.if they Started on 4//11, the Auto-Charged-thru should be 5/10).


3. Paid-thru:  This should reflect their actual payment status.  If they are paid through 5/31, select that date.  If they haven't paid for May, set it to 4/30 (again these assume calendar month billing).


4. Last Night: There are a couple ways to do this.  Partly it's preference, and partly it's the way your park operates.  But it can also affect how things like the Paid Thru tab shows them and also Monthly Billing.  We suggest experimenting with each method to see what works best for you.

One month at a time -- If they arrived on 4/1, charged and paid thru 4/30, (and assume this is still April), then you can set the Last Night to 4/30. Then set the "Block To" date as far out as practical, e.g. to the end of the year, or net year, or when you really expect them to leave.  Each month when it's time to bill, you can extend them another month.

All the way out -- The the Last Night as far out as desired, and rely on the Charged-thru and Paid-Thru to keep track of their status.  This is really the recommended method, since the Monthly reservation type already keeps it from billing more than one month at a time.  You won't have to keep extending them each month, and they will show up on the Payments Due tab as of when their next billing is due.


5. Security Deposits -- If they paid a security deposit in the past, you should enter this charge with some past date, along with a payment, so you have a record of it.  That way it will balance out when they leave and you refund the deposit.  See the Security Deposits section.


6. Electric Meters, etc -- If you're doing metered electric, be sure to set up for Electric Meters, and set the last reading accordingly so it's read for next month's new reading.   Likewise for gas or water meters, if applicable.



New Monthly Reservations:


When creating new monthly reservations, it's mostly a matter of just using their arrival date as usual and then deciding how long they expect to be there.  As mentioned in #4 above for Last Night, you can set the Last Night all the way out or just make it one month out and use Blocked To to hold the site for a longer time.  For convenience, you can also set it to automatically extend the Last Night and Blocked To dates whenever you select the Monthly reservation type  (see Program Options / Monthlies).


If you prefer to pro-rate the first month so that the next month's rent is due on the first of the month for everybody, you can also do that (see Program Options / Monthlies).


If you're making a future reservation and taking an advance Deposit for rent (not to be confused with a Security Deposit), then the normal Recommended Transaction Procedures apply (as described in that section under Working with Transactions).


Of course if your renters pay a Security Deposit for damage or electricity, etc, then you should handle that as described in the Security Deposit section (under Working with Transactions).



Monthly Rates / Charges


As mentioned before, the Monthly Billing function can make it easy to handle the monthly billing chores.  However this requires Auto-Rates setup.  Even if you aren't ready for that yet and/or need to handle the monthly charges manually, here are some tips:


1. Make sure your Rates are set up appropriately for Monthly reservation types.  See details in the Rates Setup Examples.


2. If you need to pro-rate partial months, either at the beginning of the stay or at the end (or both), you can set up appropriate rates to do that or you can let it use your normal Daily/Weekly rates.  See details in the Rates Setup Examples.


3. If you're manually adding charges, even with Select Rates, it won't know what dates you're charging for -- so it may be useful to set the Auto-Charged-Thru date to the appropriate charged-thru date afterwards.  This will help it set the Paid-Thru date accordingly.  Of course if you're using Auto-Rates / Monthly Billing, this is automatic.


4. When a payment-in-full is made, it will set the Paid-Thru date to whatever the Auto-Charged-Thru date is set to (which is why setting it manually is handy).  However if Auto-Charged-Thru is not set, then it will set the Paid-Thru to the Last Night.  This is one case where extending the Last Night each month could be better that setting it far out initially.


5. If there are other standard monthly charges besides rent, such as for cable or trash service, those can be set as Add-On rates or they can be combined in the one Monthly Rate definition (assuming it applies to everyone).  If special charges don't apply to everyone, then of course you would use an Add-On rate, using something like a Reservation Attribute field to indicate that the charge is required.



Electric Meters, etc.


If you also charge for metered electricity, then you can combine that on their monthly bill (e.g. using the printing option to Print "Unbalanced Transactions (since 0 balance)").  Usually it's recommended that you add the electric (and water and/or gas as needed) before doing the monthly billing -- especially if using the Monthly Billing function.  That makes it easier to combine the charges onto one bill.


Of course you may want to use the Electric Meter Reading (Batch Entry) method of entering electric meter readings and charging those all at once as well.  Since that also has functions to print all receipts, then you may prefer to add the monthly rent first, then do the electric readings and print from there.



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