• Location of retreat. If you don’t have a cabin in mind, the first item to discuss is where the cabin should be located. Should it be near a river or lake, or close to a highway? How far should it be from the families? How easy is traveling to it during inclement weather? Write down a few possible locations that everyone agrees upon.
• Size of cabin. How many bedrooms should it contain to comfortably house several families? Will friends be staying? How many bathrooms are needed? Will there be multiple cabins?
• Renovations. Does the cabin need renovations? It’s a good idea to get an inspection of the property to assess the plumbing, electricity and structural conditions. In that way, all will be able to assess what items should be fixed, the costs and in what time frame.
• Upkeep. How will the responsibilities for the upkeep be shared? This includes gardening, cutting the lawn, trimming trees and cleaning the cabin.
• Family responsibilities. How often will families travel to the retreat? If duties are being shared, each family must be able to make enough trips to accomplish their responsibilities. Some people will have money, others time, others skills, so be prepared to talk through who will contribute what.
• Must haves. What MUST the cabin provide? Certain items like a water source, electricity, and a garden need to be prioritized.
2. Monetary contributions: All parties should determine the costs and divide them. Decided how often, such as monthly or bi-monthly, each family will contribute. A separate bank account should be kept in order to separate funds and distribute properly. At least two people from different families should oversee the account. Costs include:
• Buying the cabin
• Maintaining the exterior, such as roof and siding
• Maintaining the grounds weekly or bi-weekly
• Buying food
• Water and electricity
• Household supplies, like cleaners, toilet paper, light bulbs, etc.
3. Pets. How many dogs and cats will be at the cabin?
• Who walks the pets?
• How to clean up after them.
• Rules for pets with kids and neighbors.
• Any fines for non-enforcement?
4. Schedule. Who is traveling to the cabin weekly, bi-weekly or monthly?
• Make a schedule so that families can sign up.
• Ascertain what duties and responsibilities each family contributes during their stay.
5. How much food and what supplies will be bought and accumulated for emergencies?
• Determine what supplies should be purchased individually and as a group, including guns, ammo, propane, water, food, etc.
• After the details are discussed and agreed upon, non-enforcement should come with a penalty or fine. In other words, if a family doesn’t contribute their share, consider a time frame in which they will be penalized or dismissed from the partnership.
If you can survive these negotiations, the future of the partnership is bright.
Other articles in this issue: