I think the thing to do is to charge $40 per head, with a $200 minimum. 7 people at a time maximum (because that's what fits on the EV + people trailer). This way, somebody like Emily and/or Tony could make something of a business out of it. And most of the hassle is the 20 people that call to have long chats about possibly getting a tour for each person that will actually arrive and go on a tour.
Giving tours just takes away from our time spent on doing other stuff.
Tours are nice for people who are close, but even a group of people is not as efficient as pictures and videos that 100s of people can watch/look at for one piece of work. I do not know all of your reasons for wishing privacy, but I can think of enough for wanting my privacy to suffice Should I ever be in the area (travel would take away from resources I would rather put towards my own project) and know that I had something to offer in the way of work.... and it worked in with whatever you were doing I wouldn't mind paying for my stay. But I expect I would get more out of lots of videos... probably even more out of a few pictures and lots of words. Podcasts don't work for me, I can read faster and hit less rabbit trails (perhaps that is also why videos don't grab as much). Work shops are great, I learn by doing as well as the next person.
I think that people who want tours are trying to get the benefit of a workshop (or a group of them) for nothing, (both in terms of money and time) and are probably ripping both you and themselves off.
I love farm tours and I try to get invited on then often. I love seeing what others are doing and I really especially love making connections with farmers, sharing ideas, resources and work.
I love giving tours too! I spend a lot of time working and thinking about what I'm doing here with nobody for company but the children and my husband, and sharing it is fun. Seeing the spark of interest and understanding in people's eyes is delightful.
And yet! I have little time to leisurely stroll around doing no work! Drop ins are not ever possible. The only people who can drop in are dear old friends who know how to take care of themselves and will pitch in.
I give tours when there is a work party or workshop, or when new wwoofers arrive, that's it really. This tour is a great time to train new helpers on the fly, giving them an idea of the way we do things and why. If all goes well they will love it here before beginning work. Good for morale!
I do not answer the phone. I will listen to a message when I get a chance. I can't answer email right away either. I send prospective wwoofers my extensive application and if they seem great, then I'll start with the emails.
There is just too much to do, first of all, and second of all, it has to be both safe and worth it. Serious mental health issues and lack of common sense about being on a farm are not what I'm equipped to deal with right now. Maybe some day when I have a psychiatrist and a bouncer on staff! Some grownups take as much work as kids.
If I were you I'd have a standard brief answer- no unplanned tours outside of workshops and work parties. If you want to set up a way for a certain size group that pays a certain amount to make a plan for a tour that's mighty nice of you. I'd have a form set up for then to fill out. I use Google forms, it's really easy to save and send. I'm sure there are others if you don't want the NSA knowing all about your application process.
I like the idea of an application form too. Only one change... Make people print it and Mail it to your PO box. If people have to take a few extra steps plus put a stamp on it, you'll have a higher percentage of applicants actually show up for the tour and you don't have to waste all day on the phone or conversing through the net. I would think so anyway.
Consider open houses. Consider tours and a fund raising pitch. Quail Springs, which I've mentioned to you, does this. You and I both know how much bandwidth this takes. It can wait until spring. Or summer, and you've got lots of things to see. We can brainstorm when we next share a meal, Jocelyn.
Forest Voices, Director
Farmer, Storyteller, Writer, Film-maker, Permaculture Designer and Sustainable Agricultural Consultant
I'm so happy! And I wish to make this tiny ad happy too: