How to Start Your Own Bed & Breakfast

    hqdefaultIf you’ve ever stayed in a bed and breakfast before, you may have walked away from the experience dreaming of getting away from the standard 9 to 5 and starting your very own. Generally known for their 4-10 guest rooms with owners living on-site and providing personalized service and an amazing homemade breakfast, bed and breakfasts can be found in all fifty states with over 28,000 of them in the United States today. But before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to take the right steps:

    – Be realistic. Owning and running a bed and breakfast can seem luxurious but the work is hard! It typically involves 12-18 hour workdays, constant interaction with guests and often very little profit. While you can certainly expect to make enough to cover your expenses, you won’t “get rich quick” and probably won’t see a huge return on all of your hard work until you decide to sell your bed and breakfast.

    – Do your research. Before you purchase any property or begin renovations on something you already own, do your research to ensure you won’t be stuck with a bed and breakfast that isn’t licensed to be in business! Some cities and towns aren’t quite sure how to license or zone bed and breakfasts because they straddle the line between residential and commercial properties.

    – Educate yourself. Stay in bed and breakfasts throughout the U.S., take notes on what you do and don’t like and ask the innkeepers if you can pay extra for their consulting time. Find bed and breakfast associations in your state and attend seminars that they offer. Doing this on the front end will help you realize the risks and benefits before you get too far into owning your own.

    – Figure out the financing. Determine how much you can afford for a property and its renovations and if you will need to secure a loan. You can expect to spend up to $50,000 per room to renovate a property in order for it be to used as a bed and breakfast but be sure to get specific quotes on the exact work that will need to be done.

    – Decide which help you’ll hire. Bed and breakfast owners often do it all, but you may burn out quickly this way. First determine your strengths and then hire help with the things that drain you physically and emotionally. For some this may mean hiring help in the kitchen or with cleaning while others will want to outsource the bookkeeping.

    All of the above should be done before you spend a penny on purchasing or renovating a home for use as a bed and breakfast! By figuring out your steps ahead of time, you’ll save yourself time, energy and money and will feel fully prepared before stepping into your role as innkeeper!

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