While starting any new business venture is a thrill, there may be nothing quite as fun as starting up a bed and breakfast. You can work from your own home, do cooking, and meet intriguing people from all over the world. On the other hand, you have all the considerations of any self-employed entrepreneur. It’s a lot of work, but if you have the right disposition, operating a B&B could be a dream come true for you.
Up your hosting skills
It takes a lot of work to be a good B&B host. You need to be flexible, ready to accommodate a lot of different guests–remember, you’re running a boutique inn, not a chain hotel–and balance friendliness with your own boundaries. Be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to daily tasks. You’ll need to be up early to make the breakfast, but you may also need to stay up until one a.m. to unlock the door for late-arriving guests. You’ll spend a lot of time doing laundry, maintenance, cleaning, and keeping the place booked! This is also the time to educate yourself on all the opportunities and events going on in your area. Guests will turn to you as the expert.
After each guest’s stay, you’ll need to clean up the rooms and bathrooms. It’s essential to do a full-out, complete cleaning of the bathrooms before, during, and after each guest’s stay–especially if it’s a shared bathroom.
Updating your place
Whether you’re buying a new place or converting your current home into a B&B, you need to make sure it’s up to par. There may be code considerations and laws to adhere to. You may need to upgrade structural elements of your home and update the amenities in the bathrooms and kitchen–take a look at companies like dacor.com for idea on how to upgrade your kitchen appliances in an aesthetically-pleasing way. This is also the time to buy new linens, make sure all beds and furniture is in tip-top shape, get wireless internet, and do some serious landscaping. Are your closets big enough? Do all the bedrooms have curtains, so guests have privacy? Is your flooring in good shape, or do you need to get a little work done? What’s the temperature control like? All these and more are considerations you can’t ignore.
The bed and breakfast industry is not a high-profit one; in fact, it’s been defined as more of a lifestyle choice than anything. All the same, you’ll have to keep conventional business considerations in mind. Know your market–is there another B&B in the area? You’ll need to develop a brand; a lot of this will depend on what you think your market will be. Determine your rates based on what amenities you offer and what the other B&Bs in the area charge, and it may be worth offering off-season discounts, especially if you’re in a tourist area with seasonal traffic. You’ll also probably need business permits from your city and county. And it’s going to take a lot of time and dedication to keep your place booked. If your place starts doing extra-well, it may be time to hire new employees. In order to keep your eye on marketing the place and welcoming guests, you may hire someone to do the cleaning for you. It’s also a good idea to hire someone to occasionally run the whole place while you can take some time off–otherwise, you’re going to run yourself into the ground. It’s not a piece of cake, running a B&B, but it can give you a fulfilling career change and a new perspective on life.