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Owning a Bed & Breakfast

Guest Author - Deborah Crawford

If you like to meet new people from near and far, like to cook for others, keep things clean, enjoy decorating, and you have good basic business skills, owning a bed & breakfast might be just the business idea for you.

A bed and breakfast is a lodging establishment, typically smaller and more intimate than motels and hotels. Many bed and breakfasts (B&B’s) are in the owner’s home. B&B’s provide a sleeping room and a morning meal for travelers. Others sometimes provide an afternoon snack, occasionally with wine.

Many travelers prefer B&B’s to hotels because they are unique, with a wide variety of room décor, food and environment. The more personal interaction with owners and staff is something many people prefer, too. B&B’s are not cookie-cutter, “seen one, seen ‘em all” places and that is part of their charm and their success.

Here are some of the details of owning a bed & breakfast business:

What you’ll do: You will host travelers at your inn. You will check them in (usually in the afternoons), maybe tell them a little about the area, and let them know the “policies” of the inn – check out time, breakfast time, bathroom information, and so on. You will prepare breakfast and serve it, and clean the inn, including the sleeping rooms, daily. You also have to order food and supplies, take reservations, keep your books and market your B&B.

What you need to know: You will need to know how to clean and maintain your rooms and public areas. This might include everything from making beds and changing light bulbs to cleaning carpets and refinishing furniture.

You will need to know how to cook a variety of breakfast items, and how to order and prepare food properly so that you have enough without having a lot of waste. Having a fabulous breakfast can really make a difference.

You also need excellent people skills. Building up your business with repeat guests and referrals will depend on your making people feel welcome.

You will need to know how to market your business locally and via B&B networks and online resources.

And, you will need good people management skills if you need to hire people to help you. If you have several rooms, that might be necessary.

How to Get Started Staying in a variety of bed and breakfasts will give you some ideas on how they are operated, and the owners will probably be happy to give you tips on starting your own.

Alternatively, you can learn quite a bit about lodging by working in a hotel. Try to work in different departments, particularly to learn how to clean rooms and how to cook and serve breakfast.

Do some research online to find out about associations geared to Bed and Breakfast owners. You can find valuable resources this way.
How You’ll Make Money You make money by charging for your rooms. Survey area hotels and B&B’s to get an idea of the going rates, although if you can provide a superior product, don’t be afraid to charge more.

Start-up Basics Once you have armed yourself with the knowledge and resources you need and are ready to start your own B&B, here are some other things you’ll need:

--Business Licenses and permits for lodging and food service.
--First year’s business plan
--Business cards and any marketing collateral you choose
--Building or house with bedrooms
--Breakfast recipe collection, dishes, kitchen equipment
--Reservation system
--Beds, sheets, furniture, towels, etc.
--Additional telephone lines
--Credit card merchant status (check with your bank for info)
--Business checking account
--Vendors for food and cleaning supplies

For more information on starting your own bed & breakfast, here are some additional resources:

Click Here to Discover How to Become a Bed and Breakfast Owner

How to Open a Financially Successful Bed and Breakfast or Small Hotel
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Content copyright © 2014 by Deborah Crawford. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deborah Crawford. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Violette DeSantis for details.

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