How to Start a Bed and Breakfast Business
By Eric Hammer
So you want to start a bed and breakfast? Good for you. Creating
a bed and breakfast is a dream for many Americans, especially
those with particularly large homes which would make for an ideal
bed and breakfast arrangement.
Keep in mind however that the whole concept of a bed and breakfast
has changed over the years. These days, guests coming to a bed
and breakfast expect to be pampered and actually pay more for
the experience of staying in a comfortable home rather than in
an impersonal hotel room. They expect each room to be somewhat
unique and that the character of the B&B owners will be reflected
in the place.
At the same time however, most people who come to a bed and
breakfast still expect many of the amenities found in formal
hotel rooms, including televisions in their rooms, a separate
phone line on which they can make outgoing calls and private
bathrooms and showers. That last item is probably the most requested
item but also the most difficult one for people who want to start
their own bed and breakfast. Few homes offer such amenities from
the start and as such your home will need to be retrofitted to
provide such amenities.
It goes without saying that if your home is simply not suited
to retrofitting each room with a private shower and toilet and
you must instead offer your guests a shared bathroom that locks
on the door and some kind of system for making use of it are
a must. Youll also need to make sure to keep the place
spotless by cleaning it constantly. A gentle reminder note hung
on the inside of the door is also a good idea to make sure they
realize others may need the bathroom as well.
How Much Can You Make?
Room rates for bed and breakfasts run the gamut across the
country. The cheapest prices we saw were in the $80 per night
range with the most expensive prices being close to $300 per
night, based on double occupancy. Keep in mind however that your
price per room will not be pure profit. Youll be paying
for raw materials for providing breakfast to your guests, costs
of consumables in the bathrooms and rooms and you will naturally
have to spend money to replace worn out sheets, pillow cases
and furniture as time goes on. Not to mention the staff required
to help you run your bed and breakfast.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Some bed and breakfasts also offer themes to their guests.
One place we looked at for our survey for example offered "ghost
tours and stories" along with some other spooky entertainment
for an extra $30 per person. You can also help guests to arrange
for shows and dinners in the area and of course, your kitchen
can be opened for meals in the afternoon and evening as well
for an additional fee.
Keep in mind when running your bed and breakfast that your
guests are there for the experience as much as for a practical
consideration of a place to stay. They want your B&B to be
unique and to offer them an unusual experience so try not to
make it feel too impersonal like a hotel. Making each room distinct,
with different themes and naming each room rather than simply
giving them numbers is generally a good idea.
Many guests develop relationships with B&B owners and
become lifelong friends. Youll need to be the sort of person
who enjoys having new people around all the time in order to
be successful in this business and youll also need to be
able to quickly handle complaints from guests if there is a problem.
Qualifications / Requirements
You need to check with your city zoning commission to find
out if there are any issues of zoning permits regarding turning
your home into a bed and breakfast. Youll also need to
obtain a food handlers license for preparing meals in your
kitchen and youll probably want to take some courses in
hospitality management if not getting an actual degree in the
subject to make sure that you know the ins and outs of running
Start by taking an honest assessment of your home. Is it big
enough to create a bed and breakfast? Remember that a spare room
or two are good for long term borders but not for a bed and breakfast.
Youll need at least five or six comfortable rooms available
in order to run a successful bed and breakfast. Spend some time
sleeping in each room as well. Consider whether there are noises
in the area that may prove distracting to your guests. Finally,
as previously noted, check with your city zoning board to make
sure that you can legally operate a bed and breakfast in your
Decisions to Make Before Starting a Bed and Breakfast
This is an excellent checklist of things youll need to
consider when you start looking into turning your home into a
Marketplace: Seminars on How to Start a Bed and Breakfast
Sometimes, its best to hear about things in person
rather than to try and read about them. These seminars should
give you a solid grounding in the facts of running a B&B.
Running a Bed and Breakfast for Dummies by Mary White
(For Dummies, 2009) Yeah, the titles of these books put
some people off, but lets face it, they get the job done.
Here is everything you need to know in order to start your own
bed and breakfast.