Have you always dreamed of opening your own cozy bed and breakfast? If you’d love to meet tons of new people, earn money working from home, and run your own business, a B&B might be perfect for you. However, it does require a lot of work to get everything up and running. Read below to learn more about what you need to do to get started.
Make Sure a B&B is the Right Choice
A bed and breakfast isn’t the right choice for everyone – even if it’s something you may have dreamed of doing one day. You’ll need to enjoy being in the service industry and meeting new people often, enjoy the business side of the B&B, and have the financial ability to get the business up and running. You’ll also want to make sure you’re willing to give up holidays and long weekends, as that’s when you’re most likely to have customers.
Create a Business Plan
The first step for creating any business is to have a plan. This is necessary if you’ll need a loan to get started, but even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea. Templates are available online if you’ve never written a business plan before, but it basically needs to include what you are going to do when you open as well as your plans for expansion in the future and how you’ll handle the cash flow for the business.
Think About the Financing
Unless you already own the perfect home and have everything else ready to go, you’ll likely need some startup financing. Even if you already own the home you want to use, you’ll likely need to pay for renovations and new furniture to create the perfect atmosphere or funds to make any necessary repairs to the home and start decorating the rooms.
Pick Out the Right Location
If you don’t already have the perfect home, you’ll need to start thinking about the perfect location and what you want in a home. You may want somewhere close to tourist attractions or historic buildings, nearby major highways, or in other prime locations. While you’re looking for the right location, don’t forget to look into zoning regulations to ensure you can operate a bed and breakfast out of the home you purchase.
Learn About Legal Requirements
It may be beneficial to consult an attorney to make sure you have everything set up properly. It’s likely you’ll need permits for any renovations as well as licenses and certifications to be able to operate a business. You’ll also likely need a business license, bank accounts for the business, inspections before you can open, and more. An attorney can help you navigate all of this, so everything is done by the book.
Figure Out a Marketing Strategy
To get the word out about your new bed and breakfast, you’ll need a marketing plan. Though word of mouth is a great way to bring in more customers, it’s not the only way. The best time to start marketing is before you open, so you can start having people book their stay as soon as your bed and breakfast is ready to host guests. There are tons of marketing strategies that will be perfect for a bed and breakfast, depending on your needs, preferences, and budget.
Hire Staff Members
While you may be able to handle operating the B&B by yourself or with the help of your family, you may want to hire staff instead to help handle some of the chores. It’s best to look into local labor laws and speak with an attorney before hiring your first staff member. Then, you’ll want to figure out what the staff member will be doing and what you’ll handle on your own. Tasks you may want help with include cleaning, laundry, meal preop, and restocking rooms.
Renovate the Property
If the property isn’t ready, it’ll need to be renovated. The biggest room to focus on is the kitchen, as you or a staff member will need a safe and sanitary kitchen that’s large enough to handle the food prep for all of your guests. After the kitchen, consider renovating bedrooms or bathrooms. All renovations should be handled by a licensed professional to prevent liability issues in case something happens.
Furnish and Decorate the Property
Each room will need to be furnished and decorated. It’s best to invest in higher-quality furniture, bedding, towels, and other items that will be used by the guests. You’ll also want to consider amenities like books or live plants in the room to make the room more comfortable. When decorating, stick with a theme that helps make your B&B more unique and interesting for the guests, like local or historical items.
Plan the Meals
While you can always change plans in the future, start planning the breakfast you’ll serve the guests. You may want to stick with a basic continental breakfast or, if you love cooking, opt for a more gourmet menu. Keep in mind that there may be rules regarding how food is stored and served and that you may need to make adjustments for allergies or other restrictions.
Plan the Rates and Rules
Think about how much you’ll charge for the room each night as well as what rules the guests may be required to follow. Rules may include restrictions on pets or children, whether alcohol can be consumed on the premises, whether there are quiet hours, and what parts of the home the guest can access. You’ll also want to think about what types of payment you’ll accept, what the times are for checking in or out, and more.
Although all of this sounds like a lot of work, and it is, the next step is to open your doors and invite your first guests for their stay. If you’ve done all of the hard work already, they’re going to enjoy the time at your bed and breakfast, and they’re sure to tell others to stay at your B&B if they visit your town.
There are even more items to think about than these, but these should give you a great start. If you have all these bases covered, your odds of success and happiness with your decision go way up.