Starting a bed and breakfast can be rewarding but it comes with its challenges. Before starting a bed and breakfast, it is wise to do your research. Ask yourself if you are truly suited for entrepreneurship and if you understand the significant effort that may be required.
You should thoroughly enjoy the field you are getting into and believe in your product or service because it may take up much of your time, especially in the start-up phase. Several aspects need to be considered such as regulations, financing taxation, managing your business, advertising, and much more.
Bed & Breakfast Industry Overview
The bed and breakfast industry is made up of establishments primarily engaged in providing short-term lodging in homes. These establishments provide guest rooms in private homes or in small buildings converted for this use, and they often have a unique or historic character. Bed and breakfasts are characterized by highly personalized service, and the inclusion, in the room rate, of a full breakfast served by the owner or owner-supervised staff.
Questions to ask yourself before starting a bed and breakfast:
- Is your home located in a desirable setting?
- What makes your home unique or attractive?
- Must the structure of your home be altered to function well for you, your family and your guests?
- Will additional furnishings be needed?
- Will you have the time, money, and skills needed?
- Is your family prepared to have strangers stay in their house?
- Have you consulted professionals with expertise related to the bed and breakfast industry?
- Do you like being with people? Do you have good hosting, conversational and listening skills?
- Do you enjoy maintaining a neat and clean home?
- Are you well-organized (e.g., to maintain reservation schedules and prepare breakfast)?
- Do you understand the basics of managing, accounting and bookkeeping?
- Have you done your research (demand, competition, advertising)?
- Do you have realistic expectations? (Do not expect big profits. These are not get-rich-quick operations.)
Choosing Your Location
Choosing the right location for your business is important; for most businesses, an appropriate location is critical. A good location will depend on the needs of your business, where your customers and competitors are, and such things as taxes, zoning restrictions, noise and the environment.
Licenses, Permits and Regulations
All businesses must comply with regulations and obtain necessary licences and permits. When creating a business, you must contact your local government and your state and federal governments. The question of licences, permits and regulations is very complex and there is no uniformity throughout the country. It is better for you to start with your local government (local city hall, town or village office or rural municipal office).
Most of the time it has the authority to issue its own business licenses. Verify with them also about local regulations, licensing requirements, and zoning by-laws that control property uses in their municipalities. Then contact your state government and the federal government. Contacts for these administrations can be found in the government listings of your telephone directory site.
Examples of licenses, permits and regulations:
- business license
- tourism establishment license
- food establishment license
- liquor sales license
I've just outlined a few things to consider before you enter the wonderful world of owning a Bed and Breakfast.