If you’re thinking about how wonderful it would be to fulfill your lifelong dream of opening a B&B, you’ll need to do your research first. Deciding to enter the hospitality industry isn’t easy, and there is a chance that your business will fail before it even gets off the ground.
The success of your B&B will depend on many factors – the most important things to consider are funding, location, and your willingness to put the work in.
Here are four things you need to know before you take the plunge.
1. Be Prepared to Spend Money
Unfortunately, the money you spend opening your B&B isn’t all you’ll need to put into it. Prepare to put more money into your investment than you initially anticipated, and know that you’ll have to be proactive when it comes to making improvements and repairs.
It’s a good idea to budget for fundamentals like Hospitality Furniture, bedding, and basic decor when you start out.
Cable TV and Wi-Fi are amenities that visitors will expect when you open your B&B, but you can gradually start to upgrade everything when you start to make a profit. Then, you can start thinking about touches of luxury – like cheese and wine baskets in every room, pillow-top mattresses, and Egyptian cotton sheets.
2. Understand It’s a Full-Time Job
As with any entrepreneurial foray, you will get what you put into your business. The amount of effort you put into running your B&B will have a huge impact on its success.
Many people underestimate the amount of work it takes to run a busy bed-and-breakfast – so get those romantic ideas of having a relaxing time serving wine and chatting with your guests out of your head. Running a B&B is not an easy way to make money on the side; it’s a full-time job.
Before you decide to invest in a B&B, take workshops and do your research. Consider whether you are willing to put the hard work in and if you can be available around the clock to manage your B&B – if not, opening a B&B might not be the right choice for you.
3. Location, Location, Location
The decision of whether you will be converting your own home into a B&B or purchasing another building should all revolve around the location.
Bear in mind that, if your B&B is nowhere near any popular traveler destination, you will have to make it its own attraction. If you’re converting your own home, it will probably need some remodeling. Most travelers do not like to use shared bathrooms, so ideally every room should have an en suite.
Another option is to purchase an existing B&B, but look at its location, size, bathroom situation, and make sure it meets your budget.
4. Have Savings for a Rainy Day
A tip from bed-and-breakfast owners is to always make sure you have enough money saved to survive low occupancy during your B&B’s first three years.
Another reason you’ll want to have some money saved away for wear and tear and general maintenance. As buildings age, things will inevitably start to break.
It’s a good idea to try to establish relationships with contractors and subcontractors in your area early on – having a handyman or general contractor that you can rely on when things break can be a lifesaver, and they may also be willing to negotiate their prices for repeat business.