Bed & Breakfast Business
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Beginning Bed & Breakfast Business: A Basic Guide

Do you have a passion for hospitality? Are you always the one to throw the best parties? Why not start your bed and breakfast? This post will explain how to start a bed and breakfast.

We will discuss how a bed and breakfast works and other topics like choosing a location, hiring staff, marketing your business, and more! So if you’re ready to open the doors to your bed and breakfast, keep reading!

What Is A Bed And Breakfast?

Bed & Breakfast Business

 

A bed and breakfast is a small, intimate lodging establishment that typically offers overnight accommodations and breakfast to its guests. It’s somewhat of a mix between a private home and a boutique hotel. The establishment manager sometimes lives on-site and may even spend time with guests. 

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Bed and breakfasts are often owner-operated and located in historic homes or buildings, but not always. You can start one in your home!

How To Start A Bed And Breakfast

Let’s look at a step-by-step guide to starting your B&B: 

STEP 1: Plan Your Business

Planning is essential to starting a successful B&B. If you have a clear roadmap of what to do in specific situations, you can make your life much easier while running the business. Below are some questions you should answer in your Bed and Breakfast business plan: 

What Will Be The Type Of Your B&B Ownership? 

There are three main types of ownership when running a B&B business. These are: 

Owner-Operated

In this ownership type, the owner is responsible for all aspects of the business, including day-to-day operations, marketing, accounting, and more. This can be a great option if you have experience in the hospitality industry and are interested in being very hands-on with your business.

Partnership

In a partnership, two or more people come together to share the responsibilities of running the B&B. This can be a great option if you don’t have the experience or time to run the business independently.

Renter

In this type of ownership, you rent a room or property from another owner and then sublease it to guests. This can be a less expensive option than owning your property, but it does come with some risks.

Hired Manager

In this type of ownership, you will hire someone to manage the day-to-day operations of your B&B. This can be a great option if you want to be less hands-on with the business or live in a different city than the B&B.

What Are The Costs Involved In Starting A Bed And Breakfast?

Startup costs can vary greatly depending on the size & location of your B&B. If you’re planning to convert an existing room in your home into a guest room, your costs will be lower than if you’re planning to purchase or build a separate structure. Other costs include linens, décor, and any necessary renovations or repairs.

What Are The Ongoing Expenses For A Bed And Breakfast?

The ongoing expenses for a B&B include utilities, insurance, food, housekeeping, and marketing. You will also need to set aside cash for occasional repairs and maintenance.

What Is The Target Market, Or What Type of Guests Will You Entertain?

When deciding who your target market is, consider the type of guest you would like to attract. Are you looking for families, couples, business travelers, or a specific age group? Once you know your market, you can begin tailoring your marketing efforts toward that group.

How Much Can You Charge Customers?

Pricing is always tricky, but it’s especially important when starting a new business. You want to ensure you’re charging enough to cover your costs but not so much that no one will stay with you. Research the prices of other beds and breakfasts in your area to get an idea of the going rate.

How Can You Make Your Business More Profitable?

There are several ways to make your bed and breakfast more profitable. One way is to offer additional laundry, childcare, or concierge services. You can also increase your rates during peak seasons or offer package deals with local attractions.

What Will You Name Your Business?

Your business name is an important part of your brand identity. It should be unique and memorable and represents the type of business you are running. Avoid using your name in the business name, as this can make it difficult to sell the business in the future.

Find A Domain On GoDaddy

Finally, the last step of researching is finding your domain name on GoDaddy.com. It’s best to purchase your domain for the long term (1-5 years) so you don’t have to worry about renewing it yearly. That way, you can focus on running your business!

STEP 2: Form A Legal Entity

The next step is to form a legal entity for your business. This will protect your assets if your business is sued. There are a few different business structures, including sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, and corporation. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so consult an attorney or accountant to decide which is best for your business.

STEP 3: Register For Small Business Taxes

If you sell products or services, you must register for state and local taxes. You will also need a business license from your locality, city, or county. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what other permits or licenses you may need.

STEP 4: Open A Business Bank Account & Credit Card

It’s essential to keep your private and business finances separate, so open a business bank account and credit card. This will make tracking your expenses easier, stay organized, and provide personal asset protection.

When you mix your personal and business accounts, your assets are at risk in case of legal trouble. Besides, building your business credit can help you get business credit cards, tax exemptions, better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and other benefits. 

Open A Business Bank Account

Below are some other benefits of opening a business bank account: 

  • It makes accounting and tax filling much easier
  • It makes business loan applications easier
  • It separates your assets from business assets

Open Net 30 Accounts With Vendors

A Net 30 account is an agreement between a customer and a vendor where the customer agrees to pay for goods or services within 30 days of the invoice date. This type of account can help you build business credit because it’s reported to the business credit reporting agencies.

 Get A Business Credit Card

Some vendors may require a personal guarantee for Net 30 accounts. They can come after your assets if you don’t pay the bill. That’s why it’s important to have a business bank account and credit card to keep your personal assets separate from your business.

STEP 5: Set Up Business Accounting

The next step is to set up your business accounting. Recording your various sources of income and expenses is vital to understand the financial performance of your B&B business. Several software options are available to help you track your finances, or you can hire an accountant to do it for you.

STEP 6: Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses

Depending on your local, or state laws, you may need a business license, health permit, and other licenses or permits to operate your B&B. Failure to do so can lead to hefty fines or, even worse, a complete shutdown. 

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Each state has different business licensing requirements. The Small Business Association (SBA) can help you determine what licenses and permits you need to obtain to operate your business.

Health Permits 

You must obtain a food handler’s permit if you are serving food at your B&B. Depending on state and local laws, you may also need other health safety permits.

Certificate Of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is a document that states that your B&B meets the minimum health and safety standards set by the state and local government. It also confirms that your establishment meets all the building codes, zoning laws, and government regulations to operate as a business. You will need to obtain a CO before you can open your doors to guests. 

Now there are two scenarios here. Do you plan to lease or just purchase/build a location for your business? In the first case, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO. So, before you lease, ensure your landlord has the CO for B&B. In the second case, you are responsible for obtaining a valid CO from your local authority. 

STEP 7: Get Business Insurance

Every business needs insurance to operate safely and lawfully. Some insurance types are required by law, while others are optional but highly recommended. The type of insurance you need will depend on the size and scope of your B&B business, as well as the laws of your state.

Here are some types of insurance you should consider for your B&B business:

  1. Property insurance – protects your B&B against damage or loss from events like fires, storms, theft, and vandalism.
  2. Liability insurance – protects your business from claims of negligence or injuries on your property.
  3. Business interruption insurance – covers lost income and expenses if you have to close your B&B due to a covered event temporarily.
  4. Employee insurance – if you have employees, you may be required to carry workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

If you are unsure where to begin, go for General Liability Insurance. It’s the most common insurance type for small businesses and covers various risks, such as third-party bodily injury, property damage, personal and advertising injury, medical payments, and more. 

STEP 8: Define Your Brand

The final step is to define your brand. What does it stand for? What makes it unique? What’s your story? A strong brand helps you stand out from the competition. So, take some time to develop a clear and concise brand message that you can use across all your marketing channels.

Some things to consider when developing your brand:

  • Your target audience – who are you trying to reach?
  • Your mission statement – what is your purpose?
  • Your values – what do you believe in?
  • Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – what makes you different from your competition?
  • Your tone and voice – how do you want to communicate with your target audience?

Once you have taken all the steps above, it’s time to start marketing your bed and breakfast business. 

STEP 9: Promote & Market Your Bed And Breakfast

The main target audience of B&B is travelers. Therefore, your marketing efforts should target all the forums where travelers look up lodging information about your area. At least set up your social media handles, a website, and a phone number so potential customers can talk to you whenever they want. 

Moreover, it would be best to try listing your business on B&B sites, lodging information guides, and hotel deal websites to attract guests. You can also Promote your B&B on online travel booking sites like Airbnb, Expedia, book direct websites, Google My Business, and TripAdvisor. 

Lastly, encouraging your guests to leave you a review on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc., will also help you attract more business. 

How To Make Guests Coming Back To Your B&B? 

Make your business unique. Most of the time, your prime location or eye-catching views make your B&B unique. But you can also put some effort into doing so. 

For instance, you can make your business unique by operating a victorian-style bed and breakfast, or go for any other era. You can also set your business apart by offering special food like organic meals, Mexican grills, etc. 

Another way to become unique is by offering special services like a dog-walking service, laundry, or anything else you can think of. 

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Opening A Bed And Breakfast

Bed & Breakfast Business

Here are some common mistakes to keep in mind: 

Not doing your research – make sure you understand the business’s ins and outs before you start.

Not having enough capital – running a bed and breakfast is not a cheap undertaking. Make sure you have enough dough to cover all your expenses, including marketing, advertising, and unexpected repairs.

Overdelivering and underselling – while it’s important to offer a great experience to your guests, don’t overdo it. Otherwise, you’ll cost yourself more money than you can afford. 

Operating without a policy – having a clear policy in place will help you avoid misunderstandings or disputes with your guests. 

Not being prepared for the high season – if you’re not ready for the high season, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and may burn yourself out. Make sure you have enough staff on hand to help you during the busiest times of the year. 

Sticking to old management policies – just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work now. Be open to trying new things and adapting to the ever-changing needs of today’s world. 

How To Hire The Right Staff At Your Bed And Breakfast

One of the most important aspects of running a successful bed and breakfast is having the right staff. Here are a few tips to help you hire the best employees: 

  1. Define the position – Before looking for candidates, take the time to define the job you’re looking to fill. 
  2. Use various recruitment methods – don’t rely on just one way to find candidates. Use various methods, including online job boards, newspaper ads, and word-of-mouth. 
  3. Check references – when you’ve narrowed down your candidates, check their references. This will give you a better idea of their work ethic.

Is Owning A Bed And Breakfast Right For You?

Think carefully about whether or not owning a bed and breakfast is the right decision for you. It’s a lot of work, and it’s not for everyone. Consider the following: 

  1. Do you have what it takes to run a business? 
  2. Are you prepared to work long hours? 
  3. Do you have the financial resources necessary to get started? 
  4. Do you have the patience to deal with difficult guests? 
  5. Do you have the ability to handle stressful situations? 

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you can confidently open a B&B. 

Conclusion

So, that’s how to start a bed and breakfast. It’s a great way to make some cash while doing something you love. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of work involved in setting up and running a successful B&B business. Hopefully, by following the instructions outlined in this article, you’ll be well on achieving your goals. 

Thanks for reading! We hope this article has been helpful.

FAQs

What To Expect At A Bed And Breakfast?

A bed and breakfast is typically a small, intimate lodging facility that offers overnight accommodations and breakfast to its guests. 

How Much Profit Can A Bed And Breakfast Make?

The amount of profit a bed and breakfast can make depends on many factors, including location, size, amenities, and more. 

What Are Some Common Problems With Bed And Breakfasts?

Some common problems with bed and breakfasts include guest noise complaints, difficulty hiring and retaining qualified staff, and difficulty keeping up with the demand during the high season. 

How Do I Start A Bed And Breakfast With No Money?

Starting a bed and breakfast with no money is difficult, if not impossible. The business requires a significant amount of start-up capital, so you’ll need to find other ways to finance your venture.

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