My answer is yes – and I am living proof!
The primary thing you will need if you are on your own are back-up plans. In training, I spend a lot of time helping you to get a very clear understanding of the amount of work owning a bed and breakfast entails.
Here are two key issues to think about:
Owning a bed and breakfast requires a lot of physical labour - even if you hire help. Are you up to it?
If not, how are you going to handle the workload? In my case, I was able to manage on my own for the first three years, but then learned that it was essential to have cleaning help in the peak season – for the sake of my health and to have the energy to deal with guests in the manner I wanted to be able to
- If you get into this situation, it is essential to understand the difference between employees and contractors.
- Also, depending on where you are located. In my case, it is a seasonal area, so the competition for good, reliable help can be tough - and it isn't cheap!
If you are on your own, once you get a handle on the amount of work, you will need to have a plan for what happens when you get sick, injured or just plain burnt out. Who will be there to help you?
I don’t have the luxury of depending on family – they are miles away, with jobs and families of their own, so I certainly can’t expect to count on them! In addition, I didn’t have a lot of support for my idea of running a bed and breakfast, so I always felt (in the first few years anyways) that they were just looking for a reason to say “I told you so!”.
Just to give you some of the scenarios I have run into, and you will need to think about:
- How will you handle really late check-ins? You can’t be up at the crack of dawn making breakfast and sitting around until the wee hours of the morning to let someone in!
- If there is a last minute crisis that needs to be dealt with right away, how will you handle it? (Why do guests always wait until breakfast service is in full swing to let you know their toilet has flooded, or the tap in the shower/sink has fallen off and the water is gushing out?)
- What if something is too big to lift or beyond your capabilities to fix – even temporarily? This is something that is challenging me now that I am 10 years older than when I started up! (And no, it is NOT appropriate to ask guests to help!)
- What is your back-up financial plan? If you only have the B&B income to depend on, and you haven’t done your homework to understand the cash flow issues you will be facing, how will you keep the B&B running and generate more income?
If you are single, you can still own and run a bed and breakfast. Having back-up plans will help - especially in dealing with the physical aspects. If you would like a better idea of what some of your potential solutions might be, don't hesitate to contact me!