Talking to many people who are contemplating opening a B&B, fear is one of the biggest things holding them back from their dream – and I get it!
The thought of becoming your own boss, and doing the kinds of things you expect a bed and breakfast owner does is very appealing.
However, most aspiring B&B owners have 3 main concerns:
How will you know if you can make enough money?
- How do you know how much to charge guests?
- Can you make enough money to pay the bills and still have some money left over?
- What happens if you can’t make enough to even pay the mortgage?
- Where can you get financing to help purchase the property?
How much work is it owning a bed and breakfast?
- Will you be able to do everything required to keep it running?
- What will you do if the work is too much for you?
- Who can you go to for help?
- Are you going to have any time for a personal life?
How do I get guests?
- Who will be your guests?
- How do you get people to come and stay?
- What do you do with them when they are staying?
- What if you don’t like your guests?
Faced with all these unanswered questions makes it hard to move forward, and the thought of putting your plan in action without a clear path forward can paralyze some people with fear. The following information will help you begin to answer your questions.
The best place to start to get answers is by looking at the area you where you want your bed and breakfast to be located. That will tell you how seasonal your business will be and the average price other local B&Bs charge for their rooms. This information will give you some idea of what you might be able to charge for your rooms, which in turn, will provide you with a rough idea of how much money you might be able to make. If you need financing, you will need to have this information available as part of your lender’s package.
Determining how much work it will be will depending on the number of rooms you have and how long your guests stay. Again, your location can give you some idea – what is bringing people to this area and how long does it take them to do that activity? Knowing the answer will give you some idea of how long they might be staying and how much work it will be. You more than likely won’t be able to afford help right from the beginning unless it is a large property, so it might have to be all hands on deck for family for the first while. The good news is that if people have a reason for coming, they will generally be busy doing those things, and won’t expect of lot of your time outside of normal B&B functions, so there will be times for you to sneak off and take a break.
Again, looking at your location and the reason that people are coming should give you an indication of the type of people who will be coming to the area. Chances are, the same type of people are going to be attracted to a specific area for much the same reasons you want to live there, so getting along with the majority of guests won’t be difficult. For instance, you are not going to get the same type of guest if the big local event is a chamber music festival versus a rock music festival! Plan on using approximately 15% of your budget to market your bed and breakfast for the first couple of years to help people know that you are open and available
Take a moment to tell me your biggest fear about owning a bed and breakfast – I’d love to commiserate!
If you are looking for more concrete answers to the questions that are listed above, check out the Design Your Dream B&B system that helps you get clear on the type of bed and breakfast you want to own, figure out how much money you can make and then develop a business plan that can be used for funding and as a roadmap to guide your business for the first three years.