One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “What are the pros and cons of owning a bed and breakfast. Last week I focused on all the great reasons there are to own a bed and breakfast. As you know, for every pro, there is always a con. This week I am discussing the related consequences, and what you can do about them!
Pro 1. You make friends from all over the world
Con – It means that you are welcoming complete strangers to stay in your home overnight. This can be very unsettling for some people – they worry about things like safety and theft.
Solution – You can get around this issue by planning right from the start who you want as your guest, and putting some basic safeguards (such as doors with locks) in appropriate locations.
Pro 2. You learn something new every day
Con – You also realize that different cultures mean different expectations – from décor to food to styles of communications.
Solution – Educating yourself ahead of time about who is coming to your area that requires accommodation, and focusing on potential guests that you have a lot in common with can help make the differences easier to overcome.
To ensure you overcome the consequences related to additional pros, watch this video
Pro 3. People pay you to cook, clean and do laundry!
Con – During your busy season, it is like preparing for a party – every single day. You spend a lot of time on these chores, which can make them all-consuming and leave little time for fun.
Solution – Hire help with the chores that are easy to delegate and that you don’t enjoy doing to free up some more time.
Pro 4. You can deduct a portion of your living expenses off your income taxes
Con – Whether you are starting from scratch or purchasing an existing bed and breakfast, your start-up costs are substantial and it will take a number of years to re-coup your investment.
Solution – A well thought out Business Plan will help you plan your spending and curb spontaneous purchases, while making sure you are getting the best return-on-investment.
Pro 5. You are your own boss.
Con – It also means that YOU are the one responsible for making all the decisions – and you must bear the consequences – good or bad.
Solution – Use your Business Plan as an accountability tool getting things done in a timely fashion.
Pro 6. You are in control of your own schedule
Con – If you block off time and close, no guests mean no money.
Solution – Getting to know your “seasons” will help you plan time off accordingly; and knowing how to manage your cash flow are two highly effective ways to manage this effectively.
Pro 7. People notice and are grateful for all your hard work
Con – Since people are paying you, some have unrealistic expectations about the level of service that you provide and can be very demanding.
Solution – While your price should provide some indication of the level of service they can expect, there are always one or two people who will go out of their way to find problems. It is important to have personal friends who can provide you with valuable support to get over the rough patches.
Pro 8. Most bed and breakfasts have high and low seasons, so you can take lengthy vacations
Con – Again though, you have to remember that not having guests also means no money coming in.
Solution – Careful planning, budgeting and good cash flow management are the keys to being able to take that time off and not worry about money.
Pro 9. Technology makes running a bed and breakfast very easy
Con – Technology has also had a negative impact on the service industry – people expect instantaneous responses to their questions, and the last-minute booking trend can make it harder to plan.
Solution – Hire someone to deal with callers, potential guests, etc while you are away, so you get to have a real break.
Pro 10. When you are ready to exit the B&B business, you have a great nest egg
Con – Selling a bed and breakfast property can be harder than a regular home. You are looking for someone who wants to move to the location where your B&B is, wants to own a B&B business AND has the money to invest.
Solution – With careful planning and a great real estate agent who understands marketing as well as selling, it may take a bit longer to sell, but it is definitely possible.
As you can see, just like life, there are pros and cons to owning a bed and breakfast. But as with life, every B&B problem has a solution!
Research, training, the right support and a little hard work will set you on the right path to running a successful, rewarding business and enjoying a great lifestyle.
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To begin your journey of discovery to see if owning a bed and breakfast is right for you, download “3 Questions Everyone Who Wants to Own a Bed and Breakfast Asks – or Should!”
And check out more on-line video training on Susan Poole, The B&B Coach’s YouTube Channel – and don’t forget to subscribe!