Many people ask me what it takes to run a bed and breakfast. Since 60% of my guests stay only one night, and 35% only stay two nights, I have a high turnover!
This past season, I calculated that I that I had made breakfast for 650 guests, cleaned 319 bathrooms and did 478 loads of laundry. (I waited until after the season to figure that out!)
Now, don’t forget, I’ve been in business for 10 years, so it’s almost second nature to me on how to get everything done, and to estimate how long things are going to take. And having that routine makes life so much easier!
My daily routine (not including any of my personal tasks) includes:
- Breakfast –planning, preparing, serving and cleaning up – takes approximately 3 hours – whether I have one room or all three
- Cleaning – is very different in a bed and breakfast – think of it more like if you were preparing for a party every single day to understand how much time it takes.
- Working together with my wonderful cleaner, it takes us 2 hours to clean the bed and bathrooms. (If I am on my own, it’s an hour per room). The public areas of the bed and breakfast (like the dining room, lounges, etc) are done at least once a week.
- Laundry – every room generates at least one load of laundry plus ironing. I do the laundry while we are cleaning, and calculate it takes an hour for each room. (I do the ironing while I am .watching the news at night…)
- Day-to-day administrative work – is generally done when it is required to take reservations, process guest payments, respond to inquiries, update vacancy calendars…
Yes, it is a tremendous amount of work!
However, most bed and breakfasts have seasons – in my case, peak season is two months long where I run at 80% occupancy; the shoulder seasons (June, September and October) I have approximately 55% occupancy.
What gets me through?
There are a couple of things:
- I make enough money to do whatever I want in the remaining 7 months
- For the first time in my life I am being paid to cook, clean and do laundry – and people notice and appreciate it!
- I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world
There are 15 things I must do every day that take me 15 or more minutes; plus the little things that I do on the fly – not including the 7 weekly tasks that take me two or more hours to complete. Having a routine, some help and knowing that it’s not 365 days a year is what gets me through!
Let me know in the comments below – what worries you most about running a bed and breakfast?
If you want to find out more about what it’s really like being a B&B owner, check out How to Create Your Own, Personalized List of Pros and Cons of Owning a Bed and Breakfast – so you can really decide if this is your dream!