Recently I did a survey to get followers’ input into my planning for 2019. Needless to say, some of the questions I asked were around the type of help that people thought they needed starting up their bed and breakfast.
The answers were very interesting:
- More than 30% said they didn’t need to know how much money they could make before making the final plunge
- More than 30% said they wouldn’t pay to get help because everything they needed to know was available for free on the internet
- Almost 25% of the people felt they didn’t need any help because could figure it out themselves
- 20% said it wasn’t hard to own a bed and breakfast because all you had to do was give people a place to sleep and some breakfast
- Approximately 10% said all they had to do to get people to stay at their bed and breakfast was to list their B&B on the internet, and put out a sign.
I can’t say that I was very surprised – if anything, I’m surprised that those numbers are as low as they were. A lot of those statements reflect my views fifteen years ago – although I will admit the internet wasn’t as helpful as it is now. I certainly thought I was smart enough to figure it out – after all, I had a business background! I read a few books, but I wasn’t impressed with them as they were so generic that I didn’t find them much help in applying the information to my specific situation. I did a couple of courses put on B&B owners – but they concentrated on how to set the table, pick names for your bed and breakfast and provided me with dozens of horror stories about terrible guests they had encountered.
Obviously, I don’t feel that way anymore, or I wouldn’t be The B&B Coach! Once I got started, I realized that there were some big gaps in my knowledge – and if I had of known what questions to ask when I did those B&B courses, I might have been better prepared!
Over the years, I have come to realize that there are two types of bed and breakfast owners:
- Hobbyists –generally are using their existing home, so aren’t making a major investment and as long as they break even or make a little extra are happy (in real estate terms these are known as lifestyle B&Bs), and
- Bed and Breakfast Business Owners –count on the income generated to make a living. (Only 20% of B&Bs in a recent US study were able to do that without having some type of secondary income).
However, no matter the type of B&B owner people are they all typically have the same questions:
What are the pros and cons for me? In all the materials I have developed over the years, no matter how I’ve presented the information and exercises, at least 50% of the people drop out the course by the time they finish that portion. I’m sure you would spend more than the course costs in order to buy linens and dishes – and not counting the renovations that many people undertake – to find out if this is really how you want to spend your time.
How do I find the right property? No matter which scenario you are considering, it’s all about location, location, location. This is where the majority of people need help doing their research – understanding their competition, what will attract people to want to stay at their bed and breakfast, who those potential guests are and what they are seeking in the way of accommodations. On top of that, I provide them with a tool to figure out how much potential the property has to generate income. I recommend that people plan on investing $5,000 on their marketing alone in the first year. Isn’t it worth 20% of that cost and a few weeks of your time to find out whether you can generate the type of guests and income you are hoping for?
What do I need in a business plan? A business plan is a wonderful tool to have – even if you don’t need to get financing for your bed and breakfast. A business plan can help you plan your cash flows for the first several years, help identify and monitor potential risk factors that you may encounter and provides a road map that will help build your business into something that can produce the income and fulfillment you envision. Isn’t it worth less than the cost of visit a lawyer to have that piece of mind?
Owning a bed and breakfast is a great lifestyle if you are prepared for the reality of it. Was I prepared for that reality? Obviously not – all you have to do is read other posts in the Recipes for Success blog to understand some of the issues I wasn’t prepared for. Have I been successful? I certainly was – I made my living from my bed and breakfast and generated almost three times as much revenue as any other local B&B. Yes, some of it was because I had enough sense to realize how important location was and how to strategically invest in my b and b. And some of it was due to the great mentors I’ve had along the way – and some of it due to the big guy up there watching over me.
Most potential bed and breakfast owners tell me they want to generate a minimum of $20,000 in revenue. Investing in The B&B Coach’s courses will only cost you less than 10% of that from start to finish. Isn’t your peace of mind worth it?
If you want that peace of mind, check out the Design Your Dream B&B System.
I wish someone had of sat me down and put my options out on the table like that. Would I have listened when it was presented to me? Knowing what I know now, I sure would