Owning a B&B isn’t for the faint hearted. You might have a flair for hospitality, and a love of meeting new people, but let’s face it, the early mornings, endless laundry and non-existent social life might become your undoing. If you’re dead set on moving to a large house and sharing it with strangers, here’s some advice to help you ease the headaches:
Big Profits, For A Big Outlay
Yes, it’s possible to earn huge profits by owning a B&B. £100s of thousands a year is definitely possible, but there’s a whole host of premises that fail to make a profit at all.
The outlay of either converting your own house, or buying an existing business, is the largest and most worrying expense. Those businesses that fail to turn a profit usually do so because the mortgage payments just become too much.
Working From Home Isn’t Easy
Being self employed and working from home can lead to a more relaxed morning routine, but for B&B owners, that’s going to remain a distant dream. You’ll have to make sure you’re up much earlier than your guests in order to make sure everything is ready, and you can say goodbye to lazy weekends under the covers. Even leaving the building to go on quick errands can prove difficult if you don’t have extra help.
Important Skills You’ll Need To Adopt
You’ll obviously need to enjoy cooking, and the prospect of repetitive cleaning tasks shouldn’t deter you either. B&B visitors are drawn to a personal form of hospitality, so you’ll need great people skills and truly enjoy meeting new guests every few days.
What Kind Of Premises?
Buying an existing business is by far the most trouble free option. An existing business will most likely cost a lot more in the beginning, but it will come with a ready client base and less need to re-model the interior for purpose. Mortgage companies will look more favourably on lending against a business that has an established market presence.
Converting a house from scratch will require a lot more thought. Size and space are the most important considerations. You’ll need extra rooms for your own family bedrooms, and you should really consider having a whole separate living area or annex so that your guests will feel less uncomfortable than if they have to share a space with your family.
Finally, you’ll need to consider how the property will be furnished. If you’re planning a luxury country retreat, you’ll not only have to spend a lot more on the fit and finish of the property but also consider the hidden costs of all those extravagances: Pool servicing and spa repairs will all add up in a top end country retreat. A budget B&B will also need efficient planning to ensure you’re able to cover your overheads with the cheaper room prices.
Still Think You’ve Got What It Takes?
Owning a B&B isn’t for everyone. It takes a special character to not only enjoy running a business like this, but also to work hard and smart enough to turn a real profit.
Wendy Lin is a successful freelance writer who enjoys guest blogging and writing about her personal business successes and failures. She also owns a private business consultancy company.