How to Run a Successful Bed and Breakfast Venture
The only true business that can be run from your ‘home’ is a Bed and Breakfast Venture. Deciding to run a Bed and Breakfast establishment involves much careful consideration, planning, and financial calculations. Not only will it take up a large part of your life – although with careful planning this can be kept under control, such a venture also holds out the prospect of making a very good income for you.
Location, location, location.
This is the prime consideration in any business venture, more so in the Bed and Breakfast industry. A location can vary enormously from being right in the heart of a busy town to being a remote farmhouse. There is a demand for both.
Your location will probably define the type of clientele you will attract and the level of your operation, the amount you may charge per room, the number of bookings you are likely to receive, etc.
Planning means – do you already have a house that can be easily adapted to cope with a business of this nature? Perhaps you have an extension, barn, old stables even an ex-granny flat, or other buildings that would lend themselves to conversion. Into this, consideration will creep financial calculations.
The cost of conversion etc.
If these are extensive, it may be that during the life of the operation of your business you may well not fully recoup these costs. Do not despair, when you eventually decide to sell and retire on your profits, you will be able to take the cost of conversion, plus the fact that you have a flourishing, going concerned for sale, which will inflate the sale price considerably.
If you are in or near to a busy town then you will be more likely to attract business people and workers. Here it is necessary to think carefully – Business people and manual workers to not mix well, requiring different standards of accommodation, working different hours and have greatly differing habits and life-styles.
If your property is in a remote location it has advantages.
You can try to attract people who are seeking to ‘withdraw’ from the rat race for a few days. If you are within striking distance of a local natural attraction, i.e., a well-known walk skiing country, etc. then holidaymakers are more likely to be your main source of income. One set of guests may be quiet and contemplative whilst the others will probably be enjoying their adventure in the great outdoors. A remote property is more likely to be of the farm-house type.
Here you can capitalize on this fact.
Do not go overboard in modernizing your furnishings, people will expect to see the rural effect, but not worn out and dejected! However quaint the farmhouse effect may be, guests will still expect the wonders of civilization to be readily available, i.e., good bathing and toilet facilities. So whether a ‘bucket and chuck it’ at the end of the garden would be acceptable in the 21st century is a debatable point!
To all of these different types of accommodation and the types of guests you are likely to attract, you can add people who have relatives nearby who cannot accommodate them when they come to visit, wedding guests, people who are house-hunting in the area, etc. Also, consider the possibility that you may attract a different clientele during the week to that which you attract at the weekend.
You will see from the above four categories that you will need to reflect and consider which course of business you will be operating.
Returning to the subject of careful consideration this means assessing whether you have the right personality to cope with such a venture. It is essential for you to be of an out-going disposition, that you like people and are prepared to help them when necessary. You will also need to be able to ‘stand-up’ to the odd awkward customer and will need the ability to do so in a polite, firm, fair and friendly manner. No fisticuffs at dawn! Remember a smile works wonders – but not a smirk.
For all of these variations on which type of operation you will eventually be operating, you will also need to be a good cook, keep a clean and tidy establishment and not resent people living in ‘your’ house.
This last point can be overcome if you have an out-building that can be converted into accommodation, and then quite frankly, 50% of your problems should disappear. You will be in your domain and the guests will have theirs. You will not be constantly at their beck and call and will have more time on your own to relax. You will not constantly have to wear your ‘Bed and Breakfast’ smile. Your door will be locked and your time is your own.
However, if you do not have this extra building, do not despair.
All that is needed is for you to make sure that your accommodation is yours. Can you arrange it so that you have your shower-room, your sitting room, or at least some part of the house that you can use for your relaxation?
A full description of ‘Running a Successful Bed and Breakfast Venture’ can be found at www.bumbles-ebooks.com where you will also find an additional four-part course on this subject.
By: Jo Withey