B&B’s have come a long way from their traditional image of stern landladies, dripping taps and cold baths. These days, a good B&B is normally a warm and welcoming alternative to impersonal hotels. So if you live in a house with unused space, why not make your home earn it’s keep by starting up a B&B? It can be a great way to meet people, as well as make money, so read on to find out how.
Location Location Location
It might sound obvious, but first of all think about where your home is located. It may be next to a busy road, but if the area as a whole is popular with tourists, then there is no reason why it wouldn’t work. If in doubt, check with the local Tourist Information Office to find out if your area needs another B&B.
As a B&B owner, you have to abide by certain regulations such as being assessed for Fire Safety and Food Hygiene. You may also need ‘change of use’ planning consent and your mortgage lender would also need to know. So always take time to find out the full extent of your legal duties and responsibilities before putting a ‘Vacancies’ sign up in the window!
Start Up Costs
Unless you buy an existing B&B Business, converting your home for guests may take some initial investment. En suite or personal bathrooms are important to guests, and your heating system may require upgrading. You are likely to have to redecorate and invest in sheets, towels, furniture and accessories, and ensure that rooms are double glazed if in a noisy area. Remember too that you are running a business, so adding accounts fees and tax liabilities into your sums is advisable.
Full or Part Time
It’s worth being aware that running a B&B is very hard work, and for most people it’s a lifestyle choice rather than just being a business. If you genuinely like people and housework then you’re far more likely to succeed. If you have more than three rooms to maintain, it’s likely too that you will need some help in the shape of staff.
Marketing your B&B
So your business is up and running but you need guests! You should be sure to market your business by investing in a website and marketing plan. Make sure your website has plenty of large and clear photos portraying your B&B in its best light. Detailing all the activities and attractions in your local area should also be included.
Apart from having a spotlessly clean room, it’s the small details that matter to guests. Cotton sheets, soft towels, bathrobes, fresh baked bread and real orange juice at breakfast are just a few of the small things that can make a world of difference. If you don’t skimp on the basics, then you’ll be remembered for it. So unless your personality resembles Basil Fawlty, by thinking of the small things and making your guests stay a delight, then you can’t really go wrong.