Business At A Glance
Bed and Breakfast
Startup Costs: $100,000 +
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
While a bed and breakfast is by definition a lodging that servesbreakfast as part of the room rate, there are several different typesof B&B properties ranging from intimate family homes with less thana handful of guest rooms to full-fledged country inns with a dozen ormore rooms.
Part of the charm of B&Bs is that each is a bitdifferent, but they all fall somewhere within five basic categories. Ahomestay, also called a host home, is a private home with one to fourguest rooms that are used to bring in supplemental rather than primaryincome. Homestays don’t typically post signs on their property oradvertise, relying instead on reservations services.
A bed a breakfastis a step up from the homestay, typically consisting of four to five(but as many as eight) guest rooms and a live-in owner or host family.Bed and breakfasts typically have a sign out front, advertise andconform to zoning, health and other government regulations. Bed andbreakfast inns are full-fledged lodging establishments rather than afamily home with rooms to rent.
With six or more guest rooms and alive-in host, the B&B inn has a well-posted sign, does lots ofadvertising and adheres to all government regulations. Bed andbreakfast hotels are really B&Bs but instead are hotels with 30 ormore rooms in a historic building. Breakfast is offered as part of theroom rate. Unhosted apartments or cottages are sort of a cross betweena vacation rental and a B&B, a self-contained lodging that iscompletely separate from the host’s home.
Do research in your area to see if your B&B should be targetingtourists, business travelers or couples. Is there a hospital oruniversity nearby? Family and friends of students and patients could bea target audience. Your B&B could also be a destination for eventslike weddings and meetings.
First, you need your inn, whether you buy a new property or use yourexisting home, either possibly requiring interior and exteriorrenovating or refurbishing. You’ll also need furnishings for the guestand common rooms, linens, kitchen equipment, cleaning supplies andappliances.
Perhaps the most important office item on your startup listis a computer system for tracking reservations and deposits, performingaccounting functions, maintaining guest databases, and creatingmarketing materials. For the office you also need phones, furnishingsand general office supplies like stationary.