Running a Bed & Breakfast

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People who spend more than a day on the road need food, water, and shelter from the elements. Some travelers equip themselves to deal with the ordeals of the journey, even bringing or building temporary shelter when the need arises. However, other travelers may find themselves without lodging, possibly from lack of preparation, or due to unexpected delays. In such scenarios, people often turn to lodging establishments.

Lodging establishments have been around since the early days of roads and long-distance travel, and have usually been profitable investments. These days, hotels are the royalty of lodging, offering top-notch luxury to travelers. However, most hotels are too expensive for the average pilgrim, and that leaves cheaper establishments – such as bed & breakfasts – more than enough demand for profit.

When starting a B&B, the first thing to consider is location; how far is it from competition or from the next rest stop? Is it close to any attractions that make it worthwhile to spend a night in the area? Ideally, any lodging establishment is remote enough to be the only choice for food and rest, but not too far away from civilization as to give travelers no real need to pass through. Also, when considering location, it is a good idea to get familiar with other local lodging businesses, taxes and laws governing both, as they will often dictate the rates needed to make a profit.

The next things to consider are the expenses. What will you invest in? Do you need to hire staff, or are you capable of handling it yourself? Is the food going to be provided for your guests, or are you planning to run a self-catering establishment? It is important to set a budget with which to work with. This will prevent expenses from going too high as to stop the establishment from bringing in income. Still, enough investments must be made to ensure that the B & B has the comfort to attract customers.

After the plans are all done, the next step is implementation. This is the process of turning all plans into reality. As a reminder, this includes not just the construction and renovation of necessary facilities, but the observance of systems to ensure the smooth run of the business as well. This includes the front desk, schedules for meals, and other services guests may require. Because the establishment is meant to service only overnight stays, it may not be a requirement to provide more meals than breakfast. That does not mean of course, that services should have standards below those of larger businesses.

Finally, the most important thing to ensure is maintenance. Anyone with enough money can have anything set up, but it takes much more skill and attention to keep everything in working order. For instance, if one purchases a prime location, puts up a large three-to-four-bedroom house, and has it furnished with exquisite décor and furniture, but is unable to maintain the condition of the property, then the investment is all for naught. If however, one simply makes use of an existing house, but keeps it in pleasant and functional condition with clean sheets and working plumbing and electricity, then the business is probably going to draw in more customers than the former example.