As a bed and breakfast owner for over seven years now, I have had a lot of guests sit around my breakfast table and tell me that they think they would like to own a bed and breakfast.

As the discussions progress, one of the biggest things I’ve realized is that most people have no idea of what’s involved in owning a bed and breakfast. All they see are the fun parts – like getting to meet new people and having an appreciative audience to enjoy the cooking and decorating. However, there is a lot more to owning a bed and breakfast than that!

To really understand what the pros and cons for you as an aspiring bed and breakfast owner might be, consider the following questions:


Do you have the personality to be a good bed and breakfast owner?

Having the right personality is one of the biggest success factors any bed and breakfast owner can have.If you read online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or BedandBreakfast.com, you will see that a lot of reviews contain feedback about the B&B owners. Therefore, besides the usual cooking, decorating and meeting new people, you need to:

  • Be flexible. Most people choose a bed and breakfast because they like the personal connections they make with the owner and other guests. Therefore, being able to provide that personalized attention in a timely and meaningful way to each guest is really important.
  • Know and be able to maintain your boundaries. Personal boundaries are important as they protect you from allowing your guests to take advantage of you and your business.
  • Learn new things.The world is constantly changing, which means bed and breakfast guests are, too. Different cultures, languages and foods, special diets and environmental sensitivities are all things that keep bed and breakfast owners on their toes.

Are you prepared to run your own business?

Successful bed and breakfast owners are also successful business owners. Like most new businesses, you need to understand:

  • What is the marketplace like? Is there a need for another B&B in this area?
  • It will take a while to build your brand and reputation. Are you willing to invest time and money to do that?
  • Are you prepared to give up weekends and holidays to run your business? These are the most popular times for people to travel.

Are you prepared for the amount of work required?

When I started my bed and breakfast, everyone warned me how much work it would be. While attitude plays a big role in how you approach all the work that is required (for the first time in my life, someone is paying me to cook, clean and do laundry!) what I hadn’t realized was that most people don’t stay for that long.

In order to stay on top of everything, I have a daily to-do list that includes 15 daily tasks that take 15 minutes or more to complete. The tasks I spend the most time on are:

  • Breakfast takes three hours from starting to prepare to finishing the clean-up
  • Each bedroom and bathroom plus laundry takes one hour
  • Ensuring that my rooms are booked requires takes up a lot of time (and must be done when the requests come in – not when I want to deal with them)

In addition, I have a list of seven things that have to be done on a weekly basis that take me a minimum of two hours each. Tired yet?


Do you have the support you need to be able to run a bed and breakfast?

There is nothing a like owning a bed and breakfast that entwines your personal and business life together.If there are other people living in your house:

  • What impacts will running a business in your home have on your family?
  • How supportive are they of the idea of having a bed and breakfast?
  • If you get sick, are they willing and/or able to pick up the workload?

Understanding what the pros and cons are while you are still at the aspiring bed and breakfast owner stage means that you will be aware of areas that you need to explore further. This information is also vital when planning your B&B – right from budgeting through to the layout of your property and the type of guests you want to attract.Doing your homework can save you a lot of money and heartache.

About the author: Susan Poole, The B&B Coach is the owner of the award winning 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast. Her three-step system has been created to help people figure out if owning a bed and breakfast can produce the income and fulfillment they envision. After completing the "How to turn your passions into a thriving bed and breakfast business" system, people will know how much income they can create, how much work it will be and what the risks are for them.

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