Everything you need to know about starting a bed and breakfast business

December 21, 2021

Starting a bed and breakfast business

Before getting into how you can start your own bed and breakfast business and what you should know before you do, it’s important to establish what this term actually means. The simplest explanation is that a bed and breakfast combines the cozy and warm atmosphere of a private home with the comfort of a luxury hotel. In most cases, these businesses run in historic buildings that have been renovated and modified for guests to have a unique experience while staying there.

Another important detail about a bed and breakfast business is that, unlike traditional hotels, the owner acts like a true host. This person welcomes the guests like an old friend, spends time with them, offers them tours, and, sometimes, even acts as a chef. This is why it’s so important to acknowledge your level of dedication before starting your own bed and breakfast business. Speaking of, let’s see a few tips on how you can do that.

Consider your background

If you want to quit your traditional job and start your own business where you can escape that daily stress of having to answer to a boss day after day, a bed and breakfast business can be a good idea. However, even if you might get rid of that level of stress, you will definitely have a lot of other responsibilities on your mind. This type of business is not a vacation but a very real thing that you need to manage.

This means that before starting this type of business, you should consider your background. Have you worked in this domain before? Are you a people person? Do you have any business-related knowledge? Are you alone in this or do you have a family member or a friend as a business partner? Even if a bed and breakfast business is a lot about taking care of people and offering them all the necessary comfort, you also need someone to manage the business part of it. If you have no experience, you will need to hire someone to do it for you.

This is the main reason why most bed and breakfast businesses belong to couples and not to single people. This is a lot easier to handle when there are two people with two different sets of skills involved. One can take care of the human side of it while the other can handle the management and business part. 

Consider your financing possibilities

Before opening a bed and breakfast business, you also need to consider how you are going to finance it. Thankfully, there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to this. The first and most popular one is to take a small business loan from a bank or online lender and start from there. You can also search for startup support programs or for investors who are willing to turn your idea into a profitable business. 

There are also instances when people either sell their homes or previous businesses to start a bed and breakfast one. Moreover, you can even invest your savings if you think that you have enough of them. Doing this is no easy feat and it takes a lot of courage to take out loans, invest all of your money, or count on investors to achieve your dream.

In case you are inheriting or converting an existing bed and breakfast business, making it your own could be easier and a lot cheaper. Usually, you will need between $40,000 and $50,000 per guest room, depending on how small or large the property is. If you start from scratch, you will need a lot more money than that. Keep in mind that you will also need money for maintenance and for your staff. Do not ignore these expenses when you are thinking of financing your startup because you might end up in an irreversible situation.

A business plan is also an important part of the financing stage because you need to know precisely how much money you will need. If you are inexperienced, you can always ask a professional for help or find business plan samples online. Write down all the details that could make or break your business and think ahead at how you can make it a profitable activity. Analyze how the bed and breakfast industry is holding up and see what you can do with that and where you can make improvements.

Take care of all the paperwork

It goes without saying that you will need to have all of your paperwork done to have a running bed and breakfast business. Things like a business license, all sorts of permits, and certifications are needed for such an activity. You will also need to open checking accounts for your business, merchant accounts, pay for a good accounting software, have your insurance in order, and pass all the inspections. These might include inspections from the Fire Department and the Health Department. 

Analyze whether or not you need a staff

Last but not least, you should also consider the fact that you might need to hire a few people to help you out with the bed and breakfast business. It is not uncommon to have a few family members do everything but in the long run, things might get complicated. If you don’t want your guests to feel neglected because you simply don’t have time to take care of them, you should consider hiring staff members

Remember that a bed and breakfast business is a very time-consuming and difficult one to manage. You will also need to lay out a marketing plan that will bring you guests and therefore make your business successful. This means more people to be hired and paid.


In conclusion, we can certainly say that starting a bed and breakfast business requires a lot of energy, time, money, and dedication. Thankfully, it’s possible to find resources for all of those. At the end of the day, it’s about being passionate and wanting to offer people an experience that they will never forget. It might be extenuating and expensive but seeing those people return to your place year after year will make you forget about all the obstacles.

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