Posted on: 04 March 2019 (updated on 23 April)

A quick start guide to setting up a Bed & Breakfast

Running a B&B is about more than just pillow chocolates and picturesque country cottages. There’s an awful lot of hard work that goes into the day-to-day management of a bed and breakfast; there are guest demands, round-the-clock service and early mornings (yes, even at weekends) to contend with.

However, as the old saying goes, “without sacrifice there is no victory”, and there are many great rewards to be enjoyed as the result of your hard work. The more obvious perks include meeting people from all walks of life, being your own boss and, hopefully, taking away a healthy profit (the industry is worth £3.6 billion, after all).

If you’re considering life as a B&B owner, read on to get a head start.

The costs of your B&B

While the idea of starting a B&B might make you eager to open your doors right away, you’ll firstly need to make sure you have the right amount of funds to make your dream become a reality.

Start-up costs, such as mortgages and new furnishings, along with daily expenses, such as utility bills, are non-negotiable and should be budgeted accordingly. You will also need to consider the cost of furnishings which will make your B&B a desirable place to stay. Home comforts such as plush beds, fully stocked kitchens and freshly washed bedsheets make all the difference to the success of a B&B business and, thus, your bottom line.

Picking the perfect property

Of all the decisions you are set to make as a B&B owner, choosing the right property to suit your budget is by far the most important.

Not only must you make sure it is in an area with high footfall, you will also need to consider extras, such as available parking, competing B&Bs, and vicinity to local attractions.

If you are new to the industry, it’s a wise idea to take over an established B&B that’s up for sale. This allows you to take advantage of the previous owner’s customer base, so that all you need to do is use their business model to retain customers. However, these ventures tend to come with a hefty price tag, so it’s essential that you move fast if you want to secure a property that you like. It’s also worth asking yourself why the owner is selling.

Alternatively, you can purchase a new residential property and customise the layout to your needs. This gives you the opportunity to build a reputation and client base that is tailored to your own business model.

You could also run a B&B from under your own roof. This route represents the smallest financial risk, but you may find yourself at a disadvantage with your competitors. For example, en-suite bathrooms are not commonplace in every household, but they are desired in B&Bs.

If you do choose to use your own home as a B&B, you will need to seek permission from the local council, who will legally change the use of your property from residential to commercial.

Cater to your market

Getting to grips with your market, learning who your customers are, and understanding why they need a B&B is crucial to securing trade.  

For example, if you plan to set your business up in a popular holiday destination and aim to cater to the high-end market, you will need to opt for top-end furnishings, beautiful bedding, and high-quality breakfast items. While this can be costly, there is the offshoot that you can charge high prices during peak times.

If you plan to set up shop in an unknown area, do your due diligence. Pay a visit, stay overnight, and take a look for yourself at what your competitors are doing right, along with where they could do better. Then, sift through review sites, such as TripAdvisor, to see how customers found their stay. With this knowledge, you can quickly understand what your market needs are, and where your B&B can fill the gap.

Protect your assets

Whether you plan to set up a business in your own house or plan to take over an established business, opening a B&B, as with any start-up, comes with risk.

Whether a guest injures themselves at your property or you experience fire damage, you need to think about every eventuality as a B&B owner. So, to safeguard your business - and to keep your finances afloat – it’s a wise idea to take out Bed & breakfast insurance before you open your doors. Should your business grow and require an extra pair of hands, you will also need to take out employers’ liability insurance to cover you and your staff.

To compare B&B insurance quotes, visit Premierline to arrange a call back  and speak of our friendly advisors.

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