bed and breakfast

How To Start a Bed and Breakfast Business

There are lots of things to consider if you’re thinking about starting a bed and breakfast business; sadly, there’s a lot more to it than cooking a few English breakfasts and changing the bed sheets! It can involve a multitude of things, including finding planning permission, pricing, staff and suppliers. But if you have the right people skills and determination, it could be the career for you.

Have a clear vision and goal

It’s important to have a clear vision, goal and action plan about your B&B. You ned to know what sort of B&B you want to set up; whether it be one in the middle of the countryside, a 5-star boutique B&B in the city or a homely B&B on a farm. You need to be clear about what you want to achieve and how you are going to go about it.

Invest in your business

You need to allocate money and time towards marketing and advertising your B&B – whether it be setting up one in your existing home, or creating a brand new one. You’ll need to put together an extensive financial plan to ensure that you cover every cost and every area of the business. The money needs to be dedicated equally to the new lavish furnishing and your website.

Check out the local market

Before opening for business, look at what your local competitors are doing, how much they charge and what sort of accommodation they provide. For example, if you were looking to open a B&B in Braintree, look at the cost of other B&Bs and also self-catering in Braintree, so you set a competitive price.

Get a website

It’s essential to have an online presence, especially if you’re a brand-new start-up company. Chances are, it’s probably how you’ll get your footfall and have people staying at your B&B. You can promote your business with Pay Per Click (PPC) on search engines, produce newsletters, contribute on online discussion forums or have your own hashtag on twitter!


Running a bed and breakfast is pretty much a 24/7, 7 days a week job. Your work doesn’t just stop when your guest has been checked in. You need to think about people who need to check in earlier or later, guests that are running late, guests that need to leave in the night, should an emergency or problem occur. In these circumstances, it would be a good idea to consider hiring a receptionist, to help manage the admin workload.

Expect early mornings to set everything up for when your guests wake up, and late finishes if you are on hand to help your guests at any point.

But, if you’re a people person who thrives on meeting new people and welcoming people into your home, then you will find it an absolute breeze!


You don’t necessarily have to have particular skills but, the right person for the job will naturally possess the right skills. You’ll need to enjoy being surrounded by people, have great customer care skills, enjoy cooking, be a keen cleaner and be good at handiwork and DIY.


There are also some legal matters to consider so that you can avoid falling on the wrong side of the law, including seeking planning permission, home insurance, fire regulations and food safety. It’s important to know what local and national legal requirements you need to abide by. Ask a local council about restrictions, or The Pink Booklet covers all the legal requirements for accommodation providers.

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Larry Walker

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