Q:

How do you start a bed and breakfast?

A:

Quick Answer

Starting a bed and breakfast requires startup capital and attaining permits and licenses from local governments. Owners of a bed and breakfast must also decide what to charge and how many employees to hire.

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Full Answer

The amount of startup capital depends on the size of the establishment. Owners must factor in such expenses as kitchenware, beds, sheets, pillows and mattresses. Owners can consider paying anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 per room in renovation costs for large places and $20,000 to $40,000 per room for low-budget lodging.

Safety standards must also be applied, which depends on local laws. For instance, local laws may require the installation of certain fixtures or infrastructure to conform to fire safety standards. Bed and breakfast owners must apply for a "fictitious" -- or "doing business as" -- license to operate in a local county. Owners may also need to apply for a number of other licenses and permits. The zoning category may fall under homestay or business, depending on the county.

Owners must target certain demographics. For instance, people who travel for business purposes can be a solid source of income. Couples who desire romantic getaways are also potential customers. People who live locally may be interested, including college students.

Owners also need to decide whether the establishment is seasonal or year-round. Seasonal breakfast and beds can add incentives and perks to attract clients during off-seasons.

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