How To Start a Bed and Breakfast

bed and breakfast images.

Starting A Bed and Breakfast

We will go over a lot of information to help you start a bed and breakfast. We will start with the steps, then move onto a few points for your consideration, and then move onto a resource section that you can use now and when your bed and breakfast is up and running.

Let’s get started.

Follow the steps below to start a bed and breakfast

1. Research the Industry

Investing in the time needed to research your bed and breakfast is well worth it. The more you research, the better your decisions and the more informed you’ll be. Research isn’t easy. It takes time and effort, but you’ll be happy you went through it.

a.) What Type of B&B Will You Start?

Defining the type of bed and breakfast you’re planning on will help you make better decisions plan effectively and estimate your start-up cost. For example, will you turn your home into a bed and breakfast? Will it be a hotel-style type of setup? Are you purchasing a separate home? Etc.

The clear your vision, the better you’ll be able to plan.

b.) An Inside Look at A Bed and Breakfast

flowers in a vase on a table.You can get an inside look at a bed and breakfast by searching for bed and breakfast businesses for sale and contacting the owners to discuss the opportunity.

To prepare for your meeting, you want to have a list of questions. Next, you’ll search for bed and breakfast businesses for sale and contact the owners. Tell the owner that you’re planning to start your own bed and breakfast. But, before you do, you want to look into the possibility of purchasing a bed and breakfast that’s up and running if it’s a better route to take than starting your own.

When meeting with the owner, start with questions that relate to their experience so they’ll open up to you and you can start a conversation.

Some of these questions may be as follows:

  • What made you want to start a bed and breakfast?
  • What do you like the most about your business?
  • What would you do differently if you had to start over again?
  • What are the most pressing challenges you face with your business?
  • Etc.

Next, you can start to ask questions from your list, which may include the following:

  • How much revenue did your bed and breakfast earn last year?
  • How much of it was profit?
  • Do you have employees, and what do you pay them?
  • How much expense does your business spend every month?
  • What are your highest expenses?
  • What advice do you have for me if I take over this business?
  • Where do you advertise your business?
  • How do you target your customers?
  • Etc.

You will repeat this exercise for every business you have on your list.

Next, you’ll do the same thing, only this time you’ll search for franchise opportunities in the bed and breakfast industry.

Franchise Opportunities in the Industry

Search for franchise opportunities related to a bed and breakfast. Contact company representatives to arrange a meeting. Again here you’ll have a list of questions. Still, many of them may already be answered in the presentation because franchise opportunity company representatives will probably answer every question because of the number of people they speak with about the opportunity.

It’s worth mentioning whether you could find a suitable business for sale or a franchise opportunity. Make sure you go through your list before deciding because you’ll want to have as much information as possible.

Getting Expert Advice

In this step, you will contact bed and breakfast business owners to ask for advice. But, first, let’s go over a few options.

Contact bed and breakfast owners in a distant area so you don’t appear as a threat. Tell them the truth that you are planning to start a bed and breakfast, and you are looking for expert advice. Tell them you’re wondering if they would be willing to schedule some time to give you some advice. You could also say you would be willing to share information and brainstorm ideas once your business is up and running so you can both benefit. Finally, mention it could turn into a long-term relationship where you could both benefit.

You could even offer them a consulting fee for the initial call. For example, $50 per hour and schedule a one or two-hour call. Consider you asked questions for 2 hours, and you paid $100. That’s nothing for the amount of information. If you did this with multiple business owners, you would have a wealth of information for the few dollars you spent, an investment well worth it.

Many will reject your offer because they view you as a threat, they may not have time for you, or they are simply not interested. But the ones that do agree could turn into a long-term relationship and possibly a lifetime friend.

Next Well Look at Published Interviews

In this step of your research, you will search for published interviews with bed and breakfast business owners.

Some of the interviews you find will be priceless because people are willing to share their experiences which can be made up of many years of struggle and hardship to become successful. When someone is willing to share their experience and give you their knowledge, you want to pay attention and take in all the information you can.

Another point worth mentioning is that many of these people will leave their contact information in the interview. Therefore, you may want to contact them for further information or use the example above to contact established business owners to build a relationship.

With the information above, you have gained a lot of knowledge and have a strong overview of the industry. So whether you found an opportunity that makes sense or you’re going to start your own bed and breakfast, you’re much more knowledgeable at this point. Search Results  Related to Interviews From Bed and Breakfast Owners.

For more on this method, see An Inside Look Into The Business You’re Considering.

c.) Expand Your Knowledge of the Bed and Breakfast Industry

There are various ways to keep in touch with the latest information related to your industry.

Some of those include the following:

  • Follow blogs.
  • Sign up for newsletters.
  • Follow experts on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Receive industry publications.
  • Google searches.
  • Etc.

The information is out there. All you have to do is organize it and use it. Then, when you’re actively following information in your industry, you’ll always be up-to-date with the latest Tips insights, and trends.

Click Here for the Latest Publications Related to a Bed and Breakfast.

d.) Choosing a Location for Your Bed and Breakfast

The location of your bed and breakfast is a critical factor in how successful you’ll be. For example, if you’re in an area with no demand for lodging, it won’t make any sense to start your bed and breakfast.

On the other hand, if you’re in an area saturated with bed and breakfast lodging, it will be difficult to gain a piece of the market share. Therefore, it will benefit you if you’re in an area with demand but not overly saturated. You may also want to consider an area that attracts tourists. Finally, you’ll also want to consider if your bed and breakfast is in an area where it will only see a peak demand depending on the season.

For more, see Choosing the Best Location for Your Business.

2. Choose a Business Name

a bed and breakfast sign.The name you choose today is the name you’ll use for as long as you own your bed and breakfast, so you want to take the time to choose a catchy, appropriate, and memorable name.

Many resources online will get your creativity flowing with business names for a bed and breakfast. However, I recommend using a name generator to get the creativity flowing.

I suggest coming up with a list of 10 to 20 names. Once your list is complete, put it aside for a few days, and when you come back to it, you’ll see it from a new perspective. From your list, choose the top five that make sense to you and determine if they are available for registration along with a matching domain name.

Once you have your top five lists, see what they look like in print. Then, use them in a sentence to see how difficult it is to pronounce them. Get some feedback from friends and colleagues and then make a final decision.

For Bed and Breakfast Name Ideas, See Google’s Latest Search Results.

3. Legalizing Your Business

You’ll need to legalize your business, which means getting the permits and choosing a structure for your bed and breakfast. Let’s go over the details next.

a.) Decide on a Legal Structure

There are various legal structures you can use. For example, a sole proprietorship is the most popular because it’s the quickest to establish and the cheapest. However, a couple of drawbacks of using a sole proprietorship are that you cannot have partners and don’t have any protection for your personal assets. If your business goes bankrupt, your personal and business assets are considered one.

You can start as a sole proprietorship. Once your business starts to gain traction, you can always convert it to a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation that offers asset protection.

I prefer to use a professional company specializing in business registrations for business structuring. You can use your lawyer and consult with your accountant to determine the best route to take.

For More, See How To Register Your Business Using These Resources.

b.) Get a Tax Id

Tax ID requirements are dependent on the size and number of employees of your bed and breakfast. If you’re using a professional to register your business, as mentioned above, they will take care of your tax ID for you or let you know whether or not you should have one at this point.

For more see Here’s How To Get A Business Tax Id

c.) Local Permits and Regulations

In addition to registering your bed and breakfast with your state or province, you also need to contact your local municipality or City Hall to determine what permits you’ll need and if there are any restrictions to opening a bed and breakfast in the area. You’ll also want to ask about zoning for your location.

Visit the Licensing and Permits Page for More Information.

4. Create Your Corporate ID

Your corporate ID is an important part of branding your business. In addition, the artwork and tagline help people recognize your business.

A corporate ID can be expensive to create, but you can start off with business cards, a logo, and a business sign in the early stages. Complete the other components later once your business is up and running. You must have a professional design because you want to impress your customers.

A corporate ID consists of the following:

  • A logo
  • Business sign
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Letterhead
  • Envelopes
  • Business checks
  • Promotional items
  • Etc.

For More See:

How To Design A Business Logo – Make it Good It Might Last Years.

How to Design Business Cards That People Will Pay Attention To

Business Signs – Have a Look at These Ideas.

A Complete Introduction to Corporate Identity Packages

5. Estimating Your Start-up Cost

a women having a coffee in bed.Your start-up cost will vary according to your setup. For example, if you’re starting a bed and breakfast from your home, then your start-up cost will be minimal. On the other hand, if you’re buying or renting a property, then naturally, your start-up cost will be a lot higher.

Therefore, you must have a clear vision in place to estimate your start-up cost. Once you know what you want and how you’ll set up the business, you can start to get pricing. Of course, as you get pricing, more issues will appear, and you can add them to your start-up estimate.

Your start-up estimate must be as accurate as possible if you estimate too low, then you could run out of money before you can open your doors to the public. On the other hand, if you estimate too high, you may run into trouble when it comes to getting the financing you need. For more see Estimating Start-up Costs: Are You Missing Anything?

6. Writing a Business Plan

Your business plan is an essential document, and it’s your roadmap to success. It’s what makes you think about where you’re going and how to get there.

You’ll also need a business plan if you plan on getting funding or looking for investors. A bank won’t even process your application without one.

You have a few options when it comes to creating your business plans. First, you can use a template and fill in the blanks. You can purchase software that will guide you through the process step-by-step. Finally, you can hire a professional business plan writer to create one for you.

Whatever option you choose, keep in mind that you have to provide the information. For example, if you hire a writer, they have to understand your business before creating the plan for you. Each business plan is different, even though the process is the same. For more, see How To Write A Business Plan.

7. Banking Setup

You will need to set up a bank account for your business and choose a bank. Many new business owners will use their current bank, or if they get a business loan, they will use the bank that approves their loan. When you look for a bank, you want one nearby because many people will pay you in cash. For more, see our page on How To Choose A Business Bank.

Acquiring a Merchant Account

You will need a merchant account for those customers that pay you using credit or debit cards. Your banker can assist you with the application and approval process.

See How To Open A Merchant Account for more information.

8. Get the Funding for Your Bed and Breakfast

By the time you reach, you will have come a long way in the setup process, and now it’s time to make copies of your business plan and seek out lenders.

Most businesses fail in the first few years of operation. Therefore, a bank views business start-up loans as high risk. They would rather loan money to an established business with a good track record than take a chance on a new business. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a start-up loan, but everything must be in good standing for your loan approval.

If your loan is denied. Rather than getting disappointed, find out the details and address what you can before moving to the next lender. If multiple banks decline your loan, you can find an SBA lender where the government offers guarantees if you default on the loan.

Another alternative is to seek out investors or partners. Also, if you have a property that you can sell, that might be another way to get the money you need. One thing that is concerning is if your application is declined by every place you applied for a loan, then there could be a problem that you’re not seeing, and that’s something you want to take a closer look at before you proceed. Also, take a look at our post on, Getting a Small Business Loan.

9. Software Setup

Spend some time looking at the software available for a bed and breakfast. You may find a suitable package for your needs, or opt for an accounting program and another one for reservations, etc.

When it comes to software, you want to look at reviews from other people that have used it to get an overview of what to expect. You’ll also want to see if there is a demo that will allow you to try out the software before purchasing it. Check Out Google’s Latest Search Results for Software Packages Related to a Bed and Breakfast.

10. Get Your Business Insured

Insurance is a big step when it comes to starting a business. First, you want to ensure you have sufficient insurance that covers you in any incident. You also want to make sure your employees, customers, business, and property are all insured in case of an incident.

Verify you have the proper insurance before any physical activity occurs in your bed and breakfast. A competent insurance broker can help you get the right coverage.

You may also want to consider interruption insurance which will cover some revenue if your bed and breakfast is shut down due to an incident such as a flood or fire, and you have to shut down until repairs are made.

For more, see our page about business insurance.

11. Office Setup

You want a comfortable, organized, and fully equipped space when setting up your office. In addition, the more successful your business becomes, the more time you’ll need to manage your business in the office. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set it up correctly from the start. For more see, Here Are Considerations for the Setup of Your Office.

12. Create an External Support Team

Depending on how large your operation is will determine how large of an external support team you’ll need. Your external support team may consist of the following:

  • Lawyer
  • Accountant
  • Graphic designer
  • Web developer
  • IT consultant
  • Business strategist
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Business Consultant
  • Etc.

If you’re operating your bed and breakfast from home and you have one location, then your support team may consist of a lawyer and an accountant. Still, if you plan to have multiple locations, you will need more people for your external support team.

Keep in mind your external support team is not on your payroll; instead, you pay them by the job, by the hour, or on a retainer contract.

Treat your team with respect and think of them as part of your business because they can be an essential asset when you need them. For more see, Building a Team of Professional Advisors for Your Business

13. Hiring Employees

In the early stages of operations, you may plan to do everything yourself, which isn’t a bad idea if it doesn’t affect your customer service. But as you get busier, especially if you have multiple locations, you will need to hire employees.

You want to make sure you hire the right person for each position. Mistakes in hiring can cost you dearly in lost time and money. It’s also worth noting it’s easier to higher than it is to fire, and firing is an unpleasant experience for you and the employee.

When it comes to the costs of hiring, rather than the hourly wage, look at the yearly cost. For example, a small staff of five employees can run you in the six-figure range every year. When you look at it this way, it may change your perspective. For more on hiring, see How and When to Hire a New Employee.

What To Consider Before Starting

Next, we will look at a few points to consider. Take some time to think about these because they may change your action plan.

Is Running a Bed and Breakfast Right for You?

a 19th century home.Many people dream of owning their own business for various reasons. Some people want to be their own boss. Others want to be in charge. You have those people that want to get away from a job. Many want the lifestyle and financial benefits of owning a successful business. Then you have those and have a passion for what they’re doing.

The above reasons are all valid ones for starting a business. However, the one that stands out the most for me is having a passion for the business. When you’re passionate about your business, you’ll have the drive and determination you need to be successful. When problems show up, you’ll look for a solution rather than a way out.

It’s important to be passionate about your business.

Let me ask you this. If you had all the money you would need for the rest of your life and you were free to do whatever you wanted, would you still open a bed and breakfast? If you answered yes, then you’re on the right track. If you answered no, then what would you do instead? And should you be doing that instead of opening a bed and breakfast?

It’s important to start your business for the right reasons, and being passionate about what you’re doing is one of those reasons. For more, see Reasons To Start a Business

Do You Have the Skills ?

Have you considered if you have all the skills necessary to run your bed and breakfast? For example, some people may have the skills necessary to manage the business but not operations. With others, it may be reversed where they have the skills for operation but not management.

If you don’t possess all the skills, there are options. You can learn them as you go. You can use your external support team for important business decisions. You can take courses in small business. You can hire people for the skills you lack and learn from them. So there’s always an option for the skills you lack. But it is important to identify those skills and find a solution before you start your business. For more see,  Do You Have These Essential Skills Needed To Run a Business?

Is It Better To Start From Scratch or Buy One and Existing One?

At the beginning of this article, we talked about speaking with business owners to see if there is a possibility of buying a business. Still, we didn’t talk about the pros and cons of buying a business that we will do next.


  • When you purchase a business, you skip the start-up phase, which can be time-consuming, confusing, and expensive.
  • One of the main reasons people purchase a business is goodwill, which includes the business’s reputation, the customer base, and any assets the business has acquired, which allows you to start earning revenue from the day you take over. It eliminates the guessing game because your business is already up and running, and you know what to expect.


  • When you purchase a business already operating and want to change it, you might run into problems. You could disrupt the strategy of a successful business; therefore, if you want to make significant changes, you might be better off starting from scratch.
  • Purchasing an existing business is usually more expensive than starting your own because of the goodwill.
  • When you purchase a business, not only do you purchase the good parts, but you also inherit the bad parts. The business may have a bad reputation; there may be numerous complaints, pending lawsuits or leans against the business, etc.

Click Here To View a Bed and Breakfast Listed for Sale From Google’s Search Results.

Should You Consider a Franchise?

Like purchasing an existing business, a franchise also has its pros and cons, which will go over next.


  • When purchasing a franchise, consider it a business in a box. Everything is planned for you. From the look to operations and even the marketing is planned out for you. All you have to do is follow the operating procedures set up by the corporate office.
  • You’re working with a proven plan. All locations are standard. If you’re curious about how your business will do, you can look at a franchise in a different location and expect similar results. The idea of a franchise is that everything is standard and set up by the corporate office. As long as you follow operating procedures and are located in a good area, you will see similar results to other franchisees in the network.


  • If you plan on doing your own thing, then a franchise is not for you. As mentioned earlier, a franchise standard across all locations for any deviation or changes will have to be approved by the corporate office. A change is unlikely unless it’s across the whole network.
  • As long as you own the franchise, there will be franchise fees that help cover administrative costs for the head office and national advertising costs, etc.

To Browse the Marketplace for Bed and Breakfast Franchise Opportunities, See the Latest Google Search Results. Also, see, What You Need To Know About Owning a Franchise.


tea on a tray on a bed.The next part of the post will go over a few select resources that you can use anytime, whether you’re starting your bed and breakfast or it’s up and running. You may even want to bookmark this page so you can return anytime you want to use the resources.

Industry Trends and Statistics

Studying trends and statistics for your industry can be useful because you can understand how the industry is doing and whether it’s increasing in popularity or decreasing.

You may also find something that’s missing in the industry, and if you can incorporate that into your bed and breakfast, that can give you a competitive edge. You may also find something in the industry that you have overlooked. Click Here for the Latest Google Search Results Related to Trends in the Bed and Breakfast Industry.


The terminology used in the lodging industry is something you must know. Sure, you can pick up the terminology with experience and time, but why not go over the terminology that’s available now? Search Results Related to Terminology in the Bed and Breakfast Industry.


Joining a bed and breakfast association can be beneficial. Many associations offer educational material, vendor discounts, industry news, and host events where you can attend and Network with other bed and breakfast business owners.

You may also want to consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce so you can get to know local business owners as well as a chance to bring awareness to your own business.

Click Here To View Associations Related to the Bed and Breakfast Industry. You May Also Want To Check Out Our Page for Tips and Insights About Joining a Trade Association.

Top Bed and Breakfast Businesses

When you study the top bed and breakfast businesses, you can understand the competition, the services offered, pricing, etc.

You may also gain ideas you can implement in your business. Also, when you’re looking at similar businesses, you may pick up something that’s missing in the industry. You have found a competitive edge if you can implement that into your business. Search Google for the Top Bed and Breakfast Establishments in Your Area.

a cabin style bedroom.

Marketing Tips

Marketing your bed and breakfast is an essential part of running your business. Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult; think of it as bringing awareness to your bed and breakfast. You don’t need to hire an advertising agency you can do a lot of marketing yourself.

Have a look at the marketing tips available for a bed and breakfast, and you’re sure to find a few tips that you can use to attract customers. The Latest Articles for Marketing a Bed and Breakfast.

Bed and Breakfast Tips

If you are experienced or not, looking at information related to running a bed and breakfast and tips you can use to improve your service is something you should be looking at weekly or at least once a month. The information is out there. You just need to set aside time to go through it. Have a Look at the search results for tips related to a Bed and Breakfast.


Books are a fantastic method to broaden your horizons on virtually any subject. One time-saving tip to note about nonfiction books is that you do not have to read the book from beginning to end to obtain the information you require. Rather than that, you can browse the table of contents and jump to the relevant chapter. View the Most Recent Google Search Results for Books Related to a Bed and Breakfast.


The news is a great way to find interesting stories the media covers. You can use a site like Google News to check out what’s been said in the media and any recent stories related to a bed and breakfast. Just type in your keyword, and you’ll have access to archived and the latest news stories. See Google’s News Search Results Related to the Bed and Breakfast Industry.


YouTube videos are a great learning tool. Another feature to look for is when you type in your keyword, you’ll get a list of related topics. You may not have considered some of these topics and are worth looking into. So why not spend some time checking out the latest videos on YouTube related to a bed and breakfast? You are sure to find a few tips you can use in your business. See the Most Recent Videos Related to a Bed and Breakfast