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The three most common questions people ask about owning a bed & breakfast

answers about starting a B&B

Owning a B&B is a great lifestyle, if you are prepared for the reality of it.

If you are thinking about beginning a bed and breakfast, chances are you love to meet new people, cook, entertain and take pride in your home. You would be unusual if you didn’t! Most people have questions (and fears) about making such a major change in their life, and the most common questions are discussed below.

How much money can I make?
This is a very difficult question to answer without a lot of research, because the answer depends on many different things:

  • Where will you be located?
  • How many guestrooms will you have?
  • How much money will you charge?
  • What will your occupancy rate be?

A better question might be “How much money do I need to make?” After you have determined how much money you will require to set-up and run your bed and breakfast, you still need to have money available to maintain the lifestyle you wish to have. Do you want to travel in the off-season, or help your children with their education costs or purchasing their own home? What do the sports and hobbies that you enjoy cost? Will you have income available from other sources (for example, a pension or income from other employment?) Knowing this figure will help you determine where you need to be located, the number of rooms, etc.

How much work is it running a bed and breakfast?
Running a bed and breakfast is a lot of work – when you have guests. However, most B&Bs tend to be seasonal, with peak (busy), shoulder (in-between) and slow seasons. While all the tasks that are required in the beginning seem overwhelming, there are ways to tackle the work:

  • You can hire someone to assist with the cooking and/or cleaning
  • You can send the laundry out to be done
  • You can hire people to do the maintenance work required both in and outside

Not everyone can afford to hire help – especially when you are getting your bed and breakfast established. From experience, I know that once you get into a routine and schedule, the work seems to be much more manageable. It is also a great motivator when guests notice and comment on how clean your house is. If you should choose to hire help, make sure you include those monies in the budget you have developed. Only you can decide if the amount of money you can make is worth the amount of work required to generate that revenue.

How do I get people to stay at my bed and breakfast?
A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them that people must have a reason to come to your area before they will look for accommodation. There are very few ‘destination’ bed and breakfasts, and they take a while to establish a reputation. Here are some important things to consider:

  • location – what activities will bring potential guests to this area? Are there places for them to have meals, shop and do other things besides the original reason for coming?
  • Are the people that are coming interested in staying in a bed and breakfast? If so, what type of amenities are they looking for? How much are they willing to pay? Are these the type of people you want staying in your home?
  • Is there a need for more accommodation in this area? Who is your competition?

Using the information you have on your potential guests will assist you in creating and implementing an effective marketing plan to let people know you are open for business and have what they are looking for!

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Owning a bed and breakfast is a great lifestyle, if you are prepared for the reality of it. Staying in bed and breakfasts and spending time talking to the owners is a great first step to getting started. Also, feel free to register at’s starter’s page to stay informed about the latest start-up news. And once your B&B is open, you can sign up for a free mention on

Susan Poole

Susan Poole

About Susan Poole
Susan Poole is the owner of 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast. As the B&B Coach she helps starting B&B owners creating a thriving bed & breakfast business. Find more info on her website:

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Susan Poole

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