Ten Tips for starting a B&B

Ten Tips for B&B owners

  1. Ask yourself if you really have the skills required for the job.  Are you approachable, reliable, helpful and friendly.  Organised, tidy, have a good attention to detail, a good cook and cleaner and have some book keeping skills.  Is everyone else living in the property ‘on side’  for this venture.  Working from home means the usual boundaries between work and home become blurred – and you certainly work antisocial hours.  Remember that Repeat business is because of who you are.
  2. Work out your target market.  Who will want to come and visit you, what local attractions do you have in the area.  The location and type of accommodation will define who your customers are going to be.  You will need to supply everything possible to meet their needs different things for Ramblers/Cyclists (bike sheds, locks, puncture repair kits, places to wash and dry wet clothes and boots), compared to city breaks (maps, parking, taxis to the station)
  3. Set out a realistic budge for what you’re going to need.  Furniture – beds, bedding, linen, china, glass, larger fridges, bathrooms and a marketing budget for your first year.
  4. Ensure you are aware of legislation that you will need to comply with – Environmental Health, Fire Safety – risk assessments, employee legislation, PRS Licence, Electrical safety, Food Hygiene Certificates
  5. Get the best website you can, put a lot of time and effort into this – it is your shop window and the way you will be communicating with your customers.  It will need to appeal to both your customers and to computer search engines so ask around to find out a really good company to help you with this part of your marketing.
  6. Learn how to use social media to spread the word about your business.  Get started on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest and ensure that there are links to all your social media sites on your website.  You’ll also need to write a blog and send out newsletters to keep in touch with your customers.
  7. Consider how you are going to take payments – on-line, over the telephone?  Will you take deposits and if so how much will you take in advance?  Bearing in mind that you are inviting complete strangers into your home it is probably best that you have taken a payment with a card and therefore you have some peace of mind.
  8.  Set out boundaries for the parts of the house your guests can use and those that you wish to keep private – are your guests going to have access to your garden?  Will this interfere with how you use the space in your house.   Guests like to know where they are welcome and where is private.
  9. Set up good relationships with your plumber, carpet cleaner, odd-job man, locksmith, wi-fi installer.  Yes the loo will get blocked, things get split on the carpets ………… and even if you get the cost of the damage reimbursed the problem HAS TO BE SORTED OUT BEFORE THE NEXT LOT OF GUESTS COME IN THAT AFTERNOON.
  10. Take time off and be sure to know where your hard earned money has benefited you and your family.  It’s hard work and you will always be being asked questions and on call to someone else’s needs, make sure you reap some rewards.
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