If your dream is to own your own country inn or bed & breakfast, but you’re still on the fence about leaving your current life and career, there are a number of considerations you need to ponder before taking the leap and leaving your old life behind.
If you’re a social person, and you love to cook and entertain, and you yearn to leave the city and live in rural America, this can be ideal business. Many people have a romantic image in their minds of owning an inn or B & B in the country, of a leisurely life sitting out on the porch in a rocking chair and watching the sun set every evening with your blissful guests.
But if you ask anyone who’s been in this business for any length of time, they’ll tell you that is a real business, with all the work and responsibilities that come with it. You’re essential running a hotel, and unless you have employees, you’ll be responsible for cleaning, cooking, and maintaining that hotel, along with dealing with a wide variety of people at the same time.
Here is a short list of many of the pros of running your own bed & breakfast or country inn:
- It is your business, and you’re in control of every aspect of it. If you’ve ever dreamed of being your own boss, and running the show, then this could be your opportunity do to just that. You won’t have to answer to a boss, you can run the business as you see fit.
- You get to meet a lot of great people. You’ll find people walking through your door from all parts of the world, and some of them will end up becoming good lifelong friends.
- You get to live in the country. This is the main draw for many innkeepers, the idea of being able to live in rural America and get paid to do it. And you can beat the commute from your bedroom to the kitchen every morning!
- You get to cook. If you love cooking, baking, and creating great homecooked meals, this is the perfect business for you.
- You’ll be able to deduct a portion of your home’s depreciation and operating expenses on your yearly income taxes as legitimate business expenses.
Okay, those are some of the pluses, but like most things in life, there are minuses as well. So what are some of the potential pitfalls of owning a country inn or B & B?
- Many innkeepers get burned out after a few years. This is especially true if you run your inn or bed and breakfast year round, seven days a week. Think about it – after five years, that’s 1825 days of having guests in your home, cooking and cleaning and entertaining them 24/7. One solution to this problem is to take some vacation time during the “off” season to recharge your battery and your spirits.
- You’re responsible for everything that happens under your roof. If the hot water heater goes out, you’re responsible for fixing it or having it replaced. If the toilet backs up, you’re responsible for getting it unplugged. If one of your guests is unhappy for any reason, you’re the one they’ll complain to.
- You can’t call in sick. If you have guests under you’re roof, you’ll have to take care of them, no matter how you’re feeling that day. There are no sick days in this business, unless you can find someone to cover for you until you start feeling better.
- Owning a country inn or bed & breakfast can be a significant financial commitment. Both to open, and keep running, especially if you experience a long “off season” where guests are few and far between. So run the financial numbers before you jump into this business, and make sure you have a budget that will see you through the first couple of years while you get things off the ground and established.
So there you have it. If you’re dream is to move to the country, or the mountains or along the coast and become an innkeeper, don’t let the potential drawbacks discourage you. Just be aware of them, and realize that this is a real business, and there will be real work involved in keeping it a viable enterprise going forward.