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A light hearted look at setting up and running a B&B or guest house
Setting up and Running a Bed and Breakfast or Guest House (continued)
Please note the views expressed in this article represent the views of the author and in no way reflect the official view of Escape2LakeDistrict.com or Helvellyn Consulting. If you are looking to set up a holiday accommodation business and are in need of guidance, please seek professional assistance.
Why do you want to run a B&B? -
Be prepared to be amazed by the range of things you will be asked for, no matter how comprehensive you think a) your menu is and b) your knowledge of what is/isn’t normal breakfast fare. “Can I have a boiled egg” “Certainly, how would you like that cooked?” “Like a crème egg please…”. It really happened.. Also if you state “special diets and vegetarians catered for” be prepared to stock up on Soya milk – top tip is simply to ensure people tell you of any special requirements when they book. Also don’t be afraid to ask people to come for breakfast at a prearranged time and even pre-
Why not try and make some extra money from a few little extras? Packed lunches, washing services? Evening meals? Mini bars? Feel free to offer all of these and more but make sure you price them right (a good test is the “I’d never pay x for y” – if you wouldn’t then your guest won’t unless they’re desperate – and you’ll be thankful!)
Purple may be your favourite colour but it might not be to everyone’s taste. Unless you have a particular theme that you are planning to market then it’s best to go as neutral as possible on colour schemes and décor – making some of the people happy as often as possible being far better than pleasing a few and upsetting the rest!
And 3 nights or more is a dream come true. No daily turnaround of bedrooms – bliss! Especially at the weekend try and insist on a minimum 2 night stay, and for bank holidays make it 3 nights. It will make a material difference to your life – you may even be able to go out and enjoy yourself rather than spend all day cleaning and then waiting for new guests!
As above – try and be near a pub. When are you going to fit in preparation of that three course Cordon Bleu meal when all you manage yourself in the evenings is a cheese and pickle sandwich. Also look how many restaurants go broke every week – that’s why you’re running a B&B – it’s all in the name!
Cleaning an ensuite (or worse often is a shared bathroom) is not for the fainthearted. Be prepared with marigolds and have a full biological warfare suit on hand for the occasional bad one. Also be prepared to use all manner of chemical rich cleaning agents to annihilate any living organisms in the bathroom.
Be very specific about arrival and departure times. Often guests will ignore what they have been told but at least they have been told. Try setting a range for arrival time that suits your routine (like 16:00-
I am full of admiration for owners that welcome dogs – but I don’t envy the cleaning and hoovering they need to do the next morning. “Eau de wet dog” is not an easy one to shift on a daily basis. Try having just one dog friendly bedroom, or even having a lounge where dogs can sleep (but make sure you cover up the linen sofas!)
Why do you want to run a B&B? -