The Realities of Running a Family B&B

Bed & Breakfast (B&B) businesses make up a £2 billion ‘cottage industry’ in the UK according to the B&B Association. Owners welcoming guests into their home often offer a more personalised experience for individuals travelling on business or people on holiday. But what’s it like to be in charge of one of these establishments? If you’d like to run your own business one day, a B&B can seem like an attractive option. There are very few jobs you can do without leaving home that have the potential to be so lucrative and planned carefully, you could find running your own B&B gives you more time together as a family. Sound appealing? Here are some of the realities of running a family B&B you should consider before making a decision.

The pros
If you’d love to live in a larger or more luxurious home but aren’t sure how you’d fund such a move, opening a B&B is one way of making such a property pay it’s own way. In addition, if the home is principally your own there are potential tax benefits such as being able to claim back some of your utility and repair bills as well as interest on your mortgage.

While it’s not exactly easy to keep your home tidy when you have young children, running your home as a business will allow you to spend more time together. Theoretically you’d be doing things such as tidying up, making breakfasts and cleaning anyway, so why not get paid for it? Yes, you’ll have more beds and make more breakfasts but with guests mostly going out and about during the day, you could get a large portion of your day to yourself, which means more time with the kids than if you did a 9-5.

Your children will also benefit from meeting people who may come from all corners of the globe, learning about their lives and experiences and helping them develop important social skills. 

The cons
One of the most obvious potential negatives of running a tourism led business is that you can’t really take breaks during busy seasons, which likely means giving summer holidays a miss or having for less down time over the Christmas and new year periods. There will naturally be times when business is quieter and you will need to take your own holidays around this, if you’re lucky enough to have them at all!

The next thing to consider is that when you open up your home to unknown visitors is that when you do your home is no longer truly yours alone. Guests will have different personalities and some may be particularly demanding or not show your home the respect it deserves. It takes a very particular type of person to succeed within the hospitality industry and in a family home it won’t just be you and your partner that need to muddle along happily with the guests, there’s the kids and any pets to consider too.

Finally, you may need to carry out a few changes in the home to make it better suited as visitor accommodation. Many guests expect en suites and you can usually demand a higher price for your rooms if they have one, so you may want to start by fitting shower rooms and toilets where you can. If you have a lounge diner or kitchen diner, you might want to separate your rooms so that you are not cooking in the same space as your guests. If you’re not keen on adding an extra wall, fitting internal bi-fold doors won’t be a barrier to light, but they can stop the smell of cooking spreading through your home. As well as keeping on top of cleaning, your home will need to be well maintained and you may need to put extra effort into things like gardening. While this might seem a bit time consuming it should add value to your home in the long run and there are a lot of expenses you will be able to offset against tax.

Do you run your own B&B or would you consider doing so in the future? What do you think would be the best and worst things about being a B&B owner? If you’ve got any tips to share for would be B&B owners, please leave a comment below.

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