Schools Training

Opening a Bed and Breakfast

12 MAR 2013
Career Path : Hotel Management

What type of business lets you work from home, be your own boss and meet interesting people from around the world? If you’re a people person and don’t mind cooking and showing off your house then opening your own bed and breakfast (B&B) might be your dream job. It is a serious commitment, however, and it is best to understand what it will take before making the investment.

Lodging with a Twist

A B&B is like a hybrid of a luxury hotel and private home, generally rather small and intimate with four to ten guest rooms providing a sense of comfort and connection. They have grown increasingly popular over the past thirty years. The owners live on-site and interact with lodgers as if they were invited guests, often telling stories and useful information about the area. Of course, the second B stands for Breakfast, which is included in the price and tends to be a delicious home-cooked meal served the morning after in a communal dining area. There are often other little treats presented on arrival to make guests feel special.

Know Thyself

Take a hard look at your personality and interest level to really determine whether inviting guests into your house day after day, year after year, is something you could do. If you’re not a people person ready to work 24/7 it might not be your thing. Try to talk with B&B owners to understand what their lives are like and if this is what you want. People coming to B&B’s value both the unique charms of the house and the personal interaction with the innkeeper. While B&B owners maintain their own private quarters, they must be comfortable with the constant presence of new people in their homes.

Where to Start?

There are many types of B&B’s out there and it is useful to consider carefully what kind of establishment you would like to run. Some people look at an unused suite in their home and make a B&B as an alternative to renting. You can buy an existing B&B with all accompanying furnishings and reputation or seek a property with the potential to be a great one. Locations close to tourist draws tend to be most popular. B&B’s can occupy large historic houses or non-traditional buildings with immaculate gardens – the building can be as big a draw as the location. Check the local zoning laws and be prepared for some delay in conforming to building codes and bureaucracy. Determine how many guests you can comfortably accommodate and whether there are sufficient bathrooms and kitchen space. Try first sleeping in each room with an objective eye to comfort.

Hospitality business management is a vital part of making it in the industry. To get a leg up on the management side of things, you may want to consider:

– Promoting in a B&B directory and survey the competition before setting prices.

– Procuring a steady supply of soaps, snacks, cleaning products and more.

– Making a list of house rules and a breakfast serving time window.


Opening a B&B is a lifestyle choice, not a get-rich scheme. Many have found it a rewarding experience but doing your homework first or even enrolling in hotel management school will make all the difference.

Visit Canadian Tourism College for more information on hospitality and event planning courses.