Could you run a B&B?

Could you welcome strangers into your home and serve them breakfast with a smile… day after day, week after week? Avoiding the daily commute and garnering plaudits for your scrambled eggs might seem like a recipe for contentment, but the reality could be more dirty laundry than dream lifestyle. Want to know more? Be our guest…

In order to make a go of running a B&B, you’ll need to find your niche – be it luxurious bathrooms/state-of-the-art entertainment systems/organic and locally sourced food – and go the extra mile to offer something special.

Attention to detail is important (you’ll lose customers and credibility by serving UHT milk in plastic cartons). A warm welcome goes a long way: few moods fail to be lifted by a smile, a slice of home-made cake and a perfect cup of tea.

The hospitality industry may suit you if:

1 You’re good at getting up early. (Lie-ins will become a distant memory, especially in high season.)
2 You have a strong stomach. Make no mistake, serving up a full English every morning isn’t a job for those with a delicate constitution.
3 You’re happy to roll up your sleeves and deal with other people’s dirt. When on holiday some guests do things they’d never do in their own home, from the irritating (dumping wet towels on dry beds) to the disgusting (leaving skid marks on sheets).
4 You enjoy meeting people. As Penzance B&B proprietor Philippa says, you need to really like your fellow humans.
5 You have a good sense of humour. A genuine smile goes a long way.

Running a bed and breakfast: what you need to know

• There’s a huge amount of red tape to work through. You'll need to gen up on health and safety regulations, business rates and local laundry services. VisitEngland’s Accommodation Know-how website has lots of helpful advice about the legislation involved in running a B&B.

• Watch the TV series that explores what happens when B&B owners in Britain play host to each other.

• Consider going on a course to discover whether you've got what it takes.

• Check out the competition.

• Think about how to market your B&B. An easy-to-negotiate website with clear, accurate photographs will help to raise your profile. It’s essential that potential guests can see prices and availability live online, as well as being able to book online. With this in mind, you’ll need to build up your TripAdvisor ratings and consider using its TripConnect service.

Read our logart about a London couple who went way out west to run a B&B.

Tell your own story on the Storyboard.

Come and chat on Logarty talk.

I’ve often wondered about

I’ve often wondered about running a B&B. I could cope with the early mornings, but not the lack of days off. Reading the logart about the couple who run the B&B in Penzance, I can see that they can’t really delegate the ‘front of house’ duties because they are the face of their business. I suppose no-one else would have the same attention to detail. Sounds as if they've managed to achieve a good work-life balance, though.

No, I couldn't run a B&B.

No, I definitely couldn't run a B&B. Cook breakfast, clear up, make beds, smile a lot…repeat. I find it hard work having friends to stay, so the prospect of doing it on a daily basis doesn't appeal. Although I suppose it must be easier to keep smiling if you're being paid for it.

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