business plans

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As I am an aspiring inkeeper trying to formulate a business plan to present to lenders, one important piece of information is occupancy rates for high,medium and low seasons. I know that there are a lot of variables that affect these numbers, but any help would be appreciated, I can extrapolate information from any location to meet my needs. My target area is upstate NY and in a tourist destination location.

Thank you in advance, just joined today and have already learned a lot.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Re "the Bank"

You have to prove to them that you can make the payments to them without the B&B income.  They are not going to hand over money to a start up unless they can guarantee repayment each month.  This requires a substantial amount down, and other income to support this dream of owning a B&B.

No lender is willing to take back a property 'these days' when they have more than they can deal with right now.  It will be VERY tight getting a loan right now.  Even refinancing an exisitng business with proven income is not on, in their estimation.

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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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"Keep in mind Boston and Hartford. Most people in that area spend 3 hours in the car each day getting to and from work (maybe more). They spend the same amount if not more to go away for vacation!! Boston is only 3 hours from Albany..."

A wiser statement was never heard!

That is why Ilaugh when people act like driving 10 minutes to a fantastic even or restaurant is soooooooo far.

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That area is beautiful. I lived in Selkirk, NY for about 2 1/2 years.( I hope I can put this link on here...Swirt, if I can't let me know and I'll edit it.) I know there is a current listing on www.historicalproperties.com that might strike your fancy. It's on 22 acres in Voorheesville.

There is a group named SCORE that would be willing to help you out. They are retired execs from different companies/industries who will go over your business plan, finances, ideas, thoughts...everything. It's free and I met with them at a Chamber of Commerce office. You can Google them in your state/city.

From what I've learned as an "almost Innkeeper", ZONING is the most important thing to find out FIRST. If you go too far in your mind, heart, and on paper with a certian property only to find out that the zoning isn't there for it, you have wasted a lot of time and money.

Keep in mind Boston and Hartford. Most people in that area spend 3 hours in the car each day getting to and from work (maybe more). They spend the same amount if not more to go away for vacation!! Boston is only 3 hours from Albany...

Good luck and keep us posted.

swirt's picture
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Quote:
( I hope I can put this link on here...Swirt, if I can't let me know and I'll edit it.)

Thanks for your concern about this.  You can post whatever links you want as long as it is not something you are trying to ram down our throats, porn, gambling, or pharmceutical links.  Eye-wink

swirt's picture
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Hi rguilbault and welcome to INNspiring.com 

I imagine that no matter what numbers you provide, the lender is going to err on the side of 30% or less for the year. 

I am in the Finger Lakes region and there are many inns here that for July and August can run nearly 100%.  But come Nov - April are happy to have 10%.  Even within that group their can be a huge variation just based on marketing practices and what they have to offer.  For a good snapshot of the moment, take a look at Last Minute Finger Lakes Vacation and you'll notice that at the height of the season, some places have no availaibility and some have plenty of openings. 

You'd have to look at and descibe what their is to do in each season and look at what the other B&B's in the area have to available for the the times of the year.  Lenders are going to likely play it safe for good reason.  There is usually not a huge margin for gain so you have to be careful about over borrowing.  Part of the concern is to justify the numbers to the bank, The other concern is to justify the numbers to yourself...if the income won't cover the loan, you put your business and you home at risk.

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Thank you Swirt, the numbers I can get fron the sugested site will get me started. Looking at a property in Saratoga Springs, NY. An internationally known tourist location. Several convention centers nearby, and of course the race track Close proximity to Albany,Boston, Hartford and Montreal.

Morticia's picture
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rguilbault wrote:

Thank you Swirt, the numbers I can get fron the sugested site will get me started. Looking at a property in Saratoga Springs, NY. An internationally known tourist location. Several convention centers nearby, and of course the race track Close proximity to Albany,Boston, Hartford and Montreal.

Ah, beautiful area, Saratoga Springs! And, yes, a lot to do year round. We looked at a place near there, but it just wasn't close enough to BE there!

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You might be able to extrapolate occupancy figures from a particular area if you can get a hold of the hotel/motel or bed tax for any existing B&Bs there.

Welcome to the forum!  Good luck!

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Welcome to the forum.

Are you buying an existing B&B? You need to get the numbers from them.

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I am currently looking at residential property to convert to a B&B. Thats what makes it difficult to aquire occupancy rates. Other information I can glean from other B &B websites, such as room rates etc.Any figures this forum can provide would help greatly. I never imagined this task would be so complicated and take so long, but I want to be able to present a professional business plan.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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rguilbault wrote:

I am currently looking at residential property to convert to a B&B. Thats what makes it difficult to aquire occupancy rates. Other information I can glean from other B &B websites, such as room rates etc.Any figures this forum can provide would help greatly. I never imagined this task would be so complicated and take so long, but I want to be able to present a professional business plan.

It is complicated for me and I run a B&B!

Go to the for sale B&B websites and see if you can get some details from their listings.

BBONLINE.COm and Bedandbreakfast.com are two I would start with (you mau have already done this)

EmptyNest's picture
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Welcome!

BEFORE you go any further...better check with local zoning to see if you are ALLOWED to do this..or if it will be ok to obtain special use permit. Don't do anything until you know that for SURE!!!!

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If the property is residental, does it HAVE to be zoned commercial to have a B&B?  That is what they are wanting to do for us.  Why would they want to do that?  Then when ,(lets say I sell)  does that mean McDonalds could move in?  If this is so I wouldn't want McDonalds for my neighbor.  Any thoughts please!  Shocked)

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What kind of a general zoning area are you located in?  Different municipalities view B&Bs/inns differently.  They are not viewed as residential properties in many areas, even though you live in the building.  The short answer to your question is "no", but it depends.  Our area is also a mixed use historic area.  There are specific allowed uses in the City code for our zoning area just like JBJ said they have there.  There are definitions for a B&B homestay and a B&B inn which are allowed uses.  It was added to the code & updated in 2004.  There are many types of businesses that are not allowed here.  There are some businesses that would not be allowed here now, but are "grandfathered" in.  If the property sells, a new buyer could continue the same business if they resumed it within 6 months, after that the zoning applies.  Some businesses have applied for special exceptions to the code and have been defeated.  There is a process.

You need to check your zoning and then see if there's a process for any appeal if you think that's what is warranted.  Best of luck.

Morticia's picture
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MTLLodge wrote:

If the property is residental, does it HAVE to be zoned commercial to have a B&B?  That is what they are wanting to do for us.  Why would they want to do that?  Then when ,(lets say I sell)  does that mean McDonalds could move in?  If this is so I wouldn't want McDonalds for my neighbor.  Any thoughts please!  Shocked)

We are in a mixed use zone. So, a B&B is an appropriate use, but a gas station is not. A grocery store would be, tho, and I wouldn't want that right next door.

EmptyNest's picture
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See you are already having some issues and it will only get worse. Some towns have zoning codes that require all businesses to be COMMERCIAL and that opens you up to all sorts of health and fire issues which can cost you a fortune.  Most towns have "special use permits" that they issue in the case say in our town..6 rooms or less, owner occupied, only breakfast served and one off stree parking space per guest"  and after a zoning hearing ..if there are no protests by neighbors, it will usually pass....usuallySad  So  you need to do some more checking at your local zoning department. Get it in writing before you do anything. Or you may invest money that you will never recoup.

swirt's picture
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It really depends on the restrictions/limitations of the two terms for your precise area.

For our region and town, a B&B does not need to be zoned commercial....for another town in the same region, it does.  In some cases the fire codes define a B&B as a residential home so that can be a help, but there is nothing that says fire codes have to align with zoning language.   Each situation is different, which is why the mantra on this forum is to check it out specifically for your location, get  it all cleared (in writing) before you commit any money or sign anything.

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Thanks.  I talked to them (county) about zoning and commercial is what they said.  So I guess thats it.  Has anyone been through this? 

swirt's picture
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Look deeper, just to be safe.  Lots of county and town people "say" things that end up not being accurate.  I didn't have any troubles, but there are several members on here who can tell you their horror stories .  Get county and or town people to point it out in the written codes/laws.

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Thats where I got my information, from the county person in charge of zoning.  The house in not in a city, (I found this out also), its in a village (am I one of the village people?)  LOL   I found out as long as I stay under 4 room state doesn't get involved.

EmptyNest's picture
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Well it sounds like you got your answer. 4 rooms or less is it. Is that what you want??? See you didn't say that in your other post..you just said you had to be commercial and that is not the case.

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4 rooms or less before the state gets involved. Commercial for the county.  One of my neighbors is the Core of Eng.  Anybody ever dealt with them?  If i was a quitter I wouldn't be a very good innkeeper now would I 

Morticia's picture
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rguilbault wrote:

I am currently looking at residential property to convert to a B&B. Thats what makes it difficult to aquire occupancy rates. Other information I can glean from other B &B websites, such as room rates etc.Any figures this forum can provide would help greatly. I never imagined this task would be so complicated and take so long, but I want to be able to present a professional business plan.

OK, the bank will ask these questions:

  1. Why would anyone go to that area/town?
  2. What would guests DO once they arrived?
  3. Are those activities year-round or seasonal?
  4. What will you offer that no one else does already? (How will you do that better?)
  5. Who is your target market? How will you reach them?

Are you expecting the bank to provide the mortgage money or the renovation money? They will also want to know how you will keep afloat between purchase and your first guests.

The more work you do now the greater your chance of success. Even if this part takes you twice as long as you suspected it would, it is time well spent.

Now, you say this taking a lot longer than you thought it would. Why is that? Where did you think you would get the numbers from? And have you looked at that source? You can always do searches on the NYS gov websites for revenue info from the different areas.

You don't need to tell us the answers to these questions, but you need the answers yourself.

Do you have a number of rooms in mind? Why do you think that number will work?

 

Morticia's picture
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Do you have a particular location? Number of rooms? Any info from other B&B's in the area?

We looked at a few B&B's in the Finger Lakes area. I guess it would help if you define 'upstate' as many think 'upstate' is anything north of the Westchester Cty line!

If you are in negotiations to buy, then just a general vicinity would help. Obviously, things will be different if you are talking something in the Adirondacks, near skiing, vs something that will constantly attract the Manhattan getaway crowd.

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Albany northward to Glens Falls and eastward to the Massachuts western boarder

EmptyNest's picture
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That's a tough one. Because there are so many variables. Hopefully our upstate NY innkeeper can shed some light. 

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