This is starting to get depressing :-(

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Hello, 

I'm a young naive inspiring Innkeeper looking to get into the biz.  I joined this website about a week ago and have found it to be a wealth of knowledge.  I've posted a couple of questions and so many people have been more than generous with their time sharing their knowledge.  I really do appreciate all the advise, however 90% of the feedback I receive is horror story after horror story of getting into this business. I'm starting to wonder my project is unrealistic.

First off it's always been my dream to run my own B&B one day, but I'll be honest I've never worked in the business.  I have stayed at a countless number of B&B's and hotels all over the world and have a pretty good feel for what works and what doesn't work.  I've always had a knack for understanding what it is that appeals to people.  I think the concept I have in mind is pretty unique and God willing if I can find funding will definitely succeed!  I do realize that there's a great idea under every rock, but actually financing and getting through the bureaucracy is the real battle.

Here's where I stand...  I'm looking to build a 4000-4500sq ft German style home with a restaurant/cafe somewhere along the out East, most likely in VA or NC.  I work in Europe, I have a 6 figure income and $80,000 dollars in liquid cash.  My plan was to have this place built...  Take a few months off work and help my wife and a friend get it going.  I would return to work to keep a positive cash flow, and return once I saw that the B&B could sustain itself.  

I'm just starting to wonder if this is realistic because I haven't seen a single positive thing for up and coming innkeepers on this website.  

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Cost per square foot will depend on a lot of factors. $100 / sq.ft. may be good for standard residential construction, but if you want higher-quality finishes, etc..., or if you have to build to commercial code rather than residential code, then $200 / sq. ft. doesn't sound too far out of line to me.

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exactly. It used to be $100/sq ft. over 10 years ago when we contemplated building our own. Prices go up.

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Dear James,  For us the best approach was to buy an existing B&B.  Far less hassle and immediate income.  check out our web site higginshouse.com

 

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That's what everyone keeps telling me.  Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.  I'm still set on building it from the ground up.  I've got a few builders still figuring out estimates for my project.  A few weeks back I had a guy out of Asheville quote me at $200 dollars a square ft!!!  If that really is the going rate then this just isn't going to happen.

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You don't want Asheville. There are already dozens and dozens of B & B's there. The place used to be the place I wanted to open mine. Right...they prices all zoomed through the roof. People are always putting their places up for sale. Seems like know one minds holding a 3 million dollar mortgage!!!  Find another location in NC.

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James Barrett wrote:

That's what everyone keeps telling me.  Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.  I'm still set on building it from the ground up.  I've got a few builders still figuring out estimates for my project.  A few weeks back I had a guy out of Asheville quote me at $200 dollars a square ft!!!  If that really is the going rate then this just isn't going to happen.

20 second internet search on 'cost per square foot to build in NC' found this... http://www.building-cost.net

Apparently your guy is charging double the going rate.

 

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Madeleine wrote:

James Barrett wrote:

That's what everyone keeps telling me.  Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.  I'm still set on building it from the ground up.  I've got a few builders still figuring out estimates for my project.  A few weeks back I had a guy out of Asheville quote me at $200 dollars a square ft!!!  If that really is the going rate then this just isn't going to happen.

20 second internet search on 'cost per square foot to build in NC' found this... http://www.building-cost.net

Apparently your guy is charging double the going rate.

 

 

His would be higher due to the commercial kitchen and high number of baths to square feet. But still $200/foot seems high. 

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Pretty standard to have 3-4 baths in a house that size, so I think the guestroom bathroom and owner's bathroom situation is covered under the general cost of building. Then again, maybe they won't be living there. It sounds a little small for guest rooms owner's space and a restaurant.

Of course, if this is a commercial property with a restaurant, that will require 2 extra, ADA compliant bathrooms outfitted according to local and federal codes. And the whole building will need to be ADA compliant to run a restaurant if it is new construction. At least that is the case here. Which is nowhere near NC.

The kitchen, yes, that's $100k without even blinking if he is required to have a fire suppression system. Just the dishwasher will be $3k and up. Of course, these things are available for pennies on the dollar given how many restaurants close within a year of opening. He should look for those resources in the area.

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James, you have been soooo lucky. The patience that has ben shown to you has been great. Since you know all there is to know about innkeeping and any other enterprise you care to indulge in.  And considering what everyone has been telling you is annoying since we who have actually been doing this for years (18 for me and I was a start-up) really do not know anything about the rules and regulations (and the fact they are different in each and every location), please do yourself a favor - find another forum to ask. Feel free to return after you discover we really were trying to help you. Until then, you will be my first ignore - it wastes my time to try to help a pompous ass.

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Ok so this one sucked me in a bit.  My story, I built one from the ground up, ran it for 9 years, got out (and was lucky to sell it).

I'm kind of into logic so here are the glaring problems with the logic of what you are dreaming to do.

Quote:

First off it's always been my dream to run my own B&B one day, ...  My plan was to have this place built...  Take a few months off work and help my wife and a friend get it going.  I would return to work to keep a positive cash flow, and return once I saw that the B&B could sustain itself.

Unless it is your wife and friend's DREAM too, you will likely return to board the place up and sell it after your wife is no longer your wife, and your friend has de-friended you. 

Quote:
I don't think the B&B portion will be very difficult to break into

You are right, in some cases, in certain locations, they are almost easy to start up.  Regardless, starting up is the easy part. Maintaining is the real difficulty.  By your math, this 4,000 sq ft B&B has to sustain 3 people (your wife, friend, and eventually you)... that is some kind of magical thing to hope for. You saying you will just run this from afar and return when it is up and stable still sounds like you have rose colored glasses on to me.

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Google your state and a few terms like Bed and Breakfast or inn license. Once you get one person usually they can sort of tell you where to go next. Where we are, we needed a state license, a county thing (permit?) and the city gave us a variance. So it can get involved. The key is to know up front what they will be looking for as you are doing new construction. 

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Yes, in West Virginia NEW construction MUST have sprinklers - and if you are well or spring water this adds a humongous amount to the costs because it must have a holding tank under pressure.

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I'm pretty set on NC and yes I'll have to have a well.  That doesn't make any sense!  Thanks for the heads up, I'll definitely look into that.  

Just out of curiosity, what is the purpose of a pressurized holding tank?  

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Last answer to you - a pressurized water tank is necessary for a sprinkler system to function from well or spring water. Well water will not flow at a great enough rate to be effective and in case of drought or some malfunction, there needs to be enough water available to the sprinkler system.

Oh, in case you think I do not know what I am talking about, I was Prez of our assiciation when we got the fire codes changed - the Fire Marshal said we just needed to get sprinkler systems in our B & Bs that the savings on insurance would pay for them. Funny but the premiere B &B insurer said all that wouldhappen was they would tell us thank you. No reduction in premium and most of my members were in the country, many with spring ort well water so we DID research it.

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I applied for a restaurant license for our 2 room B&B right off the bat.  I had, and still do have, thoughts of doing a weekend reservation -only breakfast for all comers, plus special occasion dinners.  Having put that out there, we are located in a community of less than 300 people, in a county of about 4000, with one main lightly traveled highway stringing through it.  When we re-modeled the place, I went down to the health dept (the inspector is also the department head, and is responsible for both food licenses, inspections and septic installation permits throughout the county.  Everyone here wears several hats!)  At any rate, I asked what we would need to do to satisfy restaurant requirements.  We did what was required, got our license, and I make sure I keep it current, though it is presently underused.   I think there is a market for what we would offer, as the only day-to-day restaurants here serve American diner food, straight from the Sysco delivery.  To do anything else would be too labor intensive to support in an area that can barely keep a diner and full bar going.  If we want something a cut above we have to (and many do) drive 30 miles one way or 45 miles the other way to places with larger populations.  I think my idea will fly, and we can do it without having to hire out, but I will have to quit my day job, and I'm not quite ready to do that yet (I still really like it). 

I don't think there is much of value to you in this story, other than there are so many different (and wonderful) ways of doing the hospitality business.  When I was much younger, I worked in many kinds of restaurants, from pulling pints in pubs, to big city fine dining.  If you can make your way in the restaurant business, it is very good experience for any occupation where good organization plus time management skills, and the ability to get along with many different personalities is a requirement.  (That covers most occupations - don't you think?wink)

This forum is a god-send for those in the planning stages.  Just keep reading the stories.  Some will jump out at you with the lightbulb coming on, and another line will be written in your plan book.  Keep thinking like a guest.  Why do I want to come to your place. Is there ample and easy parking?  Can I make my decision right now while I'm reading your website and book right away?  What will I do while I'm there? Is vegetarian (gluten-free, whatever) OK, and will I enjoy something I don't have all the time at home?) Can I find the place easily?  Is there ample and easy parking? (yep, that's there twice, your guests need to park.  They need to be able to figure it out in just the few seconds it takes to see the place and pull in. They won't read, or probably even see, signs.  Your neighbors need to not be inconvenienced. If you don't get this right to begin with, it is nearly impossible to fix later)

My, what a ramble this has turned into.  Our (one) guest is still sleeping away, and doesn't want breakfast (a first for that).

I just want to add that while we looked for the perfect property (there is no perfect, just the best compromise) that was in our price range, could be converted to B&B and in a place that we would like to live, we had the perfect excuse for many enjoyable road trips.  We got to know many out of the way places in our state that we can now recommend to others who like quirky gems in out of the way places.

If you want to do this, keep asking questions, keep reading, and work out the plan that will work for you, it will come together.  Several former aspirings in this forum have now been running their inns for some time now.  Its great to read their posts along with everyone else's.  We all keep learning, and sharing, and we're better innkeepers for it.  You're part of the mix now.  I hope to keep reading your posts.

 

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I really appreciate the time you took to give me some input.  It definitely gives me a better prospective on things.  I don't think the B&B portion will be very difficult to break into, but the commercial kitchen will be opening up a whole new can of worms!  

I was looking at doing a similar restaurant operation.  It wouldn't be a full time kitchen.  We'd only open it  on the weekend or reserve it for certain occasions.  If it was successful then I'd like to make it a full time operation.

Would you be able to give me a guideline of some of the requirements you had to satisfy.  Also what department did you contact to get the kitchen certified?

Thank you

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Maddy is blunt, but right. There are far fewer regs here compared to most other places.  If you've worked in kitchens that have a similar setup to, and are designed to serve the number of patrons you're aiming for, well, you get the drift of your general needs/wants.   You may have town regulations, county regulations and state regulations.  During our last annual health department inspection, a State inspector accompanied our county inspector.  (a curiously minimal and brief inspection) If your state is like ours, the state regulations for Bed and Breakfasts/Inns and Restaurants will be posted online.  That would be a good place to start. Our state had most everything we needed to know about building code requirements, operating rules and kitchen requirements posted on the State website.  I think I did that reading in the   v e r y   early days of our road trips.  Good thing, because in our state, Inns up to two rooms have one set of rules - above two and there are a lot more rules and requirements. Will you need ADA access?  Will you need sprinklers?  And locally, what kind of wall coverings and flooring will you be needing, what kind of range hood/fans/venting/fire extinguishers?  Municipal water, well water?  Monthly testing and reports?  Sewage disposal? Very good things to know before doing the design plans. 

 

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Ya that Maddy lady is pretty annoying.  All I was asking for was a place to start...

I'm looking in NC so hopefully their state regs will be online too, that will defiantly help.  I just didn't want to spend a day on the phone getting transferred from one department to the next trying to figure out who I need to get in touch with.

That answered my question, thank you sir!

 

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James, I was not kidding or being facetious when I said it can depend on what sid of the street you live on. The city of Bluefield, West Virginia is also partly in Bluefield, Virginia - the State line divides the city. I know of towns where the county line runs through the middle of a house. The only way you know if you live in Mt Prospect, Illinois or Des Plaines is by your mailing address and which side of the street you are on because the street is the dividing line.. And the rules are different en each location!!

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James Barrett wrote:

I really appreciate the time you took to give me some input.  It definitely gives me a better prospective on things.  I don't think the B&B portion will be very difficult to break into, but the commercial kitchen will be opening up a whole new can of worms!  

I was looking at doing a similar restaurant operation.  It wouldn't be a full time kitchen.  We'd only open it  on the weekend or reserve it for certain occasions.  If it was successful then I'd like to make it a full time operation.

Would you be able to give me a guideline of some of the requirements you had to satisfy.  Also what department did you contact to get the kitchen certified?

Thank you

As said, YOU need to contact the LOCAL government in the area YOU plan to BUILD this business - where ever that is!  This is NOT one size fits all, it is NOT overseen by any ONE person in the country!  This is a big country and the layers of political overseers are many.  The only thing that is valid country wide on laws pertaining to the business you describe is the US Fire & ADA laws; but your builder should be handling the needs there.  Of course every state and local government can have add additional laws onto those, again YOU need to contact the LOCAL agencies where you plan to build.... we can only provide you with general information, the rest is up to you.  If you are unable to handle this where ever you are, you need to hire someone that can - again they need to be located in the area of interest to you. 

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[quote=James Barrett]

 "I don't think the B&B portion will be very difficult to break into"

[/quote

Oh boy......

Just in the last year, there have been scores of b&bs close in my small state alone.

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James Barrett wrote:

Would you be able to give me a guideline of some of the requirements you had to satisfy.  Also what department did you contact to get the kitchen certified?

Thank you

I'll pop back in one more time...Skamokawa operates in a completely different part of the country than where you say you are looking. You MUST contact your city, county and state departments of health and the code enforcement officers for the town and the county and get the required info from them. They may be called something else where you are.

First thing to do...go online and find out who the town clerk is in the town you are looking at. Call that person and ask who else you need to talk with. OR, much more easily, ask your contractors who in the town office will give you what you want.

I'm not sure if you're being dense here or you just want someone else to do the legwork for you. I think almost everyone here has told you exactly who to call. Obviously, we do not know the exact names of those people. That's what research is for.

 

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Sounds good James, once you get a builder on board tons of this stuff will turn into "knowns". How much? How long? Etc. 

 

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Who reads happy news? Anyone? You asked a bunch of innkeepers from all over the world what the regulations were in your (unnamed) part of the country.

What you got back was, 'Do your homework FOR YOUR AREA.'

I'm not sure if you wanted everyone to say, 'Wow great idea,' and then we all go back to our own caves and wait 6 months for you to come back and say, 'Why didn't you tell me...???'

 

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several people I've talked to act like someone is out to screw you over around every corner in this business.  I was told the same thing about my current career field before I got into it.  The truth is it's really not like that, most people are helpful and honest.  That being said, if your a big dummy then yes you will get raked over the coals.

I'm just looking for straight forward answers on regulations and who to get in contact etc...  Reading 20 post on how uneducated I am and how I don't have no clue what I'm doing doesn't really help.  

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Just to give you an idea, our provincial government is looking to increase rural B&Bs... but that doesn't mean that you can get city or town permission to open one and the government won't licence you until you have one. It would simply be a shame to not have all the paperwork in order before you set out. That isn't to discourage you, that's to ensure you have all the Ps and Qs in order and don't waste your money.

On the day I bought this house I was over at the city and signed for my permit, because you never know when they change regulations and once I have it, it's for life. (The aren't being so liberal with the permits now and there are three already functioning properties that are fighting for their lives because they didn't realize that they needed permits and the city wants $3K each just to look at their deviations.)

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Hi Eric,

My land agent is telling me the property I'm most interested in is zoned for B&B's.   Of course I'm not going to take her word for it.  Can you tell me what department I need to get in touch with to get something in writing.

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James Barrett wrote:

Hi Eric,

My land agent is telling me the property I'm most interested in is zoned for B&B's.   Of course I'm not going to take her word for it.  Can you tell me what department I need to get in touch with to get something in writing.

And, just for fun, Eric isn't even in this country so I'm thinking he won't know either who you should talk with. How about calling the town hall and asking there?

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James Barrett wrote:

several people I've talked to act like someone is out to screw you over around every corner in this business.  I was told the same thing about my current career field before I got into it.  The truth is it's really not like that, most people are helpful and honest.  That being said, if your a big dummy then yes you will get raked over the coals.

I'm just looking for straight forward answers on regulations and who to get in contact etc...  Reading 20 post on how uneducated I am and how I don't have no clue what I'm doing doesn't really help.  

Best of luck to you. Let us know how things work out. Sounds like you know what your doing. We don't have a clue. We just talk and give advice like we do.

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We are only trying to tell you from our own experiences. No one said anything about "uneducated"!! You are reading way too much into these posts. All are meant to help not hurt you. If you don't like what you are reading, then just ignore us and go away. No one is being anything but honest here. If you can't take it ...then don't.

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James, we have heard it all here!   And most have not done their homework on the subject but think they know it all.  The truth of the matter is that each city, county, state has their own regulations and until you choose a location there can be only general information shared.  That is the same regarding financing, all will be subject to the location which you decide. 

If you have not already done so, you should put together a detailed business plan and then you can fill in the location and projected income once the location is decided.  If you have some ideal cities in mind, contact their chamber of commerce and their economic development department of the city/county government.  Both of these groups can provide data which may show whether the area is right for what you are wanting to do and can provide stats about the area - ave income, ave age, etc...   Sometimes the economic development dept can provide information of possible financing companies that may be open to your line of business.

And what you have heard here about getting things in writing are FACT.  We can not be more open and honest with you.  We have heard the horror stories time and time again.  We are not saying you are stupid, most of the people that tell these horror stories are very intelligent with business backgrounds.  It happens to the best of people, if we can help it we don't want it to happen to anyone!!!  

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  Depending on your location you may have local, county and state regulations.  You start at city hall or township hall, and County building & health depts.  If they are not familiar with B&B's you will have a problem.   You aren't stupid, you are ignorant on this topic, the only way to learn is to do your homework.   First you have to pick a location.   Good Luck

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The problem with the typed word, in a letter, a note, or an e-mail is that the tone of voice, inflection, body language are missing. Not telling us general area of WHERE did not help either.

Believe me, the number of "deer in the headlights" have been many. Once we knew more about where and what and who (the WHO makes a big difference) we can be a lot more helpful than a generalization. We have had people ask about financing thinking they were going to find a "grant" to buy an inn. And all have tried to explain, in this business there IS no straight forward answer to ANY regulation. We thought we were being helpful to tell you to get it in writing. To give you an idea as to how rules are different - I cannot collect hotel tax because I live in city limits of a city that did not enact the ordinance to collect it because they did not have any hotels or motels in city limits. The motel out of city limits, in the County does have to collect an extra 6% hotel tax.

No, the people on this Forum are very giving of straight answers - including giving actual coding for a web site problem - but several have purchased inns and found out after the papers were signed that the POs (stands for previous owners) spoke with forked tongue, did half-assed repairs, or painted up to hide problems and or had 2 sets of books. Everyone is not out to screw you over in this business BUT if you trust a bureaucrat's statement without getting it in writing, I have a bridge I will sell you.

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Madeleine wrote:

Who reads happy news? Anyone? You asked a bunch of innkeepers from all over the world what the regulations were in your (unnamed) part of the country.

What you got back was, 'Do your homework FOR YOUR AREA.'

I'm not sure if you wanted everyone to say, 'Wow great idea,' and then we all go back to our own caves and wait 6 months for you to come back and say, 'Why didn't you tell me...???'

 

Oh. how I wish there were a 'like' button here! yes

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shame you arn't looking in the UK - regs are much easier! in my town there are several turnkeys up for sale, good books, excellent location, marketing in place, room for families and average %65-70% occupancy - there is a building up the street which if I didn't have a place already I would go for in a flash! - it was an office but would make an amazing BB

ill have to take a photo - amazing location, big car parking area, 5 floors including basement - and its huge! roof only 4 years old - and stunning to look at - just needs a loving owner!

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You would not believe the amount of people that tell all of us, "When we retire we are going to open a Bed and Breakfast!".  Im thinking "REALLY? When you retire?"  Someone posted a comment the other day on here about when an Innkeeper retires they can run a fortune 500 company.  That says it right there.  We are not trying to crush your dreams.  But we are not going to sugar coat anything either! This site is full of professional Innkeepers that are giving you the truth about running a Bed and Breakfast.  When deciding to own a Inn you want truthful advice. You do not want to get into this business and 6 months in tell yourself.  "Oh dear God what have I done?"  You want to say "Oh dear God I love what I have done!"  This decision will be up to you.  The Innkeepers on this forum will help you with any question you might have.  Good luck and Welcome!

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Here is a beautiful B&B for sale in Virginia with very lenient regulations, the town is more than willing to allow functions with food served. Also small weddings and other events. It is an hour from VATech (has guests staying for VTech graduation in May, and the town is chockfull of Hokies) Smiling  20 minutes south of Roanoke. 20 minutes to Smith Mountain Lake. It is a bargain, they have lowered the price to sell!

I know the innkeepers, and maintenance is not deferred, updates and renovations are continual. Here is the Virginia page from BnBfinder (which shows the front view)

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I appreciate that Joey, I'll take a look at that link.

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At James, I have visited this inn and it is a wonderful location that has finally "gotten it" re tourism. the inn is beautiful and large enough to support a family. Believe me when I say that if I did not believe this about a place, I would say nothing. Lest you think it is for sale for bad reasons, let me assure you it is only because it is their time in life to move on to other things. And no, it is not me. I am in West Virginia, have 3 rooms and cannot put my B & B on the market until my husband dies. (everything is set up for his convenience and he does not like change. At 72 I am not going to move him and it would be my luck for it to sell quickly when I would want it to take a while.)

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Hello Ma'am,

Do you have some contact info or a link, I'd like to take a look at that.

Thanks!

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James Barrett wrote:

Hello, 

I'm a young naive inspiring Innkeeper looking to get into the biz.  .....

I'm just starting to wonder if this is realistic because I haven't seen a single positive thing for up and coming innkeepers on this website.  

Hi James,

I am sorry you feel that the advice given here is harsh.  It in fact is reality.  People that are speaking on this site have been there, done that and have the stories to back what they say.  Getting into this business can be difficult.  You must do your homework before purchasing a piece of property or you may have a piece of property that will not work for your dream business.  Or will not support your dreams.... 

A commercial kitchen is very costly as others have mentioned. Plus you have to furnish the entire place after it is built.  I am not sure if 4000 sq ft is large enough to support both B&B and restaurant let alone an innkeepers area.  Do either of you have a history in the restaurant business?  It is a TOUGH business! 

There are quite a number of inns for sale in the US, the hard part has been done (zoning, licensing, etc) and the places are ready for turnkey.  It may be in your best interests to check into some of them in the areas you are hoping to live.  Some may already have a restaurant included or you may ask the realtor to assist you in finding out what would be needed to add one if the location and layout would work. 

We do wish for your dreams to happen, but would hate for the dream to end in a terrible nightmare due to lack of planning.

Joey Camb's picture
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partly the reason we are harsh is for your own good! we want you to ask all the awful permit and zoning questions and not end up like the chap in the article i mentioned - got the whole place built and ready to go on a - im sure the zoning will go through basis - and it didn't - he lost his shirt! - you don't want that to be you!

If I had a $1 for every person who says it must be lovely you just do breakfast and then have the rest of the day off - and the marketing, cleaning, wages, taxes, book keeping, shopping and checking in of guests just happens on its own?

Where I am there are 253 places to eat in the town center - many fail in 6 months - you know why? great chef - but doesn't do any book keeping so has no idea if he or she is actually making any money - another case was they failed their food hygine inspection because the chef the owners hired couldn't be bothered with doing any of the required paperwork - food was good but they were shut down and so it goes on

For myself i wouldn't be wanting to build something when there are so many ready made places in existence with so many desperate to sell - you would already have a steady  income coming in - though you would likely have to pay more for it.

Do however unless you have 100% occupancy 3 rooms is a bit low unless you have a lot of land and intend to expand later on as funds become available.

we get soo many people on here all tied up in the tiny details such as what sheets to use and what brand of toilet paper - totally missing the fact that you have to have some finance and a solid business plan to have a chance.

Ive been in the industry in various forms for the past 20 years and love it - but i do appreciate it is not for everyone - bed and breakfast isn't a job you can't put it away at the end of the day - its a lifestyle

white pine's picture
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Hi James-

The stories here are NOT posted to destroy your dreams, but to give you a healthy reality check.  These people KNOW.  They have heard "your" story before, and  it is not unique.

We are also aspiring innkeepers, we bought a place which needs restoration/rehab to become a b&b. I went through all the feedback here, and we forged ahead. 

 Everything they say is TRUE.   I thought I had everything figured out and planned for.  We had the business plan, we had the cash, the local inspectors were supportive.   Lets just say things have NOT gone smoothly.

 We are two years in, and still not open as a B&B.  DH works a consulting business from home.   We also have a motel on the property which is up and running.   We hope to finally be open sometime this year as a b&b, but I am not promoting it. 

We also have friends in the area who improved an existing restaurant..  the kitchen rehab alone was over 100k..that is another horrible set of stories, that makes me want to stay far from that business, although we have the facilities and demand. 

The burden on your wife and friend will be huge.  It will stress your relationship.  You will be stressed being not able to be there to help, yet needing to support the project with your income.  This is how we live.

  We don't ever expect it to support us fully, but that is our choice.  We hope for more a balance.  We are older and have no children (or elderly parents) to worry about.  Not really regretting our choice, but it WAS harder than we thought.

I just ask you to think THREE times about doing this.   You really need to know what you are getting into and the risks involved....financially and emotionally.  Discuss all this with your wife, and let her read this forum.

As a final note, I would suggest with the downturn in real estate prices that you may find an existing place more cheaply that building.   With all the natural disasters, building material prices have skyrocketed.   I would look long and hard at the excellent values on the market and see if any of those might fit into your dreams. 

Good Luck  

 

Joey Camb's picture
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Here here!

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04/21/2010

white pine wrote:

As a final note, I would suggest with the downturn in real estate prices that you may find an existing place more cheaply that building.   With all the natural disasters, building material prices have skyrocketed.   I would look long and hard at the excellent values on the market and see if any of those might fit into your dreams. 

Good Luck  

 

I quoted this as I fully agree with it. The quick equity is in the turn around projects at the moment. Cost per square foot is crazy low on some properties. 

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I hope  you will consider looking at some of the places up for sale. We have a bunch of lovely places in VA with both inn and restaurant. I am sure NC has some as well. You really owe it to yourself to check some of them out before starting from scratch. You will hear their stories and see what they are up against etc. The thought of building from scratch now for both is very scary and think how long it will take too. When there may be a turnkey property out there that will suit your needs and get you running a business a year ahead of schedule or more.  Look around..it can't hurt and it sure can open your eyes to the way things are going for these businesses.

I was just talking to a chef friend who bought a house to turn into a restaurant 3 years ago. They have it all remodeled and ready to go except for a kitchen. He had his priorities out of whack as far as I am concerned. The kitchen should have been first. He said he needs $70K just for the equipment. That doesn't include the remodel/addition for the kitchen. Realistically, we don't think he will ever open.

Another friend..a former inn /restaurant owner always told me it wasn't the restaurant that brought in the money..and her's was an upscale successful place..it was putting heads in the beds. She had 12 rooms.

Just some more to think about.

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04/21/2010

This can be a tough crowd. Don't let it bother you. Once you have a spot in mind the regulations/permits start to fall into place. Pretty hard to research one without the other. I think financing might be the biggest hurdle in that you are looking at a big purchase and build with 5-20% down depending on lots of things. Do you have some cost per square foot to work with? Then land costs? Etc. Spreadsheet it out and you will know in short order if you are too skinny on the down. 

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You're words are a breath of fresh air Smiling  Every business venture I've pursued has never been as difficult as what people make it out to be.  My current job is case and point. 

I have a couple different builders looking at my design and floor plan, they were going to get back to me sometime next week.  You're right, the construction is going to be the biggest obstacle.  Hopefully I'll have a better feel for things next week.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Goodness,there are many positives. None of us want you to go into this blind (or wearing rose-colored glasses - same thing) because then you will have invested your life savings, discover it is not all greetings and ka-ching, and be stuck and miserable which makes for a bad innkeeper and unhappy guests.

IF you know all the pitfalls in advance and STILL want to do it, we say welcome aboard and what do you want to know.

I know nothing of financing. We paid cash for our house and started up with our own money. Did not get into debt until we put siding on the house and created a bathroom after we ran out of our own money (DH has a habit of draining the financial pond with medical crap) so got to know the world of 5 cents in my pocket again.

All I know about restaurants is that they are a lot of work and a lot of regulations I do not want to deal with (the work either) but if run correctly CAN be profitable. I also know we could not live on the income of our 3 rooms nor could we live comfortably without the income of the 3 rooms. These 3 rooms also bring the world to US which is necessary since DH can no longer travel.

If you have the finances and the desire, getting a snapshot of reality here and still are interested - GO FOR IT!!! Just get all rules and regs in WRITING and still hold your breath for another interpretation of what is written. Looking forward to hearing the name of your inn.

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04/02/2010

You sound just like us at the higgins house!

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