Starting out...

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04/21/2013

Hello,

My name is Georgina and my husband and I are looking at purchasing a turnkey B&B next summer.  Some fun facts about us:

Neither of us have worked in a B&B before, but we both work in restaurants and retail, so customer service and long hours are all we know.  Eventually we would like to attach a 20 seat restaurant to the B&B and do culinary weekends as we are both classically trained chefs (he in culinary and I in pastry).  I also do wedding cakes and handmade chocolates and would like to sideline that as extra income on the side. And yes, I do get tired just typing all that out =) We really like the Asheville/Black Mountain area in NC but we are most likely out of our price range there, so we are looking all along the east coast.  (Or Hawaii, as that is where I was born and raised, but the chances of finding something there are slightly less than zero =)  We are looking for a 5-8 rooms.

Now onto questions.  We are having some trouble getting started.  My husband has contacted a couple of realtors but has been getting very little response from them.  We look online, but there is no way to tell if the listings are still active without a realtor to help us.  We are also looking at doing a seminar, but I am leery of forking over money to someone who may or may not know what they are doing. Any recommendations for realtors or seminars/classes?  We are in Northern VA.

Also, I understand most B&B's are financed via business loans, not mortgages. Any tips on obtaining loans?  I have looked into SBA loans, but for restaurants which virtually no lender will touch.  Are B&B's easier to finance?

I also know that costs and regulations vary from town to town, but any ballpark figures for monthly costs?  Hidden costs you didn't expect? The best I can figure is going from estimated mortgage calculators and what I currently spend in utilities multiplied by a few.  My husband wants us to have 6 months worth of operating expenses saved up, which I think is a great idea, but also insane and unreasonable to expect to have that much of a cushion.  Is it, or do we need that much?

Lastly (for now), how long did it take you to actually find and purchase a B&B?  I am under contract with my job until 5/14 and our lease expires 6/14, so I want to be able to move out and into our new home/business by then. Are we jumping the gun by looking now or am I right to think it could take that long?

Any and all advice is appreciated.

Thanks!

 

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10/07/2008

A farmstay is a family B&B.

I have looked at these in the past, as the kids get to go feed the chickens and collect eggs, and do all those farming adventure things. So for city slickers who want to take their kids to the country and have an experience. It is a package deal, however, it is not a one night here or there thing. So that eliminates so many guests (that we have here). It is a destination B&B.  Bunk and Bridle, or whatever you choose it to be. Smiling

The other reason a family might choose a B&B is a safe environment. So what does this mean? Kids are quiet and in control at all times? No, they are safe and left to wander. 

An option for a B&B that has little children might be a dog B&B, meaning bring your dog along, I think that is a great idea. However, the dogs that are brought to the current romantic B&B's are never welcomed to be patted on the head by kids. Their fluffy little babies are not even allowed to interact with other dogs, they are never treated as dogs. So it would have to be family dogs, big fun sloppy lovable dogs! Not those who use piddle pads.

I would love that.

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04/21/2013

Yes! That is actually a lot like what we envision. I want to eventually become a destination, maybe work with local schools. I want to have enough land to grow a significant part of the food we use in the b and b side and restaurant side. I don't know about animals (pets are fine with me) since I have no experience with farm animals and i am worried about the noise but I have thought about that, too. I want to do package deals with cooking classes also. It all sound very ambitious but I am thinking of building it up like this over several years.

We signed up for the June aspiring innkeeper class by the va b and b assoc and I am very excited to go. Thank you so much for all your help and advice!

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05/22/2008

Glad you signed up! You will learn alot. Ask lots of questions as well. They usually have several innkeepers on a panel to answer questions. Good luck.

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05/22/2008

Glad you signed up! You will learn alot. Ask lots of questions as well. They usually have several innkeepers on a panel to answer questions. Good luck.

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10/07/2008

sachi3679 wrote:
Yes! That is actually a lot like what we envision. I want to eventually become a destination, maybe work with local schools. I want to have enough land to grow a significant part of the food we use in the b and b side and restaurant side. I don't know about animals (pets are fine with me) since I have no experience with farm animals and i am worried about the noise but I have thought about that, too. I want to do package deals with cooking classes also. It all sound very ambitious but I am thinking of building it up like this over several years. We signed up for the June aspiring innkeeper class by the va b and b assoc and I am very excited to go. Thank you so much for all your help and advice!

You may consider FLOYD VA. 

It just depends how off the beaten track you want to be. There are some destination B&B's in Floyd, and one in the news the last few weeks bringing in a caboose or two as guest suites, which is totally neat. They are bringing these in for revenue to help their "Sustainable Floyd" ideas

Here is one with home grown goodies. There is a vegetarian/vegan B&B there as well.

As for making money at it, there, that may be another story. But living off the grid, doing your own thing and having the mountains surrounding you, it is a great place. You have probably already been to Floyd VA. Smiling

There was an innkeeper there who served all meals to guests, since it was a bit remote. She was a chef and had her own restaurant in NY. She had an amazing farm with acres to hike and scenery to die for.

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I have never been to Floyd.  We are a couple of homebodies.  We live not thirty miles outside of DC, work within stone's throw of the border and have been into DC exactly two times in two years.  It looks very cool, although might be a little too, er, crunchy for my husband.  I do want to be near some kind of attraction as a safety net while we build up.  So much to ponder...

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Taking the class will be very helpful! And, reading here about the trials and tribulations!

Out of the class you should come away with info on how to select the proper location for what you want to do. An understanding that no one is going to hand hold you thru the process and that if you mess up you are paying for it. (This includes things like buying a property where you can't do what you need to do to survive!)

Like me, I can't do cooking classes altho it would be a BIG sideline for us.

So, whenever you find the right spot for you be sure you go armed with all of your plans to different governing bodies and get, in writing, that you can do what you foresee. Or, be prepared to fight to get what you need. And that could take years.

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Already doing lots and lots of reading on here =)

Yes, zoning is something I am a bit worried about since a lot of B&Bs seemed to be zoned residential which would kill most of our other plans. 

Thanks so much for all the help.  I am so glad I found this forum.

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02/17/2011

I had 3 kids (now grown) and I wouldn't have dreamed on inflicting them on my B & B guests (nor my guests on them) had I been in the business at that time.  Just having my small dog who is obedient and well behaved is an issue at times with guests.  I love kids, animals etc. and so do most people but they do not combine well with most B & B's.  Maybe if you run a family style resort you can get away with it but a real B & B is where people go to get away from THEIR kids, and surely don't want to be bothered by OTHER PEOPLE'S KIDS...in my experience anyway.  You will be asking for a nervous breakdown if you are trying to keep normal healthy kids quiet while your guests are there.  Even the most well behaved children have meltdowns at times, or just make healthy noise while playing.  The noises you want to hear from your children are not the noises other people want to hear when they are at a B & B.  Sorry but that is the hard truth of it.  Constantly asking your children to be quiet will not be a healthy environment for them to grow up in.  It would be like raising children in the Victorian Era, to be seen and not heard. I would wait with the B & B idea until they are at least in their teens...or even better when they are out of the house altogether. I think you will really be asking too much of your children to expect them to keep up "B & B behavior" in their daily life, and  as tempting as it sounds the "quality of life" you envision will not be what you are expecting.  

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I suppose I don't think of "inflicting" my kids on anyone.  It is not as though I intend to promise a romantic getaway for two, then knock on their door at 6am and ask them to babysit while I make breakfast =) I, personally, leave my kids to get away *from* them, but to go away *with* my husband, so being in place with other's people children would not bother me.  That said, yes, shrieking children are annoying, especially if you did not happen to birth them.  I knew we had to be living below the guests, and after reading the responses here, I think that having separate living quarters is moving from a "would like" to a "must have."  I don't expect them to be prim and proper all the time, although I do expect them to be well mannered.  I also don't expect them to have a lot of contact with the guests. 

Honestly (and try not to laugh too much at me here, okay?) I don't think I ever really thought of running a B&B as having guests in my house, so much as living where my business is, if that makes any sense.  I have stayed in several B&Bs, although, now that I think of it, I think only one had an owner on premises when I stayed there.  They actually had two boys, which I did not realize until they came out during breakfast to eat their meal (quietly and politely).  So I guess what I am saying is, I never planned or imagined mixing my living space with the rented space, which is why of all the issues I have been imagining, my children bothering guests was never really one of them. 

Also, waiting until they are much older is not really an option for us as my husband just turned 53 and would probably not be interested in starting a business in 15-20 years. 

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As parents I do not think any of us thought of it as inflicting our kids on others - although I was known to tell friends considering having kids to come to our house for a day or two. We only had 6 the day we got married. Mine were well-behaved. For the wedding I took the oldest who was to be our best man for a new pair of shoes which meant all came. As there were only a couple chairs in the men's area, the other 5 went to the back of the store to wait.  The clerk in the shoe store said as we were paying, "I cannot believe there were 6 kids in this store. There have been times with just one that I could not wait for them to leave." Thankfully they knew which side of the door to be normal on.

What is being said is each child will have what my psycho-babble daughter refers to as "ISSUES" and when they do, quiet will not matter to them in the least. In fact, it was when I was trying to sleep that the twicked-off kid would be certain to make the MOST noise possible.

What all are trying to do is get you to do what it sounds like you are starting to do now - consider how it will be for the kids with the B & B as well as for the B & B with the kids. Yes, it can be done. We have a member on this Forum raising twins she is homeschooling with the B & B. I cannot speak for others, but I consider it just as important to point out the pitfalls to prevent someone from sinking their life savings into something, finding out it was not what they expected it to be, and then discovering it will not be easy to sell - thus becoming disenchanted innkeepers who do not make for the great hosts we want to be. I also want to encourage someone who really has thought about ALL the pitfalls, work, time-consuming lifestyle and still wants to be an innkeeper in spite of it. THAT is why some have come off as being naysayers.

We have had someone in-house now for almost 6 weeks with no break. I have not been able to tell Mr. Wonderful what I thought about some of his comments or actions in almost 6 weeks because there has rarely been a time when we were the only people in the house (one of our guys is on night-shift and the other on days). If I was not able to go put in some volunteer hours at City Hall I would have exploded by now. I at least am old enough to go to City Hall and pound the file cabinet or the computer keys - kids do not have that option.

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04/21/2013

Wow, six kids!  I don't mean to say that I don't appreciate the comments, because I do.  I get putting all the worst, scariest stuff up first.  Looking around this forum, ya'll seem a great, very supportive group of people, so I don't think you would point out the problems for no reason.  My husband is actually the one who always wanted to have a B&B. I always wanted to have some sort of food service - restaurant, cafe, etc. So, this is all new to me.  And we will be sinking all of our savings into this, so I do want to sure we are doing the right thing.  Most of all, I don't want to put my kids in a bad situation because this is really all for them, although as you posted earlier, all parents do terrible things to their kids, right?  =)

At any rate, we are still very early in planning.  We need the next year to continue building up our savings, so we shall see how this all works out.

And I am aware of just how crazy pants my older one can be. The little one is mellow, but the older one spent the entire 30 minute drive from the sitters to our house screaming about his jacket, of all things, today.  I did think of inflicting him on the side of the road, but I believe that is frowned upon.  =)

Thanks again for all the help!

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I've only been in business for 6 months, and there is a lot that I don't know...but I would also say that there are many non-traditional setups to a successful B&B/inn that may work well for a family...and if you separate your living space from the guests, it may make sense. In our place (but kidless), we have private entrances to each room, and a private entrance to our living space.  One of the most popular places in my area is little lux. cabins (guests) with a main house(owners) and the owners provide breakfast in a basket to the guests.  Guests prepare own breakfast. The idea of agriculture homestays fascinate me too.

Right now, I'm listening to a pretty good audio book called The Personal MBA.  I recommend it. Simple and straightforward. Your comment about investing your savings made me think of one of his checklists in the initial chapters for how likely your business idea is to succeed.  (I filled it out for my current business, and fell in the maybe - but it will take work category...sigh).

 

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As one of the few on the back end of this ie was a B&B kid - didn't bother me, we used to do our own ironing and one of my jobs was pressing the folded sheets in a huge linen press. To be honest I don't thing we really thought about the noise - there was so much of it everywhere we just blended in!

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We're not a 'family resort' by we do take children. We do state that on our website. We have rooms with more than one bed so we could have 4 giggling, drunk, adult women in the room. Making quite a bit more noise than a 5 year old.

Having my own kids here would be tough as it would 24x7. As long as the innkeeping quarters are really away from the guests and there is someone watching the kids while the parents work (while the kids are babies and toddlers) it's possible.

There are a few B&B's with rave reviews that include the innkeepers' kindergartner or older kid meeting and greeting and showing the guests to their rooms, serving breakfast and the like.

Stating that B&B's are ONLY for adults getting away from their kids REALLY limits the potential pool of guests.

I will admit to reading reviews that state that the owners' kids toys were everywhere and that the kids had the run of the house and staying elsewhere. I don't want to interact with the innkeepers' children when there are small herds of them. I don't want to miss the adult conversation because everyone is cooing over the adorable 5 year old going around with the canapes.

Basically, love kids in small doses but very small doses. Would stay somewhere that kids were welcome, can't avoid that at a hotel, but not overjoyed at sharing the common space with the kids who live there.

So, yes, there is a market for family-friendly B&B's but it's not a big market. If they are going to do a B&B with small kids, better to make sure that all guests know there might be a kid sighting during the stay. Either the owners' kid or a guest's kid.

We did have a guy ask us to guarantee there would be no children here during his stay and lo and behold there was one right across the hall from him. Can't guarantee no kids. Told the guy that. Said he should try B&B's with only one bed in each room or that state they don't accept kids.

 

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Hello Madeline,  Yes you are right, as you say that "there is a market for family-friendly B&B's but it's not a big market" so it would have limited appeal and if one were trying to run a financially viable & successful business I guess it would not be advisable to potentially limit ones possible income to guests tolerant of children at B & B's.  It sounds like the young lady questioning us is not looking for just something to do in her "spare time"  or "retirement" but something where she and her husband can make money, give up their day jobs and change their life style.  I would hate to have her do so and find that she was unable to make it because she was overwhelmed between what it takes to raise a family in a B & B environment and the bad reviews she will inevitably get when her children have a melt down from time to time or she is just too strung out to deal with the needs of guests. 

When someone goes into business I would like to see them start with the best chance of success and children in tow in this kind of business really limits their capability... at least in my personal opinion.  Children today are not like children of my generation (I am 57).  In my generation my parents could have raised me in a B & B.  I did what I was told unquestioningly.  Also people used to be more tolerant of children years ago...and  I don't see that being the case anymore because people are too stressed and generally selfish.

I for one would hate to give someone false hope of good success when... sure...it is possible,  but not probable.  There are exceptions to every rule and she may have one of the  families who could handle raising kids in a B & B environment but let's at least alert her to the minefield and pitfalls that she will surely encounter.

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'Children today...' has been used forever as a code for 'kids who don't behave'. It's all in how the kids are raised.

But, yes, having a separate space for the family is important. The kids should have free run of their own space which is why floors and walls should not be abutting guest space.

We have one guest room that is underneath our space and when the grands are over they know they cannot run thru the upstairs room or even hang out in that room. They have to be in the rooms that have no adjoining walls or floors.

And, yes, I am the mean grandma who told one grandkid to 'take it outside' which caused the whole family to pack up and leave. Can't do that with your own kids in a business, tho!

The OP knows her kids. Knows their strenghths and weaknesses so it could work to be a 'regular' B&B that accepts kids. Not a family-friendly B&B that caters to kids. And if there is enough 'family' space for them it could work out. But 'enough' HAS to be: separate kitchen, living room, bedrooms, office, play space.

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I raised kids in town and feel like they were at such a disadvantage! I grew up on a farm with plenty of open space - and feeling sooooo left out of everything because we were not close to anything. But as an adult, I was sorry my kids missed out on the freedom I did not realize I had when I had it. No matter where you bring up your kids - they will feel they were cheated. I have one who thinks he was a latch-key kid. His younger sister is trying to figure out how he got that idea. I worked nights (meaning graveyard) while DH either worked days or went to school days until they were of an age to never be home during the summer anyway. One thinks we were a dysfunctional family because cupboard doors were slammed (I slammed doors instead of slamming kids show me a family that is not "dysfunctional" in someone's opinion). But that is the one who thinks she is a Mother less Daughter.

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Welcome to the forum.  You are in the best place to get the truth when it comes to a B&B.  There is little I can add here except to please read the forum posts from the past.  There have been lots of others come here to get advise.  We don't sugar coat it, we tell it like it is black and white, pure and simple.  Some think we are being ugly and leave, possibly end up buying and then finding out we knew our stuff. 

Just read, and when your are tired, read some more.  Go to a class, and you may even consider contacting an innkeeper in your area.  They may be willing to let you volunteer your time for a week to see how it really is! 

If after all this you still are gung ho, you may have the back bone and stamina it takes!  Best of luck to you.  REALLY!

 

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Welcome-this is the best and most informative and yes the people in this forum will tell it like it is. I know NOVA hated the comute and the work. I understand completely-but.

1. A seven month old and a three year old?-you mentioned you will be working-who will be taking care of the kids while whomever is taking reservations, cleaning rooms, doing yardwork, cooking breakfast, doing laundry and greeting guests?

2. We  bought a B&B with two homes-one was a 5 room 5 bth detached  next door (1,000 ft) to the other 5 bdr 3 bth with two teenagers (nough said about that) that is the best senario to have as someone else mentioned-this way you don't have the noise right with the guests.

3. Are you willing to except kids? This is also an idea to think about cause families with children or teens have a hard time finding B&Bs that except children specially small ones we did and it worked out famously-we were able to have families reserve the entire house...that worked.

4. Its a hard life with little time for anything else, yea i understand you and your husband work 80 hours a week, be prepared to work more-hours that you never thought you would be working, and that you would NEVER leave work behind cause there is always something that needs done, fixed , called on, serviced upon or folded and washed and all the little emergencies that come up-this does not include your child being sick, upset, having a fit or anything pertaining to your relationship with your partner or vacations-cause that means closing the inn or paying someone to keep it open which means loosing $$$.

5. Financially it is wise to really research the area and the tourism and WHAT KIND of tourism there is-this is key! Its a hard life but more of a lifestyle-the money is unpredictable and having enough on the side if the economic times get rough is absolutely imperative.

6. The classes and stuff that are listed here are legit and worth every single penny.

With all that said-I love my job-unfortunantely the burn out rate depends on the person, but I know that if I had small children or babies-there would be no way I could do it  unless its a small Inn and maybe seasonal..thats just me. We dont own that B&B anymore, but we are now employed at our second Inn-Its coming to eight years of being Innkeepers and we've decided that 2014 will be our last-Im ready to go home and go back to school...but it was fun and exciting and hard and wonderful while it lasted-and I LEARNED A HELL OF ALOT!

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04/21/2013

Hello,

I am looking for people who know what they are doing, I am not easily offended but if you are trying to tell me I'm crazy...well, I already knew that =)

My husband and I are doing this together.  It could be him working just as easily, but he really hates his job whereas I just mostly hate my job.  Depending on where we end up, my sister may decide to move with us and buy in (whole other can of worms if that does happen, there will be written agreements) but we plan to have to hire at least a mother's helper for the kids, even if we can manage the rest of it on our own.  Ideally, we are looking for something with detached owner's quarters and definitely something with property so the kids can have their space outdoors.  If it makes a difference in the level of insanity we are dealing with, the job I am talking about working would be one where I am able to write my own schedule and possibly do some work from home.  I graduated culinary school two years ago and we started our savings pretty much from scratch at that point. We could wait longer and save more and maybe avoid the working situation, but I really want to be settled in a spot as my poor son has moved three times in his short life already. 

We do want to build a family friendly type inn.  Yes, it may mean giving up some couples, although I don't intend to furnish the place with fisher price, but it really turns me off whenever I see someplace that won't accept children under 12, even before I had kids.  I understand why it is done and I'm am sure lots of you do it with good reason (personally I think people should forget pet deposits and charge toddler deposits instead), but to me it always kind of broke up the homey feel of a B&B.  I like the idea of welcoming other families into my home.  Traveling with a family is hard and even worse when the accommodations stink.

Thank you for the feedback.

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You could have a very nice niche market catering to families with children.

I know a lot of innkeepers wonder why someone would want to stay at a B&B with a little kid but families do enjoy the 'comfy, homey' part of the B&B. And I will say that the majority of young guests are very nice. Parents might need a little work, but the kids are good.

We get a lot of kids of all ages because we are laid out for kids, not necessarily because we cater for them, as we don't. I don't have any baby gear here at all and am not going to get any. Babies are a whole other kettle of fish and there isn't a parent on the planet who can tell me their 2 month old will not cry in the night.

Sure, adults can be noisy but babies have that certain air-piercing squeal designed to attract the most attention!

So, kid-friendly is a small niche but it's there. And even more so I think because of the style of parenting that is popular today.

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Take an aspiring class first before you make any plans. Then if you still want to follow  your dream, go for it.

Just keep in mind you also need to have health insurance for you and your children and pay the mortgage. A place separate from the inn for your family would be the ideal.  There are lots on the market.

Start with a B & B realtor. If you are looking in VA..these two are the only ones.  Pete   and  Peter  Both really know their thing and have been around a long long time. I know them personally. Another that has been around along time.

Good luck

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It can be done but you need to be very secure in your support network - ie my neighbours took on a B&B 10 bedrooms 2 small children (i think 3 and 4) but his mother previously owned a B&B lives locally and the parents do every friday to give them a break + kids now go to school and pre-school and they have a chamber maid - however guest rooms are directly above children's rooms which is hard work when there are noisy guests who wake up their children - their ideal is when they can afford it to buy one of the flats in the building next door (its a terrace so very close) and move there.

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Our property is for sale and we are in the Asheville (30 miles) area.

Great for weddings, potential restaurant, and plenty of space.

Please contact me - 949-322-2866

Just recently listed within the last week.  Would love to have you come for a tour.

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Lisa

 

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lisaengland wrote:

Our property is for sale and we are in the Asheville (30 miles) area.

Great for weddings, potential restaurant, and plenty of space.

Please contact me - 949-322-2866

Just recently listed within the last week.  Would love to have you come for a tour.

Lisa feel free to post this info on the inns for sale section here with a link as we may have more than one person here looking! Hope it sells quickly for you! JB

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Okay so little by little we learn more. YOUNG CHILDREN and a B&B don't mix. It is not fair to them. I will say it upfront, and then the "You are so mean on this forum daggers thrust my direction."

I am being honest, as someone who had/has children in a B&B, and one who had a tonsillectomy last Thursday and I am trying to clean rooms and deal with guests currently. It is NOT EASY, not ADVISABLE, and definitely NOT FUN. 

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04/21/2013

So mean!  Oh wait, no I asked and then you answered.  Thanks to you and EmptyNest for the feedback.  I don't expect it be easy, but I do believe that it will give my family a better quality of life in the long run.  Possibly I am wrong.  It almost happened once before. =) 

(I'm not trying to withhold stuff, btw, just trying not to write a whole novel right off the bat)

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sachi3679 wrote:

So mean!  Oh wait, no I asked and then you answered.  Thanks to you and EmptyNest for the feedback.  I don't expect it be easy, but I do believe that it will give my family a better quality of life in the long run.  Possibly I am wrong.  It almost happened once before. =) 

(I'm not trying to withhold stuff, btw, just trying not to write a whole novel right off the bat)

JB has definitely walked the walk. I know the OO's (original owners) here had little kids (I've met them now that they are in college!) and it was hard. Kids are out of school in the summer when your business is busiest. They have school functions you don't want to miss.

So, you plan your B&B to function more casually than I can do myself. You allow yourself the time to GO to the school functions and let the guests fend for themselves. That may mean allowing self-check-ins or leaving a note telling guests your gone to 'Sebastian's tuba concert'. (I think you can search 'Sebastian' here and get the back story on that one.)

If you're a home-schooler, that's another way to avoid all the 'school calendar' stuff that can mess up your innkeeping schedule.

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sachi3679 wrote:

So mean!  Oh wait, no I asked and then you answered.  Thanks to you and EmptyNest for the feedback.  I don't expect it be easy, but I do believe that it will give my family a better quality of life in the long run.  Possibly I am wrong.  It almost happened once before. =) 

(I'm not trying to withhold stuff, btw, just trying not to write a whole novel right off the bat)

I know you aren't withholding, there is a lot to consider in any major decision.

I hear you for the quality of life, but many times it is trading the fry pan for the fire. People do what they do, we all have our reasons. When you purchase an inn there is no stepping back, that is what I wished I was told, but I never had a forum or experienced innkeepers like this one. In fact, my family and friends STILL don't know what a B&B is about. We never asked them, we did what we felt we were lead to do. 

But 10 years later, having our kids grow up B&B kids, I wish we had some time to ourselves, and trust me, we DO make time. It is just not that easy, and when you want to get out, well as the say goes "there is no unsubscribe". Smiling

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I agree with JB. THough I never had to deal with children in the B & B. I have been on it from the other side as a guest at a B & B with Kids in residence. Not a good thing unless you have a property where you are totally separate from guests, ie: cottages or personal home on or near the property. It just doesn't work. And some I know who have tried it....sold after a year. Sorry. 

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Georgina,

In my search for a B&B (starting in 2006), I was looking for 3 things - affordable real estate; good tourism to support my endeavor and good schools. What I found most interesting was that often the last two criteria were mutually exclusive - the good tourism places had not so great public schools and those with good public schools didn't have the tourists. I used a website called schoolsmatter.com to research the schools. I found the best of all 3 here in Lancaster.

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Lynne
Queen of Everything!

 

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Lynne,

That is pretty much what we are looking for, too.  Thanks for the website.  I looked at a couple, but gave up when one listed the Hawaii school system as one of the top ten in the country.  I mean, it has been ten years since I was in school there, but if that is the best we have got, we are all doomed =)

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Sachi - have you considered Lancaster County, PA? There are many for sale here and a lot of tourism (11million+ per year). Do you have kids in school?

Call or e-mail me any time. I'm happy to help. We moved to Lancaster from NOVA. Don't miss that commute or traffic, either! I do miss Wegman's and Whole Foods, though. However, there are enough farmers' markets around to more than make up for it.

For funding, contact Rick Newman at InnFinancing.com. He's the guy who knows who has $$ to lend. I also know several of the regional hospitality agents/brokers/consultants, too. They're very busy this time of year, so maybe that's why you're having trouble getting a return call. 

Do attend an 'aspiring' innkeepers' conference. They are usually not state-specific.

Best of luck to you

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Hello Lynne!

At this point we are looking pretty much everywhere since we are on a tight budget. I have a three year old and seven month old, so the older one will just be starting school when we move. My sister is in PA also but we are hoping to go a little warmer. Thank you for the response and the advice.

Georgina

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You need to keep your kids in mind for this life style. This is not an easy life style for young kids.Trust me I know, I have two also. Kids can't be kids and live in a Bed and Breakfast. We finally realized this and bought the house across from our Bed and Breakfast. They needed a place to run and play and enjoy their childhood and not bother the paying guests. Guests leave their crazy life behind for weekends to get away from their kids. The last thing they want to hear are kids. Something to really think about when choosing a property. You might want to go with cabins or cottages style B & B's
good luck!

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Hillbilly

 

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also it depends on what kind of work you do ie my neighbour with 5 bed B&B is also an accountant - she can do this from home on a flexible basis and the extra money she earns means she can employ a chamber maid and not be cleaning toilets every day ie accounting hour £40 an hour - chamber maid £6 an hour - do 8 hours a week and its much more than you would pay a chamber maid!

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04/21/2013

Thanks for the response. I do make artisan chocolates and wedding cakes so would be able to do that from home like I do now.

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@Madeleine: Primarily it is email contact.  They love to send out the bulk emails with listings, but then trying to get specific info on anything is much harder. We have been using bedandbreakfast.com, bbonline.com and bedandbreakfastforsale.com to try and find listings on our own, but it is hard to tell what is active, and again, can't get any info beyond the MLS.  I will look into finding a broker instead.  I do intend to keep working during at least the first year of operation to support the business and us, so is one year still necessary?  My income should be enough to fully cover the mortgage/loan, with possibly a little left over. I know more is better, but we don't have a ton of cash on hand and I don't want to get caught in the cycle of waiting to have enough.  We are looking at taking classes, I just want to know that whoever we take the class from is legit, so we aren't handing money over to be told "it's hard" or, even worse, "it's sunshine and you'll be a millionaire"

@Joey: Thanks for the info, I had not thought of that.

@EmptyNest: yes, doing lots of reading through the archives.  We do have money for a down payment, just trying to figure out how much we realistically need over that (aside from a lot).  Thanks for the tip of the seminar.  That is not too far from us.  We are not sure where we will end up, and definitely do not want to stay in NOVA (hate the 2 hours commute each way) but have seen some nicer areas south of us, so would a state run seminar still be beneficial or do they tend to be very state specific?  Either way, we will probably go since we just need to start already. 

Thanks for all the feedback.  I'm sure these questions have been asked a million times on this forum, but I'm a bit overwhelmed just figuring out where to start. 

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The VA Aspiring Class does focus somewhat on the laws etc in VA, but it would be helpful to you  no matter where you finally choose. You would have information upon which to base your search. And yes it is a LEGIT class. You can also take Legit classes when PAII holds its conferences...done for this year..and the MidAtlantic Conference was just held near Baltimore...too bad that would have been a good one for you to attend.

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09/29/2011

Working while owning an inn- excellent idea on paper. Have you sketched it out in operation?

You go off to work for 8-10 hours while partner does all the innkeeping. You maybe have to travel for work or would like to go on vacation. How does that gibe with partner's schedule? Do you want to do all the inn stuff on your 'days off' and when you come home at night? Does your partner wish he HAD a 'day off'? How do you resolve these things?

If your job can pay the mortgage you may be able to get a residential loan rather than a commercial one. Will your job cover everything, tho? (Mortgage is probably the biggest expense so good that it's covered.)

After your first year you're still not where you need to be to have the biz cover all your expenses, what happens then? Are you grouchy you have to keep job? Is partner sick of doing everything on his own?

With 6-8 rooms partner is going to need help. Can you afford to hire someone to clean rooms and do laundry and take care of the maintenance?

(There are 2 of us here and we can be really swamped if our housekeeper calls out sick. We might have planned to 'do something' that day and now we're in the trenches cleaning.)

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Yes, I know it will be very difficult (we also have two small children). Fortunately we have both spent most of our lives working in restaurants so we are masochistic workaholics Smiling I appreciate the questions as it does give us something to talk about and get settled beforehand. We have talked about needing to hire help, a mother's helper at bare minimum. My salary likely will not cover more than the mortgage unless we get a great deal.

The main thing for us is that, regardless of whether we buy a b&b or not, we will be working 60-80 hour weeks on the good weeks. At least this way we are close to our kids and can see the throughout the day while working. As it is now, I only work 44hrs a week but there are many days they are asleep when I leave and asleep when I come home. In spite of the hours and hard work, I think this will be a better life for us.

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05/30/2008

Welcome to the forum!

Large inn here with an up & running restaurant (breakfast & lunch) did a lease to purchase option with a couple who had two small children.  He had a full-time plus job, too.  They had plenty of staff for the biz and help with the children.  They were gung ho, worked with an inn consultant, made some improvements.  They didn't last a year, lost a bunch of money, and ended up divorced. 

My own story - we had a 5 room start-up inn, I had some part-time help, my husband had a full-time plus job outside of the biz.  We became #1 on TripAdvisor over the very established inns and occupancy was growing by leaps and bounds.  I worked waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too hard.  We lasted 2 years before I decided my health and marriage were more important. 

This is not to discourage you, but it happens!

My advice is to solidify your business plan and discuss what might happen if you fall short or exceed your goals.  What do your really want to get out of having this type of business?  Hospitality is a bit different than restaurants because it truly is 24/7; having a restaurant as well just makes it two different things in one.

There are plenty of B&Bs/inns that do well by remaining a bit smaller but do small events.  There's a big plus to the quality of life aspect of innkeeping if you keep all your goals in mind.

Best of luck!

 

 

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I wish you well. I worked graveyard shift top raise mine with my cockamamie ideas so I understand your reasoning.  You will also have your "staff" in training. Just take the time to let them help until they learn it. Kids love to help - it makes them feel important. Running a vac is easy enough for a little one. We had a tank vac and the youngest was proud to do the living room at 3. By 6 he was "folding" towels. And I did not refold - he eventually got good at it. A redo makes them feel inadequate - practice makes perfect.

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Sachi allow me to give you this bit of innfo. On directory listings - for sale - we have to pay for this listing for 6 months - so in 6 months, if we do not renew, then the listing is taken down. So stick to the main listing sites and you will see what is current or not. The other one I would recommend if BnBfinder - link here.

Oddly enough you may see some go BACK ON THE MARKET. Why? Were they dawgs? No, the innkeepers did not do their homework and bought the inn and couldn't handle the work load, weren't cut out for it, or tried to do too much too soon and ran out of money, etc etc. So don't be shy about that, there is a turn around.

Innshopper is a free website, pay for more features on the listing, if you have not seen it yet. Newly listed will show up on the homepage.

http://bedandbreakfastforsale.com/ can send you an email every time a new for sale listing it added. It is also the most expensive for sale directory, and sucks. It has the worst listing and least amount of info. If they find this comment from me, then they already know. If you don't pay for the super duper delux listing then you are an idiot, apparently. $600 for a 6 month featured listing. $330 for the next one down (for 6 months).

May I ask you this?

Start a new thread here: Wanted to buy and list in a bullet format or numbered list what you are looking for. You may be surprised that there may be some here who are not listed for sale, but are considering it. Or were for sale, but due to economy pulled the for sale listing back down. 

You can make it a WISH LIST and/or a REQUIRED list. 

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Happy hunting!

We took over a year to find the property that met our needs. We looked in 5 different states.

6 months' operating capital is a little short. A year is better.

Are you leaving voicemail for realtors who are not getting back to you or are you actually speaking with someone who then ignores you?

You don't want a realtor anyway, you want a business broker. Realtors generally know houses and nothing about inns and businesses. You want someone who can point you to banks that will finance you. You want someone who knows the general business climate and what's opening and closing in the area. ie- is this a viable area for your plans.

In VA you can contact the VA B&B Assoc for info on classes. You really should take a class. You will get so many answers for the questions you have.

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Welcome to the forum. Great questions and so many variables for answers. There are two B&B Brokers who specifically deal with Inn in Virginia. I am sure you have come across them in your google searches.

When you are for sale you have EVERY broker and realtor trying to sell on your behalf, and most do not get the whole B&B thing, so many sell for sale by owner for that reason.

You will need a cushion, and in fact the bank may require that. When we bought this inn we discovered the owners took all the rugs with them, and had mostly hard wood floors we needed to cover, and fast. It was not cheap. Just one example.

Another is the prev owners let ALL online marketing, ALL prof associations, business licenses, anything renewable LAPSE. So this meant, here is your key - open a closet and find all these renewables overdue or you can't operate (I am mentioning this as it needs to be certainty when you purchase that EVERYTHING is kept up to date as the owners may have short-timers disease!) As one member of this forum can attest, as she was the president of our state association then and I called to beg to be allowed payment plans, or credit card use for renewal, everything was expired!

Since then, I have weeded out what we do not need for our marketing, but at that time, stepping over the threshold I had no clue, so needed to maintain what was already on the list.

All the best in Northern Virginia! 

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05/22/2008

Please read read read everything here we have posted in the past. Lots of postings to aspirings. There are lots of B & B's for sale out there. Some listed here as well. If you don't have a money for down payment....forget it. No one will give you financing for a B & B these days. DO attend an aspiring workshop. The Virginia association is having one in June. check this site for details: www.innvirginia.com

There is lots you may not have considered.

Good luck.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

He underestimated the cushion - at least a year. Please read earlier topics on this subject. It really has ben discussed here many. many times. Read and then come ask questions.

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