Advice Please!

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irisevelynn's picture
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10/26/2014

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to own a B&B type small inn/resort. I am 22 years old and I have associates degrees in Business Management, Marketing, and Language arts. I am working as an aupair in Germany through July 2015 but when I return I want to start working in the hospitality industry in the greater Oregon area.

My only experiance in hospitality is housekeeping, but I also have my little associates degrees, experiance traveling, and determination. I thought I could try to convince an owner to take me on as an intern, but I don't know anyone in the industry, and making cold calls to a bunch of unsuspecting innkeepers doesn't strike me as the best plan to accomplish that.

After I get some innitial experiance I want to work for a B&B type inn for a few years untill I have enough experiance, money, and relationships built up to start my own. I'm working on structuring this dream into a plan so it's still a little vague and filled with holes. (I'm calling it flexible)

Please, any advice on how a completely inexperienced, unconnected person can get their foot in the door? 

happykeeper's picture
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12/11/2008

I absolutely love hearing the different roads we have traveled to reach the inns we keep!

Our journey is similar and yet different. We built the inn from the ground up as an inn. We did it with little capital, cheap personal credit we have planned ahead to use, and sweat - during a time when money grew on trees.

We did it on an island that attracts a lot of tourism, but in an rural area where that market has to be cultivated.

This could be done in today's world, but it would be harder and require more time.

The advice others have given is all valid and there is time to heed all of it. Whatever you do, make sure you have a point in your early years where you make and save enough to acquire the land and build equity. Make sure you learn or partner with someone who has skills that are different from your own. Someone will need to know how to build if you are going to go for the whole enchilada. Oh my, I could write a book about it- but that my two cents.

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Tom
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Other comments here are good.  To underscore, acquiring a B&B is a large capital investment.  In general, a valuable location and a large enough property to generate real revenue will be also very expensive.  Your chances of making money with, or turning around, a cheap property are slim.

You are young and in Oregon - two great advantages for professional advancement.  Stick to larger urban areas (e.g. Portland) where you will have the broadest job opportunities and - most importantly - where you can build the broadest network of professional contacts.  There are people looking to invest in hospitality properties, and even if you don't have the money yourself, you may meet people who do and are looking for a manager who can earn to own a portion of equity.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I was one of those idiots who said after staying at her first B & B (with children in tow), "I can do that". I was gainfully employed in another field.  When I wanted to take a windjammer cruise taking the whole family, DH pointed out if I wanted to do that, I needed to get a second job. I had worked in the computer /billing dept of a major hotel chain for about a year and out of boredom (this was before family) had "helped" night audit at that hotel instead of going home (meaning on my own time).

When looking for a second job that would work with my full-time, I saw an ad for relief night audit. Those nights of helping night audit gave me the right buzz words and i got the job. THIS position however was not part of a team - I was IT. Front desk, manager on duty, reservations, posting charges, DEALING WITH GUESTS, etc. That helped - but I was still an idiot (my term). I still thought I can cook, I know how to do laundry, I can (shudder) clean, I knew I needed a web site (this was before web sites were common but I did know that much as insight).

I was fortunate enough to find out about my State Association (forgot to say, DH offered me my State as a reward for bringing up 2-legged animals and we bought a house to turn into a B & B). THAT helped me learn some of what I needed to become less of an idiot. I went to workshops, SCORE, conferences - learning and networking, both of which were essential. Social media sprouted. I learned - not easily, but I learned. Time and experience and being fortunate enough to meet the right people (my innmates among others) helped tremendously - and I learn every day.  Today I am still learning but not longer consider myself an idiot. I learned what it takes and determination is a big part. And BTW, I am not in a tourist destination, I had to create the destination by telling people what we had here - a lot.

So learn everything you can and save everything you can (stay out of debt so you have more to save) and if you have determination - you will have your B & B.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

Get a job in the industry and start looking for opportunities.   Larger hotels and restaurants are the easiest place to start.  

Once you have a positive cash flow, you can start looking for a better job, and then a better one until you find the opportunity to buy an inn.  

Start now.  You'll do it!   Best of luck.

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10/07/2008

Owning your own B&B means you have to buy a business and keep it running ($$). Working in hospitality will probably not earn enough to do that until you are old and grey.

But, everything you do now will benefit you later on.

I know there are innkeepers who disagree with me about waiting tables and working behind the scenes in various hospitality positions as being uber important for innkeeping. There are plenty who have location location location and people hand them money hand over fist. But, in the end it is hospitality and you should have training. You need more than "being a good cook" and wanting to have your own business. Business management is a great thing to learn. Social media marketing. There is much more to running a B&B.

Do whatever you do, keep your dream in mind. If it is a powerful pull for you then you can have that dream come true!

(Find a rich man, fall in love and open an inn) Smiling

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Contact the state's innkeeper association. Many times there are innkeepers willing to take on a trainee, either paid or not.

Look at turn key properties for sale. You won't get in the door without money so you'll have to look online for the time being. That gives you an idea of what kind of money you need to save to purchase a going concern.

If you think you'll buy a big house and convert then look at locations where inns are already operating profitably. You still get an idea of what you are looking at for deposits. Then you need to do a little research on building costs in the area.

The more experience you can bring to the bank when you go in for money, the easier your chances are.

You will be everything in your business venture so you need to be well rounded.

Check with your local chamber of commerce or other business organizations for free or reduced fee classes in anything related to business - employee law, website design, negotiation, etc. It all helps.

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

where I am its 40% deposit with a 7 bedroom B&b going for £550 - 600 thousand pounds

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seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

why not seek out positions in reception/reservations/hospitality or assistant innkeeper or something similar?  you would have to work hard and your $ compensation might be low, but you would learn a lot and it would help you see all that goes into inn operations.  with an associates degree in business management, you've got some skills that would be very valuable especially for a place with lots of rooms - management and marketing. i often see advertisements for positions as 'assistant innkeeper' that offer a lot of training.  remembering that all you learn is helpful - from housekeeping to cooking to guest relations.

good luck.

Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

I knew at about your age I wanted to do this, but first I had to do something else that would pay enough to save the cash to do it.  That took twenty-something more years, and wasn't in the hospitality industry, though I did do a fair amount of waiting tables and bar-tending in the early days. Those jobs taught me the nuts and bolts of customer service, pricing your product, designing your facility for ease of use and much more.   You might consider a professional hospitality career with an eye to gathering all the info and experience you can until you find the right niche and market for an enterprise the right size for you.  If this is truly your dream, you will make it happen.  When starting from zip, watch for and latch onto every opportunity you can.  And especially while you are young, ask for help and advice.  Few of us can resist passing on our hard-earned wisdom to a sincere young person. smiley

Periodically check out Craigslist for the North Oregon Coast (subset of Portland). One of the larger inns from time to time posts help wanted ads that might appeal to you.

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05/22/2008

Welcome.

We have discussed this many many times here. If you do a search you can find what has been said in the past. It will be the same now.

Unless and until you have money...don't even think about it.

Yes, get LOTS of experience. You are very young, get all the experience you can and then decide if it is something your REALLY want to do with your life.

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

or they inherit it

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

irisevelynn wrote:

...I want to work for a B&B type inn for a few years untill I have enough experiance, money, and relationships built up...

It's the money that concerns me. Most people who can afford to buy or start a B&B didn't get the money for it from working at a B&B! I think most worked many years in a higher paying career first.

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All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

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