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darc75

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I'm starting from scratch. My goal is to save & purchase my own b&b in the next 5 years. I know very little about to start this adventure but welcome any and all comments.
 

TheBeachHouse

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Welcome. Scratch is quite a beginning. There is lots of advice and wisdom on this page. Soak it up.
What part of the country are you in?
 

notAgrandma

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Welcome! A 5-year plan is a much wiser approach than what I did, buying a B&B when I saw it for sale without performing any research. This forum provides a lot of great info.
 

Highlands John

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Welcome and good luck, you might see many of us moaning on this forum, but I think the vast majority of us enjoy innkeeping most of the time.
My 1 tip would be if you buy an Inn at the end of the busy season you'll need enough money in the bank to not only make any changes you want to do but to live on until the following busy period.
 

JimBoone

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Welcome, a lot of good information can be found on this forum, many good friends also.
Highlands John make a good suggestion about the timing of your purchase, a year round view of the area you choose to locate a property might be an extension of that idea, also financing and when your payments fall due.
Looking back we did everything incorrectly, survived, but not the best way to begin a new life. Purchased an 8 room motel generally in our warm season vacation area, jumped in with no experience other than being a guest at other small motels in the area.
By the time the deal came together it was early December, we arrived after dark, cold, rain, two vehicles crammed with family and stuff to find not our reservations, but a business that seemed to have closed at the end of the October season, everything dirty, it seemed the operator just walked away and shut the door (not locked). We called to the realtor who said to make ourselves at home, which we did in the one room that "seemed" to have clean linen, but no heat or hot water, rocky beginning.
Several weeks in we had rented 4 or 5 room nights and began to wonder what we stepped into, then like a switch was turned on we did business for a week during the holidays, but then the switch was off again and we had weekend only guests for a couple of months. March arrived and we rented ten room nights for the entire month, the total equaled about half of the February power bill, lucky we were younger folks then and used to a simple life, fortunately financing was set up to make one payment at the end of the year to the original owner (not the person from whom we purchased the business) and by the end of the fall season were able to make the annual payment and somehow we managed to exist ourselves.
At this point a third of my life has passed and we still enjoy the business, but in truth we were just blessed that it worked out for us.
 

gillumhouse

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We bought a house for cash - and then put all we had left into fixing the upstairs for my aunt to live in it. When she moved out (no longer had to wait for her to croak to do what I really wanted), we redecorated a little, bought furniture & linens, and joined the State B & B Assoc. We found out about the Assoc 3 weeks BEFORE their annual conference and took that as a sign our plans were meant to be. (The norm for me would have been 3 weeks after)
We learned enough to delay opening by 3 months. The thing that saved us was that we had no mortgage. Siding and creating a bathroom and doing a reno on the original put us back into "owe our soul" category which I am in the process of getting out of. The book B & B For Dummies is a good starting point. Mary White is a credible author on the subject. It was written several years ago now so marketing has changed somewhat, but it is still good.
Save as much as possible and start out as debt free as possible.
 

Jcam

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pick somewhere with year round trade - sooo many people I know online have bought very seasonal places thinking 6 months on 6 months off - yup but you won't have any staff - cos they don't want 6 months on 6 months off. Also means your cash flow is steady all year round as well as mortgages have to be paid no matter what. Also pick somewhere you like or even love - you have to sell it to your customers - aint going to happen if you don't like it!
 

JimBoone

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pick somewhere with year round trade - sooo many people I know online have bought very seasonal places thinking 6 months on 6 months off - yup but you won't have any staff - cos they don't want 6 months on 6 months off. Also means your cash flow is steady all year round as well as mortgages have to be paid no matter what. Also pick somewhere you like or even love - you have to sell it to your customers - aint going to happen if you don't like it!.
Jcam makes good points
We have two seasons, maybe nine months of business with breaks in between those seasons, it hurt in the early years, now days as we are older those times give a break to us or a time for needed projects.
We've never had staff, not quite that busy and honestly I'd rather do the physical work than the stress of keeping up with employees and the resultant tax and bookkeeping requirements, most years I worked an outside job and Maxine did everything with me being the extra help. Old now and slow so daughter lives next door and helps the old folks. We don't desire to retire to something else so eventually our daughter will be the innkeeper.
Yes, love your area and what you do. I was never looking at this as a way to get rich, especially not quickly, our goal was to enjoy life. No, I wasn't rich to start with, just saying I wanted to eat, pay the bills and live simple, much depends on what an individual expects from the business.
 

Jcam

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pick somewhere with year round trade - sooo many people I know online have bought very seasonal places thinking 6 months on 6 months off - yup but you won't have any staff - cos they don't want 6 months on 6 months off. Also means your cash flow is steady all year round as well as mortgages have to be paid no matter what. Also pick somewhere you like or even love - you have to sell it to your customers - aint going to happen if you don't like it!.
Jcam makes good points
We have two seasons, maybe nine months of business with breaks in between those seasons, it hurt in the early years, now days as we are older those times give a break to us or a time for needed projects.
We've never had staff, not quite that busy and honestly I'd rather do the physical work than the stress of keeping up with employees and the resultant tax and bookkeeping requirements, most years I worked an outside job and Maxine did everything with me being the extra help. Old now and slow so daughter lives next door and helps the old folks. We don't desire to retire to something else so eventually our daughter will be the innkeeper.
Yes, love your area and what you do. I was never looking at this as a way to get rich, especially not quickly, our goal was to enjoy life. No, I wasn't rich to start with, just saying I wanted to eat, pay the bills and live simple, much depends on what an individual expects from the business.
.
Also I will always remember this story because its all about research - can't remember where I read it but that doesn't really matter - couple liked a particular town, saw there was always lots of tourists milling about there whenever they went there - thought this is a perfect for a B&B and bought - turns out all the tourists were day trippers, very little in this town to do for more than 1 day - were trying to sell within a year - make sure you have enough market to support you!
 

Morticia

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BTW, you're going to get as many opinions as there are innkeepers so weigh everything and keep it in the back of your mind as you search and save.
We wanted a place that was year round because we had no idea what we would do with months off. The place we chose was solidly 3 season with a little slow down in the winter.
Then 2 brand name hotels moved in. Then Amazon took over shopping. Then Airbnb came along. Then 2 more brand name hotels moved in.
We are now looking at a solid 2 seasons and 5 months of not so much biz. We are making about the same amount as we raised our rates. But you need to understand what drives the guests to stay in the area you want to be. And you need to really like living there.
And you need a plan B for when things don't go how you wanted them to - what additional services will the local regulations allow you to offer? Can you offer meals, meeting spaces, weddings?
My plan B is to retire and resume tango lessons with Gomez.
 

MidwestBB

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We have airBnB in the area but I can put a stop to most of that. We don't have any hotels real close so that helps. So far we've been averaging 2 - 3 bookings per month which isn't a lot. But this summer we're building a 5,000 square foot building for weddings and then building a winery after that, with all that happening we should be booked most weekends which is about all we want.
That's my way of saying that everyone's situation is different. What I think most everyone is saying is to look at the big picture and figure what your niche is and why someone would want to stay with you. Having a niche gives you a competitive advantage. There are no airBnB's or hotels offering what we offer our guests. Most of our guests are couples looking for an adult get-away. We don't allow kids.
 

gillumhouse

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pick somewhere with year round trade - sooo many people I know online have bought very seasonal places thinking 6 months on 6 months off - yup but you won't have any staff - cos they don't want 6 months on 6 months off. Also means your cash flow is steady all year round as well as mortgages have to be paid no matter what. Also pick somewhere you like or even love - you have to sell it to your customers - aint going to happen if you don't like it!.
Jcam makes good points
We have two seasons, maybe nine months of business with breaks in between those seasons, it hurt in the early years, now days as we are older those times give a break to us or a time for needed projects.
We've never had staff, not quite that busy and honestly I'd rather do the physical work than the stress of keeping up with employees and the resultant tax and bookkeeping requirements, most years I worked an outside job and Maxine did everything with me being the extra help. Old now and slow so daughter lives next door and helps the old folks. We don't desire to retire to something else so eventually our daughter will be the innkeeper.
Yes, love your area and what you do. I was never looking at this as a way to get rich, especially not quickly, our goal was to enjoy life. No, I wasn't rich to start with, just saying I wanted to eat, pay the bills and live simple, much depends on what an individual expects from the business.
.
Also I will always remember this story because its all about research - can't remember where I read it but that doesn't really matter - couple liked a particular town, saw there was always lots of tourists milling about there whenever they went there - thought this is a perfect for a B&B and bought - turns out all the tourists were day trippers, very little in this town to do for more than 1 day - were trying to sell within a year - make sure you have enough market to support you!
.
AMEN to this. I went where I wanted to live, then opened a B & B. All I ever asked of it was to have the house pay its expenses. For the most part, it has. When I sell, hope to be ready for the market in 2019, I plan to stay in town. It is where I belong.
 
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