Quantcast

Finding the right location

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

newinnlove

Active member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
0
Hi everyone,
my companion and I are planning to run a B&B. Looking in VT, NH, and ME. We want the typical New England town. Not opposed to a city, but find the prices of B&B's is significantly higher there and we definitely want one that is all ready operating. Any suggestions about a location that should do well? I read that some NH areas have an excess of B&B's so that the competition is very tough. Also, I know everyone's finances are different and I don't plan on getting rich, but how big a B&B is needed to support itself? Thank you in advance for any advice.

Paula
 

EmptyNest

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
8,741
Reaction score
1
Read some of the past posts. I think we have discussed before. If you want to "make a living" you will need at least 5 guest rooms in a GREAT location to have high occupancy...more if you really want to make some money. But then you will need to hire help. READ READ READ and attend an aspiring workshop BEFORE you do anything. And, take off the "rose colored glasses." You will also need $$$ ...no one is going to finance you without at least a 20% down payment.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,272
Reaction score
134
Have you looked at anything yet? Where would you like to live? ie- near what amenities? Do you need schools? All of that plays into it. If you have a big downpayment and a good location you can get by with fewer rooms. Seriously, tho? 7 minimum if your mortgage is high.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,272
Reaction score
134
We looked in NH and I have noticed that the places we looked at 5 years ago haven't raised their rates. So, I would agree that there may be a glut of lodging in certain areas. That's why it's good to figure out where you might want to live, so you can be happy with your location even if things get tough.
 

newinnlove

Active member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
0
Thanks Catlady and Bree for the feedback. I have been reading posts here for a while and there is lots of good info. What a nice bunch of people! Here is what I'm thinking. I hope to finance 50% at most so I hope that takes some of the financial pressure off, but it will be necessary for the inn to at least support itself before too long. Schools are not an issue since my kids are grown. Its important to me to be in an area with beautiful landscape and preferably near water. I think as long as I find a friendly community with some culture, and a larger city within an hour, my personal needs will be met. I love Woodstock, VT as an example. I also love the Maine coast, but would think there would only be about a 5 month season and I'm not sure it would then be able to support itself.
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,518
Reaction score
78
Thanks Catlady and Bree for the feedback. I have been reading posts here for a while and there is lots of good info. What a nice bunch of people! Here is what I'm thinking. I hope to finance 50% at most so I hope that takes some of the financial pressure off, but it will be necessary for the inn to at least support itself before too long. Schools are not an issue since my kids are grown. Its important to me to be in an area with beautiful landscape and preferably near water. I think as long as I find a friendly community with some culture, and a larger city within an hour, my personal needs will be met. I love Woodstock, VT as an example. I also love the Maine coast, but would think there would only be about a 5 month season and I'm not sure it would then be able to support itself..
Very few places will have a 12 month season. Living where you want to be should be the most important item on the agenda. This is where the rules you live under will be made and this is where your church, friends (assuming you will make some) will be, this is where you will be stuck year round so it had best be where you really want to be.
Summers in the mountains of West Virginia are wonderful in summer but unless you love snow and skiing it is NOT a fun place to be in winter.
Unless you market the heck out of it, there is no place that is going to support itself. So find a place you love to be and figure out how to market it to be THE place to go and you will have it made! (If it is a turnkey - is it for sale because they did not market well or is it for sale because they did too good a job and got tired?)
 

swirt

Forum founder. Former Owner.
Joined
May 17, 2008
Messages
3,210
Reaction score
0
HI Newinnlove,
Welcome to Innspiring. I'm afraid I don't know those locations well enough to help you with that question. Finances vary wildly, but I would say 4-5 rooms can replace one salary. If you and your companion would both be running the show, you may need a few more rooms. In many cases there is a question of scale. The fewer rooms you have the more you have to run "full out" which leads to burn out. The more rooms you have, the higher the cost of buying the business and the more work so you have to hire help. Sadly there are no easy answers to the question of size.
 

muirford

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
2,489
Reaction score
6
Thanks Catlady and Bree for the feedback. I have been reading posts here for a while and there is lots of good info. What a nice bunch of people! Here is what I'm thinking. I hope to finance 50% at most so I hope that takes some of the financial pressure off, but it will be necessary for the inn to at least support itself before too long. Schools are not an issue since my kids are grown. Its important to me to be in an area with beautiful landscape and preferably near water. I think as long as I find a friendly community with some culture, and a larger city within an hour, my personal needs will be met. I love Woodstock, VT as an example. I also love the Maine coast, but would think there would only be about a 5 month season and I'm not sure it would then be able to support itself..
I have lived in New England but we never seriously considered any B&Bs in that area, so I'm not very familiar with the market up there. It is competitive and somewhat seasonal, although I think some areas near skiing have made themselves a more year-round market.
You need to be realistic about what your finances will be and what kind of cash flow will work for you. It is not accurate to say that no B&B can make a living for you - we make a living from ours. I spend less on marketing than the 10% of gross revenue that many experts recommend.
We are about 75 miles from two major cities but in a small community with a lot of culture and attractions for tourism. We are further south than you are looking, and I would say that you need to be in the Virginia/North Carolina latitude to have a true year-round business easily available. We also run about 50% occupancy with six rooms and have housekeepers that work for us. Part-time, but when we are busy someone is in every day. You can make a living doing this but you won't get rich. Health insurance is a big caveat and many couples have one who works just to provide that benefit.
Good luck with your research and keep coming back with questions.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
3,893
Reaction score
0
Welcome!
A couple things to consider - we looked in NH and they do have a good winter ski season as well near the White Mountains, but the taxes were through the roof. With all their boasting about "Live free or die" the property taxes were preposterous. So make sure you look into that, as you will have a LARGE home as a B&B and also pay business taxes.
Do you want to live in ice and snow? That is a huge factor.
Do you want a typical tourist town? This is something I realized later that impacts my life every day, I am thankful to NOT be in a tourist town. I know this makes little sense to most, but the same same same all the time, cookie-cutter guests get old for me. Variety of guests is the spice of this innkeepers life. I can say I enjoy our guests so much more. (We did look at mostly touristy places in the beginning, due to higher occupancy). So I will add - it is not all about the money. Hard to say at times, but you will not get rich as an innkeeper. 50% down still gives you a hefty mortgage. So if you can pay your bills and maintain the building/grounds you are good to break even.
If I did this and picked a place to MAKE money I would be better off in a job I could leave at the office and have medical insurance. You can pour more and more into these old houses. There is always a long list of things needing to be done. So you won't have just the other 50% of the mortgage and some small overhead. Overhead is pretty large. Sure you can survive and put what you want into it. THis is what we all do. We have choices to make. The biggest benefit financially is writing off expenses. Typically one partner works outside the B&B. This would be a good poll question just from the forum members here.
The best thing to do - like most who wanted to buy a "turn-key" B&B is get out there and visit them. You can look at 50 for sale B&B's and not one would suit your needs.
Hope that helps a bit...
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
3,893
Reaction score
0
PS Wanted to add if you have to hire everything out to be done - not just speaking of housekeeping, but maintenance, you might as well toss money to the wind. Many buy B&B's and have no "weekend warrior/home handyman" experience and they pay through the nose for every little thing. I think this is big and most think they can overlook it and get buy just fine. Sure they can get by, but pay big bucks.
The other thing dreamy eyes aspiring innkeepers think is that they can survive with very little space for themselves. This space shrinks and shrinks, so I would encourage you to make sure whatever inn you look at has substanital innkeeper quarters that are private and inaccessable to guests.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,272
Reaction score
134
Thanks Catlady and Bree for the feedback. I have been reading posts here for a while and there is lots of good info. What a nice bunch of people! Here is what I'm thinking. I hope to finance 50% at most so I hope that takes some of the financial pressure off, but it will be necessary for the inn to at least support itself before too long. Schools are not an issue since my kids are grown. Its important to me to be in an area with beautiful landscape and preferably near water. I think as long as I find a friendly community with some culture, and a larger city within an hour, my personal needs will be met. I love Woodstock, VT as an example. I also love the Maine coast, but would think there would only be about a 5 month season and I'm not sure it would then be able to support itself..
We looked at a couple of places in Woodstock, VT! I think it's a nice town as well as a good tourist spot. So, good place to live as well as have good occ. Prices are high there, tho, $1m when we looked 5 years ago. But they definitely bring the tourists in there. You've got a good 10 months (with Nov & Apr generally being slow to the point of why bother) and other months being slow, but you can make some money.
Maine coast really depends on WHERE along the Maine coast you mean. Some of us are open year round, some very seasonally. So you need to look at the locations.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,272
Reaction score
134
Thanks Catlady and Bree for the feedback. I have been reading posts here for a while and there is lots of good info. What a nice bunch of people! Here is what I'm thinking. I hope to finance 50% at most so I hope that takes some of the financial pressure off, but it will be necessary for the inn to at least support itself before too long. Schools are not an issue since my kids are grown. Its important to me to be in an area with beautiful landscape and preferably near water. I think as long as I find a friendly community with some culture, and a larger city within an hour, my personal needs will be met. I love Woodstock, VT as an example. I also love the Maine coast, but would think there would only be about a 5 month season and I'm not sure it would then be able to support itself..
newinnlove said:
Thanks Catlady and Bree for the feedback. I have been reading posts here for a while and there is lots of good info. What a nice bunch of people! Here is what I'm thinking. I hope to finance 50% at most so I hope that takes some of the financial pressure off, but it will be necessary for the inn to at least support itself before too long. Schools are not an issue since my kids are grown. Its important to me to be in an area with beautiful landscape and preferably near water. I think as long as I find a friendly community with some culture, and a larger city within an hour, my personal needs will be met. I love Woodstock, VT as an example. I also love the Maine coast, but would think there would only be about a 5 month season and I'm not sure it would then be able to support itself.
Be very careful with your deposit that you do not leave yourself strapped for cash should business be slow for any reason. We bought based on the PO's 3-4 years of occ rates and found ourselves consistently running 10% behind, annually, which is a substantial difference. They were running 30% in off season months, we barely hit 10% and then we decided it wasn't worth it at all to be open in Jan, one of their better off season months.
Make sure you have enough operating capital in case NO ONE shows up for a year!
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,518
Reaction score
78
We have room in my town for another B & B. You would have the benefit of the lower cost f a start-up but the benefit of someone already doing the "bring them here" marketing. Come here and do a start-up and benefit from my alread paid for 12+ years of marketing. Think about it...
 

newinnlove

Active member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
0
Thanks gillumhouse for the offer. It is definitely tempting. I've been to W. VA and it is really pretty and it would be great to have an instant friend! I'm inclined to stay in New England though. I have two grown sons in MA and I'd like to see them at least once in a while!
12 years in the business. You must have a million stories!
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,518
Reaction score
78
Thanks gillumhouse for the offer. It is definitely tempting. I've been to W. VA and it is really pretty and it would be great to have an instant friend! I'm inclined to stay in New England though. I have two grown sons in MA and I'd like to see them at least once in a while!
12 years in the business. You must have a million stories!.
We get guests from Mass & it would give your kids sme place to go. We close out year 13 in July as we start our 14th year July 3. lots to see and do in the area too. As our City tag line says - Shinnston is: Easy to find, Hard to leave. We are just off the Interstate and once here, one does not want to leave.
Oh well. I keep trying.... I really want to see another one or two B & Bs in this town!! The area will support them too.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,272
Reaction score
134
Thanks gillumhouse for the offer. It is definitely tempting. I've been to W. VA and it is really pretty and it would be great to have an instant friend! I'm inclined to stay in New England though. I have two grown sons in MA and I'd like to see them at least once in a while!
12 years in the business. You must have a million stories!.
Do you have a broker? Have you looked online at bbonline for inns for sale in your target areas?
 

sandynn

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
As much as I love my bed and breakfast I will sell it at some point. It is turn key and if the right person comes along I could be sooner than later. Just give it some thought.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
3,893
Reaction score
0
As much as I love my bed and breakfast I will sell it at some point. It is turn key and if the right person comes along I could be sooner than later. Just give it some thought..
sandynn said:
As much as I love my bed and breakfast I will sell it at some point. It is turn key and if the right person comes along I could be sooner than later. Just give it some thought.
I think Swirt was thinking of an INN for SALE section on this forum at some point. Majority of innkeepers sell after a few years, it is what it is. Fun alot of the time, but guests in your home for years wears thin after a while. I think everyone should run an inn for at least 5 years! There are alot of benefits. I want to clear something up, just because we sell doesn't mean it was not worth it!
Think about it this way, as a strange example - think about babies? How soft and cuddly. Well they progress and each stage is unique in our lives. Same with a B&B. We don't want them to be a baby forever...we grow with the B&B. Then we finally become empty nesters.

 

agoodman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
818
Reaction score
0
I swear I had made a comment on this but can't see it so I will write it again - check out what permits you need, business, Food and Beverage, safety etc. Purchasing an existing B&B eans they will already have these. Nothing worse than buying a house and then finding your neigbors object to a B&B.
However if you do buy it as a house, you will be able to get residential financing ..... if you buy a B&B you will probably only get business financing (15-20 years if you are lucky). In addition, if its already a business, you will probably only get financing for the property and not for the "business value / goodwill" - these were some of the issue I ran into and my credit was really good (note I said "WAS really good LOL).
 
Top