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Selling your own products

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Country Girl

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Do any of you sell your own products, such as food or other homemade items to your guests and/or online? Do any of you have a gift shop at your B&B? We get lots of requests by guests who want to buy our granola and I'm thinking of packaging it and trying to sell it here and elsewhere. Have any of you done this? Was it worth it? I hate to make the initial financial investment if it turns out that the market is saturated with granola. Any suggestions on where I would look to get some answers? Thanks.
 

Proud Texan

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In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us.
 

MooseTrax

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Can you do this on the fly? Do you have enough granola on hand at any given moment to fulfill a request like that? Are you allowed to sell 'homemade' food products? Do you need any kind of state inspection for that? If you think you could keep enough product on hand without it going bad, I would invest in a few cellophane bags that would hold up to a pound of granola. Have some preprinted labels made up that either stick to the bag or that you could tie to a ribbon to go around the top of the bag. You'll need to include the ingredients and your contact info.
If you are getting enough requests that you're thinking about this, then do it if you can. You could sell it online on your website, too. If there is a local 'locally-made' gift shop, that's a place to expand to.
 

EmptyNest

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If you are making foods to sell, in VA, you must have a license to do so from the state ag dept and also a health permit from your local jurisdiction. Check with your local authorities. But..you may get more information than you want. Selling food can be a real hassle..food safety issues and all that kind of stuff.
 

Iris

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In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us..
Proud Texan said:
In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us.
The bookeeping hassles is why we don't have a giftshop either, although I have read once that the revenue from giftshops is enormous. Now don't ask me for numbers but they were high enough for me to raise one eyebrow.
I sell my cookies but everyone knows to write a check to me ;)
I would love to give the giftshop a try, when I have nothing at all to do, i will look into it.
 

Copperhead

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Selling food could mean a lot of special permits, health inspections and such. Check with your local agency on this. You may could 'get away' with it selling to just your guests.
Having a gift store is another can of worms, not because of profits though as some innkeepers make a killing off of their gift shop. As PT stated, bookkeeping is a pain with maintaining an inventory of your products, collecting and paying sales tax on these - just not for me, I want to K.I.S.S. here. Oh, another part in my state is property tax - each year a retail outlet must pay property tax on all items in their store, I do not want to pay any more tax than I already do.
 

swirt

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In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us..
Proud Texan said:
then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle...
Not that I am trying to persuade you, I don't sell anything extra either, but just for general sharing of tips. If you use a good guest management system, that part of the bookeeping from sales is taken care of pretty easilly.
I know both SuperInn or RezovationGT can do sales of items and configure it to charge whatever tax is needed for the item being sold. Then at tax payment time it takes only a few minutes to run a report that does all of the calculations for you. Of course they don't fill out the sales tax forms for you (that would be unbelievably cool - that suggestion probably just gave JohnB a migrane ;) ) but they do make it a lot more manageable.
 

Proud Texan

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In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us..
Proud Texan said:
then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle...
Not that I am trying to persuade you, I don't sell anything extra either, but just for general sharing of tips. If you use a good guest management system, that part of the bookeeping from sales is taken care of pretty easilly.
I know both SuperInn or RezovationGT can do sales of items and configure it to charge whatever tax is needed for the item being sold. Then at tax payment time it takes only a few minutes to run a report that does all of the calculations for you. Of course they don't fill out the sales tax forms for you (that would be unbelievably cool - that suggestion probably just gave JohnB a migrane ;) ) but they do make it a lot more manageable.
.
I'm on a Mac and use Quickbooks with Webervations. Not ideal, but it's what's available and affordable.
 

MooseTrax

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In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us..
Proud Texan said:
then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle...
Not that I am trying to persuade you, I don't sell anything extra either, but just for general sharing of tips. If you use a good guest management system, that part of the bookeeping from sales is taken care of pretty easilly.
I know both SuperInn or RezovationGT can do sales of items and configure it to charge whatever tax is needed for the item being sold. Then at tax payment time it takes only a few minutes to run a report that does all of the calculations for you. Of course they don't fill out the sales tax forms for you (that would be unbelievably cool - that suggestion probably just gave JohnB a migrane ;) ) but they do make it a lot more manageable.
.
swirt said:
Proud Texan said:
then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle...
Not that I am trying to persuade you, I don't sell anything extra either, but just for general sharing of tips. If you use a good guest management system, that part of the bookeeping from sales is taken care of pretty easilly.
I know both SuperInn or RezovationGT can do sales of items and configure it to charge whatever tax is needed for the item being sold. Then at tax payment time it takes only a few minutes to run a report that does all of the calculations for you. Of course they don't fill out the sales tax forms for you (that would be unbelievably cool - that suggestion probably just gave JohnB a migrane ;) ) but they do make it a lot more manageable.
And for this state there is one online form for all of the taxes- lodging & sales on one form. Fill in the form and the money comes out of the checking account on the date we select.
 

gillumhouse

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My gift shop is in my Hoosier cabinet. I have local jam, jelly, honey, apple butter, my T-shirts, polo shirts, lunch bags, and if requested can bag up fresh-roasted coffee. I just post the what & how much to an Excel spread sheet that adds tax and have the formula to calculate my B & O tax automatically. Pull up the spreadsheet, I have my totals.
 

JBloggs

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In Texas we pay a 6% Hotel Occupancy Tax when we rent a room. If we were to sell merchandise, then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle or the hassle of running a "sales" inventory. But that's just us..
Proud Texan said:
then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle...
Not that I am trying to persuade you, I don't sell anything extra either, but just for general sharing of tips. If you use a good guest management system, that part of the bookeeping from sales is taken care of pretty easilly.
I know both SuperInn or RezovationGT can do sales of items and configure it to charge whatever tax is needed for the item being sold. Then at tax payment time it takes only a few minutes to run a report that does all of the calculations for you. Of course they don't fill out the sales tax forms for you (that would be unbelievably cool - that suggestion probably just gave JohnB a migrane ;) ) but they do make it a lot more manageable.
.
swirt said:
Proud Texan said:
then we'd have to pay an additional 6.25% Sales Tax for those items. We quite frankly don't want the bookkeeping hassle...
Not that I am trying to persuade you, I don't sell anything extra either, but just for general sharing of tips. If you use a good guest management system, that part of the bookeeping from sales is taken care of pretty easilly.
I know both SuperInn or RezovationGT can do sales of items and configure it to charge whatever tax is needed for the item being sold. Then at tax payment time it takes only a few minutes to run a report that does all of the calculations for you. Of course they don't fill out the sales tax forms for you (that would be unbelievably cool - that suggestion probably just gave JohnB a migrane ;) ) but they do make it a lot more manageable.
POS is also included in Guestall. When I sell things it is itemized on the guests statement as well with the appropriate sales tax (not lodging tax).
 
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