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Does anyone here run a B&B? (or know someone who does?)

(12 Posts)
Meandacat Mon 03-Oct-16 12:59:01

For reasons I won’t go into here, I’ve become very disillusioned with my current field of work, and am thinking instead of running a B&B. I already live in an area which lends itself towards this and feel it could be workable if we can find the right property. But I do get that it is a change of lifestyle and not merely a change of job. To that end, I’d love some advice/insight into how it affects day-to-day life, especially if you are also a parent of young children.

I’ve been reading up and can find lots of advice on many of the more practical aspects of this, but I’m struggling to wrap my head around the effect it has on personal life and work/life balance. I totally get it is NOT a 9-5. But all I can find on what this actually means are odd and often conflicting snippets. I’ve read about people who have chosen it as they like the flexibility and it lets them work things around their life “like the school run” (quoted from a BBC article I read last week). But then others suggest it takes over your life, your time is not your own, you are chained to the house on any given day you have or are expecting guests and you “can’t even make an appointment for the dentist” (comment on a Tripadviser Q&A board).

So – what’s the truth? I’ve tried approaching a couple of B&B forums, but have been prevented from joining because I don’t already run a B&B. The moderator of one (when letting me know I couldn’t join), also said to me “you just make it fit for you.” Can anyone help? I would intend running this more or less on my own in terms of preparing breakfast and cleaning rooms. But my husband works from home (self-employed) and would be available to help with check-in/out. Are you really chained to the house? I would expect to be there at breakfast, to clean rooms, to greet guests and see them off, and possibly also to look in on any guests using the guest lounge in the evening to ensure everything is ok. This seems reasonable to me, and does not mean you are at guests’ beck and call every hour of every day. But maybe I am being naïve?

It IS a lifestyle change, so I would love some words of experience before I commit.

VioletBam Tue 04-Oct-16 00:28:56

My Aunt did this for some years and found it exhausting. For her it was constantly having strangers in her home that made her anxious. She also had children and would worry about who was near them...her guests were after all complete strangers.

The sometimes disgusting things left behind also upset her as well as the constant cooking and cleaning. She said it was like housework x 1000.

Meandacat Tue 04-Oct-16 08:48:56

Thanks VioletBam. The bit about having strangers in your house is certainly an issue, but we're hoping to find a property that will allow us to live relatively separately and have seen how this can be done. Having a guest bedrooms right next to our own is not what we have in mind. As for the cleaning - yes, I can see that. But I actually like housework. Which is why I'm thinking I may as well make it part of my living. And as for disgusting things and unpleasant guests - I know this is part and parcel. You are right - they are definitely things to bear in mind.

Still looking for advice on general work/life balance, though. Anyone?!

Meandacat Wed 05-Oct-16 08:59:50

Been reading that an occupancy rate of 30-40% is the norm. Sound right? (Still hoping some B&Bers will reply!!)

FiveGoMadInDorset Wed 05-Oct-16 09:01:32

We do and have young children, PM me and I can tell you how it works for us

NapQueen Wed 05-Oct-16 09:04:25

Can't offer any specific advice but would like to run my own B&B in the future too so watching with interest.

I work in a hotel currently and we have a lovely family come stay once every 6 months who themselves own a B&B. Our hotel is a couple of hours drive away and is their only real holiday due to the workload of the B&B. The dad is always online sorting stuff for their place even while away and his parents step in and mind the place while they are gone.

Could you Air B&B a room or two and see how that goes and reassess after a year?

I'd also scour the TripAdvisor pages of B&Bs local to you and see what people like and dislike.

Diamogs Wed 05-Oct-16 09:09:46

Ex-PIL owned one for 15 years, loved it and only gave it up when they retired.

They had separate ground floor living space for themselves that was inaccessible to guests, which gave them a layer of privacy.

The mornings were busy with breakfasts, then cleaning rooms and laundry but from lunchtime to about 4pm were pretty much their own to do as they pleased.

They had a mixture of guests as they were in Oxford so Uni visits / tourists / business people.

Meandacat Wed 05-Oct-16 10:22:55

FiveGoMad - have PMd you, ta!
NapQueen - thx, that's interesting. And your advice about checking out TripAdvisor is something I've already begun. smile
Diamogs - helpful, ta! Just wondering what kept them busy after 4pm? Was that when guests checked in? Or when others returned for the eve and they had to be in if guests were in?

venusandmars Mon 10-Oct-16 22:29:22

I don't run a B&B but I'm self employed in a business which deals with multiple customers. A LOT of my time is taken up with responding to phone calls, emails, bookings, replying to complicated enquiries, plus all the normal work of running a business - marketing, website management accounts etc. Some of it can be done at a time of your choosing but the most urgent and important things seem to happen all at once (and at the same time that your kids are sick / in a school concert / and your emergency childcare is in on holiday!

My friend with a B&B managed it well while her children were small but stopped when they started school - the demands of guests and the demands of family occurred at exactly the same time of day.

Pigeonpost Sat 05-Nov-16 20:17:30

Not quite the same scale but we rent out a room via Airbnb. It is very simple and user friendly. We live in a touristy area and total income for 2016 will be around the £8.5k mark. It works well for us because of the lay out of our house (good separation between guest area and the rest of our house) we have a key safe so don't have to be here to check guests in on arrival. The only bind is when we have consecutive one night stays as it gets a bit wearing doing changeover repeatedly. I also have to plan my day around bookings to make sure I have the time to do changeover. But because it's only one room it only takes 30 mins provided I keep on top of ironing the bedding!

museumum Sat 05-Nov-16 20:22:23

I think it depends how much you need the money. You can put up a "no vacancies" sign any time you need a day off but can you afford to miss the potential drop by custom? It's like any self employment I think - some people cannot say no, either due to anxiety or due to literally needing every possible penny to keep the wolves from the door.

ClarkL Thu 17-Nov-16 10:49:45

A friend of mine has a self contained apartment at the bottom of their garden they rent out. He is a builder so maintenance isnt an issue, and her role is running the apartment. For them they have people stay 3-4 nights, very rarely do people come for one night due to location. It's advertised as very rural and total isolation!!
I've helped out when she had an operation and cleaning took about 2 hours (longer if you consider washing bedding and towels) plus she loves baking so always has fresh cakes as a welcome.
She is in no way chained to the property, even on days someone checks out and another person in (it isn't always same day) she has plenty of time for the change over as check out is 11am and check in is 3pm. She always asks what time they hope to arrive and makes it clear she'll be there then, if it looks like it'll be a different time let her know so she can be there. Managing the customer and their expectations is very important as it makes your life easier.
Also whilst I think of it, the cakes thing was an accident! She made some one day, had extra so popped them in. The guests loved it so much they mentioned it on trip advisor and she was worried others would think she had forgotten, so now she always makes 4 cupcakes....I also happen to arrive on change over day for a coffee ;)

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