Thursday, January 31, 2008

Running a Bed and Breakfast

If you are suited to running your own bed and breakfast, it can be a great way to have financial freedom and some time to relax during the week and to do hobbies that you love such as painting, restoration, cooking and gardening. I started up my B and B eight years ago in the lower Hudson Valley in the historic town of Warwick, NY. I was a Realtor for 17 years there and during that time found a handyman farmhouse perfect for opening a B+B. The only problem was it needed work before I could open the doors to customers, so I rolled up my sleeves every night after work and tackled a room at a time. For some of the heavy work I hired contractors but did most of the finishing work myself. As a realtor, I got to know most everyone in town. This was a great connection for me beacuse the people that knew me sent me business. I also had experience marketing myself from Real Estate Sales and used all those skills to get my place out there. Before I knew it I had repeat customers and many referrals and had to expand from 2 to 4 rooms. Now I am ready to expand to 6 rooms and will start a barn addition this March 2008. You must have great beds, good food and a clean establishment if you want to succeed. And most of all a smile when you greet them at the door or serve breakfast And if you don't want to wear yourself out you need to hire help to change the rooms and clean. I send my linens out to a service every week to save on wear and tear and utilites. This is how I prefer to do it so I can spend time doing photography, puttering in the garden and laying in the hammock on warm afternoons or socializing with the guests. I am very hands on however and don't overlook much with regards to details. All guests should be made to feel that they are the most important guests you have and should want for nothing. Over the years I have added every amenity possible to pamper my guests so they will not even consider staying somewhere else. And if they do they will come back to me next time. If you are thinking of opening a B+B and would like to comment please do so.