4 Items to Consider Before Buying a Bed & Breakfast

Article updated November 15, 2019.

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a guest home, you should consider the advantages of buying an existing inn. Aside from inheriting a revenue stream from already-booked guests, you’ll also have a better understanding of the business’ cash flow and operating costs. Plus, in many cases, you’ll have very little remodeling work ahead.

In 2019, the B&B industry generated $3 billion within the U.S. alone, rising 4.4% since 2014. As travelers continue seeking unique and authentic experiences, now may be the perfect time to invest in a guesthouse accommodation. Here are four important considerations you need to make before buying a bed and breakfast.

What to Consider Before Buying a Bed and Breakfast

Before browsing bed and breakfasts for sale, aspiring innkeepers will want to consider the following four components to determine if hospitality is a good fit for them!

Setting Financial Expectations

Bed and breakfasts are just one small sector apart of the much larger, more competitive market of travel accommodations. Even in less populated regions, bed and breakfasts still must compete with other B&Bs, massive hotel chains, boutique hotels, motels, hostels, homestays, campgrounds, and more. In addition to competing within a mass market, B&B owners also must deal with fluctuating peak seasons.

While many innkeepers believe offering cheap rates will earn them more business, charging too less is just as bad as aiming too high. In fact, the average daily rate of a room for B&B’s across the world is $150. If you gauge much lower than this, travelers may perceive your property is of a lesser value. You can predetermine your rates by considering what other similar accommodations charge in your specified area. Accommodations you may consider include:

  • The type of guest rooms and beds offered;
  • Private or shared bathrooms; and
  • Any special services or amenities.

Given these considerations, be sure to set realistic financial goals and expectations for your business. To determine the amount of revenue you’ll need to generate, consider the lifestyle you envision having.

front door of bed and breakfast

Understanding Your Ideal Bed & Breakfast

As with any business, you’ll want to decide on the specifics of your B&B- i.e., what factors make you unique? How do you envision your company and its operations? You’ll want to consider factors such as size, decor, seasonality, the type of guests you’re hoping to attract, and more.

This is where having clear financial expectations comes in handy. Be sure to have a sense of how much you’ll earn through your business to determine the investments you can afford to make. While making improvements is great, keep in mind the risk of getting in over your head with a hefty mortgage payment if what you’re ultimately offering isn’t profitable enough.

Narrowing Down Location

Determining the right location is imperative to not only your happiness but also your business’ success. Whether you’re looking for a metropolis or countryside option, you’ll need to consider your location thoroughly based on the vision you created above.

If you’re struggling to determine where you should call home (and work), you should consider what attractions, events, and activities an area offers. Think of the demographic who comes to town for that entertainment. Compare this person to your ideal guest. Are they similar?

For example, if you’re looking to target families with younger children, spring break destinations may not be the best match. On the other hand, if you’re looking to attract young adults, you probably wouldn’t find your ideal business in a rural area.

Working With a Business Broker

Buying a house or a business is difficult alone, but finding real estate that will serve as both is a more complicated task. Luckily, there are plenty of business intermediaries who specialize in bed and breakfast inn sales. A trained professional will be able to offer guidance and assistance with everything from finding B&B sellers and setting financial expectations to drafting contracts and facilitating the transaction. While you can certainly face the buying process alone, dealing with a certified business broker often results in a smoother, stress-free sale.

The hospitality industry is calling! If you’re interested in buying a bed and breakfast business, let the knowledgable team at Sunbelt Business Brokers assist you in the buying process. Begin your search for the perfect B&B business to purchase by locating your nearest Sunbelt office.

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