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The Reality of Starting a Bed and Breakfast

It's not all fun and games when you decide to become an innkeeper

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Teapot-shaped sign outside bed and breakfast.
David C Tomlinson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
This article was written by Sallie Clark, innkeeper at Holden House Bed and Breakfast Inn in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For aspiring innkeepers, the dream of owning and operating their own bed and breakfast inn is a primary focus. For innkeeper/consultants, helping that dream to become a reality is a profession.

Many innkeepers and former innkeepers have turned to consulting in an effort to increase research information and professional attitudes for would-be bed and breakfast operators. Inn consultants have created a profession within a profession. Many innkeepers have written books on the subject and the availability of information has increased tremendously in recent years.

For Welling and I, owning and operating Holden House Bed and Breakfast Inn, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has become the reality of a rewarding career combined with hard work and dedication. That's the reason we started teaching others and providing consulting services about the business side of innkeeping.

Many people wake up one day and think, "Let's open a bed and breakfast! It will be fun to entertain guests in our home. We cook and clean... we can do that!"

But many times they don't take into account the business side of innkeeping. While they have enjoyed staying at B&Bs and have experienced the relaxing side of the inn environment, they haven't seen the inside view of this people intensive industry, the mound of office paperwork, the constant interruptions during the day, and the piles of laundry waiting to be finished.

There are many issues to consider when deciding whether the B&B business is for you. The bed and breakfast industry is a very personal one... personal because innkeeper hosts spend a lot of time with their guests and must be very involved with every facet of daily business operations. This deserves careful consideration.

As our fellow innkeepers already know, the daily routine of an innkeeper combines early rising, cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, banking, bookkeeping, advertising and marketing, check-ins, reservations, management, and more!

Trading the office’s 8-hour, 5-day-a-week job for a bed and breakfast can seem like a great alternative, until the realization becomes a 7-day-a-week occupation with 12-18 hour workdays and an office you can't leave behind.

This feature continues with Sallie Clark's take on the good side of being an innkeeper.

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