Some people may consider becoming an innkeeper the ideal way of having the best of both worlds -- family and work -- but think again. If your family members aren't willing to give up or share some of their space with potential guests, you have a problem.
Working in any home-based business becomes a delicate balancing act between work and family. The pressures of business could get the best of you and cause some conflicts in the family. You must put a lot of thought into how your family and the business can function together. Consider these points and discuss as a family before reaching your final decision.
As a business, bed and breakfasts are dependent on their guests' schedules, and families must manage around them.
- How will this type of scheduling affect you and your family?
- Do you have young children that need your care and attention?
- Do you and family members have commitments or obligations which will interfere or conflict with guests' needs?
Period of Operation
Some businesses can pick and choose their hours of operation. Bed and breakfasts have some flexibility in this area, but if you want to build up your business, you have to be open.
- Can you schedule some time off in order to be with the family?
- How much will it hurt the business to shut down for that time?
- Will it coincide with the time your family has available?
Amount of Energy Required
Running a bed and breakfast is real work. Your guests expect clean rooms, delicious breakfasts, and service that goes above and beyond. You'll need to get up early, often go to bed late and -- at least in the beginning -- you'll have to do all of the housework, prepare the meals, and manage the business (such as bookkeeping).
- Will you be able to handle the tasks required by both your business and family?
- Do you have the energy level needed?
- Are others willing and able to help?
Use of Space
Your home will be your place of business. Are family members willing to give up some of their space for guests? Have family members take some time to fill out the worksheet below and then discuss it with them.
Friends and Neighbors
Zoning is a concern for some bed and breakfast locations, especially if you're starting a new one. You also need to consider the reaction of your neighbors.
- How will your business affect your neighborhood?
- Will neighbors accept and support a bed and breakfast?
Create a Family Use of Space Worksheet
Create a worksheet to find how each family member feels about sharing rooms in your home with guests.
In the left column, list each area and room of your home. Be thorough. Across the top row, list each family member.
Then, using the codes listed below, have each family member indicate how comfortable they are with guests' use of these rooms.
- A. Any Time
- B. Okay at Certain Times
- C. Only When Arranged
- D. Never
This series of worksheets and information was originally written by Eleanor Ames, a Certified Family Consumer Sciences professional and a faculty member at Ohio State University for 28 years. With her husband, she ran the Bluemont Bed and Breakfast in Luray, Virginia, until they retired from innkeeping. Many thanks to Eleanor for her gracious permission to reprint them here. Some content has been edited, and links to related features on this site have been added to Eleanor's original text.