It is almost impossible to describe the typical person who operates a bed and breakfast.
They come from all walks of life, from professionals to workers. Artists, artisans, farmers, insurance agents, teachers, and anyone else you can think of have successfully opened and managed B & B. Singles, couples, and families have been involved.
Your reasons for opening a bed and breakfast? Just as varied.
Perhaps the children have grown up and moved and there are empty rooms in a big house. Some people just have more rooms than they need. Widowed or divorced people have opened B & B.
While they are run for a source of income, most people do not depend on them solely for their livelihood. Retired people from other professions, such as professionals or farmers, who have a separate primary source of income, often operate bed and breakfasts.
All successful bed and breakfasts have one thing in common: owners who like people!
They also like to entertain people in their homes. Many of these owners also have skills they want to use, such as cooking, to please their guests. Others may have historically significant homes that they want to share with others.
Anyone seriously thinking about opening a bed and breakfast has to be liked by people and able to deal with all kinds of people. This is a people’s business! You must also be willing to sacrifice a large part of your personal life as the guests will be living with you.
It takes many skills to run a successful bed and breakfast. Do you have what it takes?
Before spending a lot of time and money, use this self-assessment survey to help determine if you and your partner (if you have one) have the necessary skills.
Answer honestly by writing yes or no to each statement below. (Remember, this survey is for you; if you aren’t completely honest with your answers, it won’t do you any good!)
Complete the survey for both yourself and your partner. Get your partner to do the same. (So they both fill out the survey twice.)
Personal evaluation survey
- I like to get up early and prepare meals.
- I am very organized and manage my time well.
- I am motivated and I am an entrepreneur.
- I can multitask.
- I enjoy entertaining.
- I find it easy to get along with most people.
- I am tolerant and patient.
- I can handle conflict without alienation.
- I work well under pressure.
- I can work long hours and face a variety of interruptions.
- I learn from mistakes and make the necessary changes.
- I keep my house neat and clean at all times.
- I enjoy doing home maintenance.
- I’m glad.
- I enjoy interior decorating and remodeling.
- I enjoy gardening and landscaping.
- I have a regular income
- I communicate well on the phone.
- I write well and regularly.
- I am persistent
- I consider myself a risk taker.
- I have a high energy level.
- I enjoy serving others.
- I consider myself flexible.
- I have a good business sense.
- I can handle the final business of a B&B.
- I handle emergencies well.
Now identify, in writing, your strengths and weaknesses. If you plan to become an innkeeper, your strengths should outweigh your weaknesses and you must determine ways to compensate for weak areas.
This series of worksheets and information was originally written by Eleanor Ames, a Certified Family Consumer Science Professional and a 28-year Ohio State University faculty member. With her husband, she ran the Bluemont Bed and Breakfast in Luray, Virginia, until they retired from the inn. Many thanks to Eleanor for her kind permission to reprint them here. Some of the content has been edited and links to related features on this site have been added to Eleanor’s original text.