LivingTravelWrite a business plan for a bed and breakfast

Write a business plan for a bed and breakfast

A comprehensive business plan will help you prepare for the life of an innkeeper, in the hope that it will be a pleasant and profitable life.

Since everyone in your family will have to live with the decisions, everyone must participate in the decision making. The planning process will include a lot of research and study. Be realistic when evaluating what you can offer potential guests. Ask yourself what potential guests want and how you can match their wishes and yours.

Feel free to contact your local or state B&B organization for some advice. The International Innkeepers Professional Association also offers resources for aspiring innkeepers.

Plan outline

Consider each of the following points as they apply to your situation. You must first prove to yourself that running a B&B will be a valuable business for you and your family. Some elements of the plan will also be helpful if you need to borrow money for the business in the future.


  • Your bed and breakfast in your home and grounds: your character, period and / or style, location, facilities and activities both on the premises and within the community, seasonally or throughout the year.
  • Do you have enough time to operate a bed and breakfast?
  • Family members, skills, dispositions and interests related to B&B.
  • Capital available for the establishment of bed and breakfast and ongoing costs.


  • Why are you considering opening a B&B? Simply for financial needs?
  • What is your desired profit (net income) over a predetermined number of years?
  • Do your B&B goals blend in with family goals, both long and short term?
  • Modify and re-prioritize your goals after making your first decisions.


  • Learn what it takes to get licenses and permits in your location (local, county, and / or state): zoning, building and housing codes, health regulations, tax collection, etc.
  • Get an estimate of the cost of liability and other insurance.
  • What are the tax requirements (local, state, federal, etc.) that you must meet? It can be helpful to meet with a CPA or tax preparation specialist.
  • What type of business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other) will work best for you? A consultation with an attorney may be in order.

Market analysis

  • Take notes on the socioeconomic characteristics of your specific guests. Consider what you prefer and / or will likely attract.
  • Estimate the number and location of potential guests. How far will they go to stay at your inn? Does your area attract a lot of tourists?
  • Consider distances and routes to specific specific areas near your bed and breakfast.
  • Look at the anticipated trends in the socioeconomic status of your region.
  • Find out about trends in B&B guest preferences.

Competition / Comparisons

  • Study the quantity and quality of bed and breakfasts and similar attractions in your location.
  • How profitable are other local inns? What are the trends? You may not be able to get this information directly, but talk to the Chamber of Commerce to see if B & Bs in the area are stable businesses or seem to come and go.
  • Where do your competitors advertise?


  • Record keeping for tax purposes, as well as to give you lots of data to analyze as you work to improve your inn.
  • Start-up and maintenance costs (facilities, equipment, supplies and services).
  • Prices of accommodation and breakfast facilities and services.
  • Inventory and maintenance of amortization records.
  • Bed and Breakfast Standard Operating Procedures (with allowances).


  • Image construction: logo, stationery, signs, etc.
  • Sales strategy: uniqueness, quality, price, location, etc.
  • Promotion strategy: type of advertising, agencies and organizations.

Action plan

  • Priority bed and breakfast goals (most desired outcomes within six months to a year).
  • List the tasks required to achieve your goals. Set deadlines.
  • Evaluate the necessary resources: money, time, work, etc.
  • Prepare an action calendar (with task start dates and completion deadlines).

Additional Resources

  • Take a look at books on the topic of starting a small business, perhaps available from your state government.
  • Talk to your local chamber of commerce, visitor’s office, etc.
  • Contact any small business association in your location.

This article was originally written by Eleanor Ames.

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