Opening your own bed and breakfast might seem like a walk in the park, but it’s not all pretty bedspreads and brunch celebrations. Yes, that is a wonderful aspect of running a B&B. However, there are other realities to consider as well. The first thing to think about is making a list of bed and breakfast maintenance issues. Attending to the matters on your property will go a long way in helping to make your bed and breakfast business successful. Here are a few important items to consider.
Take Care of Your Plumbing
Most bed and breakfasts are in old buildings on rural properties. When’s the last time you had your septic tank inspected and emptied? Not only can a lack of septic tank maintenance affect your land, it can affect your plumbing. And nobody wants to call an emergency plumber with 10 guests in the house. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure that your water pressure is strong and consistent, and that you’re providing enough hot and cold water for your guests. Nothing would be more aggravating for a guest than to try to step into a hot shower and have lukewarm trickle be all that is dripping from the shower head! So having a good, efficient plumbing system should be one of the top items on your bed and breakfast maintenance list.
Keep Your Kitchen Up to Snuff
The reality is that you’re going to be doing more than making coffee for your guests. In fact, even if you have help preparing meals and serving them, you’ll probably be cooking a lot more than you’re used to. Now is the time to look at your bed and breakfast maintenance to-do list and get that kitchen remodel project finished up. Take a good inventory of your appliances first. A large-capacity refrigerator/freezer is essential. You probably want to have an additional freezer in another part of your property, too, for extra storage. At least one microwave will be very handy, if not two. You may even consider providing a microwave in each guest room. For your oven, the double oven design allows for versatility and efficiency, and several burners would be ideal. In terms of appliances, you may want to invest in one or two multi-slice toasters, as well as a good, speedy blender; some of your guests may enjoy smoothies and it would be very nice to be able to accommodate that request.
Invest in Roofing Repairs
Residential renovations are a key part of making sure your bed and breakfast is safe and cozy for guests. Is it time for roof restoration? Contact a reputable, licensed roofing professional and have them conduct a complete and thorough examination of your property. This includes all of the shingles, the gutters, the downspouts, and the drainage area around the foundation of your property. All aspects of your roof need to be completely examined, because if water leaks into your home it can cause problems such as mold and mildew. These problems are very difficult to get rid of. So make sure the roof, gutters, and downspouts are all checked out to help prevent any future bed and breakfast maintenance problems. This goes for your chimney and fireplace, as well. If you have those features on your property, be sure the bricks have been inspected, that there is a working chimney cap, and that you have a chimney sweep clean your fireplace.
Take a Modern Approach to Decorating
When’s the last time your bed and breakfast got a new coat of paint? Both exterior and interior painting play a big role in how guests perceive your building.There’s a familiar phrase that states “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”—and that is definitely true. So you want your guests to love your bed and breakfast from the minute they first see it. This goes for your marketing and web photography, too. You want them to be excited about seeing your B&B when they finally visit in person. Once they walk in, you want them to feel comfortable, cozy, and at home…with a twist of fashion and panache! To do this, make sure you avoid clutter and keep the rooms bright and airy. Aim to have easy access to all the areas of the house, as well, so your B&B has a good flow. This will do a lot to help relax your guests and make them feel at ease. Big fluffy pillows, comfortable chairs, and nooks and crannies to read, daydream, or enjoy a cup of tea will go a long way making their stay enjoyable. And remember, beautiful decorating does not have to be a huge expense for your bed and breakfast maintenance budget, either. Keep your eyes open and have some fun! With a little imagination and some smart shopping, you will be able to give your B&B the look of a showplace at low bargain prices!
Put Love into Your Landscaping
The interior of your building might look great, but if your garden is a mess, it’s all over. That’s why it’s a great idea to call in a landscape designer to help you build a unique aesthetic on your property. You may want to take advantage of any views that you have on your property. Are you up on a hill? Do you overlook a lake or the sea? Are you near a nature reserve where you can enjoy wildlife? All these aspects can be highlighted with creative landscape design. In fact, it’s interesting: studies have shown that 51% of property owners with outdoor spaces that they are upgrading actually end up spending six hours or more there every week! The top three uses of the space are listed as entertaining, relaxing, and gardening. This would definitely happen with your B&B! There are so many possibilities. One innovative idea may be to set up a community garden, for instance. This way, when the weather is nice, guests would be able to participate in selecting flowers to decorate the B&B. Or, they could also assist in choosing vegetables to be used for salads and other menu items prepared at the B&B!
Keep Your B&B Clean
Cleanliness is everything for a good guest experience! Investing in deep cleaning services every once in a while can be a good idea. This will go a long way in reducing the allergens in the air. These allergens sometimes can make guests quite uncomfortable. Another factor to consider is making sure that the air in your ventilation system is as clean as possible. When you are drawing up your B&B business plan, be sure to include funds to finance investments in a state-of-the-art air conditioning and heating system. This should be a top item on your list of bed and breakfast maintenance to-dos. Nothing is more important than keeping your guests comfortable! Your heating and air conditioning services technicians should be able to come out and make sure your vents and HVAC unit are circulating clean air. Regularly scheduled filter changes, boiler inspections, and duct cleanings definitely need to be on your bed and breakfast maintenance list.
Turn Your Bathrooms into a Spa Experience!
You may have state-of-the-art plumbing in your B&B, but remember to include aesthetics also! Consider installing heat lamps and dimmer lighting in your bathrooms. And in your showers, a massaging rainfall shower head will definitely be appreciated by weary travelers. Of course, some of your guests will love to take a bubble bath, so you may want to provide bath pillows and candles to make that experience extra relaxing for them. And, if this concept is a bit beyond the scope of what you are able to do with your property, perhaps you would be able to partner with a local spa and offer reduced rates for your guests to visit there! Either way, you can definitely make sure that all of your guests have plenty of the fluffiest, most luxurious towels you can find!
Install Energy Efficient Doors and Windows
Running a B&B can generate a very high energy bill. One way to curb that is to make sure that your B&B maintenance plan includes budgeting enough to install energy-efficient doors and windows. This way, when you are trying to cool your property, the energy will stay where it belongs…instead of cooling off the yard! Likewise, if you are in an area where the weather gets cooler in the winter months, your heating bill will be kept under control because the insulation in your crawl space, around your pipes, and in your door and window openings will help reduce your energy costs. Another factor to consider may be to install solar panels. If you could incorporate this into your business plan, you may find that there are incentives offered to undertake the installation, which will definitely help reduce your energy costs in the long run.
Use Natural and Eco-Friendly Materials
If you will be doing any installation of floors, or even new doors, for instance, you may want to consider using eco-friendly materials. They are durable, beautiful, and on top of it all, they are good for the environment. These materials are available in a wide variety of pattern and color selections, so you will be able to create the design that specifically fits the look of your B&B.
Upgrade Your Outdoor Patio and Terrace
Your outdoor space is, essentially, another room! It provides plenty of living area for your guests. Your outdoor patio and terrace can be used during the day for sunbathing, relaxing, reading, enjoying the view, and more. It can also be used for enjoying meals outdoors. In the evening, a fire pit is a wonderful touch, as it draws people together and inspires conversation and congeniality. Even if your space is not overly large, try and make sure that your bed and breakfast maintenance list includes adding some fine finishing touches to this area, as it will be a pleasant spot for your guests to relax.
Repave Your Driveway and Parking Area
Here we have a twofold situation: First of all, there is a question of safety. For safety reasons, your driveway and parking area must be smooth and well-lit. This will hopefully prevent any falls or damage to vehicles, particularly at night time. You do not want any of your guests injured, of course! And secondly, there is a question of aesthetics. Creating a good presentation, where your approach is freshly repaved and parking areas are newly painted will create a great impression for your guests as they arrive. The last thing you want is for them to feel like they are on a safari, driving through uncharted territory to stay in a place that is dirty and filled with potholes!
Don’t Skimp on Your Security and Surveillance System
Most definitely, your bed and breakfast maintenance list will have to include a security and surveillance system. Make sure that you have allocated enough funding for this in your budget. You cannot be too careful with the safety of your guests! At the same time, you also want to do your best to protect your business from any liability, should an unfortunate instance occur.
Provide High-Speed Internet Service
Not everyone that enjoys a stay at your B&B is able to unplug completely and get off the grid. It is important to provide reliable Internet access for your guests. At the same time, you probably would be wise to have a printer available, too, and an area where Skyping or conferencing could be done in relative privacy.
Offer a Varied and Interesting Menu
It’s probably a good idea to invest in a chef for your meal preparation. This would be a professional who would be able to deliver consistent, high-quality menus for your guests to enjoy. With so much emphasis on food preparation these days, and so many different food allergies and types of diets that people are into (vegan, gluten free, kosher, diabetic, vegetarian, and more), it makes sense that part of your B&B business plan would be centered around dining selections. If an on-site chef is beyond the scope of your B&B, perhaps you could partner with local eateries to offer your guests a discount when they visit nearby restaurants and enjoy a meal!
As exciting, interesting, and life-changing as it will be to start your own B&B, it’s also important to have a bed and breakfast maintenance plan. Include long- and short-term items on your list. So many factors will influence your B&B business, as well as the decisions that you make while you’re while running it. Things such as your location, the economy in general, local zoning laws, licenses and regulations, and your budget—all these will come into play. But whatever size B&B you run, if you have a well-thought-out bed and breakfast maintenance list, and you stick to it, your B&B is sure to be an excellent getaway that your guests will remember forever!