So you’ve always wanted to own a bed and breakfast…

Seems I get hear that a lot.

I didn’t always dream of having a bed and breakfast, but I did always have my own business of one kind or another, usually in direct marketing. I have always loved meeting new people and getting to know them. So years of direct sales parties and leadership were a good training ground. In 2010 we moved into a house with a 2nd story apartment. After having my youngest son live above me for 4 years, I knew two things…

  1. It was time for him to move out
  2.  I NEVER wanted to have a long-term tenant.

I had previously visited a couple of bed and breakfasts and knew my town needed one. I knew I was a decent cook, liked people and an early-ish riser, so I started making a plan. First thing I did was to contact our assistant city administrator and city inspector. I needed to know if what I wanted to do was allowed, codes, permits and cost. That was nerve-wracking! Good thing I wasn’t an “eggs all in one basket” kind of girl. They had no codes on the books and weren’t sure where to start. They told me they would go back to their office and look into it more and let me know. Well, they did…and it changed a few times, thank goodness, because the first things they came up with were wayyyyy beyond my price point. Luckily, I was a very small place, so I didn’t fall under the hotel codes. We were able to proceed with just a few modifications. Add wireless smoke detectors that “talk” to each other (aka they all go off at the same time) and a large deck with a 2nd escape. Then add on business insurance, membership to Nebraska Association of Bed and to Breakfast and Blair Area Chamber of Commerce Done. We opened Dec. 20…and I didn’t have my first guest until the end of February. (Hindsight: Get a great website going before you open, not a cheap one). Some of the things I learned that first year and a half…have a great plumber because people flush stupid stuff down the toilet… like a washcloth. Make sure your hot water pressure is good. We installed an additional hot water tank to balance the heat in the shower if other water got turned on. Have a great washer, dryer and dishwasher. I love tax write-offs!

As I said, I learned a lot the first year and a half. By then, I wanted to expand and we thought we might want to move outside of town, but nothing was available. Then a great house just 2 blocks down the street came up for sale… the husband was NOT impressed. But I saw the vision. If you have a vision, and a plan, move forward. I contacted the city again. This time, they said I needed to get permission (they call it approval) from our city planning commission and city council. This required a 30-day permit period during which the owners of homes all around the location were made aware of what was coming…presumably so they could complain. I soon found out that I have great neighbors! No one complained so we moved forward and have now been in our new location for 3.5 years.

No, running a bed and breakfast is not easy. You clean a LOT. You cook a LOT. Your weekend is usually Tues-Thursday…maybe. If you love people, love to entertain, don’t mind cleaning and laundry every day and have great neighbors, IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT! I love what I do and look forward to many more years doing it! Come visit us!

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