Imagine that wonderful smell of a cooked breakfast wafting out of the kitchen – greeting your guests as they come down the stairs and head off to the Breakfast room where they are then greeted by a typical cooked English breakfast of Sausages, Eggs, Bacon, Fried Tomatoes, Beans & a Fried slice, Tea or Coffee, Toast & Marmalade.
Aah.. The joys of running a good old traditional Bed & Breakfast.
I remember back in the early 80’s, getting my first house. It was a 3 bedroom terraced house in Edmonton, London. UK. There were 2 rooms downstairs, apart from the kitchen. One of these rooms made an ideal Breakfast room and the other one made an ideal Bedroom. This actually gave me 4 bedrooms, including my own.
At the time, money was very tight as I was trying to get another business off the ground. I really needed some extra income.
It was then that I decided to turn my house into a bed & breakfast, based on my very limited knowledge of actually running one, as I had indeed been staying in one for a few months prior to buying this house.
My previous landlady had a bunch of regular people who would mainly, work down in London for 5 days and go home to wherever they lived at the weekend. They would then return again on Monday. This was pretty good as far as my landlady was concerned, as her house was her own at the weekends.
My landlady’s name was Eileen, and she was a woman in her late 40’s, early 50’s. Her husband had passed away recently, and this for her was an ideal way of earning some extra money to pay the mortgage & bills. I had many an interesting conversation with various guests of hers over breakfast.
So, I decided to do the same. I advertised in the local news agent’s window and before long people were ringing me to have a look at the rooms.
Now I’m no domestic GODDESS.. I can tell you! – Mainly because I am a MAN. But even I can change a few sheets and cook a few eggs for breakfast. Eggs were often on the menu, as my limited cooking abilities amounted to basic Fry Ups, amongst other things such as Cornflakes, toast etc,etc..
Now, this is going back a bit now but I seem to remember that this fairly small amount of work required to run a B&B from home, netted me a lot more than my mortgage, and my other living expenses combined. Mainly because you can charge higher rates for Bed & Breakfast than say, having an ordinary lodger.
I would go out in the day, concentrating on my business and come home in the evening. The limited house contents I had, were always still right where I left them – and in the three years or so that I did this, I don’t think anything ever got stolen. Maybe the odd toilet roll or towel may have gone missing. But it was worth it for the money you can make from running your own B&B.
Now, I always like to mention any downside,to any tips that I mention. You possibly might get some people ringing up for a room late at night. It’s best to always advertise your mobile phone number, instead of your home number. You don’t really want strangers having your home number, and also with a mobile, it’s more convenient for you – plus, you can always switch off your mobile phone at night if you want to.
Having strangers in your house will involve some risk. With a lodger you may have more access to information about that person than with someone staying for a few nights B&B. However, I did ask each guest for a reference, or some form of identification. Of course people are not always who they say they are.
Overall, it was a fairly pleasant experience – your do get some really nice people who just want to have B&B for a few nights a week and are prepared to pay you good money for that facility. Do also check out your local council regulations as to where you stand with this business, and also as to how you stand with things such as the local council tax (UK), health & safety etc. If you are single person claiming 25% discount on UK Council tax, this may affect your entitlement.
You may of course just want to let one room. In the UK, just on the outskirts of London, 40-45 a night B&B is not unreasonable., obviously if someone is staying 3 or 4 days, give them a discount. Your job is to just basically provide breakfast & board, just change their bedding each night and clean their room.
You can also provide a TV for them in their room or let them share your lounge.
To be honest, I never got any problems. I charged people up front so they couldn’t skip off without paying. I kept my bedroom locked and I locked up the lounge/dining room when I wasn’t using it. Obviously don’t leave valuable around.
If a B&B is not for you. Why not just have a lodger?. Here in the UK, you are allowed to have a lodger paying up to 80 a week without paying any income tax on it. That’s 4000 a year tax free.