Planning on opening a B&B – What you should know about a Bed & Breakfast business

Do you plan on opening a B&B as a hobby or as a business ?

  1. Legal requirements and needed preparations : Make sure you have all legal things in place:

Are you going to use the house to live in or do you want to purchase a house and make it a B&B?

Important is zoning. Talk to your township office to find out if the zoning allows you to run a Bed and Breakfast and how many rooms you are allowed to rent out.

Look for insurance. Does your house insurance offer a B&B insurance.

  • Credit card machine
  • Business bank account
  • Business HST number / business licence
  • Allowed parking spots (contact township office)
  • Website for your business

More to legal requirements in one of the other posts on our Canada BnB Network Blog. 

  1. Number and quality of rooms.How many rooms are you planing to rent out ?

Common is 2 to 3 but if you want to make serious money you would need between 4 to 6 bedrooms.

Rooms should include all thing you would wish to find when in a hotel room … and a bit more.

  • A good closet with coat-hanger
  • Besides a comfortable bed/mattress
  • Good bedside lighting and table
  • A desk to write on with good lighting – not only for business people
  • Comfortable seating area and nowadays TVs are expected in rooms
  • Great linen and pillows
  • Tissue box
  • Radio clock
  • Good quality towel sets
  • Bathrobes if guests have to step outside to go to their bathrooms
  • And don’t forget that standards require proper locks on the guest room doors


  1. Bathrooms. You also have to see that you have a private or en-suite bathroom for each room (See definition on the various kind of bathrooms offered on another post on our Canada BnB Network Blog)

Now-a-days guests expect their own bathroom. Guests are not really wild about sharing a bathroom.

So do you have the bathrooms or do you have the space and budget to get them installed ? Checklist for a guest bathroom :

  • Individually wrapped toilet paper roles
  • Soaps
  • Shampoo
  • Proper size mirror
  • Good lighting
  • Enough space / shelf to place private hygiene products
  • Glass ware


4. Common room, dining room and living room.

    • Comfortable seating for the number of guests you would accommodate when completely booked
    • TV in lounge or living room in case you do not provide TV’s in guest rooms
    • Good lighting and a reading area
    • Maybe a little library with books
    • DVD player and DVDs for guests
    • Also don’t forget to provide advertisement material for local business and points of interests so guests can inform themselves on where to go and what to do
    • For your dining room you have to make sure that you offer the capacity for all guests to be seated comfortably
    • Wifi throughout
  1. Kitchen
  • Your appliances should be in good working order
  • Do you have enough flatware and dishes ?
  • How about napkins are you planing on using cotton napkins or paper napkins?
  • Enough table cloths to change
  • A good coffee maker


  1. Colour and interior design


The over all appearance of your Bed and Breakfast should be clean, nice and tidy. We all have things we collect but know we should have let go a long time ago. NOW is the time to take it to the next best charity or thrift store.

Decide on a comfortable colour theme and try to be more on the natural side of things. There is nothing wrong with the splash of colour but try to keep it just to accessories. That way it will be way less work or money to change and update things when needed.


7. Cleaning tools and materials

You certainly are well aware that opening a B&B and going into the accommodation business means cleaning, cleaning, cleaning !!! Your best mattress or your most amazing breakfast will not be worth anything if your Bed and Breakfast house – bathrooms – bedrooms – kitchen is untidy and/or unclean.

Cleanliness is NUMBER 1 of the “most-wanted-list”.

Cleanliness is ranking on top of guests wish-list for a good accommodation.

* Lots of rags you will need them
* We use white vinegar, baking soda to clean
* Maybe some natural Lavender oil to get some settled fresh scent
* Spray bottle
* Microfiber rag for the spotless polishing touch
* Last but not least a VERY good vacuum cleaner (we have 3 on every level one)

So if you are more the type of person who takes a lets say “casual” approach to tidiness or cleanliness regarding your home you probably want to rethink your future business plans.

Since we are talking about your home – what are your plans on where you and your family will “live” ?

Yes , you have read my question absolutely right.

If you want to survive and run this business for a long long time you need private space. It is nice to sit down with guests for a little chat and a cup of coffee in the afternoon or for a glass of wine before retiring to your room. But are you sure you want to be under the eye of strangers in your home 24/7?

All the fellow accommodation owners I had the pleasure to talk to can support my experience of 13 years ……………… YOU NEED Privacy and so do your B&B guests. Opening a B&B is not an easy task.

So make sure your Bed and Breakfast house allows for private living quarters you and your family can use. It would even be better to have an entire perfectly self-contained apartment to yourself.

And not only you as innkeepers need time to yourself, your guests do too.


Opening a B&B

As nice as it is to get to know your guests make sure you sense when they are ready to be on their own. Some innkeepers miss the cue and it will reflect badly on your reputation. Do not intrude for your own pleasure. Make sure you get when a guest wants to get back to some privacy and time alone.

If you are well informed and well prepared this can be the best job you ever had the pleasure to have when opening a B&B. You can meet wonderful people but also could open your doors to less desirable characters.

This business venture can develop to be the most amazing adventure of your life – you just have to be prepared and step into it with an open mind.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions or to send us your own experiences! We would love to hear from you!

Shirley Lindemann

Abadin Bed and Breakfast