Opening a Bed and Breakfast, The Paperwork Involved

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Is there more to operating a bed-and-breakfast and then putting a sign in front of my house?

How do I find out what forms and permits are required to open a bed-and-breakfast?

Today we’re going to continue looking at opening and operating a bed-and-breakfast, specifically, the paperwork.
To open and operate a bed & breakfast you need to take care of business issues first, before you go about the business of caring for your guests.

Wouldn't it be great if all you have to do to operate a bed-and-breakfast was to open the doors to weary travellers and invite them to enjoy your hospitality?

Unfortunately it is not that simple. There’s business that has to be taken care of before you can even consider inviting in your first guest.

A bed-and-breakfast is a business so making sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed is essential. You don’t want government officials knocking at your door while you’re serving oatmeal.

To ensure everything is done correctly, talk with and use your professionals, your accountant, lawyer, consultant, and/or broker as well as other bed-and-breakfast owners.

Make sure you have the accounts and paperwork you need before opening day and it is a good idea to mark any necessary renewal dates on your calendar.

Here is a checklist you can use as a guideline, but remember, its just as a guideline. Your location may require different or additional forms or permits.

• Business license
• Registered Business name
• Certificate of occupancy
• Conditional use and sign permits (if required)
• Account for transient / lodging taxes
• Sales tax account (seller’s permit)
• Federal and State / Provincial Tax ID
• Business checking credit accounts
• Merchant account (to process debit and credit cards)
• Health Department inspection
• Fire Department inspection
• Food service certification (if required)
• Insurance (business, liability, property, and liquor liability if applicable)
• Property management / reservation and accounting software (in a few weeks we will go into the importance of this type of software)
• Liquor license, if applicable

Now as I said, these are just guidelines and you will have to consult with your local professionals to make sure you do have all the proper forms and permits.

Sounds fun so far doesn't it?

Okay this is our first look at opening and operating a B&B.

Over the next few weeks will go into a little more detail.

If you have any interesting stories about the paperwork end of operating a bed-and-breakfast and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.

A pdf of each episode can be found in the show notes:

Let’s continue to work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.

Keystone HDC

Get started with your Free Copy of “Customer Service for Independent Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts” Studies

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