3 basic things to decide on before you open a B&B
market will YOU NEED TO first decide what your
location. A scenic be, something often dictated by
to a luxury location can lend itself more readily
from about $160 experience and command prices
to offer an extra a night upwards. You may choose
of a experience like a spa pool, the convenience
food options. bedroom with en suite, or gourmet
THIS ISN’T ’T A WAY TO MAKE LOTS OF MONEY ONEY
Few people make lifestyle accommodation their primary source off income but many use it to supplement pplement an existing income, especially during retirement. The exception xception can be if you have more than two rooms and a great location i in or near a touristi area.
The most common reason for opening a B&B is because people want to share their lifestyle and home with interesting people from all over the world.
The Bed and Breakfast Association NZ (B&BANZ) strongly recommends you talk to a chartered accountant and IRD about the tax implications of running a B&B.
YOU MUST BE A PEOPLE PERSON
The key to making a B&B work is the social interaction, both for you and your guests. A lot of owners who enjoy this often find guests become friends and the same people will visit again and again.
However, if you don’t enjoy meeting new people, the intensity of having strangers in your home on a constant basis can be very stressful.
You may have guests who prefer privacy, so sensitivity is required on how much or how little interaction you have with them. It’s also important to have basic rules that outline your preferences, for example policies on smoking, pets and whether children can stay.
BREAKFAST IS A MUST, BUT BE CAREFUL WITH OTHER MEALS
It’s in the name, but the B&BANZ says if someone doesn’t want breakfast, you can reduce what you charge them. It requires members to offer a minimum of a continental breakfast inclu including: • a selection of cereals • fruit ( (fresh,fresh, st stewed or canned) • fruit juice ( (purepu only) • tea, coffee ( (ground,gr not instant unless the guest requests it), water, milk • toast and spreadsspre • yoghurt
A member memberm must specify what type of breakfast they offer and the chargemuscharge must be included in the quoted daily price. If you are offering a fu full breakfast which includes something cooked, it’s a good idea to ask your guests to choose from a menu the night before to make it easier for you in the morning.
Lunch and dinner are something you can offer as an added e extra, and it can be as fancy or as simple as you have theth time, ability and inclination to provide, but the B& B&BANZBAN warn that it can be very easy to lose money on the these meals so you need to carefully cost it out.
Foo Food can be an important marketing tool too: some guests may choose your establishment over others becau because you offer lunch and/or dinner, especially if you ar are far away from restaurants.
The ones that affect you will depend to a certain extent on your district council but the basics are: Fire regulations: check with the local fire safety officer; the B&BANZ also has its own requirements for smoke detectors and their location, fire exits, and evacuation. Building regulations: talk to your local council building inspector – the B&BANZ recommend doing this after you’ve spoken with a fire safety officer so you will already know of any possible building issues from their point of view. They’ll check the building, but also things such as effluent disposal, eg will your septic tank cope? Zoning and resource consents: talk to your district council’s consents officer. Food handling: you’ll need to check with your council’s Environmental Health Officer on Food Act requirements and if you need a licence for alcohol. Insurance: public liability, full fire and general cover, protections for guest belongings, and fully disclosing to your insurer that you are running a B&B.
THERE’S A LONG LIST OF LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
YOUR RATES MIGHT GO UP
If you make alterations to your property and, for example, increase the number of bedrooms in your home to accommodate paying guests, check with your council on whether your rates will be affected by a change in what the building is used for. It may be zoned ‘commercial’ or fall under other categories which will push your rates bill up, in some cases quite substantially.
YOUR GUESTS WILL EXPECT THEIR OWN BATHROOM
Depending on the type of home you have, it’s possible guests will be happy to share a bathroom (you should warn them in your advertising and when they book), but these days most expect to have an en suite or at least be right next door to their own bathroom.
YOU’LL NEED TO BE A VERY PICKY CLEANER
Keeping food and bathroom areas scrupulously clean means having a checklist and doing it often and thoroughly. Don’t keep reading material in a bathroom, always have plenty of toilet paper and cleaning products easily to hand (for you and guests), and check these rooms right before guests arrive. The Bed & Breakfast Association NZ is the society that represents B&B owners and operators nationwide. It provides information on a range of issues including health and safety, insurance, best practice guidelines, business support and training. It has a consultation manual available ($80 to non-members, free to members) compiled by experienced operators to help beginners with basic requirements.
WHO: Ian & Linda Weight WHAT: Westwind Homestay WHERE: Mangatarata, 90km south-east of Auckland
Mark and Kanani Thornton have opted for the cheaper end of the market. “There’s luxury accommodation in the area ranging from $300 to $600 a night so we recognised the need for something simple and affordable, especially with people coming through on the bike trail in the area,” says Kanani. “We charge $110 per night, less if people stay longer.”
The couple run a 6.6ha (14 acre) block. About 2ha is in bush, and they’ve planted another 6000 trees. “We thought we were going to lose them all because in the first summer we experienced drought but when the long grass died back in winter we discovered it had protected them. We still had our trees.” Kanani says she’d always wanted to live on the land, closer to nature, and to grow her own food but it was a jump into the deep end for them both.
“We decided to keep the building simple and chose macrocarpa as eco-friendly. All of our heating is solar, plus our woodstove for cooking. The house has a north-west aspect, with wool batt insulation and a poured concrete floor which keeps it lovely and warm in winter. We have a huge roof and three tanks for rainwater because I like being conscious of conservation.”
The original accommodation was a Versatile shed and a sleepout for wwoofers but in 2014, two lovely German guys came to stay.
“They converted our shed into accommodation which we call The Apartment, they’ve made a lovely job of it.”
The Apartment has a queen-sized bed plus a pull-out single bed, with a kitchenette so people can cook for themselves.
Kanani liked the idea of advertising through AIRB&B, a San Francisco-based organisation for travellers who want to engage with locals, with the additional benefit of not paying as much as they would for motel accommodation.
But most of their clients have come through Bookabach, particularly in the summer. Some of their visitors are keen to talk about the Thornton’s eco-friendly lifestyle or to gain information about the local area, but the apartment is removed from the main house so guests can enjoy their privacy if that is their preference.
Natalie Murdochch originally worked rked as a journalist t but quilting has been a hobby of hers for more than 23 years, including exhibiting and teaching all over New Zealand. Now she runs her own retreat for like-minded crafters and guests.
“Like most of us who have come to the countryside here, I was running away from Auckland.”
The property she chose was a disused church.
“The property was derelict for about 10 years, thenthe had two owners who weren’t able to complete their dreams. It l looked like an overgrown church car yard. It suited me because I wanted somewhere different but central. It’s on a crossroads and I could see the possibilities for a display gallery.
“My kids said ‘you’re mad Mum’ but I could see it. It’s located in a great catchment area, part-way between Tauranga, Rotorua, Hamilton and Auckland.”
Natalie designed the house to work as a retreat but also kept the future in mind, designing the space so it could be sold as a family home. For the first winter she lived in the church while the house was being built but now has a gorgeous home and a business space with resource consent which means items can be sold from the church.
“I love cooking and gardening as much as I love quilting. Most of the garden is for edible produce. Anything extra I process to feed my guests. I make strawberry and boysenberry jam from my own berries, I dehydrate kale to sprinkle on savoury dishes, and so on.”
The retreats are mainly craft retreats for up to eight people at a time but aren’t necessarily just quilting retreats. The most recent was for scrap-booking.
Natalie publicises mainly through wordof-mouth and through the Auckland Quilt Guild newsletter. Eight years on, she still loves it. “I will be here until I lose my enthusiasm and I have no idea when that will be. It’s such a peaceful and inspiring place to be.”