Before you open a bed and breakfast…

Here are nine tips for people whose dream is to open a bed and breakfast — starting with that reality-check photo up top because squeaky clean everything is the first thing innkeepers must deliver.

Number of guest rooms X number of bathrooms = welcome to the world of innkeeping.

Of course, B&B innkeeping life has many joys and benefits, but we’ll save that for another post.

If your goal is to someday open a bed and breakfast, save money, save time, and avoid failure by following these tips from savvy Michigan B&B innkeepers.

Former B&B owner Sandy Werner leads a session at MBBA’s 2018 one-day workshop for new and aspiring innkeepers.

An operations tip from an innkeeper at 10-room Kalamazoo House B&B: “There are so many moving parts to running an inn that good organization and well-defined tasks and checklists are essential. It may not be an airliner coming in for a landing with lives at stake, but it’s your reputation at stake with every room flip.”

What follows is a small sample of what aspiring innkeepers learn at Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association’s one-day workshop for both new and aspiring innkeepers. It’s typically held on the Sunday just before MBBA’s annual educational conference.

While you’re clicking, read more about each inn whose innkeeper is quoted. You’re sure to find a great #MichBnB for your next getaway.

Before you open a bed and breakfast, 8 more tips

... here are eight more considerations offered by Michigan B&B Association innkeepers.

Temperament: “It greatly helps to be possessed of a giving nature, truly enjoying all types of people.” Melanie Barnard, Candlelite Inn B&B, Ludington.

Marci Palajac, innkeeper, The House on the Hill B&B, Ellsworth.
Marci Palajac, innkeeper, The House on the Hill B&B, Ellsworth.

Motive: “Be sure you are getting into the bed and breakfast business for just that reason: a business. It is a mistake to open a B&B for the sake of people paying your mortgage. You really have to have a passion to want to open a bed and breakfast, or else you will burn out from the idea real quick.” Marci Palajac, House on the Hill B&B, Ellsworth

What’s your lane?: “Know your areas of expertise and weakness. You don’t have to do it all! Run with the things you’re competent at doing, and find help in the areas where you struggle.” Connie Loisch, Hexagon House B&B, Pentwater.

Search is king: “Don’t fall in love with a name for your B&B before securing the internet domain name and searching for the name on Google to see what other search results come up.” Nicholas DeGrazia, Adventure Inn B&B, near Port Huron.

Decor and function: “When creating spaces and designing rooms to be utilized by your guests, remember that you are creating a house for THEM. The appeal and function need to center around your guests and their various needs and wants.” Brenda Hawkins, Always a Holiday! B&B, East Tawas.

Income: “Sometimes innkeepers will need supplemental income to help make ends meet.” Bob Alderink, Ludington House B&B, Ludington.

The life: “B&Bs are a lot of hard work, but worth it overall. As I tell guests who ask, I make way less money for way more hours of work than at my last job, but I like it more. To buy a B&B because you like to cook is like buying a NBA team because you like round objects. So much more is involved than cooking. Being a jack-of-all-trades is the most important asset to have. You must like people, cooking, cleaning, accounting, marketing, networking, computers, social media, and almost above all, maintenance.” Brian King, Looking Glass B&B, Grand Haven.

Experience the B&B difference during your next Michigan getaway. To find a great Michigan B&B, click here.


Click to get on the list to be notified of the Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association’s next workshop for New and Aspiring Innkeepers. Meanwhile, join MBBA as an aspiring innkeeper. Details.