How to Start a Bed and Breakfast

Hiring Employees

Just when you'll need assistance depends on your energy level, the size of your operation and your occupancy rate. But when exactly does the time come? "Probably your first day," advises Pat Hardy of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. "No matter how many rooms you have, you need not be the room cleaner. As soon as you're the room cleaner and don't have time to do marketing and to spend with guests, you begin to see a slide and deal with burnout."

Everybody, Hardy says, needs to build some sort of relief into their business plan, whether it's an inn-sitter who takes over temporarily to give you a couple weeks off or a high-school student who comes in to clean on weekends. "Innkeeping is a job that should not be 24/7, or you can't be fresh."

Thirty to 40 percent of all innkeepers don't employ any sort of staff, Hardy explains. If you're a small operation, you may be able to work solo, but at five to six rooms, you must look at employing a staff.

While cleaning help is often the first task for which you turn for help, it's certainly not the only one. If you're a clean machine who enjoys the cardiovascular crunch of whizzing around with a vacuum, dust rage and sponge, but you hate number-crunching with a passion, you might find your employee dollars are better spent hiring a bookkeeper than a chambermaid. If you can command higher room revenues by sharing your expertise with your customers over a leisurely breakfast than rushing back and forth from the kitchen, then you might find it wise to hire a cook or kitchen helper.

Or go for a stellar multitasker who can pitch in and lend a hand with everything, as Bruce and Judy Albert in Seaside, Florida, have done. "The people who work for us are multi-talented, from washing dishes, serving breakfast, cleaning rooms, answering the phone and taking reservations to gardening and greeting and checking guests in and out," they explain. "They wear so many hats that it takes a special person."


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