Have you got friends that stay on your couch for months on end and don’t ever leave?! We’ve all been there. My point is really how much does that person actually cost? For all the cups of coffee that you make them, or offering to do their laundry on occasion? You may as well start charging them rent, which I bet you have thought on more than one occasion! And with the popularity of websites such as Couchsurfing making it very popular for people to experience the world by going from couch to couch, has it ever made you think about setting up your own guest house-style business? It’s the dream for many of us, retiring to a quiet town and setting up a guest house and living the quiet life… But in actual fact, it’s hard work! Harder work than you think it is. You have to get up very early in the morning to slave away in the kitchen, dealing with guest problems, cleaning, ironing, vacuuming… It’s just like running your own home, except you have other people there paying for your services.
So what is the market for running your own guest home? Surprisingly there’s a lot of scope for running your own business successfully even without having previous experience. If you’ve got a spare room in your home, then renting it out to guests that are travelling through is a great way to make an extra income. It is also a great way to meet new people. So if you don’t mind having a stranger in your home, then it is ideal.
As well as all the basic duties, from cooking and cleaning, you may need to deal with issues such as fixing leaks and broken items such as the accomodation furniture. If you plan on opening up your home to many guests then investing in additional furniture is a must, as well as furniture that is sturdy and strong, as you will have many people using the furniture. Expect wears and tears and the need to replace them every few years.
So if you plan on starting out running a guest home, then I reckon you would be best to start off by having a guest in your spare room to see if you enjoy the experience of accommodating someone, and then if you feel you can keep at with the demands, you can expand your business.
It does help to have a good background in customer service, as people will be recommending you or not depending on the quality of their stay. The trick to this is having a personal touch. Ultimately what you are trying to provide is a homely environment, so you need to be as friendly and accommodating as you possibly can. And if the customers enjoy their stay, they will recommend you to other friends, and so the business can build up from additional custom.
Running a guest house of any size is a big challenge! But as long as you are friendly, sociable, and willing to get your hands dirty on occasion, then it is a wonderful way to meet new people and earn a bit of money while you’re at it.