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Topics to Research

March 23, 2008

by Kit Cassingham

Research is one of the first steps you should take as you develop your bed and breakfast. Here are some research topics that will be important for you as you approach your market research in both determining what you need to know about your business and whether this dream is a good business idea at all. Your investigation will take you far and wide, making your business plan more solid and your business more successful.

There are generally so many details to research as you buy or build you bed and breakfast. Here is a list of the areas you want to research, some obvious topics and some surprises. Not all of these research topics will apply to you, but most will one way or another.

  • Alcohol
    • federal and state Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) tax stamp
    • local licenses (community, county, state)
  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
    • accessibility
    • requirements
  • Environmental
    • audit — fuel tanks, other hazards (asbestos, chemical storage, lead paint)
    • septic and water
  • Fire Regulations
    • alarm/sprinkler systems
    • egress
    • enclosing stairways or having fire doors with automatic closers
    • hydrant location and fire truck access
  • Government
    • community licenses and taxes, federal/state ID numbers
    • employment regulations
    • name regulations (DBAs, trade names, etc.)
  • Health
    • license
    • requirements for kitchen, bath, spas, pools, saunas
  • Reviews
    • architectural or association covenants
    • height/parking/signs
    • historical
  • Taxes — monthly, quarterly, and annually
    • employee
    • income
    • real estate
    • sales
  • Zoning/Planning
    • conformance/variance
    • expansion
    • signage
  • Misc
    • coastal commission/flood plain/fire zone
    • future projects (highways, water treatment, amusement parks, church camps)
    • OSHA requirements
    • earthquake preparedness guidelines
    • wildland fire guidelines
    • guests
      • psychographics — how they think, feel, play, etc.
      • demographics — statistics of how your guests live
      • buying behavior
      • customer profile

As you may be starting to see, running a bed and breakfast is a bit more complex than running a household. Learn as much as you can so the business you create is successful, safe and hospitable. Don't let surprises impact your B&B business. Do your homework and research these various topics to create a sound business foundation.

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