Bed and Breakfast Startup Costs

Part of a worksheet series for aspiring bed and breakfast innkeepers

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It's possible (though very unlikely) to start a bed and breakfast without a big capital investment. But there are always important start-up costs to consider before you open a B&B.

One major factor is whether or not you already own a building suitable for a bed and breakfast. The projections here assume that a building is completely paid for -- which means that in the majority of cases, you'll need to add a mortgage payment to these projections.

These are only rough estimates; your expenses could be more or less than the figures below. (Note that the cost of food is not included here, which is an important cost to consider and will depend on the types of breakfasts you plan to serve. Personnel costs -- e.g. maids -- also are not included.)

Always budget more money than you expect to spend!

Furnishings and Renovation (electrical, furnishings, plumbing, painting and landscaping)
$8,000 (or more; it could be substantially more depending on the condition of the building and grounds)
10 years

Mattresses, Sheets, Blankets, etc.
5 years

Smoke Detectors
5 years

Directional Road Signs
5 years

Front Entrance Sign
5 years

Legal Fees, Permits, Licenses
Will need at various times

Promotion and Advertising
$1,500 initial, $1,000 annual
1 year

Business Supplies
$500 (more if you need to purchase a computer and fax machine)
Varies by supply

Kitchen Equipment
$400 or more
Varies by equipment

Petty Cash

$15,000 (or more, depending on renovation costs)

Now estimate your own startup expenses

Add categories as necessary -- this sample list is not a definitive compilation of all the costs incurred while running a bed and breakfast.

Furnishings and Renovation (electrical, furnishings, plumbing, painting and landscaping):

Mattresses, Sheets, Blankets, etc.:

Smoke Detectors:

Directional Road Signs:

Front Entrance Sign:

Legal Fees, Permits, Licenses:

Promotion and Advertising:

Business Supplies:

Kitchen Equipment:

Petty Cash:


This series of worksheets and information was originally written by Eleanor Ames, a Certified Family Consumer Sciences professional and a faculty member at Ohio State University for 28 years. With her husband, she ran the Bluemont Bed and Breakfast in Luray, Virginia, until they retired from innkeeping. Many thanks to Eleanor for her gracious permission to reprint them here. Some content has been edited, and links to related features on this site have been added to Eleanor's original text.