Delicious Business: How to Evaluate a Bed and Breakfast for Sale

Delicious Business: How to Evaluate a Bed and Breakfast for Sale

When most people think of entrepreneurship, they think of it in terms of starting new businesses. Given that around 5 million businesses launched in 2022, it’s an understandable thought.

Of course, entrepreneurship can also mean taking over an existing business. Take someone who wants to run a bed and breakfast. It’s often easier to buy an existing bed and breakfast for sale than to build one from scratch.

If you are considering buying a bed and breakfast, though, keep reading for some tips on how to evaluate them before you sign the loan paperwork.

Bed and Breakfast for Sale

Business Analysis

For many people, owning a bed and breakfast is a dream. Sometimes, that dream is informed by media depictions of what it means to buy a bed and breakfast, rather than the hard facts.

You need a thorough business analysis of the existing business. For example, what kind of annual revenue does it generate? How much of that revenue is seasonal?

For that matter, you need a clear picture of the overall business value and what drives that value. If a big part of the value is the brand value, you may discover that you cannot remake the business in the way you want and keep recurring customers.

Total Costs

You must also take into account the total costs involved with ownership. After all, it’s not just the initial costs of buying and renovating the business.

While those costs can prove substantial, it’s often the hidden costs that take new business owners off guard. For example, how old are the major systems, such as the HVAC or the roof?

If you must replace those all within a few years, consider those as part of the total startup costs. Then, there are the taxes, insurance, utility costs, food costs, and staffing costs.

Many new bed and breakfast owners enter the business without sufficient capital to keep the business running for a year.


When you first start investigating the possibility of buying a bed and breakfast, you’ll likely look at sites that let people list your inns for sale. You may fall in love with a bed and breakfast only to realize it’s halfway across the country.

Buying that bed and breakfast won’t just mean a huge financial investment, but it will also mean a major move and potential upheaval for your family. It’s often better to look for something closer to home that won’t require a cross-country move before you can even get started.

Evaluating a Bed and Breakfast for Sale

Like it or not, evaluating a bed and breakfast for sale has surprisingly little to do with how the place looks. In the end, most of your evaluation will revolve around the same kind of information with which all prospective business owners must contend.

How viable, valuable, and profitable is the business in its current incarnation? How much will it cost to buy and run? Where is it located?

Unless all of these factors align, it’s probably a bad fit for you.

Looking for more business tips? Take a look at the posts in our Business & Finance section.

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