So you woke up one morning and decided it was time for a life change.
Step 1) Move to Kelowna
Step 2) Start your own bed and breakfast
Why Not start your own Bed and Breakfast?
1)You can meet great people from all over the world.
2)Work out of your own home.
4)Make some Decent Money
5)Stay busy through semi-retirement…but not too busy
6)Tax write offs for many of your home expenses
So how easy is it to start a bed and Breakfast?
Can you just put an add on Craigslist and start taking guests????
Its a bit more challenging than that I’m afraid…but not out of reach.
Here is what you need to Consider Before taking that Big Leap.
- Kelowna and West Kelowna don’t legally allow vacation rentals in anything outside of RM6 zoning(High Rise Apartment Zoning). So for those who were thinking about renting their home short term without operating a bed and breakfast, you legally can’t.
- Rental periods of 1 month or more are considered non-vacation rentals and fall under the laws of the residential tenancy act. Meaning if you could find occupancy you may be able to get an inflated rent amount without running a Bed and Breakfast. However, short term tenants 1 month at a time may be a little more carefree and may leave you with some headaches at the end of the tenancy. SCREEN YOUR TENANTS WELL if you wanted to dabble in something like this.
- Your Property needs to be Zoned appropriately. RU1 or RU6 will work for a B+B. Medium density and low density lots say they will allow bed and Breakfasts. However, to properly operate you need a big enough lot to facilitate the parking of your guests. It will be very hard to find a medium and low density lot with parking sufficient for the approval of your license. Go to this link to view zoning information at the City of Kelowna.
- You Need a business license to operate. It costs about $135 a year.
- Before the City will issue the business license, they will send an inspector to make sure your property is up to code. Each room generally needs to be under most of the same requirements as a secondary suite. The inspector will tell you what safety requirements are met and which need to be adjusted (for example, smoke detectors, ventilation, window size, room size).
- Off road parking needs to be sufficient. You need to have 2 parking spots for the live in owners of the dwelling, than 1 additional spot for each room you have available for rent.
- The maximum number of rooms for a bed and breakfast in Kelowna is 4. This would give you a maximum of 8 guests at one time.
Once you have taken all this in and still decide to go through with your Bed and Breakfast business venture you will need to focus a little on the marketing aspect and think about what will give you the best chance at full occupancy.
- Ensuite bathrooms for every room! It’s not necessary for your license, but you will have trouble getting full occupancy without it.
- A view will help! Lake shore may be a bit expensive for your new operation, but you can find a property with a breathtaking view for a fair price (at the moment).
- Amenities like a pool, while being a bit more work, may be an essential piece of the pie for those looking to stay at a bed and breakfast.
- Be close to the action. Wine tours are big out here. Lakeview Heights in West Kelowna is a great option. If you take a drive you will see many bed and breakfasts in that neck of the woods.
- Generally is a 4 month of the year business. Outside of the summer, don't expect to be flooded with guests. Budget your time and resources accordingly.
- Be close to other bed and breakfasts. What better marketing than to be near an established bed and breakfast. Convince your guests to write about their experience online. Given you offered exceptional service, people will write about that in their reviews. Those people staying nearby will look you up, see your good reviews and try you out next time.
- Trip Advisor, Air B+B and Yelp are some great option to get your name out there. Also, get a website, and get on google places. All these things will help bring you up the search engine list. However, no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to overtake the trip advisors, expedias and major online companies that make it their business to be at the top of the search engines. Make sure you have full, well written online profiles for all these sites.
Hopefully this rant I put together can help you in your dreams of starting a bed and breakfast. If you were searching online for a local B+B but came across this article, I can help you out;
They are located on Okanagan Lake down Westside road. Amazing Service and Great People. You have full access to the dock and their kayaks as well. Here is their website www.willowbeach.ca The link above goes to their tripadvisor page.
Have you thought about starting a bed and Breakfast?
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David Delorme - Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty