My Indiana Home as a B&B

From “Ask Kit!”:

Q: I am a Brit living in rural Indiana in a beautiful log home in a fantastic location with fabulous views and an appealing little tourist attraction town/area all around + wonderful forests with trails etc etc. I am going thro a divorce and want/need to start my home as a B&B- I already have my Planning and Zoning permit and have looked into quite a lot already – there seems so much to learn!

My greatest fear is that I don’t have any business experience and would be going into this alone apart from a p/t cleaner and possibly a friend to do my books. The house is @ 6,000+ sq ft with 4 bedrooms and independent living quarters- all set up to open really except for more furniture ,equipment, a spruce up and a few more permits.

My main question, apart from any moral support any of your readers can give me is-

* How do I find a sympathetic (to the B&B industry) attorney ? (to advise me re what type of business entity I should set up?- no courses seem to even MENTION this vital 1st step!!)

* and also a similarly experienced accountant ?

* Any help, advice or sympathy or even a temp “partner” in the biz to get me off on the right foot would be most welcome.

I realise I probably should try to go on a seminar for Aspiring Innkeepers or get an apprenticeship somewhere but my (soon to be ex) husband is pushing me hard to start up as we are running out of funds and the season is going over and my permit will expire soon. Help and advice please!!

A: You are right about starting with a seminar as your first step. I can’t speak to other seminars, but mine sure talks about business entities (my ebooks would be another alternative to a seminar).

I don’t know of any professionals in Indiana, but I have a great tax man in California who does taxes across the country. Doug Thorburn, 818-360-0985, is an Enrolled Agent and a Certified Financial Planner; he knows taxes and tax planning extremely well. He’s also familiar with B&Bs.

To help you get beyond your lack business experience, take classes, read books, and plan to attend B&B conferences.

There are many regions and states that hold conferences, and PAII has a biannual meeting (the next to be held in Arizona in April). It may seem that you can’t afford to attend these conferences and classes, but you can’t afford not to because of the wealth of information and the camaraderie (valuable for support) you get when attending.

The things you learn will help you run your business smarter so you can make money. I understand your husband’s fear of running out of money, but if you are going to make a go of this, you have to hang on a bit longer. Go ahead and open the B&B and start taking guests, but don’t overlook your education — an investment in your success and future.