There are many business opportunities scattered across the country like owning a franchise, opening a restaurant or even starting your own home-based business. If you’ve ever taken a trip to see the colors of fall you might have stayed at a small-town bed and breakfast or B&B. These are also businesses that in some way turn a big home into a little hotel.

Many B&Bs are sold like a franchise business. In other words, that business is up and running. All you have to do is take it over and watch the money flow in, right? Not always. Do you have what it takes to run your own B&B? Could this be the perfect thing for a new career? As with all things in life, it depends on how informed you are about this decision. Consider the following before you sign on the dotted line:

What’s Included in the Deal?

Buying a B&B is not like buying an empty house. Often, you’ll have all the furnishings included in the bed and breakfast. Get that in writing. You’ll also might “inherit” certain staff members and vendors that know how the operation is run. These folks would be good to hang onto until you get the lay of the land. Going through several weeks of a “shakedown cruise” will let you know what is working and isn’t working. Then it will be time to make some changes, if need be. Remember this is your business now and you have to run it as you see fit.

Why Are They Selling?

If this is such a good deal, then why are the owners selling? They might want to retire themselves. Nothing wrong with that. However, before you sign on the dotted line, head into the neighborhood and start asking around. Find out what the reputation of this place is. Of course, you’ll be able to examine the books but your business is going to have to get along with other businesses in the community. Make sure it hasn’t alienated anyone.

What Are Reviewers Saying?

If this B&B has been around for any length of time, it is going to have reviews. Next to restaurant goers, travelers are the most frequent posters of reviews. We’re not just talking about Yelp but across a wide array of travel platforms. Not only should you pay attention to what past guests had to say but also how the previous owners responded to those comments. If everyone is complaining about draft rooms and lousy breakfast, then that is something you need to fix.

What Are The Legalities?

Just because a bed and breakfast is up and running doesn’t automatically mean it is in compliance. You need to check on a whole bunch of state and local ordinances and regulations. These cover everything from food service to accessibility to parking. If you hear the words, “We’ve been fighting with the city over that” from the owner, turn and walk away.

Are You Ready For A 24/7 Job?

Owning a B&B sounds charming and it can be but it’s a big undertaking. You are essentially setting yourself up in the hospitality industry. That means making everyone who walks through your door happy. If you’re not a people person, then this might not be the business for you. Sure, you can take time off. You can even close the inn for a week but when you’re there it is a full time (and beyond) kind of job.

When was the last time you stayed at a bed & breakfast?