How to Start a Rental Guest House

a Guest CottageThe idea of entering and starting a ‘cottage/guest house‘ rental side business, can operate with success, if done with great marketing and management. If you use your search engine and type in words having to do with cottage rentals, you will find quite a few listings about such places. Such an endeavor can provide an extra source of income. Where do we start?

2nd Income Trends

A trend in the housing industry was recommending to have a ‘guest‘ house built on your property. One could use it for their elderly parent or as a rental income. You would have to do research into local municipal by- laws, zoning laws and regulations about providing such accommodations. Applications and fee’s can be found at the local municipal city hall office. Also, one must get a business license to operate such accommodations.

Cottage rentals have been an ongoing popular operation and source of income, for many years. Those who are able to afford buying their cottage may live in their own primary residence or have a second cottage for personal use. It does take money to begin this project but the long term pay off can be quite rewarding. A successful operation can bring repeat business, continuous bookings, a good reputation and sense of prestige.

Required Skills and Knowledge

Operating a rental business does require knowledge in the hospitality and tourism industry, local Landlords Act along with business management skills. It is IMPORTANT to have these skills therefore I do recommend at least taking a course in these areas. A business plan will help you keep ‘direction‘ and ‘overview‘ of maintaining your business, marketing skills will help you learn to promote, advertise and know your competition, financial skills will help you stay in operation, and, business law will help you be aware of rights and responsibilities ,as an owner and for the customer/tenant. Paper work is involved with this business, as all businesses do have to provide for tax reporting.

The owner of a cottage or guest house will have some steps to follow once skills and knowledge are gained. A first step is having the property, for a cottage or guest house, and figuring out, how to set it up for occupancy. If it’s a two to three bedroom, one can offer a occupancy of three to six people, if functioning as a ‘cottage‘. This is done if you have bunk beds in the bedrooms and/or additional, if there are pull out beds. Furniture would have to be sturdy and removal of ‘personal‘ items done. Keep it to bare necessities as the ‘guests‘ will bring their own. Just think how a hotel room provides for their guests.

A method to deliver keys for the guest(s) would be required. Some may have a ‘lock-box‘ on site, a key pad lock may also be used or just go out and meet them in person, to deliver the keys. A major consideration and requirement for any business, is insurance. Do shop around and meet with insurance agencies who can provide for ‘vacation‘ or ‘rental‘ accommodation businesses, and they provide a good pricing range. Insurance protects you, your property and customers.

Hotels have computerized programs which help them with their booking schedules. As a small owner/operator of your guest house or cottage, you can also find computer software programs to help you with your own booking schedules. One can also offer to add the traditional method, of signing a guest book upon arrival and departure, if you’d like to add sense of ‘vintage‘ to your operations.

The advertising and promotion of your cottage or guest house will create awareness and bring customers. This can be done with attending trade shows related to the tourism and hospitality industry, registering with ‘vacation‘ or ‘rental‘ agencies, creating your own website with option to ‘book‘ a time schedule.

Excellent photographs will also be needed since these will help provide prospective customers with an idea of what they will find. This is also a good time to share available local sights and amenities, available activities and resources (boat, canoe, etc.). It’s suggested with your advertising, that it be done on international, national and regional sites to build and gain a wider awareness of your service(s).

Live in Action

Extra Reading

How to Start a Bed and Breakfast in Ontario

CMHC- Dealing With Problems

Brian’s Backyard Tiny Guest House

Owning a cottage or guest house can provide an interesting and rewarding experience. It can also be handled by a property manager once success can afford the extra costs of hiring. This area of business would be considered part of the real estate industry and why it’s popular. It can provide a source of supplemental or eventual full time income and improve your quality of living. It will take patience to learn all that’s involved along with the costs to acquire such a property but as mentioned, the long term benefits can prove rewarding.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share with your Friends. Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form and recommend a topic of your own interest, for the next Post! 

Article(C)2009 An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a Writer available for Hire,  🙂

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