One of the fastest growing cottage industries in the UK is – well – cottages. In particular, it is converting barns and other rural outbuildings into lodgings for people on holiday. This trend is popular in both rural and urban areas, helping families keep expensive properties rather than having to sell them. It is also a profitable business, capitalizing on a hot trend for travelers. These properties make charming bed and breakfast facilities, and provide a great income while helping you to keep your family property. Here are some tips for converting a cottage or barn into a Somerset B&B.
Study Local Codes
Cities and rural areas often have different code restrictions. Check the codes for your area. You will need to know how many exits to provide from each structure, and you might have to post exit signs in some cases.
Plumbing is another matter to consider. Rural areas will most probably use a septic tank, and there will be requirements for the location of these in relation to the water well.
Electrical wiring must also meet code, and smoke alarms are mandatory. In some cases, you will need a sprinkler system.
Entry and parking may have certain restrictions for accessibility. Some of the codes are different between private houses and B&Bs because of public accessibility.
Part of the appeal of staying in a converted barn is the atmosphere. As you convert a barn or cottage into a B&B, try to keep as much of the original architecture intact as possible while still updating it with proper electrical and plumbing service.
You will want insurance on your buildings, but you will also need liability insurance. Anyone who runs a business will need some type of insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits. If you provide any kind of transportation for your guests, check into additional insurance needs.
When it comes to amenities, success is in the details. Simply learning the art of folding towels like little animals can bring a personalized feel to the room, and mints on the pillow make people feel spoiled.
However, you can kick it up a notch and provide free Wi-Fi. Most travelers, even those with the best intentions, need to check in on their email once a day, and they appreciate quick access. Good TV reception is also nice.
When possible, provide a private bathroom for each cottage. Few people drawn to the stereotypical B&B with a single bathroom down the hall. Plumbing contractors are gaining skill in retrofitting bathrooms with soaker or whirlpool tubs and rain-style shower heads. These amenities make for great advertisements, and don’t add that much to your conversion.
Expensive bed linens also make for great advertisement, and many people like to see that their bed will have Egyptian cotton sheets. This can be a big investment, and not entirely necessary unless you want it.
If you have converted a barn or cottage on your property, consider providing bicycles for your guests. This simple offer makes them feel welcomed and comfortable, and will invite them to explore the area.