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An Innkeeper Question: B&B Shared Ownership? (Looking for your Input!)

Dear Acorn IS Innkeepers,

I received the following question from one of our Innkeepers, and I didn’t have an answer, so I thought I’d copy out the question and see if any of you might be able to share your thoughts.

  • Please respond by clicking the comments link below...
  • Or E-Mail Me Directly and I’ll make sure to pass your information on!

The Question:

“Do you know of any Innkeepers who Share ownerships and perhaps split the year being innkeepers of the same inn? I am looking for advice and maybe opinions of whether it works?
On the yachts this is actually something done more and more in regards to the working 6 months on, 6 months off.  It works really well to give people a Lifeand lessens the Burn-Out Factor.
I’m just not sure if it would work in a B&B…
Any thoughts or advice would be helpful.
Or is there anyone who you could direct me to for opinions?

I look forward to seeing what comes about.”

So, if you’ve heard of anyone doing this, or have done it yourself, please comment!

Lisa Kolb
President and Co-Founder Acorn Marketing

7 thoughts on “An Innkeeper Question: B&B Shared Ownership? (Looking for your Input!)

  1. As an innkeeper, I don't see why it would not work. Two things to consider: 1) you would have to split the time during the middle of the inn's high season so as to share the workload between the two owners. It could be difficult swapping innkeepers if the inn is full (I'm assuming they would share the livings quarters)
    2. Check out any tax implications – what would be the primary residence for either set of innkeepers? If both sets of innkeepers maintain seperate primary residences I don't see a problem.

    Good Luck


  2. It possibly could work and sounds like a partnership like in any other business. It has advantages and disadvantages. You could probably afford more expensive properties. Bank may like the idea since it may provide more security for them. Add diversity for the inn, changing every time the other partners take over since most people don't do everything the same. Just KNOW THY PARTNERS real well.
    Gary L. Jurkiewicz
    Oakwood Inn B & B
    Raleigh, NC

  3. I've not done this; however, on the surface it certainly sounds like a great idea. I think it would work well as long as it was a "new" B&B to both of you. Naturally you would need to have legal agreements. I can see problems if the B&B was one that one of you had been operating for several years. My B&B which I started in 1981 with my husband is like my baby, now adolescent. I love it and will make changes as I see them.

  4. Below is an Emailed Reply that went directly to Acorn IS:

    I think a shared b&b could work if you knew each other really well and were confident that guest would get the same quality service year round. Questions would be, can you afford to share the income and take off 6 months? If you have a second income I guess that would work. What about living quarters, do you move out so they move in? That would get old moving things. So who ownes the b&b both of you? So you go in together to purchase the property, then what if it doesn't work, how is a banking deal done? If you went into a deal with an established b&b and one person owned it, how would you handle that situation. Ok, so maybe I am asking more questions and making it more complicated. I think it could work if you had a good business plan and both have a passion for serving people.

  5. Below is another Emailed Reply that went directly to Acorn IS:

    DON' T

    Innkeeping with a business partner/co-owner is like an arranged marriage from 2 foreign sovereignties or like playing Russian Roulette. You have a slim chance of survival. From one who has been in this business for 35 years, the single best advise I can give another innkeeper is DO NOT go into partnership even if you are running the business at different times.

    Better to sell the heck out of your rooms and close for 4 months than try to share your job/business with another. Or hire a good manager or "guest innkeeper" for those months you need to regenerate. Everyone has a different style and standard and it is almost guaranteed that it will not be the same as yours.

  6. As an innbroker I can say that it's hard enough to get a happily married couple to agree on management decisions, let alone bringing other people into the mix. That sounds like a recipe for disaster! On the surface it would seem to make sense as bringing different skill sets to the table along with the pooling of resources can be a necessity. That said, be prepared to fight over the smallest details, including such innocuous items as the color of the tablecloths! Countless decisions must be agreed upon, and it will try the patience of a saint.
    I do believe that it's a good idea to reward long term high quality innkeepers with equity ownership, and that should help owners wishing for long breaks throughout the year an alternative to straight partnering.

  7. Thank you to all contributors of advice and opinion. I concur that it would be a "bad idea" though one that I considered(briefly)because I have built my business and now must sell. The person considering the purchase has "dreamed of running a B&B" without actually having worked in hospitality/food/etc…
    As we all know it is hard work and sad to think of what we love and have worked hard to make a success "maybe" not continue after we move on…
    After asking Lisa for some help with this question…I came to an understanding that even if I held up my end of the "partnership" and continued filling rooms and creating a happy returning client base…my inexperienced "partner" might 'tank the biz' during her "turn"!!
    Thus leaving me to "rebuild"….or worst!
    So thank you so much for the clarity. I will sell outright and find some peace in knowing that I did a fantastic and rewarding job with my beautiful business. Thankful and happy that I had an opportunity to belong to a wonderful community of special people who create warm, comfy, safe and peaceful environments in this crazy world! ~E

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