These days, people are looking to get back to their roots–to the land. Some of us are looking to buy and actually live off our land, but others would be content with a simple quick-connection–a visit to a farm or homestead property. If you have a large home or property on land such as this, you might be searching for creative ways to boost the income your homestead provides.
Have you ever considered opening your home to guests? If not, then it may be the perfect time to do so. Two powerful trends are brought together by this action – firstly, the need that most modern farms have to diversify their income streams in order to continue living in the manner that they love.
Secondly, the growing movement within society to get back to nature, switch off from technology and reconnect with simpler pleasures, whilst also learning more about the provenance and production of our food stuffs. The audience is there and willing – but what exactly does it take to go from an entirely private residence to one which takes on paying guests?
For one thing, it takes some planning and getting your thoughts and goals on paper. At the end of this post, I’ll have a completely free couple of worksheets that can help you with that.
Sort Out The Legal Side
Of course, there are various legalities involved in opening your home up as a guesthouse or bed and breakfast – from issues like fire safety provisions to having the correct insurance coverage. There will be regulations around food handling and also for parking. What exactly the law is depends on where you are located.
There are different laws at federal, state and local level, so start by checking out the website of the different authorities or by approaching the local chamber of commerce or tourist organisation for signposting.
Assess Your Facilities
You may need to make some investment in your property to make it suitable and desirable to host paying guests. Now is the time to get that leaking guttering seen to, give the inside and outside a fresh coat of paint, tidy up any shrubs and bushes around the property, and examine all your facilities.
Some upgrades you may be interested in making on your property can be: making sure you have a strong WiFi network, upgrading your kitchen facilities to be sure they can cope with catering for guests, installing items like outdoor ceiling fans, adding a barbecue or pizza oven for al fresco meals, and ensuring that beds, mattresses and bed linens are up to immaculate standard and ready to charge people to stay.
Remember, setting goals is going to be the best way you can keep things straight–and upgrades are definitely goals if they are needed before you can have paying guests. My “Jump Start to Homestead Planning” worksheets can help you, even with this type of goal. It’s in my resource library, and you can get the password to that at the end of this post.
Decide On Your Experience
It’s very important to decide what you have to offer that is unique and will make your homestead stand out as a great destination. Are there extras you can offer your guests – cookery classes, pick your own fruit days, soap making? How about goat milking demonstrations, or a “hang out with the chickens” hour each day?
Think of all the things you do on the homestead that could be translated into an experience or a skill for other people to learn. These will give you an unique selling point when you come to market your homestead as a place to stay. Think about what tourist attractions are nearby that may entice guests to come and stay as well.
Check Out The Competition
You need to know who you’re up against, and also get inspiration, by checking out Airbnb listings in the local area. Go and visit yourself and observe what they are offering guests in comparison to you?
It can also help to look at other types of accommodation like hotels – what can you offer guests that they can’t – a home-cooked breakfast with organic ingredients? A type of experience? All of this knowledge will help you understand how to best position your new business and get those guests flocking through the doors each season.
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Get your ideas from your head to paper, and into a functional list of steps for your goals!