Is a B&B or Guest House for Me?

The Bottom Line-Essentials to Think About Before Attending our B&B Course

Where do you start ?

A good question and a concern for all thinking about this as a new way of life and how our B&B course can help. Here are a few questions to ask yourself, followed by a few scenarios for you to consider.

  • Are you generally outgoing (a people person) and able to get the best out of everyone you meet ?
  • How do you feel about having strangers in your home on a regular basis ?
  • Will this annoy you or put a strain on your family? How will the rest of the people (and pets if you have them) living in your home feel about this? This is a complete change of lifestyle for everyone involved, so it helps if they are all on board.
  • Are you resilient enough to handle difficult customers? There will always be somebody that will complain for the sake of complaining. You’ll need to be able to maintain a firm, friendly and professional manner.
Do I like working face to face with the public ? I’m not a particularly sociable type of person.

This is a bit of a deal breaker. You have to like and get on with everyone for this job. You need to know when people want to chat and when they want to be left alone. You’ll need an ever friendly face at breakfast to make people feel relaxed and even get strangers talking to each other.
You have to be able to do this even if you are under some extreme personal pressures, for example, feeling unwell, your relationship is breaking up, your teenage children are throwing tantrums, or your pet has just died !

There is an opposite to the above….you are an incredibly sociable person and like to be out most nights of the week.

Well enjoy it while you can ! Once you’ve opened your B&B you can say goodbye to going out that often. Regular events/activities, especially if you do them together as a couple, will be nigh on impossible unless, for example, you have staff. You may have a check in policy that says guests should arrive between 4pm and 6pm, but guests arrive when they arrive. Many of them will have been held up at work or stuck in traffic or stopped somewhere unplanned en route to you, or have suffered delayed trains or flights, then arrive at 9pm, 2 hours after you should have been out with friends or at a fitness class !

Do I need to be a cleaning and cooking superstar ?

Well you do ideally need to be comfortable with both.

Cleaning – there are ways around this such as contracting with a professional cleaner – although it can be expensive, comes off the bottom line and may be difficult in remote areas. But ultimately if you can’t or won’t clean a loo, a B&B is probably not for you !

Breakfast Cooking – you do really need to be able to prepare and serve breakfast items at least……but you can practice and learn, or hire staff – again, expensive and impacts your profit. There is still an expectation for a full English, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish to be offered as very few people do it for themselves anymore. It’s a treat when they go away.
Other options over the traditional cooked are always appreciated. In all cases, you need to be confident that your kitchen, cooking talent and suppliers are able to support producing them every day.

I’m not an early riser.

Sorry, but it goes with the territory. You can manage it to some extent, e.g. by fixed breakfast times and having a few workarounds which we can suggest, but ultimately the job is by definition an early morning start. Don’t forget to factor in getting children off to school, dogs walked or that early morning fitness class if that’s you.

Will I be happy being self employed ?

For most people this is self-employed work and as such you will stand or fall by what you do. No PAYE and no regular pay cheque. It’s a bit different if you have spent years being employed by someone else. There are no fixed days or hours – think carefully if you have a problem with a 7 day week – you need to be good at time management – if you work a long season with no time off, you’ll quickly burn out.

Red Townhouse Bed & Breakfast 2 Day Residential Programme

B&B Course Details

We know you will be looking at various options before choosing the best B&B course or training options for you. It’s worth bearing in mind that you will not be hosting your guests online, you will be doing this face to face, so we recommend training with experienced hosts like ourselves (read about us here) over online training, or buying a book about how to run a B&B.

  • Our course is regularly updated to take account of things like relevant legislative changes and changes in the ‘online’ world which impact on the operation of B&Bs.
  • What makes our course different is it’s personal approach as we tailor each course to your particular requirements. You will be the only attendees on your course and therefore able to ask any questions, or raise any concerns, relevant to your potential business.
  • Courses are available throughout the year, subject to accommodation availability, as staying with us is part of the ‘learning experience’.
  • We provide accommodation, all course materials and an information pack full of hints & tips to take away with you. We can help you achieve your dream !

B&B Course Target Audience

This course is ideal for potential B&B or Guest House owners who have realised there is a lot to consider when taking on an existing business or adapting a property into a B&B or Guest House. It is a huge investment of your time and money and from the outside, looking in, can seem very daunting. That’s because it’s not just a business adventure, but a lifestyle one as well.

Choosing the right property, sourcing funding, handling difficult customers and long-term financial security are just some of things that will undoubtedly have crossed your mind at some point. We will help to allay any fears and answer your questions to give you the confidence you need to turn your dreams into reality.

Whether you are setting up your B&B with a spouse, partner or friend, we recommend that you all attend our course. Setting up on your own ? That’s no problem either.

B&B Course Overall Aim

To identify the practical aspects of managing a profitable and successful Bed & Breakfast business focusing on the day to day management of the business and how to market your product effectively once the difficult decision has been made on whether to take on an existing business or build a new business from scratch.

B&B Course Objectives

Following this course, you will have more information at your fingertips. You will be confident to offer a quality product, properly costed and priced and therefore profitable and know how to promote yourself effectively in today’s competitive market.

B&B Course Content


On arrival we will show you to your room and cover how we welcome guests. Once you are settled in, we will meet informally to discuss what will happen over the following 2 days of the course and set you a couple of simple exercises to get you thinking about costs and profit.

Day 1

  • Enjoy a Red Townhouse breakfast after an early start to go through breakfast preparation and service.
  • In the morning session we go through the exercises from the day before and then cover a broad range of topics to do with the practical side of running a B&B, e.g. time management, checking for bookings, rooms (stays and departs), guests leaving etc.
  • This leads on to managing guest’s expectations, what to offer, how to set your rates and all the other aspects of the hidden costs of running a B&B.
  • After coffee we will look at the benefits and potential pitfalls of starting a business from scratch or to developing an existing business.
  • We will discuss location, planning rules and understanding the type of customer you will want to target.
  • After lunch we will cover the legal framework, from fire regulations to food hygiene, plus answer any questions you may have about the topics covered earlier.
  • We will also cover employing staff (or not), or contracting with other self-employed people such as cleaners.

Business Planning

Day 2

  • You can choose today – either enjoy a Red Townhouse breakfast as a guest (if you want a lie in !), or join us for an early start for breakfast preparation again if you want to go over it again or make more notes.
  • Today we focus on how to successfully promote your business, the importance of having your own business website, the use of third party online travel agents and meta search sites, social media together with offline marketing.
  • We will also look at the pros and cons of the various quality assurance schemes, together with reviews and how to get them and manage them in a positive way, even any bad ones !
  • All of this is key to running a successful and profitable B&B.
  • At the end of the course you will leave with a very comprehensive booklet, together with a number of supporting documents and document templates.
  • In addition, we provide electronic versions of all this material. You are free to use the templates as you wish in your own business.
  • We also provide certificates of completion for you to take away.

Throughout both days we welcome questions from you as every potential business will be different.

B&B Course Outcomes

You will become more aware of the pitfalls and the pleasures of running a B&B or Guest House and have a better understanding of how to make your new venture successful.


2 days including accommodation and breakfast and as much tea and coffee as you want.

Please note we do not provide lunch – there is a lot of information to take in and we would encourage you to get some air and give yourselves a break by visiting one of the many great cafes in Penrith just a short walk away.


Training Course           £300 per course

B&B Accommodation (2 nights)    £150 per couple

If you are thinking of going into this business on your own, that’s no problem ! The accommodation part of the prices above will be discounted to £110 for 2 nights. The price of the training itself is the same as we will still run the full course exclusively for you.

Additional nights’ accommodation at the same rate as above are possible, subject to availability.


Wonderful B&B course!

Richard & Elaine provide the must-do course for anyone considering taking on a B&B. The content was exactly what we needed and was tailored to our situation. They gave generously of their time and expertise whilst at the same time we enjoyed their wonderful hospitality, excellent breakfast and clean, comfortable and well-equipped room with en-suite. Would thoroughly recommend to anyone.


How to run a B&B course.

No matter how much research you do it won’t compare to the real life practical experience Richard and Elaine can share. The 2 day course is tailored to your needs and no question goes unanswered. It’s amazing how the time passes and how much there is to learn about the business. Being in the trade for so long they’ve faced it all so can offer you advice on dealing with all types of situations. Feeling nervous as the opening day of my new venture was approaching I knew to call Elaine who made me feel at ease and answered yet more questions! (Thank you) While staying in their B and B you can really experience how the business works and they’ve got great tips to save you making mistakes, wasting money and maximising profit. You can tell they love the trade and their positive approach is something I hope to adopt too. Highly recommend their course and I’m hard to please as a training developer myself! (Whoops was – now a B & B owner) lol


Life changing!

I have just completed a 2 day training course on how to run a b&b with Richard and Elaine at The Red Townhouse in Penrith.
I stayed at The Red Townhouse whilst attending the course. I can write unreservedly that I thoroughly enjoyed the course, which was informative and educational to a level whereby now I feel fully equipped to pursue with confidence a new career running my own b&b.
Elaine and Richard delivered the course in bespoke fashion, tailoring the content accordingly to my personal preferences whilst of course providing me with all manner of necessary information.
I know that this training experience will be invaluable for me moving forward with my prospective business venture. Moreover, however, the experience of learning was delightful thanks to Richard and Elaine who are clearly a passionate, knowledgeable, and very accommodating couple.
I am pleased to be able to recommend fully The Red Townhouse to anyone considering a stay just for pleasure but also for people who are wondering if life in the b&b business is for them.


Everything from start to finish was brilliant!

…..a fascinating and comprehensive training course. ….wanting to learn about how I could set up a small business in Airbnb….Richard & Elaine couldn’t have been more accommodating or helpful in providing advice and information leading up to the course. I had pre-course questions to focus me and so that they could prepare thoroughly and tailor their course to my needs.
I was lucky enough to stay for two nights and sample the full English veggie and the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Food and tea/coffee are sourced locally and I loved that they passionately support local businesses.
The training course itself was brilliant. I couldn’t believe the depth and breadth covered, and the very accessible comprehensive literature that they have designed to support the bespoke training package. This is provided in soft and hard copies. I found Richard and Elaine to be excellent teachers – their years and years of experience are distilled into a thorough yet interesting learning package. The information was up to date – they really do their homework!
I feel completely prepared for my next step – and totally reassured that they will be on hand to answer any questions and to mentor me through any queries I may have.


Just got back from a lovely weekend!

At The Red Townhouse B&B, myself my Sister & Brother-in-law were on one of Richard and Elaine’s “How to run a B&B course”. I stayed in their Mayburgh room which was very clean and comfortable, everything I needed, my own bathroom across the hall, lovely and large with a bath/shower (I had 2 bath’s) also had two tasty full English breakfasts.
There were 2 days of extensive learning and laughing (guest anecdotes) everything you need to know about setting up and running a B&B.
Thank you Elaine and Richard for super weekend at The Red Townhouse.
I would recommend it to anyone thinking of doing the same.


Would highly recommend it!

Phil and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Red Townhouse and would highly recommend it. We would also highly recommend the B&B course that they run we found it incredibly insightful and very informative- thank you Richard and Elaine for a very enjoyable stay.


The B&B is excellent!

We went there for a B&B course which Richard and Elaine run. The course is spot on and done on a one to one basis around the table on a very informal structure. All the points that you need to know are covered and more. You really do enter as guests and leave as friends I can’t recommend the course enough. After leaving we felt we had all the info and tools to run a B&B, in fact I thought I was running a B&B. Even my partner who is not the best at courses and stuff like that enjoyed it. It is great value for money and so much better than any class room training that you may have been on.
Well done Richard and Elaine and thank you very much!



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