We’ve noticed a rise in enquiries about B&Bs projects, so we thought we would give you some top tips on setting up a B&B in France.
You can also hear it straight from the horse’s mouth – we spoke to Eleanor and John, a Scottish couple who decided to live the adventure here in sunny France.
Eleanor and John Gash, moved to France in 2008. They wanted a new start and an instant income, so taking on an already operational B&B was the ideal solution. They bought an elegant eight-bedroom townhouse in the village of Bellac in the Limousin’s Haute Vienne – and hit the ground running.
“We’d never managed a B&B before. But I could speak French and I felt we could cope,” says Eleanor, now 57. “We wanted a life change before it was too late.”
The 200-year-old French townhouse is well situated in the centre of town. This, according to Eleanor, is key to its popularity. Previously run by another British couple, it came with a number of repeat guests. They have updated the decor, room by room.”
They cook for their guests in the evening, using local ingredients and charging €50 per couple (bed and breakfast is €75 to €100 per night).
“We have a wonderful mix of guests, many of whom are house-hunting in the area, and we’ve had a lot of great suppers. Every day is different. Our five rooms are fully booked in summer.”
Although not everyone realises this, B&B owners can get a lot of financial help in France. “You can recover 15 % of the renovation costs from the département, €12,000 from the region and also money from the EU fund (FEDER). This means that up to 63 % of your building work is covered. The only condition is that you advertise your business on the Gîtes de France website for 5 -10 years.
The only downside is that there’s not much time off in the summer. They rest and recharge in January and February, when they close down and get some winter sun!
Here are our top tips for setting up a B&B in France:
1 – Location, Location, Location. The location must be appropriate for both your personal choice of lifestyle and for running a B&B.
2- Research the region thoroughly. Visit and get detailed information on other B&B businesses. Listen to everyone’s stories and advice, and weigh them against your dreams and desires.
3- Make use of official information available from the local tourism department and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Don’t purchase on impulse !
4- Don’t make your choice only on the basis of ‘Oh, what a beautiful property’, but on objective criteria.
5- Carry out thorough market research on the overall area and workout: a) what market will you target: families / couples, overnight or holiday stay? b) what are the local attractions? c) how long is the letting season?
6- Prepare a realistic business plan. Seek professional help (local accountant, Chamber of Commerce, tourist board).
7- When purchasing a property to turn into a B&B, work closely with your estate agent, architect, local builder and mairie to budget for renovation costs. Never lose sight of quality and value for money. It’s a competitive market place.
To see all Bed and Breakfasts for sale in France with Leggett immobilier, please click here: http://www.frenchestateagents.com/french-property-for-sale/type/bed-and-breakfast/2