Ch  1 Hospitality
Ch  2 Basics
Ch  3 Theme
Ch  4 Better Old
Ch  5 Legal
Ch  6 Front Desk
Ch  7 Remodeling
Ch  8 Finance
Ch  9 Schedule
Ch 10 Labor
Ch 11 Marketing
Ch 12 Accounting
Ch 13 Now What
Ch 14 Forms

Keep it Legal

    The good news is that you have a great idea for your theme and the research shows that it will be a hit. The bad news is, now you have to find a place to create this perfect vision.

Here is a short list of your obstacles:

1. Finding a business name and registering it.
2. Use the name to get a business license and bank account.
3. Finding out all the zoning ordinances.
4. Getting the health departments approval for food.
5. Getting liquor license for wine and beer, forget about hard liquor.
6. Fire safety and inspection permits.
7. Building or remodeling permits including electrical and plumbing. 
8. Parking and Signage permits.
9. Handicap compliance.
10. IRS Taxes, State and Local Taxes.
11. Employee concerns such as income taxes, insurance and medical.
12. Insurance for your property and guests.

    These items are in no particular order and each business will follow a slightly different path.

    The zoning laws are probably among your first concerns and you can often get a lot of help from your real-estate agent while searching for a location.

    If you find a location where the zoning laws do not permit your Inn; that does not mean you cannot file for a variance or a conditional use permit. Many times you can make the case that an Inn really enhances the safety and value of most residential areas.

    It is like a neighborhood watch in that there is always someone home and not off at work leaving the neighborhood unwatched.  Local residents can use the Inn as extra bedroom space for visiting guests or a nice place to have lunch or dinner without going into town.

    Inns are generally well kept and the property groomed with lots of flowers and a green lawn.   Inns employ local residents for house cleaning, repairs, painting, gardening and other jobs.

    It is not that hard to convince most towns that you are an asset.

    Surprisingly, the first item can take the longest and have the most effect on your business.

    Finding the right name is a marketing issue, you need to fill your rooms and a good name can make that much easier. And once you have that name it is very difficult to change because of your license, taxes, and other legal stuff that puts your business name on file.

    One of your first considerations will be a liquor license because you may want to have champagne for breakfast and wine and cheese in the afternoon. If so, even if the zoning allows it, getting a liquor license is a lengthy process and there are many other reasons besides zoning ordnances that may prevent you from getting a license at all.

    Depending on how many guests you have and if you plan to serve food, your kitchen costs and size will vary drastically. The larger the Inn the more likely that you will need to consider a commercial kitchen.

    These kitchens must meet strict health and fire standards and will be inspected monthly. This may be one of the best measures of how big or small you want your Inn to be.

    Obviously you will need a good lawyer to help you with licenses, taxes, accounting, loans, permits, contracts, insurance and other legal matters. Even if you are a small Inn you should not attempt to start a business without good legal help.