Pros and Cons of running a horse B&B
Our farm is set up as an LLC and originally designed as a small boarding/training facility with other moderate income coming from the sale of eggs and jams, jellies, salsas etc. that my husband makes from the fruits and vegetables he grows in our round pen.
Now that DD has moved out and taken with her the training business along with our 2 horses, we are looking for ways to keep our little farm viable as a small business. DH wants to graze a small herd of beef cattle and sell shares to family and friends but I confess although i am a meat eater, I don't think I can face slaughtering something I have fed and cared for. (More power to those who can, I just know my own limitations.)
My new big idea is to provide overnight lodging for horse owners going to and from FL or just traveling, since we live about 15 mins off I-95. While our barn is clean and airy with fans, wash rack etc, and we have 3 stalls with mats, it is definitely NOT fancy, we have no ring, only access to trails, and the approach to the farm could be offputting--you drive through a slightly dodgey neighborhood, which dead ends into our dirt road up into the woods. Once you arrive the privacy is very nice...it's the getting here that worries me.
( I don't want people to hear dueling banjos when they were expecting Southern Pines chic if you get my drift.)
We envisioned people staying in our attached studio apartment, and having like bagels and muffins/coffee in the AM with their horses either staying out in the pasture or inside. Sounds idyllic and quite doable based on what I've seen on national horse hotel listing services...but the reality is always colder and harder.
If anyone has experience in this industry, or care to comment I would appreciate your input:
Is the cost of upfitting the apartment with flat screen TV, nicer furniture, cutting down some trees to make more room for trailers to turn in driveway, not to mention if we need zoning approval for the change and state inspection/approval worth what may provide just a couple hundred dollars a year? I would hope a lot more, but I'm trying to be realistic.
Has anyone done this successfully? Is it a potentially viable business model?