Starting and Running a Self-catering Holiday Business
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Starting and Running a Self-catering Holiday Business

If you enjoy meeting people and love to take self-catering holidays yourself, you may decide that starting and running your own holiday cottage business is the right move for you.

If you enjoy meeting people and love to take self-catering holidays yourself, you may decide that starting and running your own holiday cottage business is the right move for you.

Perhaps you have a young family at home or perhaps you are semi-retired, if so a self-catering holiday cottage business can provide useful additional income. There are some drawbacks, however, and a careful look at the advantages and disadvantages is wise.

The advantages

  • If the property you intend to use for self-catering is close to your home, you can tackle cleaning, maintenance and repairs yourself.
  • Your guests will be able to find you if problems arise and you will be able to give them local information.
  • As changeovers (cleaning between bookings) normally happen once, or at most twice, a week at the weekend, you can generally carry on with other employment.
  • There may also be tax advantages in that you can offset your expenses associated with your letting activities against tax. (Check the current rules with your accountant so that you know exactly what the position is.)
  • You are very much your own boss and can decide when you want to offer your property for holiday rentals keeping certain weeks of the year free for your own use or empty when you want to go away for your own holiday. 

The disadvantages

  • If your property is at some distance from your home, emergency repairs can be difficult to organise, especially if the problem occurs at night or at weekends. Your guests will look to you to sort things out very quickly
  • If it is close to your home you may feel that your privacy is compromised and that you are just too accessible.
  • If you work full-time and need to carry out changeovers on Saturdays, for example, you may resent having only one day completely free for yourself each week. The alternative is to hire a cleaner but this solution eats into your profits.
  • On the surface, income from a self-catering holiday business looks good because of the high weekly rental you can charge. Remember, however, that even in the most popular locations, bookings can be seasonal and your property may be empty for a third or more of the year. 

A self-catering holiday business: the right choice?

Most importantly, do your sums to find out whether it will really benefit you financially. It is much more likely to do so if you own the property outright. Otherwise, mortgage payments on top of utility bills, local rates and insurance can mean that you only just break even. This is fine if you simply want the property to pay its way until you are ready to sell in a rising housing market. But such things are unpredictable.

If you have done your homework very carefully, however, and you feel your circumstances are right for this type of business, it can be an exciting and rewarding undertaking. The boost you feel when guests leave you a message saying ‘Thanks for a fantastic holiday!’ make the effort worthwhile.

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Comments (1)

Thanks for the informative and well written article.