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Boarding House

Have you considered opening a Boarding House? Does your home (or real estate) have several bedrooms with good bathroom facilities? Is it close to public transportation or in a terrific location?

One of the small home business ideas for home owners is to rent a room to others and put your home to work making you money. As a home owner, you can provide accommodations to individuals and/or couples for multiple nights and extended periods (e.g. weekly or monthly).

In a Boarding House arrangement the common areas (living, dining, TV room) of the house are usually available to everyone staying at the house. A private bedroom is provided for your boarder with at least some of their meals provided (this can be all three meals, breakfast only, or just dinner in the evening) depending on how you structure your business and the amount you wish to charge.

In addition to renting the room and providing meals, you may want to provide additional services such as laundry, cleaning, hot tub, pool privileges, internet/cable, etc.

With these extra services you can either charge an extra fee for use or provide them to all of your boarders regardless of use and charge a higher fee per night with the addition of these services.

Of course if you’re interested in running a Boarding House, you’ll need a decent size home to accommodate your boarders and consider how the accommodations will work in your house. It may be possible to barter with some of your boarders exchanging a room for cooking, cleaning, or repairs/maintenance.

Boarding House Business Idea

Your boarders only have the legal right to use the room you rent to them and you retain all rights and access to your home – make sure to work with your attorney on a good agreement between you and your boarders.

Niche Notes!!

1) Specialize in boarders with specific interests (e.g. music, hobbies) or from a specific geographic area,

2) Open your house to younger people or students if close to a university.

3) Have bikes available for rent (on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis) for your boarders or add bicycle repair services.

4) Offer sports equipment for rent on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis for entertainment.

5) Provide internet service, cable television, or electronic games for rent (or use to justify a higher price for your rooms.

6) how about being a pet boarder housing pets while their owners are away.

7) Instead of a boarding house, offer a bed and breakfast for travelers to your local area.

Starting a Boarding House -- What's It Take?


  • Interest in meeting different people
  • Cooking Skills
  • Housekeeping Skills
  • Handyperson Skills
  • Organization Skills

Resources: Your Boarding House should have a good central location on a bus route or close to a city center. The house needs separate bedrooms (consider placing individual locks on doors), a small amount of furniture in each private room, appropriate bathroom accommodations, and a kitchen large enough for food preparation. Extra amenities are nice, but not required (e.g. hot tub, sauna, patio/deck, views, water features, and walking trails).

Time Required: 5-15 hrs/week; can work full-time 30-40+ hrs/week

Training: Skill in dealing with people, housekeeping, cooking. Learn about required repairs and maintenance to your property -- check with local home repair stores or your local community college for courses. Scheduling software may be useful if you’ll provide short-term stays.

Market: Travelers and/or Individual Boarders

Home Based: Yes

Internet: No.

Location: Local

Start-Up Costs: $500 - $5,000 (assumes you own the real estate)

Minimizing Start-Up Costs: Use of your house including common living areas provided to all of your boarders and bedrooms for private space. Provide simple furnishings and decoration (check thrift stores) which may get more use if boarders turn over often. For meals use simple and filling ingredients including fruits/vegetables from your garden to reduce food costs. Look for “freeware” or “shareware” to meet your room scheduling requirements. Use food from your garden in your meals or buy in larger quantities at discount stores.

Business Ideas . . .

Pet Business Ideas . . .

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