First Stop – Consult your Council
You should make appointments with the appropriate officers at your local council because they are the regulators of businesses in your locality. The council is responsible for businesses complying with state laws and council by-laws in areas such as planning permits, building permits, business registration, food safety, electrical safety, fire safety, road and property signage and testing of water tanks in country areas. Businesses that do not comply with these regulations can incur fines and breaches may also jeopardize any insurance claim. If your business is to be conducted in your own residence your council’s Building Surveyor may require you to apply for a reclassification of the building from a 1a to a 1b.

Once you have established that you can go ahead with your planned business, you are invited to apply for Associate Membership of Hosted Accommodation Australia and this will entitle you to all the benefits of full membership except for a listing on our consumer website. You will be able to access the discounts and savings available through our Buyers Guide, post messages on the blog and use the office hotline for any queries you may have.

Developing a Bed and Breakfast

Before you invest one dollar in developing a bed and breakfast, you need to research carefully what you need to spend and what will be of most value to you. HAA’s A Guide to Establishing and Managing an Accommodation Business has been written by experienced operators. It will save you many hours of research and will act as a handbook for future reference. Written in three sections the Guide covers:

  1. The Tourism Industry in Australia (details of the various organisations that make up the industry)
  2. Mandatory licensing, compliance and other requirements
  3. Setting up and operating your business
  4. Setting up your accommodation
  5. Tariff setting, booking enquiries, guest registration
  6. Deposits and cancellation policies
  7. Marketing and Promotions

Bed and Breakfast Courses

HAA recommends two courses that are specifically designed for the Australian B&B industry. Both are run by experienced B&B personnel.

South Australia

Starting Up and Running a Bed & Breakfast. An eight hour course provided though the Workers Education Association (WEA), Adelaide. Various dates throughout the year are listed in the WEA course guide. Discover some of the benefits and pitfalls of this fast growing industry from an experienced operator and member of the South Australian Division of HAA. The course fee includes HAA’s handbook A Guide to Establishing and Managing an Accommodation Business.


Running a Bed & Breakfast. This is a six hour course at the Centre for Adult Education in Melbourne. The course covers all aspects of establishing and maintaining a B&B, from compliance and licensing to maximising your marketing opportunities. The course fee includes HAA’s handbook A Guide to Establishing and Managing and Accommodation Business.

You must carry insurance suitable to the conduct of your business and should consider other professional insurances such as loss of income, etc. Discuss this with your broker but be aware that Bed & Breakfast insurance is a specialized field and not all insurance underwriters will provide it. Hosted Accommodation Australia has developed a list of insurance providers which is available to our Associate and Full Members upon request.

Buying a Bed & Breakfast Business
If you intend to buy a going concern you will need to review the income and expenditure accounts for the past three years (if the business has been in operation for that long) and compare them with the books of accounts. This may necessitate an independent accountant’s report for which you will pay a fee. Goodwill can be contentious and its worth to you should be carefully considered. Check the Business for Sale section for any businesses for sale.

Suppliers to the Bed & Breakfast Industry
Associate and Full Members of HAA can check the Suppliers Listings on our website for services such as website development, online booking service, insurance, credit card merchant facilities, guest amenities and other hospitality suppliers.