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  1. #1
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    Default Info on starting a hostel

    Would anyone be able to provide me any information on starting a hostel in NH? I'm in the VERY early stages but it's something I've thought about for awhile and want to see if it's feasible. It would be close to the AT and Ski Areas so able to be open year round. I do not have the house yet- but own one that I could sell or rent to help pay for a new house.

    someone wanted me to pay him $100 to let me know if I can afford this or not- but I'm hoping to avoid this fee unless I know I can pursue it!

    You can send me a pm if you have any information or can direct me to someone that might also.

    Thanks in Advance.

    Kathy

  2. #2
    mountain squid's Avatar
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    Hi Kathy,

    Have you ever been a caretaker at a hostel before? I wouldn't even consider it unless you have spent time as a caretaker at an established hostel already. I don't know about skiers but hikers are VERY demanding. There is certainly a difference between being a hiker at a hostel for a night or two and being a hostel owner 24/7, 365 days a yr.

    Would highly suggest helping out at a hostel next year when the hikers are coming thru for a month or so. You'll gather alot of personal experience. Which will probably help you in deciding the feasibility of such a venture.

    If, after your caretaking experience, you are still interested, you'll have a better idea of what types of services you would like to provide.

    (And, yes, I've helped out at several hostels on the trail before and see the owner of one of the more popular hostels about once a week and get to hear his stories . . . )

    Good Luck (you'll need it)!

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

    how to hike

  3. #3

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    If you need the income from paying guests to swing this, I'd say you can't afford it. If you expect to make a living running a hostel, you might, but probably not.

    If your retired, own the property outright in the right location and have a garage or barn which can be converted to a bunk house without much effort or expence, then starting a hostel is likely not a bad idea. It will bring in some extra income and you get to meet all kinds of interesting people.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
    Registered User Sir-Packs-Alot's Avatar
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    I've been looking into starting a hostel down here in GA for the last several months - and I still am. The one thing I'd have to say from talking to all the hostel owners (especially a very long conversation with "Miss Janet" Hensley) ... "there must be a special place in heaven for hostel owner / operators" ... do it strictly for the love of it - knowing that it may ALWAYS lose money ... if you are ok with that - there will be no surprises. ALSO - once you start your hostel - that is your life now. Like a priest or nun being married to God & church - you are now married to the trail and it's culture ... for better (and ocasionally) for worse. Good luck !

  5. #5
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    The first red flag I see first is that you pretty much are saying that you don't have the experience / knowledge to know whether or not it is a viable plan; and second, that you're balking a pretty small $100 fee which I assume is for a financial feasibility analysis or something of the like. You've got loads of issues to address starting a new hostel or any business - acquisition costs, zoning, lodging standards (including ADA if applicable), fire and life safety, business permits/license, insurance, professional services (legal / accounting). New England is loaded with small B&B's and inns, most of which don't really turn a profit when the capitalization costs and owner's labor is factored in. And I would bet hostels aren't much different. Talk to some local hostel / inn / B&B owners. It's a tough business.

  6. #6
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    I strongly urge you not to pay anyone for the information. I do not believe that there is any viable business model that will supply an income from servicing hikers or thruhikers unless there is another much larger cash stream. If you do run it as a business, you have to follow building codes and also get appropriate zoning permits which can be tough even in rural towns. Unfortunately, you have to follow the same codes as if you are running a B&B or a hotel. If you run a "back of the garage operation", you risk whatever assets you have when something bad happens, like a hiker gets hurt on your property. Some folks try the mandatory "donation" method of trying to avoid liability but it rarely works.

    As an example in the north country, the four hostels north of the whites are all businesses that have other income streams. The Barn in Gorham is a B&B owned by a doctor and is for sale every few years, I woudl consider this a hobby business and possible tax write off. Hikers Paradise is a older motor inn with cabins (and is actively for sale), The White Birches is a campground that has a hikers room up in their office building and the White Mountain B&B in Shelburne is a B&B with a hikers room. I expect all four treat any income from AT hikers as a slight bonus with some subsidiary income from people who might stay there because there are thru hikers there.

    At a minimum go visit the hostels in the area and consider working for them during the thru hiker rush as a learning experience.

  7. #7
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    I've always thought a "mobile hostel" service would be a big hit. Just buy a big RV and set-up near the trail at various times during the thru-hike season.

    Call it the "Mango, Tango, Fandango Mobile Hostel Service".

  8. #8

    Default follow your heart

    Have you had good financial sense all your life? If not, pay the experts to help plan out the expenses.

    My advice to you is.... listen to all of the advice but follow your heart.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    I've always thought a "mobile hostel" service would be a big hit. Just buy a big RV and set-up near the trail at various times during the thru-hike season.

    Call it the "Mango, Tango, Fandango Mobile Hostel Service".
    Does "Miss Janet" meet you at every trail town?

    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    Does "Miss Janet" meet you at every trail town?

    Sure! Think I could get Baltimore Jack to drive the thing around?

  11. #11
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    I've always thought a "mobile hostel" service would be a big hit. Just buy a big RV and set-up near the trail at various times during the thru-hike season.

    Call it the "Mango, Tango, Fandango Mobile Hostel Service".
    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    Does "Miss Janet" meet you at every trail town?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    Sure! Think I could get Baltimore Jack to drive the thing around?
    I thought all that was pretty much Warren Doyle's gig.

  12. #12
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    Lots of good advice posted here.

    Although hostels come and go, the only glaring need in New Hampshire is in Hanover.

    Glad to offer what assistance I can.....PM sent.
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

    Green Mountain House Hostel
    Manchester Center, VT

    http://www.greenmountainhouse.net

  13. #13
    http://www.facebook.com/themissjanet Miss Janet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    Does "Miss Janet" meet you at every trail town?

    Sorry folks, this years Miss Janets New England Hiker Support Extravaganza was a once in a life time experience... for ME! I sure would never expect to get to help as many hikers in the beautiful northern end of the trail again any time soon.

  14. #14
    http://www.facebook.com/themissjanet Miss Janet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    Sure! Think I could get Baltimore Jack to drive the thing around?
    ... anyone who actually knows Baltimore Jack knows 2 important things that pertain to this thread... 1. Jack does not drive! 2. ANY road trip with me and Jack in the same vehicle has a destination and reasonable amount of driving time to get there... otherwise I would propably have to go ahead and kill him! We may be friends but we do not play well together and never have.

  15. #15
    Registered User danger zone's Avatar
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    Now that's just shocking Miss Janet....btw, hello from Danger Zone

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