While homesteaders enjoy farming and may make a living off of it, there are ways you can rent out your property to earn extra cash. Homesteaders are starting to make their way into the world of weddings for this very reason. There will always be a demand for wedding locations, so if you feel like your homestead would be a great place for a happily ever after to happen, you could put your place on the market, too.
Before you start advertising to brides and wedding planners, read on to learn four steps you should take when turning your homestead into a wedding venue.
1. Check Local Laws
So many people are starting their own businesses now that it may seem like you can start one up in an afternoon. The reality is, it’s more complicated than it seems. Like any chain business that needs to build a store on the corner of your town, you’ll have to check local laws to make sure everything you’re doing is legal.
Region-specific laws exist to regulate the different markets that may pop up in certain areas. You’ll want to call your local and regional town hall to see what ordinances you have to pay attention to. You’ll probably have to pay fees and apply for permits to be able to legally call your rental space a business and get it ready for taxes.
You also should look at the zoning laws where your rental property is. If your homestead is where you live, then it was most likely zoned as a residential area. That means home-based businesses could be outlawed in that area. In that case, you’d need to find a commercial plot of land and build your wedding venue from scratch there.
The safest and easiest way to handle the zoning regulations, taxes and permits side of starting your own business is to contact local authorities and ask who you can speak to. They’ll guide you to the right person to handle your questions, so you don’t ever have to doubt that your business is in good standing with these governing bodies.
2. Choose the Right Professionals
The next thing any smart business owner should do is hire the right professionals to get your business off the ground. Consider what you need for a wedding venue. Does your homestead have a barn? Is there a sheltered outdoor area for dining? Where will everyone park?
Prepare for the immediate things guests will need and the ones they won’t think about. Guests won’t ask if you’ve done regular inspections on your property for fine maintenance details, because they’ll assume a business already knows to do that. One repair that renters may forget to check is the quality of their roof. Not only does it need to look good for pictures — it needs to be safe for guests to be under.
Take your time when you look for a good roofing contractor. Make sure they know their stuff before they come out to your property. Ask if they’ve worked with rental structures like yours before. Professionals will guarantee your place is ready for wedding guests before you ever start putting out ads.
3. Double Check the Math
If you’re going through the steps of applying for permits, paying fees and hiring professionals to help shape up and secure your homestead, you need to do some math to make sure you’ll make a profit. If you spend $20,000 in renovations and fees, how many weddings will it take to make that money back? Will you be able to book them fast enough to turn the money around quickly?
Be sure to prepare yourself in case it takes a wedding season or two to make your money back and actually start earning a profit. Businesses rarely start booming overnight. It’ll take personal connections and word of mouth recommendations to earn clients and build your reputation.
4. Come Up With a Contract
When a bridal party signs for a traditional wedding venue, they go over a contract that states what they are and aren’t responsible for. The vendor will go into specifics, like rules regarding alcohol, food, the maximum number of guests allowed and more. Will you allow fireworks or sparklers on your property? Can pets be part of a wedding on your homestead?
If you know anyone who rents a vacation home to tenants or also runs a wedding venue business, now’s the time to make a phone call. See what they list in their contracts to give you a better idea of what to look out for with future weddings. A lawyer who specializes in rental properties will also be a great investment for your business. They can fine-tune your final contract draft so you’re protected from any accidents, mishaps or misunderstandings.
You may have been inspired to start your business because you want to help people have the happiest day of their lives, but it’s not all dreams and fairy tales when you’re starting your own business. When you’re going to rent out your homestead to more than just a family member or a friend getting married, you have to think like a business owner. These four steps will be critical to getting your investments circulating, so you can start making a profit while running a business you love right from your own home.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!