We received so many comments for articles on how to start a homestay business in Canada. There are currently over 200,000 international students studying in Canada and the number is increasing. In fact, the Canadian government is increasing efforts to bring in even more international students in Canada. According to an article in CBC:
“The International Education Strategy aims to double the number of international students and researchers — to 450,000 — in Canada by 2022 in an effort to create jobs and stimulate the domestic economy. Canadian full-time undergraduate students pay an average of $5,700 in tuition every year. International students, meanwhile, can pay three times that amount — or an average of $19,500 every year. The government estimates that recruiting more international students could generate some 86,000 new jobs in Canada and add an additional $10 billion to the domestic economy each year.”
These international students need a place to stay, and thus the demand for homestay businesses who can supply comfortable rooms at reasonable rates and pleasant environment for students. Here are some tips:
1. Start with deciding on a business structure. Do you want to have a sole proprietorshop, partnership or corporation? Each structure has its own pros and cons. A homestay business is just like any other business, you need to have a plan.
2. Think about your target market. Who are you trying to target? Students from a particular school, or a particular country? Identifying your target market makes it easier to focus on where to advertise or network to spread the word around.
3. Prepare a marketing plan How will you let potential students know about your business? Will you have a website? Will be have a flyer? Do you have an email address for clients to reach you? Do you send information to the school, community or your church? Do you have sales people who can help you scout for clients.
4. Map out your logistics? Do you provide three meals a day? or breakfast and dinner only? Do you provide a bag lunch? Do you have a curfew? Do you provide kitchen facilities?
5. Set up your rules and regulations? Are the students responsible in throwing out the garbage in their room? What is your standard of cleanliness? Can they bring friends to stay overnight? When is the rent payment due? How much is your security deposit?
6. Get all the forms necessary for your students to sign. This may include a personal information sheet, with emergency contact numbers, a rental agreement specifying the duration of the rent, and the penalties for breaking the rental agreement.
Having a good plan will eliminate many of the headaches that may potentially happen. Remember that the student is new to the country, and does not know how to behave in a new place, so it is up to you to set up the rules and orient them properly.