Every weed smoker is familiar with the cycle: you get high, you come up with a brilliant get-rich-quick scheme, but instead of developing it into a business plan you eat a bag of Doritos and watch the new Dave Chapelle special. But what if you followed through? Or even better: what if your idea was already tried-and-true and licensing was already available?
Joel Schneider, a former lawyer from New York, became an entrepreneur in 2014 when he launched America’s first Bud and Breakfast in Colorado.
Complete with jacuzzi style tubs, rustic fireplaces, bongs of all shapes and sizes, edibles and luxury style beds to melt into after you eat them, Schneider’s bud and breakfast has gone from a weed-induced day-dream to a million-dollar-per-year business.
Schneider started his venture with $100,000 but believes it’s possible to launch with just $30,000 to 40,000 dollars. According to Schneider, that should be enough to cover first and last months rent, furniture, minor renovations, a website and a few staff members until you start generating revenue. Better yet, start a joint-venture with a few friends to split the costs and reduce the need for outside staff members.
The beauty of this type of niche hotel is that aside from a novelty experience, entrepreneurs can sell products that are guaranteed to interest guests.
How much do you stand to make from this venture?
Schneider is currently banking about one million dollars of yearly revenue.
At that rate, you could theoretically make back your start-up costs in less than two weeks.
Running a successful bud and breakfast is more than just deploying clever weed-puns and watching the clientele roll in—you’ll need to establish a setting that is worth paying between $149 and $399 per night to smoke in. Schneider’s secret weapons were simple: video games, jacuzzis, flat-screens, lazy-boy recliners and bowls of munchies available at every turn.
Still, one of the main attractions, according to Schneider, is the communal nature of a bud and breakfast.“What we’ve learned is that, as the cannabis culture is very communal, our guests love to share,” Schneider tells Entrepreneur. “You don’t pass a cocktail around. You pass a joint. That’s what makes us unique. No one is locked in their room smoking alone and feeling paranoid. They’re enjoying marijuana in a safe haven the way it was meant to be enjoyed — together.”
One of the advantages of working in the cannabis industry is its idyllic clientele. Hotels are typically a haven for shitty customers—just think of all the famous songs about chandelier-swinging and hotel trashing. In a bud and breakfast, however, your customers are less likely to swing from the chandeliers than they are to get high and engage in a couch-locked Space Jam marathon.
One who doesn’t regularly smoke weed could argue that it’s easy enough to spark a joint down the street from your hotel. But let’s imagine. Your flat in New York is piss-scented and infested with those creepy house centipede things, but tonight, you’re a guest of the Grand Connard Hotel.
Showered and shaved, you slide on down to the bar for a drink to kick the night off, except, wait a minute—they don’t have a bar. Odd, but not the end of the world—you’ll just hit the liquor store for a six-pack to drink while watching some free cable in your room. But when you get back, the concierge stops you: “you can’t drink that in here, sir.” He points to an alleyway down the street—maybe you can drink it there, he suggests. Out of a paper bag.
You wouldn’t want to stay in that hotel, and neither do weed smokers.
Now imagine nearly every hotel in America ran on this alcohol-free model, but you had the opportunity to open one of the first alcohol-friendly hotel chains in the country. How long do you think it would take before you became President?