Start a motel? Here is your startup cost!

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Motels have been around for over a century, and this business model still remains popular with travelers today. According to a report by Hospitality , the global industry for hotels and motels alone totaled 4 billion in 2020. The demand for motel accommodations has increased significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as travelers have decided to stay closer to home, be required to quarantine by regulation wherever they find themselves. Despite the pandemic, imposed regulations and some rising real estate prices – opening a motel is still possible.

If you are considering starting your own motel, the first thing to consider is the costs associated with it. In most cases, it is significantly more expensive than a regular hotel due to its unique operational needs.

From land acquisition to technology and IT support to legal fees, there are several expenses to keep in mind when creating a budget plan. Let’s take a look at what you should expect when opening a motel.


start-up costs

Starting a motel business is an expensive business. Depending on the size and location of the business, start-up costs can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions. Below are the major costs associated with starting a motel business:

Cost Average cost (USD)
Land acquisition ,000 – 0,000
Building construction 0,000 – ,000,000
New furniture ,000 – ,000
Fixtures and equipment ,000 – ,000
License and permit ,000 – ,000
IT technology and support ,000 – ,000
Signage and advertising ,000 – ,000
Assurance ,000 – ,000
Legal and accounting fees ,000 – ,000
Total cost 5,000 – ,495,000

Land acquisition

The cost of purchasing land in order to open a motel can vary greatly depending on the location and the amount of land purchased. In the United States, the average cost of land is around ,900 per acre. For a small motel, with a footprint of around 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, this equates to around ,000 to ,400.

In addition to the cost of the actual land, a motel owner must also consider the cost of land improvements. Improvements could include installing the driveway, connecting the sewer system, connecting the water, and possibly additional landscaping or lighting. Depending on local regulations, there may also be special permits required to open a motel, which could add to the cost of land acquisition.

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When researching the cost of land acquisition, it is important to consider regional prices as they can vary widely. It is also important to consider the size of the portion of land needed, as well as any additional upgrades that may be needed to fit into a motel. In some cases, a motel owner may already own the land, which would naturally reduce the overall cost to open a motel.

Building construction

Building construction involves all the processes involved in constructing a motel from initial deconstruction, site preparation and building planning to the completion of the motel, where contractors and architects take take into account the needs and desires of the client or owner. There are many facets of building construction, and the overall cost of a completed motel will depend on a number of factors. In the United States, according to the Census Bureau’s Benchmark Construction Survey conducted in 2020, construction construction costs had an average cost of 7.81 per square foot and 4,099.71 in materials and construction costs. labor per motel unit.

To begin building a motel, there are a few initial steps that must be taken, including purchasing or leasing the property where the motel will be built, determining any zoning regulations and permits needed, and developing a plan for the building. The overall cost of ownership and permits will vary depending on the size of the property, local regulations and taxes, and site infrastructure such as water and electricity. Once these initial stages are completed, architects, engineers and contractors will be hired to start the construction process.

The total cost of building a motel can range from several thousand to several million dollars, depending on the level of detail and amenities desired. Some factors that can influence the cost of construction include the size of the motel, the types of materials used, and the level of labor required. Generally, larger hotel projects will require more labor and materials, as well as higher quality levels, while smaller projects may reduce some costs. Additionally, the types of materials used will vary, as some materials cost more than others and require different levels of expertise to install.

When purchasing materials, it is important to consider both the quality of the materials and the cost of labor, as they both contribute to the overall cost. Also, in some cases, the cost of materials can be discounted if purchased in bulk. Finally, it’s important to consider ongoing maintenance costs for the motel, as these costs can quickly add up over time.

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Overall, building a motel is a complicated and expensive business, and it’s important to consider all the costs involved before committing to a project. With careful planning and budgeting, however, it is possible to build a motel that meets the needs and desires of owners and guests.

New furniture

When opening or launching a motel, one of the most important expenses to consider is providing the rooms. New furnishings can include furniture, bedding, towels, decorative items, and anything that adds comfort, charm, and appeal to the room. The cost of purchasing these materials will vary greatly, depending on the type of motel being opened, the type of furniture and decor one desires, and the quality of the material.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2019, the average cost of providing a hotel room in the United States was ,232.04 . This cost may be higher or lower, depending on the location and type of hotel.

These costs can include furniture such as beds, nightstands, couches, chairs, desks, and dressers. Depending on the motel, other items such as microwaves, mini crimpers, ironing boards, and other amenities may also be included. Additionally, motel owners can choose to purchase artwork, light fixtures, and curtains.

When choosing furniture, it is important to consider style and quality as these details can affect the overall vibe of the motel. While a lower priced item may be tempting, keep in mind that they are also likely lower quality and may need to be replaced sooner.

For example, a motel may opt for higher quality beds, bedding, towels, and mattresses, which range from 0 to 0 per bed for a queen or king size bed. A sofa or loveseat can cost between 0 and 0 , while a dresser can range from 0 to 0 . Of course, these prices may also vary depending on style, material, size and quality.

Finally, it is also important to consider the cost of installation. This may include delivery and installation costs, as well as the cost of contractors needed to assemble the furniture upon delivery.

Fixtures and equipment

Starting a motel requires not only the funds for the initial purchase of the property and the facility, but also the setup of the fixtures and equipment needed to run it. The cost of accessories and equipment will depend on the size and type of motel established, as well as the quality and quantity of items purchased. Generally, it is generally estimated that the cost of fixtures and equipment for a 50 room motel can range from as low as 0,000 to over 0,000 .

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Fixtures and equipment can include a range of items, such as:

  • Beds, mattresses and pillows
  • Furniture, such as chairs, sofas, and desks
  • Carpets, curtains and other fabrics
  • Televisions and audio/video equipment
  • Appliances, such as refrigerators and microwaves
  • Lamps and other lighting fixtures
  • Kitchen and dinnerware sets
  • Lawn care and landscaping tools

The cost of accessories and equipment can vary greatly depending on the quality and type of items purchased. Additionally, additional costs may arise if certain items need to be installed (such as kitchen appliances or audio/video equipment) or professionally cleaned (such as carpets and furniture). Finally, it is important to consider the cost of maintaining properties over time, such as regular repairs and replacements of furniture, appliances, and other fixtures and fittings.

License and permit

Opening a motel involves various licenses and permits, each with its own cost. License and permit costs vary depending on your location and the type of license required. Below are some of the common costs associated with obtaining the required licensing and permits to start a motel:

  • Business License – Depending on the state and locality, a business license can cost between and 0.
  • Liquor License – License fees for the sale of liquor can range from ,000 to ,000 per year.
  • Food Service License – The cost of a food service license typically ranges from 0 to 0.
  • Fire Inspection Certificate – In some states, including California, a fire inspection certificate could cost you .
  • Health Inspection Certificate – The cost of a health permit usually ranges from to 0.
  • Building permit – A building permit can cost between 0 and ,000 depending on the size and complexity of the job.
  • Sign Permit – A sign permit can cost between and 0.

In addition to state and local fees, there are also miscellaneous fees that you may need to factor into the total cost of opening a motel. These fees may include filing fees for forming a business entity, filing fees for financial disclosures, and fees for professional services such as legal and accounting advice. It’s important to research all of the costs associated with starting a motel in your area before taking the plunge.

IT technology and support

When opening a motel, you will need to consider integrating technology and IT support into your operations. Customers today expect a certain level of convenience, accessibility and security; Your consideration of technology and it will be essential to achieve this. Depending on the size and scope of your operations, the technology and it will require a robust budget and implementation.

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When budgeting for IT technology and support, there are several different aspects to consider. Each has its associated costs, differentiating based on the technology, services, and software you choose to implement.


  • Hardware: From commercial laptops to servers, your hardware will be an upfront cost.
  • Software licenses for your hardware: Depending on the type of hardware, you may need to purchase additional licenses to enable full use of the hardware.

    Software and solutions

  • Solutions for front-desk management: Modern motel operations often use field-specific hotel management software to manage guests, reservations, and room availability
  • Operations Software: Fleet, Inventory and Supply Management Software can be used to manage a range of operations tasks
  • Small Business Software-As-A-Service: Several small business software, such as accounting and analytics software, are available in subscription-based packages
  • IT infrastructure: Virtual private networks, VPN or Internet of Things (IoT) solutions can be used to improve security and other operations

Based on a survey conducted in 2020 and 2021, the average small motel can expect to spend ,000 to ,000 in IT-related costs when launching a motel. The range of costs depends on the size and operations of the motel, as well as the software and hardware solutions chosen.

Acquiring technology and IT support for your motel is an important step in development and operations. The cost ranges from small to large and factors in different hardware and software solutions specific to your motel. Plan accordingly when budgeting for your motel launch.

Signage and advertising

Knowing how much it costs to open/start/launch a motel includes understanding potential costs for signage and advertising your new business. Although it may be tempting to go for maximum impact with your signage, you need to consider cost effectiveness. On average, signs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of sign, size, and materials. It is important to consider the return on investment before making a decision; You want to make sure your signage attracts new customers or visitors, not scares them away.

Advertising is usually a variable cost that you can adjust based on your desired budget. Social media hype can be free, if you’re already connected with a large audience, or it can cost thousands of dollars to build a marketing audience from scratch. Radio and television commercials, newspaper and magazine advertising, and more can range from a few hundred to over thousands of dollars. If you choose to advertise your motel, it is important to ensure that the advertisements reach the right target market.

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According to Statista, in 2019 the average cost of an outdoor billboard for a month in the United States was around US,400. Meanwhile, the average cost of a single 30-second commercial in 2019 on an evening news program in the United States was between US,000 and US,500. Radio commercials cost between seven and twenty-five cents per listener per 30 seconds, depending on the time of day and the size of the audience. Ad footprint campaigns cost between a few hundred thousand dollars per month.

No matter what type of signage or advertising you choose, make sure you have a plan in place to track any leads or sales generated as a result. This will help you adapt and adjust your strategy over time to get the best return on investment.


Opening a motel is an expensive business and getting the right kind of insurance is one of the most important factors in getting the motel started. The cost of insurance varies depending on a variety of factors, including the size and location of your motel, the type of policies you need, and the number of employees you have. According to the latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of insurance for a small business in the hospitality industry is ,902, or 6% of all business expenses.

When it comes to insurance, motel owners should consider the following types of coverage:

  • General Liability: This policy will provide coverage if a third party is injured or their property is damaged on the property.
  • Commercial Property: This policy will provide coverage for any property owned by the motel, such as buildings, equipment, furniture and fixtures.
  • Employment Practices Liability: This policy will provide coverage if an employee claims the motel has violated their rights.
  • Business Interruption: This policy will provide coverage if the motel is unable to open due to an event that is beyond their control, such as a fire or flood.
  • Workers Compensation: This policy will provide coverage if an employee is injured while working at the motel.

Although insurance is an important investment for any business, there are ways to keep it as affordable as possible. Shopping and comparing rates is one way to save. Additionally, opting for a package policy, or bundling several types of coverage together, can often result in a lower premium.

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Legal and accounting fees

Opening a motel will involve a variety of legal and accounting costs. Depending on the complexity of the individual’s situation, fees paid to lawyers, accountants and other consultants can add up quickly. For example, a Motel 6 franchise operator in the United States can expect to pay ,000 to ,000 for legal fees. And that doesn’t include registrations and other fees, which can be up to ,000 more.

States, counties and/or municipalities may impose additional fees. For example, in California, for example, operators would have to purchase a C18 hotel license for a fee of 0. The license cost is technically structured as an annual fee but is usually assessed as an upfront, upfront cost.

In addition to attorneys and registration fees, potential motel operators should consider the cost of hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A CPA will help you better understand the financial side of motel ownership, help with taxes and advice on budgeting. For example, the average hourly rate for a CPA in the United States is 8>

  • Hourly rate – In the United States, you can expect to pay an average of 8 per hour.
  • Attorney fees – It usually costs between ,000 and ,000 for legal fees.
  • Listings – There may be additional listings and other fees, for example, in California, for example, operators would need to purchase a C18 hotel license for a 0 fee.

These figures do not take into account additional costs such as insurance, marketing or technical services.


Opening a motel is a major investment, but it can be very profitable and necessary for travelers – especially during the pandemic. According to HospitalityNet’s report, investment in hotels and motels continues to be successful, with the global industry totaling 4 billion in 2020.

To give a ballpark figure, expect to invest around 0,000 to .5 million to start a motel. Of course, the actual cost is based on several factors, such as location, type of motel, land acquisition costs, etc. This is why it is important to plan carefully and take into account the various expenses mentioned in this article. If you’re up for the challenge, owning and operating a motel can be a very satisfying and lucrative business venture.