What is a Hosting Company?
It is important to start with a clear understanding of what “accommodation companies” in Victoria are and are not. The legal definition comes from the Public Health and Welfare Regulations 2009 (PDF 439.59 KB).
The businesses covered by the Prescribed Accommodation Regulations are:
- guest rooms for more than five people
- hotels and motels
- bed and breakfast and charming hotels
- independent accommodation
- farm stays
Businesses not covered by the Prescribed Accommodation Regulations are:
- caravan parks
- public hospitals and nursing homes
- retirement villages
- rooms that can accommodate five people or less
Coming to your decision
The decision to start a hosting business requires careful consideration of the type of property you intend to develop.
- What type of housing do you want to develop? (e.g. resort, boutique motel, B&B, budget accommodation)
- Who are your competitors ?
- How will your property be significantly different from other accommodation providers in your area?
- How much will the operation realistically cost to set up and how much money do you have available to invest in the business?
- Can you get affordable insurance coverage to run the business?
- Could you cover operating costs from other sources of income or savings until the business breaks even, typically two to three years?
- What types of customers will be attracted to your property?
- Are customers easily accessible?
- Are there enough customers to support your business?
- Where and how will you find your customers?
- What knowledge and what budget do you have to market your home?
- Will your accommodation property represent quality and value for money?
Meet government requirements
Your main local, state and federal government requirements are:
Apply for a planning permit
To create a new business, undertake a land or property development or change the destination of a property, the first step is to apply for a planning permit from your town hall. The town planning permit certifies that the town hall has given you authorization to develop your property.
Apply for a building permit
If your development involves the construction, demolition, alteration or expansion of a building, you will likely need planning permission. This can be issued either by your local council building inspector or by a private registered building surveyor.
The building permit gives the permission of the surveyor for the continuation of the construction work and guarantees that the building regulations are respected. If you are unsure whether you need a building permit, contact either your local municipal building department or the registered private building surveyor of your choice.
Registration with your town hall
- Registration of prescribed accommodations – Under the provisions of the Public Health and Welfare Regulations 2009, an accommodation business will need to apply to register with their local council. The application must include a site plan, drawn to a scale of at least 1:100, showing the intended use of each room.
- Food Premises Registration – Under the Victorian Food Act 1984, an accommodation business that provides food must also obtain a food premises registration from its local council. Contact an environmental health officer from your council’s health department who will guide you through the registration process and ensure that you comply with state and federal legal obligations.
Other Licenses, Registrations and Permits
Any other licenses required will depend on the activities to be included in your business operations.
For example, if you own a motel with a restaurant, you will likely need to:
Make your job easier by using ABLIS
The easiest way to identify the range of licenses, registrations and permits you will need is to use the Australian Business Licensing Information Service (ABLIS).
ABLIS will create a report of your relevant licenses, application forms for these licenses and details of the authorities you will need to contact.
Insure your business
In addition to insuring your premises and property, the following additional insurances can be essential for accommodation companies:
- Liability of at least $10 million to cover guests and paying visitors.
- Product liability to cover prepared foods or other products offered to customers.
- Auto insurance if your vehicle is used for business purposes.
- Bodily injury and/or income protection, especially if WorkCover is not applicable to your business. Personal injury and income protection is often underwritten by sole traders and partnerships.