The Business of Owning a Cabin- Introduction

This article is the introduction to a series on the business side of owning a Cabin. It is important that a Rental Cabin Owner realizes that they are in essence buying a business and all of the perks and caveats that come along with being a business owner apply. Owning a Cabin (Real Estate) and a business is an exciting proposition because both are key components in many wealth building strategies. 

First things first. What is a business? 

Wikipedia says that “Business is an activity of making one’s living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is any activity or enterprise entered into for profit.”

Ah Yes, those last two words, “for profit” how important they are. I can personally attest to the fact that you can work your rear end off or spend loads of money and not make a financial profit. 

Business Coach Tony Bass takes a classic business quote from Peter Drucker and adds a small business approach. He says that “Running a business is creating and keeping a customer while making a desired profit.” He adds this because small businesses often do not have the luxury of building cash reserves by selling stocks or having numerous investors to help them cash flow up front.

Profit however can be an interesting thing. 

If we look at the Merriam Webster Dictionary the first definition is: “A valuable return: GAIN.”

Let us understand that not every gain or valuable return is dollars. I speak from experience when I say that in the first several years of business the gains I made were more in the experience column than in the financial. I run the risk of sounding arrogant, so believe me this is not arrogance speaking it is thankfulness. In 2012 I started a lawn care business as did my Neighbor. His business took off, he had lots of accounts and was buying some very nice brand spanking new equipment. I on the other hand was struggling financially. I remember looking over our finances for the first year in business and realizing that after working tirelessly we grossed less than $10,000. Boy, was I disappointed! However, that made me realize that I needed help. I began searching for assistance and found business coach Tony Bass; what a gain that turned out to be! What I lost in the area of finances he helped me make up for with education that turned into experience. The next year we did better educationally and financially and we have grown steadily ever since. I am sorry to say that my neighbor ended up losing his business and his house. He is a really good guy and I am not saying that I am better than him but He made a classic business mistake and it cost him dearly. He assumed that his growth would continue indefinitely and he overspent losing his business due to a lack of cash flow. We see from this illustration that gain is more than financial, but you will quickly need to turn that gain into financial profit if you want to stay in business.

The 5 M’s.

In this series, The Business of Owning a Cabin,  we will attempt to introduce some areas where you will need to make gains educationally so that you can see financial profits sooner. To make these topics easier to remember we created what we call the five M’s and they are listed below followed by a brief explanation. Each of these topics has been addressed in stand alone articles that are posted separately, but each is introduced here with a very short introduction:

  • Mindset
  • Mastering Systems
  • Management
  • Maintenance
  • Money/ Finances

1. Mindset

Why did you buy your Cabin? Is this a second home or and investment property? Do you intend to create rental income or hope for property appreciation? Do you simply enjoy the mountain life? Owning a Cabin can be very rewarding when you have a purposeful mindset. (For more background on this topic see the article Cabin- Vacation or Rental.)

2. Mastering Systems

Systems are what make a business run. Using systems is most likely the biggest difference between success and failure in business.


3. Management

Proper Management saves the day by utilizing their expertise.

4. Maintenance

Understanding what it takes to keep your asset functioning properly.

5. Money/Finances  

In short, having enough makes things easier, not having enough makes things much harder. 


If you would like to learn more about the 5 M’s and how to improve and employ them then read further into our Business of Owning a Cabin series

It is my wish that every Cabin Owner will enjoy owning a piece of the Smoky Mountains and grow to love them as much as I do. Hopefully the ideas introduced here and in my other writings will assist you to that end. 

John D. Suttles      C: 865-724-8402

Marty Loveday and Associates 130 Maryville HWY Seymour, TN 37865   O # 865-573-9444

If you are reading this article you may be in need of help with other problems on your property, for more information download my free 10 page book on the website  or purchase The Smoky Mtn. Cabin Owner’s Manual- a $20 value for under $10.

About the Author:

John operates Cardinal Custom Lawn Property Maintenance Solutions,, which maintains Mtn. properties inside and out. He serves as a Realtor with Marty Loveday and Associates, where he uses his knowledge to assist those in the Cabin industry (He is constantly looking for qualified listings to take to Market), and he authored The Smoky Mtn. Cabin Owners’s Manual where he offers his experience in Cabin rentals, maintenance and market to those who want to prosper with Cabins.