How to buy a pub: a beginner's guide

Running a pub is no easy task. Just ask anyone who works behind a bar. But if you’re convinced that a publican’s life really is right for you, how do you go about buying premises? Here are our top tips for buying and running a successful pub.

Research your target market

You might already have your eye on a pub, but is it the right one? Get to know the area. Visit the competitors and make a note of what they do well and what they could improve upon. Talk to local people about the pubs they visit regularly and why, as well as the ones they never set foot in. This way you can gain an insight into what the local market wants and needs – which may be two different things.

Plan your business strategy

Think about what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. You will need to consider potential costs of wet products (beer, wine, spirits) and dry products (nuts, crisps) products, as well as associated fees such as business rates, accountants' fees and leasing third party items.

Arrange several viewings

Is the pub just what you are looking for or will it need investment to suit your style of trading? If so, how much? Take lots of photos on your first visit and, if the property is of interest, arrange a second viewing. This is a process not to be hurried.

Make an offer and agree terms

When making an offer, it must always be in writing either by letter, email or fax.

Include proof of funding, your timescales and any conditions you want to apply, such as subject to survey or subject to planning being granted.

Carry out a valuation

If you’re purchasing the property using finance, you will be required to get a valuation carried out on the property for loan security. Your lender will be able to obtain quotes on your behalf.

Instruct a specialist solicitor to act on your behalf

You will need a solicitor to carry out the legal paperwork for the transaction, preferably someone used to dealing with public house transactions. Your agent will be able to recommend a solicitor with the necessary experience.

Complete the sale and run your business

You're now the owner of a pub, so start trading!

Further information

Savills Licensed Leisure has extensive experience of the sale and acquisition of pubs throughout the UK and can provide consultancy advice on your target market.

SPF Private Clients can provide financial advice and look to arrange funding on your behalf should this be required.

View our list of available opportunities.


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