It feels as if pubs are becoming an endangered species in the UK, with current figures by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) claiming that the first six months of 2018 saw the closure of 476 pubs – a rate of around 18 a week.
Nevertheless, although pubs no longer proliferate in the way they did 50 years ago, there are still plenty of exciting opportunities for buyers with the drive and determination to build a profitable business. It’s a pretty diverse category, with licensed businesses to suit every level of aspiration, budget and niche but before you start searching for pubs for sale, consider first whether you want to enter into a pub tenancy (usually renting from a pubco or brewery), buy a leasehold (with a brewery tie) or purchase your pub outright on a freehold basis. A freehold pub will be more expensive to buy but you’ll also have more freedom over what you sell and how much you charge.
You should have some experience of working in a bar or pub before buying one and even when purchasing an existing venture, you will need a personal licence in order to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. Running a pub is very much a lifestyle business: you’ll have the advantage of being your own boss and working in a social environment that’s usually at the heart of your local community. It’s a big commitment, but it can be fun, profitable, and rewarding, if you're well prepared and work hard.
When you’re ready to search for pubs for sale, make sure you do your homework. Perform an online search for customer reviews and see how it fares with the public. Find out what the wet/dry business and look at how profits can be maximised – could you serve more covers, for example? Does the pub have rooms to let? If so, are there any opportunities to extend this aspect of the business?