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How to Sell a Pub

We give you the information that you need to sell your pub.

Many pub owners, after many years of running their businesses, get quite attached to it. No wonder this is the case as, if you have been the owner of a pub, you will have spent many long hours there getting to know your customers and putting all your time and effort into making it the perfect drinking spot for the people who frequent it.

Because of this, it is really important that you think long and hard about when the right time to sell will be. You will also need to make sure that you are able to find the right buyer to take it over.

This article will help you through the selling process from beginning to end.


Preparing your business for sale Sell Your Business

There are a few things that cause problems with the sale of a pub. One of these problems could arise if you are the tenant in a leased pub as you will need to make sure that you have the written consent before you progress with the sale. This will help to avoid any roadblocks down the line.

Make sure, no matter if it is a freehold or leasehold, that the employment contracts with your staff are up to date. 

The buyer will want to know how many full-time members of staff you have and, in general, the legal terms of employment will state that no staff member should lose any money or rights because the business was sold.

Re-training your staff so that they will be a real asset to any potential buyer will be a great investment as you are preparing to sell.

It can easy to let a few things slip over the years of running a pub but, if you want to secure top dollar for the sale of your business, investing in new fittings or updating the crockery or glasses might make your pub even more attractive to potential buyers.

Spirits Bar

Business valuation, how much is your pub worth? 

Any serious buyer will want to have information about the kind of business that they are buying. Have a record of the number of covers that you are serving a day and, if you have been serving food, the difference in profit that is generated through food as compared to drinks.

This information, known as the wet/dry split will give the buyer a better idea of the kind of profit margins that they can expect because taxes that are put on alcohol will have to be paid on the ‘wet’ sales.

Getting the help of an accountant that has experience in valuing pubs so that they can help you to value, not only the assets of the pub but also the goodwill that your business has accumulated.

They will also need to find out what kind of ongoing maintenance costs your establishment has and explore the freehold or tenancy status of your pub.

Glasses in a bar

Closing the deal

There should be several things about your pub that draw your customers in, identify what these are and make sure you promote them when you are selling your business.

Your unique selling point (USP) could be anything from your great food to your selection of local craft beers and if a potential buyer can immediately identify what it is, they will be more interested in buying the pub. 

The thing that makes your pub ‘special’ will also be an indication as to who your buyer will be so when you are listing your business for sale, make sure you clearly point out what this is.

You might decide to use a broker to sell your pub. If you do, it is a good idea to get someone who has experience selling pub. The sales process can be different from that of other businesses and so you will want to make sure anyone you hire knows the ins and outs of selling a pub.

Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.