If you are considering selling your pub or licensed trade business, create a roadmap for the sale process, consisting of selecting a business transfer specialist to navigate the sale and putting the finishing measures in place to increase the value of your pub. Having guided your pub to its current commercial position, departing as a company director and business owner marks a milestone for the business entity before it is transferred into new hands. By sourcing a buyer tailor-made for this opportunity, you can ensure a successful sale and secure a future for the business.
Pubs are historically recognised as community cornerstones, offering the likes of beer, wine, spirits and cider when socialising and celebrating. Traditionally representing the identity of the locality and establishing a safe space to discuss local happenings, these values are preserved by pubs to this day. As public houses adapted to introduce substantial meals and a wider variety of drinks, statistics from the British Pub and Beer Association, the trade association for brewers and pub companies, show that there are now over 47,000 pubs across the UK.
As more pubs adapt to modern trends and increase ways to fulfil consumer demand, branching into the creation of innovative products is no longer a novelty. Pubs across the country are delving into providing unique pub foods, showcasing several cuisines across the world. The creation of craft beers suiting multiple dietary requirements, from gluten-free to vegan-friendly, is revitalising the reputation of breweries and attracting new consumers. As pubs embrace family-friendly environments, public houses deemed as ‘adult-only’ are quickly phasing out, making pubs suitable for family occasions, therefore, increasing opportunities to drive value.
Answering when the right time is to sell your pub business, the Selling My Business team are reputable advisors for business owners looking to sell their pub businesses. There may be many reasons for selling your pub, from low footfall, increased market competition to owner retirement. Many business owners form companies with the sole aim to attract income and eventually release funds through a business sale. The route you take to get to this point will typically depend on your level of experience, from enlisting the services of a business transfer agent, a business sale broker or going solo.
When selling a pub, the targeted pool of prospective buyers is likely to be specific as there are many factors which can differentiate one buyer from another, such as preferred tenure, commercial lease length, property, location, turnover and additional ventures. Directing your advertising strategy to pinpoint this group can elevate your chances of sourcing a suitable buyer for your pub, public house, brewery, licensed trade or hospitality business.
At Selling My Business, we offer a free pub business valuation to calculate the value of your establishment. This can be used to refine the advertising strategy for your business sale, helping you target prospective buyers of a suitable calibre and experience level.
The intricacies of the typical timeline when selling a business is likely to vary for each pub as this depends on several mitigating factors such as buyer appetite, market conditions and funding sources, however, here are the series of stages which can be universally applied.
Commencing the sale process, you or your representatives, such as a business sale broker or agent will be responsible for preparing an Information Memorandum. This document provides a concise snapshot of your pub business, summarising key information, such as revenue, company valuation, stock value, property tenure, covers and growth potential. Used as marketing collateral to provide a snapshot of your business and disseminate news of your business sale, it is typically the first move which is made to attract prospective buyers looking to buy a pub business. Prior to disclosing any essential, sensitive information, you may wish to conduct due diligence and enclose a Non-Disclosure Agreement to guarantee sale confidentiality.
To prepare your pub for sale or public house for the sale process, you will be required to collate key documents to evidence the financial position of your pub, such as company accounts, loan agreements and employment contracts. This form of information will typically be reserved for a later stage for the attention of serious, proceedable buyers poised to submit an offer. Settling on a final sale price will require a skilled negotiator, and as the pub owner, you may use publican/tenant discretion to promote the sale and reassure the buyer.
Once the final sale price is confirmed under guidance from a legal or business sale expert, the sales memorandum and contract of sale will be drawn up. A fixture and fittings document will also be finalised which is essentially an inventory for the prospective buyer. The future of employees will also be confirmed during this stage, taking into consideration the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).
"Considering my retirement, I was ready to line-up a buyer for my 15-year-old village pub which had a modest turnover and serious growth potential with the right investor in place. The Selling My Business team secured a suitable buyer with previous brewery experience, helping me get retirement-ready with plenty of time to spare. "
Harrison – Pub and Brewery Owner, Merseyside
If you are interested in selling your pub or licensed trade business, we can offer a free business valuation to help you determine how much your company is worth. We require three years’ worth of recent accounts to begin the valuation process and calculate the worth of your pub. At Selling My Business, we have 100 years’ collective experience in selling businesses, including companies in the licensed trade industry, from pubs, public houses, bars, and breweries.
We can share our collective knowledge on industry trends, buyer appetite and answer – how much is my pub worth? The Selling My Business valuation team will provide an accurate valuation and promote ways on how to make your pub sellable. By valuing your public house, we can identify areas of concern and suggest ways to maximise the value of your pub. Valuing a pub consists of taking into consideration numerous factors, such as:
Property tenure – Is the pub freehold/leasehold? This may be a defining factor which can help you better target prospective buyers. If your pub is freehold, this could represent low company overheads as one of the highest expenses of running a pub is typically the lease. Prospective buyers may wish to find out if there are any covenants for title, e.g. restrictions to redevelopment work. If your pub is leasehold, you will need to specify how much time is remaining and provide the lease terms.
Capital expenditure – Pubs are typically sold as a going concern, so prospective buyers are likely to feel naturally attracted to a business which requires minimal capital expenditure. If your pub requires serious investment to be made from day one of business transfer, this will typically be at the detriment of the final sale price.
Company information – The onus lies on the company director to keep company finances in check and ensure that the relevant paperwork is produced and filed, as set out by HMRC. If a prospective buyer requests information which is made readily available, this paints the image of a well-run business with an efficient operational structure in place. By displaying your business in the best light, you can remove uncertainty from the buying process and make a strong impression which could strongly differentiate your pub against a similar business sale opportunity.
The Selling My Business team will be able to answer your questions concerning how to value a pub and communicate transparently when negotiating with possible buyers. We manage a vast network of industry connections which we have built since our inception in 1956, comprising actively searching buyers in the pub trade. From publican veterans and new entrants, we have a database of prospective buyers with varied experience searching for an ambitious opportunity in the pub sector.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a deep-rooted impact on the pub industry due to the national lockdown which resulted in all trade to halt or scale back. Social distancing measures resulted in reduced capacity and the closure of pubs retracted social interaction and the provision of a safe harbour for regular pub-goers. Publicans were fighting for survival as they entered 2021, flitting between offering a socially distanced service, to offering take-out and delivery-only services.
As this highlighted the importance of contingency planning and called on businesses to understand the importance of rapidly adapting to unexpected trading conditions, publicans and pub tenants crafted innovative ways to continue trading. As Covid-19 resulted in potential buyers to take a step back to mitigate risk and minimise investments due to economic uncertainty, proceedable buyers armed with cash increased their appetite to purchase due to reduced market competition.
As the Covid-19 vaccine programme marks one step closer to normality, buyers with locked away savings or those looking to invest their redundancy pay into a business continue to search for opportune moments to facilitate a quick purchase. The business sale market remains active for those considering - Should I sell my pub during Covid-19?. As financially distressed pubs look to sell their businesses, there is a dedicated market for the sale of pubs with smaller fortunes. By sourcing a buyer with stronger financial backing, this could help restructure and recover your pub, securing an ambitious future.
Selling My Business is a reputable business sale agent with a historic track record dating back to 1956 with demonstrable sales in the pub and licensed trade sector. If you are contemplating how to sell a pub, the Selling My Business team have over 100 years’ collective experience in the industry, offering actionable advice on preparing your pub for sale, maximising value and negotiating with buyers. We will detail the sale options available to you and we never ask for advance payment. As part of our service, our in-house valuation team can also offer a free pub business valuation to help you calculate how much your pub is worth.
Our extensive marketing strategy consists of contacting our existing database of over 10,000 registered buyers actively searching for their next venture. Our business promotion strategy includes promoting your business on a targeted scale to both first-time buyers searching for a prime opportunity to enter the sector and market leaders in the licensed trade industry. Our due diligence processes are rigorous to ensure a safe sale with a genuine and trusted buyer. Get in touch with Selling My Business to claim your free pub valuation and search for a new buyer for your pub or licensed trade business.
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