Checklist For Applying To Run A Pub

run a pub, pub tenancy, apply
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 17/07/2017 - 10:00

If you want to run a pub and think you’re now ready to apply to a brewery or pub company, what key things do you need to have in place? Below we outline what you need to think about before applying, the documentation and other things you’ll need to have, and what you’ll also need to do to find the right pub.

Are You Ready To Apply To Run A Pub?

If you’re reading this article no doubt you’ve given the idea of running a pub a lot of thought. You may also have spoken to our team or other pub operators about taking on a pub tenancy or lease, and therefore are 100% clear on what you want to do. But it’s worth having a little recap to make sure:

  • Do you have the right personality and attributes to run a pub?
  • Do you know what’s involved in running a pub?
  • Do you know what type of pub you would like to run?
  • Do you know whether you want a pub tenancy or lease agreement?
  • Do you have support from your partner or family? Are they behind you?
  • Do you have the funds in place to buy a pub tenancy or lease? And also entry and start up costs?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to the questions above, great! If not, why not come along to one of our Open Days to find out more and get answers to some of these questions. Click on the link below to register for the next event.

Have You Thought About How You Will Operate?

The first question on our application form is about your business options. Whether you will operate your pub business as a:

  • Sole Trader
  • Partnership
  • Limited Company

What’s right for you will depend on your circumstances and the way you want to run your pub. For example, if you’re planning to run the pub with another person where both parties take responsibility for the business, you’ll need to set up a business partnership; however if you’re planning to run the pub by yourself (perhaps with your spouse or partner helping out) you may want to be a Sole Trader taking responsibility for the business yourself. For some people and partnerships it may also make sense to set up a Limited Company to run the business.

For more about the pros and cons of each option read our blog post here.

You’ll need to work with a solicitor and an accountant when formalising the agreement to take on a pub tenancy or lease, so now is a good time to get advice from these professionals to decide the best way to operate. Two more things to add to the checklist…

  • Find an accountant
  • Find a solicitor

Have You Got Relevant Qualifications And Experience?

When you apply to run a pub with Greene King you don’t need to already have a personal licence – this can be arranged before you sign an agreement for a specific pub. Nor do you need to have any specific qualifications or work experience to run a pub. However, if you have completed your BII Pre-Entry Awareness Training (PEAT) and got your personal licence, that’s one less thing to do; and if you can demonstrate relevant skills that equip you to run a pub, that will help your application.

Skills could include running another business, working in retail or hospitality, managing other people etc. These skills will all help you to run your pub business.

  • BII Pre-Entry Awareness Training – if you have it, find your certificate to attach to your application.
  • CV – refresh your CV and highlight skills, qualifications and experience that are relevant to running a pub or business

If you want to get a head start you can book your PEAT and also Level 2 Award For Personal Licence Holders (Scottish Certificate For Personal Licence Holders) with any provider without having applied for a specific pub. Details of our training courses are available to download here.

Have You Started Planning Your Business?

If you have identified a pub that you would like to run, you’ll need to get started with your business plan. The brewery or pub operator will provide key figures such as rent, trading volumes and estimated turnover – Greene King include this information online on our listing pages. With this information you can start to put together a business plan for that pub.

However, it’s useful to familiarise yourself with the process even if you haven’t yet found a pub. This will help you explore the opportunity and think about what you can do to maximise trading space, meet customer demand, innovate and drive profits and increased revenue.

  • Download a business plan template here.
  • Download profit margin calculators here.

Are You Ready To Find A Pub?

The majority of our licensees apply to run a pub before they’ve found the right pub. Sometimes a licensee may have seen a pub advertised and applied directly for that pub, but most people know that they want to run a pub and have a rough idea of where and what type of pub, but haven’t yet found it.

So if you know you want to run a pub and have ticked off the bullet points above, the next step is to apply and start looking for the right pub.

Applying to run a pub with a particular brewery or pub operator does not obligate you in any way. If you want you can apply and start the process with a number of different pub companies, and get them all looking for the right pub for you. Until you’ve signed an agreement to take on a specific pub, you can walk away or go elsewhere at any point.

However, finding the right pub is time consuming and requires everyone to really understand what type of pub would work for you. If you spread yourself too thin by applying to lots of pub companies you may find you’re presented with potential pubs that aren’t really a good fit. Instead we recommend that you talk to one or two pub companies so they can really get to know you and work with you to find the right pub.

In the meantime you can start to look for a pub yourself. Look online at pub company websites, online listings such as, specialist estate agents, and by getting out and about to see what’s happening in your area.

It’s also a good idea to check out the competition if you have a rough idea of where you want be. Find out what other pubs are doing, what’s attracting customers to them, and whether there’s a gap in the market for a particular type of pub.

  • Fill in an application form with a brewery or pub operator.
  • Look online for available pubs.
  • Research your area thoroughly to see what pubs are doing well.

Once you’ve found a pub many breweries like Greene King will offer you lots of support developing your ideas and creating a really robust business plan to make that pub a great success.

So what are you waiting for? If you’ve ticked off everything in this checklist apart from applying to run a pub with Greene King, apply today by clicking on the link below!