Do You Want to Work For Yourself and Run a Pub?

pub tenancy, run a pub
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Fri, 29/12/2017 - 10:00

Many people dream of having their own pub business. They think about it, get excited but then as quick as the ideas flowed, the concerns creep in. The solution to this problem is to explore your ideas fully. You could work for yourself and you could run a pub. You just need to take the steps to bring your plans to fruition.

Taking on a pub tenancy or lease is an ideal opportunity to develop a thriving business of your own, especially if you having been working as a pub manager or have experience in allied sectors such as catering or leisure.  As you will already know running a pub is hard work, but it also offers excellent business opportunities and the chance to be your own boss. 

So what are the pros and cons of taking on a pub tenancy?  What makes this an ideal option especially if you have been accustomed to managing or involved in running a pub?

Pros Of A Pub Tenancy

No long-term commitment necessary

Tenancy agreements are generally short term ones, lasting on average five years, depending on the pub company and agreement. This means that it gives you plenty of time to develop as a pub operator and run your own business, without any long-term commitments.  You will have a lot of freedom to develop your skills, while staying within the framework of an established business setting and the support of a Business Development Manager.

It gives you the best of all worlds. You have the backing of an established company with a reputation for great beer and great pubs that are popular venues with customers.

Expand your skills

Running a pub for yourself is not quite the same as managing a pub for someone else.  By taking on a pub tenancy you can discover exactly what it is like running a business and taking responsibility for functions like marketing, sales, administration and profitability as well as the day to day operations.

Start up Costs

Setting up a new business does involve investment.  The start up costs for a pub tenancy can be lower than you think.  Depending on the pub you choose, the start up costs can be as little as £15,000, making it an affordable option for many people.


Of course, a big incentive to work for yourself is that instead of being salaried or on an hourly rate, you get to pay yourself out of profits from the business. Successful pub operators can make a very comfortable living and may also find additional revenue streams for their business such as letting rooms, expanding the pub’s food offer to include a takeaway service, or running another complementary business alongside.

Training & Support

Breweries and pub companies like Greene King offer superb training opportunities that can be of long term benefit to your future prospects covering all aspects of running a business as well as gaining your own personal licence to run a pub.

Cons Of A Pub Tenancy

As with any business option, there are some disadvantages to taking on a tenancy and these have to be borne in mind during the decision making process.


As a tenant, you have to pay a monthly rent for use of the premises. This sum may increase over the period of your tenancy.  But bear in mind, that rental sums have to be offset against the fact that you will not be paying any maintenance or repair bills relating to the structure of the building. It is comparable to renting any premises such as shops, offices and workshops.

Security Deposit

You will have to pay a security deposit when you take over the tenancy.  This is not surprising since you are taking over an existing business and financial guarantees need to be provided, just as if you were renting a flat or a house.

Non-assignable tenancy

When you take on a pub tenancy, you are responsible for that tenancy for the agreed period. You cannot sell it on, or pass it on to anyone else. If you need to end the agreement early, perhaps due to ill health or simply deciding that running a pub is not for you, then you will need to negotiate with the pub company to end the agreement.


You will not benefit from any future sale of the property because when you take on the tenancy, you only buy the stock, fixtures and fittings.  As a tenant, you have no financial interest in the building itself.

Tied business

As a pub tenant, you will be subject to a tied agreement. This means you will have to sell the beer supplied by the pub company. However this is also a pro as you will be selling an award wining range of ales and also benefit from the expert buying experience of the pub company.

Considering the overall pros and cons, the pros definitely outweigh the cons when taking on a pub tenancy!  Quite apart from the advantages provided by a pub tenancy agreement, you have the extra advantage of having an extremely successful brewery and business development team keen to help you establish a profitable business.

Find out more about how our Business Development Managers help pub tenants succeed here.

Time To Get Started!

It clearly makes sense to take the time provided by the New Year holiday period to start your preparations for a successful future.  It is the ideal opportunity to discuss options with your partner or family in a relaxed environment.  

Take a look at the pubs available online, and do some research to find out what pubs are doing well and provide the opportunities you want.  You can also pop out and do some research on the ground by visiting one or two during the holiday!

And don’t forget to take the all-important step of filling out our online application form.  It will not commit you in any way, but will put you in touch with our Pub Partners tea who can talk you through the process of becoming a tenant, and help you decide whether a tenancy is right for you. 

Taking action now can make a tremendous difference to your future prospects. The business of your dreams can be yours in 2018 – all you need to do is take that first step.