5 things to do when looking for a pub to let

Have you been thinking about running a pub for some time, and have now decided the time is right to find a pub to let? Perhaps you have been waiting until your family is a bit older? Or you can take early retirement? Or maybe you have been saving to ensure you have the right capital to invest in the right pub?

Whatever your story, if you are now ready to start looking for a pub to let you can start planning for your pub business right from the start. In fact it may even stand you in good stead to get the pub of your dreams if you are more ready than any other person going for it.

As you consider the key factors in this blog post, download our FREE business planning template to help you turn your dreams into reality.

How To Find A Pub To Let

Before starting your search for a pub to let there are key things you must consider. These are the things that will help you decide whether running a pub is for you, whether you are really in the right position to pursue this dream now, and also help you nail down the right pub opportunity for you.

Here at Greene King we firmly believe in fitting round pegs in round holes. If a pub is not quite right for any reason, see the points below, you may find you struggle to make a success of this business. Furthermore it really is a business opportunity. A pub tenancy is more affordable than buying a pub, but it is also a great way to make a really good living and have a very desirable lifestyle; if you put the hard work in.

So are you really ready to let a pub? The following points should help you decide.

#1: Is everyone happy about becoming pub tenants?

The first consideration must be for your family or partner if they are also coming on this journey with you. Are you planning to let a pub together? If so do you have their full support and commitment to make it a successful family business or partnership?

Even if you plan to do the lion’s share of the work, running a pub is a lifestyle choice and your family cannot help being involved. Therefore they must be comfortable with the decision and understand how it will impact on all your lives. It can be a great lifestyle for couples and families, but everybody must be willing to make a go of it!

#2: Work-Life balance

Some pubs may look like a great opportunity because of the style of pub, location and business opportunities. However, they also need to fit in with your lifestyle requirements, which includes your domestic arrangements. Factors such as accommodation, proximity to schools, and local facilities are all important considerations. Even if you want to let a pub by yourself, there are still things that you may need to get the lifestyle you desire. For example, if you like to workout in your spare time, is it easy to get to the gym?

#3: Money

Of course, you will find it hard to get the pub of your dreams without the right capital. Typically pub tenancies start around the £25,000 mark, and steadily increase depending on the profitability of the pub, location, facilities etc. At Greene King we want landlords to get off on the right foot with their pub business, which means not overstretching themselves from the start.

Therefore we do not recommend borrowing or re-mortgaging to fund your tenancy; that you minimise your debts before letting a pub; and that you have some working capital to help get through the initial few months as your business takes off. To get a clearer idea of the capital you may need, speak to our Pub Partners team who will be able to advise you in more depth.

#4: Location may require some flexibility

Sometimes potential pub tenants come to us with a postcode they want to find a pub in. On the one hand it is great that they have a clear idea of the location that works for them, but on the other it does narrow the search down considerably. If you are really sold on a particular area then it can be a long wait for a pub to become available. Consider too that when a pub comes up it might not be the right style for you either.

If you can be a little more flexible, we suggest that you initially widen your search to include areas within a 20-30 mile radius. The best way to do this is spend some time exploring the area and visiting lots of pubs. You could go on a bit of a road trip! Get a really good feel for towns or villages in your chosen region, look at what they have to offer you and your family or partner, and talk to landlords about trade and the area as a whole. Most landlords are happy to chat about the business and can give you some real insights that can help you make a good decision further down the line.

#5: What style of pub do you want to run?

In my experience most successful landlords are successful because they are running a pub that fits them. Given the choice, on a night out they will gravitate to pubs like their own because that is where they feel most at home. If the style of pub suits the landlord, they will find it easier and more enjoyable to run, and that generally they will get on better with their customers because of this. We are all creatures of habit and seek out likeminded people.

So what style of pub do you like to visit? Do you like to go to a community pub where you can chat to other regulars while standing at the bar? Are you more of a foodie pub person, you like to enjoy a meal when you go out? Or do you look for more entertainment such as pubs with live music or sports pubs? Whatever your preference, it probably says a lot about the style of pub you are most suited to running.

Other things to think about when working out what style of pub suits you, is the skills you need to take on that type of pub. For example if you want to run a food pub, are you a chef with the relevant experience to run your own kitchen? Or will you need to hire the expertise to make this a success? These considerations will all need to be addressed in your business plan, and budgeted for.

Are You Ready To Find A Pub To Let?

If you have given the points above due consideration, finance in place and a good idea of what you are looking for in a pub, the next step is to get your business plan together.

Focus on these factors and download the FREE business planning tool now.

If you have any questions about finding a pub to let, or becoming a Greene King landlord, speak to the team.