Who can help me sell my pub?

07/03/2023 Venners Ltd.

“If you’re considering selling your pub it can be tricky to know where to start. As experts in the industry we want to provide you with as much help as possible on the ins and outs of what it takes to sell your pub and who can help you do it. There are a number of ways we can help with the process of selling your pub, we can offer support and guidance throughout your pubs entire life cycle.”

– Malcolm Muir , Consultancy Director, Venners

With ongoing uncertainty in the sector, you won’t be the only one wondering: “Is it time to sell my pub”? Before making such a big decision it is important to educate yourself about what is involved in the process of selling a pub. Perhaps more importantly, you should learn how you can get the best possible outcome for you and your business if you were to go ahead with such a decision. Your first port of call is to surround yourself with the right people. We’ve compiled a list of the 8 experts you should talk to when you are looking to sell your pub. These experts will all be focused on helping you understand the process and find ways to help you sell your pub as quickly, profitably, and successfully as possible.


1. Bring in an experienced operational consultant.

The first person to talk to is an operational consultant. Gaining their advice early on will set you on the best path for selling your pub business. For a pub to be truly fit for sale the owner needs to work towards bringing their business into shape in order to make it a more appealing package.
An operational consultant will help you establish the strong business foundations, policies and procedures that are necessary to guarantee a successful sale. They will also advise on implementing or solidifying effective standards and controls. These will help you monitor compliance across finances, operations, and brand.

Lastly, operational consultants will provide you with the tools you need to refine menu costings, GPs and other trading figures. Bringing these figures into a sensible position, which are in line with expected benchmarks for your type of business, will increase the saleability of your pub.


2. Employ a professional stocktaker

A professional stocktaker will supply the trading information you need with regards to running your business successfully. This data helps you guarantee that you can sell a pub that is unfaultable. By proving that your pub is in a robust state you will in turn be more likely to make more profit from your sale.

At the point of sale, you will want to get an up-to-date inventory of all your stock. It is a good idea to supply the buyer with detailed and accurate information. This way they will know exactly what you are handing over to them, making purchasing your pub even more appealing. A record of average stock levels held on site gives the buyer an idea of the items and products that will be available for purchase on completion. This is known as stock on valuation (SAV).

A full costed inventory of your stock should be part of any normal stocktaking reports and will be recognised by accounting standards. With 6 to 12 months of regular stocktakes you should already have the relevant trading records, including an up-to-date PLU. It is much better to have regular stocktaking pre- and post-sale than to wait or rely on a stock valuation at point of sale.


3. Speak to your accountant

The next chat you need to have is with an adept accountant. They can provide accurate tax and VAT advice, helping you prepare the necessary account documentation for prospective buyers. Ask the accountant to run through exactly what they need from you in the process of the sale. Be sure to find out exactly what services they can offer you in the selling of your pub. Get a finalised quote to ensure you know precisely how much you will need to pay them.

Generally speaking there will be a number of documents that the accountants will help you collate. You can find these in our next blog in this series: What do I need to sell my pub. It is really important to check with the accountant if the sale of your pub will be elected for VAT. This will clarify whether you should expect to encounter any extra costs or payments. You do not want to find yourself in a position where you have to pay for VAT that you had not accounted for.

4. Get advice from a finance broker

You may be thinking ‘’how could a finance broker help me sell my pub, surely I would only need them if I was buying a pub?’’. A trustworthy finance broker  can help you sell your pub by vetting prospective buyers. They also have the means to help your buyer with sector-specific funding to ensure they can complete the purchase of your property.

The decision to sell your pub is much more sensible when you make sure you are covered from all possible angles. Obviously, finance plays a huge part in the transaction. Making sure you have guidance from a finance broker for you and your buyer is a precaution worth taking and will ensure a smooth, stress-free transaction for all parties.


5. Get the opinion of a cosmetic consultant.

It is key to make sure your pub is attractive both commercially and cosmetically. Once you have dealt with the logistics of the business, make sure you are encasing this data inside a building that is appealing to the eye. Put yourself at an extra advantage by seeking advice from a knowledgeable pub property maintenance expert to make your business showroom ready. It helps to choose someone who has been previously involved in successful pub sales.

Receiving basic advice on how to make your pub most attractive will go a really long way in helping you make a profitable sale. The list of contacts your cosmetic consultant should have will cover any and all decorating and maintenance fields. They will help you fix up any superficial imperfections in your pub’s appearance to a superior standard.

6. Get an independent and qualified valuer on board

Define for yourself what you want to be included in the sale of your pub and what you would like to exclude as personal effects. Your next step will then be to find a qualified and impartial valuer. It is only natural to want to get the highest price possible when selling your pub. A valuer ensures you know exactly what your pub is worth inside out.

They should provide you a full inventory list with a count and associated value to any fixed and moveable assets on an area by area basis. You master inventory catalogue should include anything from chattels to fixtures, fittings, effects, fine art, antiques, curtains, tables, chairs, carpets, technical items and machinery.

7. Find a sector specific property estate agent

Your next stop should be to find an estate agent with sector specific expertise and tools. They will help you to actually sell the pub you’ve been working so hard to transform. When your pub is already in a state that is fit for sale this last step will be much more painless.

To ensure you’re getting the best possible help to sell your pub, you’ll want to consider several factors when selecting your agent. First off you want see evidence of their experience in the sector and proof that they have successfully sold similar properties to the one you are trying to sell. To make sure the advice you are receiving is of a high calibre, it is in your best interest to choose an estate agent that is using leading marketing and selling tools.

8.Instruct an experienced solicitor

The last stop on your journey should be to address the legal side of things. When selling a pub, it is wise to enlist legal advice to make sure every detail of the transaction is above board. This way you won’t come up against any problems further down the line that may postpone the sale.

It is important to instruct a solicitor who has experience dealing specifically with the sale of pubs, rather than just general real estate. This way you can be certain that nothing will be missed. You want a solicitor with experience in transferring pubs as Trading Going Concerns (TOGC), whereby they are able to prove the intention of prolonged trading activities following the transaction. It is also vital for your solicitor to have knowledge of staff transfers (TUPE) to ensure your selling journey is lawful and seamless.


Feeling ready to sell your pub

Your pub will be well on it’s way to becoming  fit for sale with help from the right support system. There is a lot that goes into selling a pub profitably but bringing on board the right business specialists can help make the process as simple as possible. You can rely on each expert in this guide to help you build and organise an essential portfolio of new and pre-existing documents. You are then ready to sell your pub and move on to the next chapter in your life.