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How to Sell a Pub

We give you the information that you need to sell your pub.

Running a pub is a demanding career. The hours are long, and you can grow very attached to your business as you spend so much of your time there.

After putting so much into your pub to make it a place where your customers enjoy coming to, it can be difficult when you finally decide to sell. 

Because it can be difficult to let go, it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible. In this article, we outline everything you should keep in mind when you are selling your pub.


Preparing your business for sale

Make sure that you have all your contracts in order before you sell your pub. You will need to look through agreements with suppliers as well as employment contracts so that there are no red flags when a potential buyer performs due diligence

If you are the tenant in a leased pub, make sure that you have the written consent from the landlord before you progress with the sale.

The buyer will want to know how many full-time members of staff you have and, re-training your staff so that they will be a real asset to any potential buyer will be a great investment as you are preparing to sell.

If you want to get the best value possible for the sale of your business, invest in new fittings or update the crockery or glasses. You can invest in small upgrades to the property or building if you want to make your pub even more attractive to potential buyers. 


Business valuation, how much is your pub worth?

The number of covers that frequent your establishment will be an important piece of information for any buyer. Have a record of the number of covers that you are serving a day and, if you have been serving food, the difference in profit that is generated through food as compared to drinks. 

This information, known as the wet/dry split will give the buyer a better idea of the kind of profit margins that they can expect because there are taxes that have to be paid on the sale of alcohol. 

Sin tax continues to rise with another increase in 2018. This will affect the prices and profit margins of a pub in South Africa.

Bar tender

Closing the dealSell Your Business

What is it about your pub that is unique and draws in customers? Who is your target market and how do you make sure that you keep appealing to them?

You will need to make sure that you have clear and defined answers to these questions so that you can use them to promote your pub to potential buyers. 

Your unique selling point (USP) could be anything from your great food to your selection of local craft beers and if a potential buyer can immediately identify what it is, they will be more interested in buying the pub.

The thing that makes your pub ‘special’ will also be an indication as to who your buyer will be so when you are listing your business for sale, make sure you clearly point out what this is. 

You might decide to use a broker to sell your pub. If you do, it is a good idea to get someone who has experience selling pubs. The sales process can be different from that of other businesses and so you will want to make sure anyone you hire knows the ins and outs of selling a pub.

Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.