· Don’t pay up front for training and a pub, unless you know exactly which pub it is going to be. Even then, be very careful.
· Don’t pay up front for a mortgage. Agree a fee if necessary and in certain cases, it is essential if you do not know the brokerage firm.
· Don’t get involved with any pub leasing company that has a substantial or total Tie on the supply of wet stock (beers, etc.) unless it is a short term tenancy and then use it for experience and a learning curve. If you have no other alternative, read the small print and be very careful, then do as one experienced operator said to me: “I run it according to their rules, I avoid selling anything that they supply.” If you have an old lease that has been taken over by a Pub Co and they haven’t managed to change it, you are not normally totally tied and you can buy some wet stock at free trade prices.
· Don’t support any charities, other than the ones you know (there are a host of con men with a fresh scam every month), Police Boxing Federation or similar, as the Police often have no idea about them. There may well be a genuine Police Boxing Federation, but always check with the Police or Trading Standards before parting with any money. The names used have an incredible similarity to genuine charities or organisations. Another area of scams is with Health and Safety Checks and computer registration data. Check with Trading Standards – they are normally well aware of the scams.
· You will, unless you are extremely lucky, be besieged by endless time-waster phone calls. Either leave them talking or, if they sound reasonable, ask for a call back number which most times they will not give you. Or, use call back and you will find the number is often withheld. I always say I am very deaf and ask them to shout. If they are genuine calls they will persist, if they are scams they put the phone down.
· Don’t be taken in by the term that the pub does 120 barrels a year, and a barrel, in brewery terms, is 36 gallons. Usually, real ale is delivered in 9 gallon and 18 gallon barrels in. All other draught beers are delivered in 11 gallon or 22 gallon barrels. The barrelage normally includes bottled and cans of beer.
· Don’t take a loan off a brewer, unless you are desperate. They will take a second charge on the property, in most cases they cut their discounts to nothing, set you targets and normally expect to be paid by direct debit. If you can get maximum discount, get a monthly account and pay by cheque without targets, do it. Otherwise, read the small print. Depending on the size of the loan, some brewers are more flexible and will give good discounts. But, you won’t know until you push them. They don’t like to lose a potential customer, as the suppliers market is very competitive.
· Don’t forget: the Smoking Legislation came into effect on 1st July 2007. Make sure that the correct signage is in place and any external structure used for smoking complies with current legislation and planning etc. if no such proof is available check with the local authority.