Retail Outlet Check List you need before you buy a Business (Unlicensed)

By | September 25, 2017

Retail Outlet Check List you need before you buy a Business (Unlicensed)

This Checklist covers a large area of Taking over a Business. As no two situations are the same, only the basic position is outlined. The answers do not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law, nor do they constitute legal advice by the author. The information provided is only a snapshot: it does not create a contractual relationship nor does it form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.

This Check List has now changed to provide information for anyone that is looking to buy a business and change their life style. The original was made on the assumption that anyone taking a freehold, lease or a tenancy will have been fully briefed by their Solicitor on their responsibilities within the constraints of the lease and the lists are for guidance and assistance in the taking over of a normal licensed or catering business. However we have now decided to increase the information for potential buyers that have not consulted a solicitor.

Please note, access to these lists is totally free if you would like to subscribe (No Charge) on, they are free to be read for your guidance and aimed to help you get through a time of considerable pressure and demand. If you subscribe you may download this information if you need to.

1.  Advertising, check all vendors contracts and arrangements, understand using Social Media.

2.  Always go for completion at the beginning of the month, helps cash flow.

3.  Asbestos Report including old Artex Ceilings and Walls Check for More

4.  Auto Enrolment and Staff Pensions  Check for More

5.  Bank business accounts READ ON

6.  Cash and Carry Account, find nearest decent C&C. 

7.  Cash and Change for Tills

8.  Certification for all gas and electrical appliances where applicable Check for More

9.  Charities Local

10.  Cleaning Contracts and supplies

11.  Close Business for at least mid-day

12.  Cold Storage Check

13.  Commercial Property Agents, these specialists are your first source in your search for a business. They all specialise in different types of businesses, pubs, restaurants, hotels, retail, vacant commercial property etc. They are all listed on the internet and advertise in specialist Trade Papers.

14.  Contract to buy Business, Signed and completion time.

15.  Contracts of Employment for Staff  Check for More

16.  Credit and Cash Flow Guidance More

17.  Deliveries on the Day

18.  Delivery Days for all suppliers and order Days

19.  Diary for all Bookings and Incidents

20.  EHO Registration and Food & Hygiene Certs, Scores on the Doors 

21.  Employment Law   LINK

22.  Energy Suppliers, Annual Contract 

23.  Environmental Performance Certificate MEES

24.  Equipment details of any outstanding rented or financed

25.  Epos Tills make sure you know how they work

26.  External Notices for areas within ownership

27.  Finance for completion

28.  Fire safety equipment contract, Risk Assessment Check for More

29.  First Aid Boxes with Accident Books.

30.  First Aid training for Staff 

31.  Fixtures and Fittings, check quality and reject damaged fittings, if damaged since  exchange of contracts, ensure that you have enough to equipment to trade with, many vendors remove equipment without realising that they have been paid for by the purchaser.

32.  Graph to record Day to Day Takings

33.  Health and Safety  LINK

34.  Heating Service Record for Boilers and any others

35.  Inland Revenue if you have staff, ensure that you are registered with all the forms

36.  Insurance, Business and property, public Liability More.

37.  Interview Staff Check for More

38.  Inventory of everything included in the Purchase of the Business

39.  Licensing and Gambling legislation, 24 hour Hot Line 0114 2600 344

40.  Local suppliers Accounts:- Butcher, Baker, Builders Merchant, Catering equipment, Computer Service, Dry Goods, Frozen and Fresh Food,  Garage local, Greengrocer, Ironmonger,  Office Equipment, Plumber, Electrician, Refrigeration Engineer.

41.  Opening day, Coffee and biscuits or mini cakes initially, depending on the business

42.  PDQ,  Machines for Credit Card Check for More

43.  Performing Rights and PPL Phonographic Performance

44.  Pets, if you have any, where are they allowed.

45.  Phone Numbers of Essential Contacts

46.  Rates payable and dates

47.  Refuse Collection

48.  Regulations for Disabled Compliance  Check for More

49.  Service Contracts, Rodents, Equipment, Cleaning

50.  Sky or other TV Contract and TV licences

51.  Smoking legislation signs etc., smoking is banned where ever staff or customers go.  

52.  Snagging list and all queries

53.  Staff Dress Code, if appropriate

54.  Staff Job Description (Jobs Manual is worth considering)

55.  Staff paperwork Inland Revenue, hours etc.

56.  Staff References

57.  Staff Redundancy, Details of possible redundancy commitment for existing staff   in cost, to you. Check for More

58.  Stocktaker for wet and dry goods, do not accept out of date stock

59.  Telephone Details

60.  Trading accounts for suppliers:- Services, Gas, Electricity, Oil etc.,

61.  VAT Registration, check your expected turnover and contact the local VAT office for advice

62.  Website and email addresses.   Restaurant Design Forms Get instant Access Now

63.  Weights and measures signs and compliance Check for More


Allergens came in last year Read More

Scores on the Doors an essential for all businesses involving Food Hygiene, Read More

Credit and cash Flow More

Energy Performance Certificates and  MEES

FAQ’s  on running a Business More

Questions you need to ask the Landlord, they also cover Tied Leases MORE

Note:- Everyone buying a commercial property, especially a lease should have a Schedule of Condition, to validate the state of condition PRIOR to the handover date. If there are outstanding wants of repair or decoration, then either the Landlord or the previous Lessee is responsible, if it is left until a later date, no action can be taken without documentary proof agreed with the Landlord or his Agent.

When buying a business, do not over estimate the level of business that you think you will achieve in the first two years, however bad or incompetent the existing vendor is. A good yardstick is 5%, if you exceed that you are doing well. Always remember available Business is finite in a catchment area, any growth is at the expense of another business and they will fight to retain it. The only real initial growth is by developing a new aspect to the available business in the area.

If you find anything that you consider should also be listed, please email us at, we appreciate your input, if it will help others.

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