Top tips for first-time landlords

Cellar notes

 Be prepared for long hours

Running a pub is never going to be a 9 to 5 job, and first-time landlords need to be willing to work hard while the business gets off the ground.  “Prepare yourself for some very long days,” says Stacey Warnaby, who took over the Blake Arms in Northumberland last August. “I had never even worked behind a bar before, so I threw myself in at the deep end! We’ve had some ups and downs, but nothing worth having is ever easy.”

Hand-pick your team

Unless you’re lucky enough to inherit the dream team from the previous lessee, one of your first challenges as a landlord will be to build a team. Rachel Elliot, who has run the Widdrington Inn in Northumberland for nearly a year with her partner Daniel Curtis, says it’s hard to overestimate how your choices at this stage can affect your business. “It’s crucial to have a good team of people that you can trust,” she says. “You need to know that you can take a couple of hours out and things are still being done your way.”

Get a mentor

As well as finance, the Start Up Loans initiative offers one-to-one advice and mentoring, peer-to-peer support and more than 50 hours of interactive content – everything first-timers need to get off the ground. “They have a great idea of the industry,” says Claire Cameron, Recruitment Support Manager at Star Pubs & Bars.  And the advice service is free, even if you don’t take a loan.”