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How to Start an off-Licence Business

Would you consider yourself a wine enthusiast? Would you consider yourself an expert in the alcohol industry? If so, opening an off-license business could be a good business idea. The off-licence market is forecast to grow to $3 billion in 2020, with off-licences increasingly common on every high street. It can be a rewarding career that offers a good income, stability and flexibility. Interested in starting your own off-licence business? Discover what skills you need, how to take different business paths, how to legally establish your business, and other important considerations.

How Does an Off-Licence Work?

In the UK, there are many thousands of licensed premises. Taverns, bars, restaurants, cafes, as well as off-Licence Business fall under this category. Independent off-licenses represent the majority, while management-run chains make up the remainder. Some independent shops double up as corner shops, convenience stores, and/or newsagents; while others sell varying types of alcohol and are well known for their knowledge of good wines, beers, and spirits. There may also be products such as snack foods and the odd lime to squeeze into your gin and tonic on a hot summer’s day.

Competition in the off-licence trade is an important factor to consider. Besides the increasing volume of cross-channel imports (people go on day trips specifically to collect beer, wine, spirits and cigarettes from abroad) and supermarkets taking an ever-larger share of the off-Licence Business market, you will have to compete with the increasing volume of cross-channel imports.

For an off-license, what qualifications do you need?

The requirements for opening an off-licence business do not include any formal education. According to the Licensing Act 2003, anyone authorising the sale (by retail) or supply of alcohol is required to hold a personal licence. As a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), you require a licensing qualification before you can apply for a personal licence. The local authority will issue this to you after you pass a licensing law course known as the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH level 2).

If you don’t have a DPS in place, you can’t sell alcohol in your store, even if you buy an existing business that has one.

To start an off-Licence Business, you will need training and a license as well as a certain amount of business know-how. To achieve this, it is important to find the right balance between supply and demand, without holding back on ailing stock lines that simply aren’t selling. Also, it is recommended that you take courses to hone your craft, such as wine tasting, as this will allow you to provide better customer service.

Which setup options are available?

If you want to stand out from the competition as a seller of alcohol, you must have a lot of passion and drive. Here are three ways for you to get started:

  1. The alternative to setting up your own venture from scratch might be to purchase an existing off-Licence Business. A number of advantages to this approach include that the premises and equipment are already in place, stock may already be available, and you’ll already have established customers – so the business can begin generating income right away.
  2. A franchise can be a good “halfway house” between starting from scratch and purchasing an existing business. You will still be setting up your own business if you buy a franchise, but you will benefit from the expertise, resources, and name of an already successful business. There are a number of franchises that will provide you with any customized training you need, discounts on stock, marketing assistance, and advice on a range of business and technical matters.
  3. Establish Your Own Off-License – Once you have gained enough experience, you can choose to open your own off-Licence Business. In order to do this, you will need to form a company. While this will require a lot of work and have high costs associated with it, it will allow you to be your own boss and create your own brand.

Business Off-Licences: How to Get Started

It’s essential that you create a solid business plan before you even consider putting a deposit down on a shop if you want to open an off-Licence Business. You should research your competition to find out what is already available and what is lacking in your industry. Would a new off-Licence Business be welcomed in a particular neighborhood? A new off-licence that fills a need is more likely to succeed. There are several factors to consider when creating your business plan:

  • What is the location where you will sell your products?
  • Do you have a name for your business?
  • Do you know what your start-up costs will be?
  • Do you know where you will get your products from?
  • What will you charge for your products?
  • Which business arrangement and legal structure will you use?
  • When it comes to recruiting employees, how will you go about it?
  • Are there any rules and regulations you need to follow in retail and marketing (e.g. underage drinking policies)?

Are You Ready to Form Your Off-License Company?

If you are ready to start an off-license business, now is the time to organize your company. Limited companies can be formed and sole traders can operate independently. Choosing and completing your company formation is the most challenging part of starting a business, but it is crucial to your success.

Would you be interested in starting an off-Licence Business? The team at Mint Formations take away all the stress associated with starting a business by helping you set up a limited company or self-employed business. So you can focus on starting your new business, we’ll help you register your brand name and get your company registered as quickly as possible.

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