Printing, Stationery and Postage
You will always need to spend money out on Printing and Stationery (Postage is often included here as well) and you will always need to make provision for it in any budget or P&L. Costs associated with this are till rolls, credit card machine receipt rolls, kitchen printer rolls, posters, menus, banners, diaries, stock books, pens, chalk for your chalk boards (or the cost of a professional chalk board artist).
Top Tip for saving money on paper, use old posters (cut up) or junk mail letters, old memos / reports for scrap paper kept secure in a large bull-dog clip. If you produce reports or memos for staff consumption then print both sides; print stock sheets etc both sides.
Sky TV! Enough has been said on the level of charges and only you can work out whether you really need it or not to keep your customers happy. The only thing I would say is carefully consider whether you need it or not. Remember the rule of thumb for providing entertainment (which Sky TV is) should be that the takings from providing entertainment should be 3 times as much as you would take had you not put the entertainment on in the first place. Getting your rateable value (RV) as low as possible is absolutely essential as Sky TV calculate your charges based upon RV.
See my guide to Business Rates
Advertising, Marketing and Promotional Costs
The best way to get custom through your doors is by word of mouth of just what a great place your pub is; it’s free, works exponentially and is a trusted form of advertising in the eyes of consumers. You will, however, need to give it a little help so having a modest budget for Promotions and Advertising is essential. Included in these costs were paid for newspaper adverts, the cost of the pub’s website, paid listings in print and online live music guides and specific costs associated with promotions not covered off in dry/wet stocks. As with word of mouth, free editorial in your local media (newspaper, local TV and local radio) is the ultimate cost free solution so keep sending news items / press releases as there are always slow news days in all media.
Music and Entertainment
Music and Entertainment, whilst this is self-explanatory, you should also include the costs of supporting your pub teams (darts, pool, football etc), recorded music you buy (CD’s, downloads, internet subscription costs to services such as Spotify and Napster). Remember the golden rule to take in 3 times the amount expended!
See my guide to Live Music
You are busy enough running your pub so you will need outside professional help to deal with any legal matters arising, preparing audited accounts and taking stock. You should have your yearly accounts, VAT and payroll handled by chartered accounts and monthly stock takes carried out by a professional stock taker. You cannot escape these charges (unless you are able to carry out all these functions yourself) so budget for them.
If you are thinking of getting a rent or rates review or altering the premises then you will use the services of a ratings surveyor or chartered surveyor or architect – include any potential costs for their professional fees.
You may have to refer to a solicitor at times for matters such as conveyancing, planning advice, consents to alter premises from landlords and in some instances employment issues so make a realistic provision for their time too.
Bank Charges, yes we all hate them, but you can’t avoid them in business. Even if you take advantage of an introductory period of “free” banking you will need to budget for all the charges a bank will make, overdraft interest and charges (if you use one or inadvertently go overdrawn without a formal arrangement); direct debit / standing order / cheque payment charges; cash handling (for deposits and change giving); bank statements and letters; credit and debit card processing charges.
Top Tip – run a deposit account alongside your business’ current account and use it to regularly put away your estimated VAT payable to HMRC. Not only will you have cash on hand to pay the dreaded VAT bill every quarter but you will also be earning interest on the credit balance in your deposit account. It won’t amount to a huge amount (especially with interest rates so low at present) but it will go some way to off-setting your bank charges. The deposit account interest can, in effect, pay for some of your banking charges (better than a kick in the face, eh?)
See my guide to Credit and Debit Card Processing.