Is buying a liquor store the same as getting a license to print your own money as some believe, a passport to the lifestyle that you have dreamed about? Certainly, a liquor store for sale can be outwardly attractive, but you have to really focus on the way that you run it to make it through. Remember that there is a lot of regulation in this industry and operating costs are on the higher side, as well. If you have a lot of competition around you, you might not have much of a margin to play with, so you will need to focus all your efforts to succeed.
It's important to really understand the motivating force behind the seller's wish to move on. Is there a hidden reason, which could make it equally difficult for you to "make a go" of this business? Study the books really well to calculate your margins and investigate any anomalies carefully.
State authorities regulate liquor stores very carefully and in many cases you will have to personally qualify in order to move forward. You need to check your own eligibility before you put too much effort into finding suitable candidates. Check with state and local jurisdictions to see what stipulations may be placed on the business going forward. In some areas you cannot transfer an existing license or get a new one to operate the business so do your homework.
Don't overlook the amount of effort that you will have to put in to this kind of business to make it work. Study the outgoing seller's methodology carefully and if he or she has been successful, make sure that you replicate after you take over.
Often times, there's a great deal of potential when you choose to buy a business like this, but you must pay close attention to the daily management of operations. This is even more applicable when it comes to dealing with stock. Keep in mind that you can't simply reorder single bottles and most of the time case orders are required. As you can generally receive big discounts if you purchase cases in volume, you should keep these discounts in mind when considering your local competition, and choosing your prices.
Don't underestimate the monthly costs, especially the cost of your utilities. The walk-in cooler can be expensive to operate and your insurance premiums may be higher when you buy liquor store business assets, as compared to other retail businesses. Remember that the majority of customers will opt to use credit or debit cards to pay and those fees can eat into margins.
But there is extra opportunity if you think carefully about the type of business that you are looking at. People generally buy wine, beer or liquor when they are in a celebratory mood. They may be celebrating a birthday, preparing for a wedding reception, entertaining friends and so on. This gives you, as the new owner, plenty of opportunity to strike up good relationships with your customers, as they look at your establishment as a place that they visit during "good times." Interact with them as much as you can, remember their names and be involved.
This kind of activity will give you plenty of feedback as they opt to choose your establishment exclusively and recommend their friends as well. Remember that this type of business lends itself to customer interaction much more than a typical convenience store, for example.