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Anybody own their own business?

Discussion in 'OFF TOPIC' started by Legatron4, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Elmgrovegnome Well-Known Member

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    There is this guy named Dalton that is real good at making sure your bar employees are straight with the cash and he is a good fighter that can show your bouncers how to do the job right. His first rule is 'be nice'. It might be tough to find him though. The last place I recall him working was at the Roadhouse.
     
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  2. Elmgrovegnome Well-Known Member

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    Very good advice. Wish I had done that when I started my business.
     
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  3. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    I will second this. I was also a sole proprietor - now an LLC. Generally LLCs are best for what you are doing. A CPA or your business atty should be able to advise you on this.
     
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  4. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Sigh. :D
     
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  5. PhxRam The Estimated Prophet

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    I trust you elmgrove..
     
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  6. DaveFan'51 Well-Known Member

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    I'm retired now. from the retail business. In a 45 year career I've been partners in Bar/Restaurant, Twice, and then went into retail Toys/Hobbies, I finished off my career as a Manager of Walmart. You have to plan on putting in a lot of hours, all the time!!! That said I wish you all the luck in the world! But One BIG key is Scout your Location!!! Your looking for Not just a prime location, but an area with a lot of growth potential, an area with a younger community, and the per capita income is above average! And if you don't Build your own place, get ready to pay space rent based on the sq. footage + ( and this is a biggie!) be ready to give-up a piece of your action to your Leaser ( It's standard business practice!) You need to have a good business plan and at least 6 mo operating capital or no lender will touch you! "If this doesn't scare you off, go for it!" IT WILL CUT INTO YOUR FOOTBALL ENJOYMENT!!
     
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  7. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Good points by Dave here.

    Location is not solely based on traffic but largely on the demographics of that traffic. You are likely looking for that 25 - 50 year male demographic and also a location where people frequent bars and are looking for a place to call home. The piece of the action part should be taken seriously and limited as much as possible. Your location may dictate a good part of that but I would really avoid giving up any of the action unless there is compensation from them in the way of lower lease rates or items the landlord will cover on the building maintenance and issues. Watch out for clauses that require you to do parking lot maintenance - for example - especially if there are other tenants using that parking. Having a bar in a high traffic location where the other businesses take up all the parking can be problematic. You want people to be able to park AT your establishment.

    Something also to think about is local law enforcement. Do they have a hard on for the bars and therefore do things like park in front of the local bars at key times. A little known fact also is that in most areas, cops are not allowed to simply come in and peruse your clients. I have had situations where I actually had to tell the officers they couldn't come into my place without a real reason. I had a cop try to park in MY parking lot. When I asked him not to, he actually accused me of only being concerned because I might be over serving. I demanded that he leave. In this case though, it is all my parking and I know the Chief fairly well. He put a stop to it immediately as he knew that was harmful to my business. In today's day of alcohol enforcement, there is a premium on drunk driving with no consideration to the business owner. I agree with cracking down on drunk driving but patrons won't even stop to have a beer in a place if there is a cop parked outside. Conversely, if you have the place that is known as the cop hang-out, you will have a pretty good clientele there, very few issues with patrons, and quite frankly, cops drink like everyone else and won't generally bother anyone when they've had even one beer. Try hosting emergency services days if they are willing.

    Every new business will cut into your football watching enjoyment. At least with a sports bar, you can still keep an eye on what your team is doing while at work.

    The biggest key to what Dave said is that you better plan on being there and working your butt off pretty much seven days a week. Often you are the first to get there and the last to leave. As time goes on though, you will get employees in that you can trust and even toss them the keys with confidence. Still, in the words of Ronald Reagan - trust yet verify. Have security measures in place. Monitor alcohol sales vs content in bottles. Check that there is no watering down going on as well.

    I think someone else mentioned - everyone becomes your friend when you are serving alcohol. It should be a very rare occasion when you buy someone a drink - even if you are sitting at the table with them on your "off" hours. I watched as a friend of mine when we would visit his bar would have people come over to sit with him expecting a free drink as they were being social with him. He did at times and then had to reel that back in - which was much tougher than not buying them drinks to begin with. The guy is a hunting partner of mine for over 20 years and a great guy. Even though he would offer, I would never take him up on it. Away from the bar - great. Not at his bar.

    I even went so far when we had partners to make a rule that we had to buy our own drinks and if we bought one for someone, we had to actually pay cash for those drinks. They (husband and wife) didn't like it but he lived in the area his whole life. He had a shitload of "friends". Huge money savings and those "friends" didn't stop drinking because they had to buy them.

    As to employees - that's again a tough situation. A general rule is that they get a shift drink after they are clocked out. Beyond that, they have to pay for it. But if they are getting drunk at your bar more than occasionally, I'd say that's a red flag. I have fun with almost all of my employees but I am their boss, not their drinking buddy.

    I can go on if you like. This is a tough business and failures are all too frequent. But it is one of the most fun businesses I have ever been involved in.
     
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  8. Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    Video camera systems are cheap now. Have them. Have them outside as well.
    As 503 said police are good customers. When their drunk, their drunk customers that can influence arriving patrol if there is an issue.
    I've seen drunk officers dictate to on duties officers their side of the story. It's not always what you would expect.
     
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  9. cracengl Member

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    There is a local bar in my town where the owner embraces the local pd. They come in the bar and observe from time to time and the owner helps out the department with events and fundraising. I think it's probably just better to have a good relationship with officers than be adversarial. Most guys I work with here at our PD like to drink beer. When they are on the job, catching drunk drivers it is just part of the job. It's not personal.

    I'd also recommend security staff..someone who can check id's and throw out the idiots and call police when needed. They are worth their weight (literally). Once you get a reputation for letting things get out of hand, you'll be on the police department and city hall's radar. If you get on their bad side, trust me, they're going to find any reason they can to get your alcohol license pulled. But if you keep things on the straight and narrow and don't tolerate idiots, you'll be good.

    Finally, my wife owns her own dance studio. Make sure you either get a bookkeeper or make sure to be diligent about keeping records in something like Quickbooks. And after that's done make sure you invest in finding a good CPA. They aren't all created equal. The one my wife has is excellent--he is hard to get a hold of, but he does good work. The one she had before that was a fool and would have gotten her audited and probably worse had we not dumped his ass.
     
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  10. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Keep labor costs down. If someone is not actually making you money, that person is an extra cost. It may be a necessary cost depending, but it is an extra cost. A bouncer is a great idea as long as you have the business to pay for him or the actual need. Sports bars rarely have need for a bouncer unless you are going for the nightclub affect in the evenings or have events where you are expecting a large, potentially unruly crowd. Bouncers can set a negative vibe for your place as well.

    It all depends on your needs really. You can do a lot though by simply not over serving. Just because you have someone throw out a drunk idiot doesn't mean you didn't have a drunk idiot in your bar. Your clientele will know it and often your bouncer can get you in more trouble than the drunk idiot. Instead, learn how to slow people down on their drinking and when to simply cut them off. It may be uncomfortable at first but doing it will keep a better tone in your bar and let wannabe drunk idiots know to go somewhere else to get their arsehole on. And keep in mind - drunk idiots can drive away from your bar after being thrown out.

    My two cents on that.
     
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  11. Legatron4 Well-Known Member

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    You guys are all super awesome thank you so much for all the advice. It's definitely something I wanna do and have wanted to do for quite sometime. I understand how difficult it will be and that it will take a lot of sacrifice. But what else is there to do in life? Might as well do the best you can to build your own legacy(no matter how small it may be). Thanks again and feel free to add as much advice as you want lol
     
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  12. -X- Not into the whole brevity thing.

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    I didn't see this right away. I own my own business too, but it's not remotely like what you're trying to do. I can only tell you that you really, really, really need to make sure you're covered by tight insurance. Especially with what you're planning to do. Second, if I was going to open a bar, I'd probably power-watch every episode of Bar Rescue and Restaurant Impossible. Those two guys know what it takes to have a successful venture. And lastly, I'd pay very close attention to Yelpers. They seem to be the wave of the future, and my wife won't even visit a place that has too many negative reviews. Treat every customer like they could destroy you online, and you should be fine.
     
    #32
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  13. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Honestly? Yelp is a scam. If you pay for their enhanced services as a business owner, they will help bury or hide negative reviews. I was seriously appalled when their rep tried to sell me their services by giving me this little tidbit of info. When he called, the first thing I asked him was how you get rid of fraudulent reviews. I had previously contested a few reviews that I know were posted by competitors or their friends and pointed out how they really couldn't even be possible - with no results. He said that premium members (or what ever they call it) enjoy enhanced services that allow them to modify how and where good and bad reviews are displayed and can more easily have suspect reviews removed entirely. That's freakin' extortion. I told him to take us off his list and that there is no way I would ever pay such a fee for that kind of "service".

    I have never had this experience with other review sites but I'm telling you. Yelp is a scam - plain and simple. I don't know this for a fact but also, several of the reviewers with many reviews, are actually yelp plants. Could be bullcrap there but with what I DO know first hand, I wouldn't doubt it one bit.
     
    #33
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  14. -X- Not into the whole brevity thing.

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    Could very well be. But do regular people know that?
    It's not just Yelp though. Google, travelosity, expedia, etc.
    Lots of ways now for people to communicate their experiences to others.
     
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  15. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Yeah - that's the pisser of the whole thing. Who would know that about Yelp? I didn't.

    I've never been approached by Travelocity, or Google, or Urban Spoon, or any of the others with such a slimy sales pitch so I assume the others are legit. I can only speak to my experience with Yelp.
     
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  16. Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    Yelp also doesn't post all the good reviews your customers write. They only post the reviews they feel are " relevant".

    Their the mafia of advertising.

    I don't like them either but a lot of people use their site and apps

    I had a competitor write a bad review on Yahoo. I wrote Yahoo and they removed it.

    There's always libel, but it's hard to prove loss of business and not usually worth the hassle.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  17. ramfaninfla nothin' left to do but SMILE, SMILE, SMILE!!!

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    I owned a business at one time also(me and a buddy). You have received great advise here so far. To follow up on Dagonet advise,Talk/hire a great accountant. We did a partnership with the business at first and got killed in taxes. Then figured we need a professional, We moved it to an SCorp also.(much better). I think I read where it is you and a friend also. Things will come up where you wont see eye to eye on some topics with each other. Be fair, honest and truthfull from day 1. This way people know what to expect for you when they come to you or you go to them. Being an owner you will have to make some hard choices, don't be afraid to whats right.
     
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