How to Open a Liquor Store in Florida [in 2023]
Updated March 23, 2023
Owning a liquor store can be a promising investment, especially in Florida. This type of business has stable profits, even during times of recession. Demand for your product will be year-round, and liquor has a long shelf life, so less inventory will be wasted than in other food and beverage businesses. Due to legal requirements, such as licensing, getting started in the liquor business can be tricky. Here is everything you need to know to open and run a successful liquor store in Florida.
How to Buy a Liquor Store
While owning a liquor store can be a rewarding investment, the first few steps you will take can be a bit complex. First, you will need to understand Florida’s licensing requirements and costs for a full liquor license to sell products legally. The licensing process has become more complicated in recent years, so it is essential to make sure you are following the proper steps.
In addition to licensing, you will also need to consider your store’s location, inventory, and history. Knowing this information helps you make sure your store will be a profitable investment. Write up a business plan to set the stage for how you will accomplish these first steps.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Liquor Store?
The cost to open a liquor store will vary by location and several other factors. Some essential costs to keep in mind when opening a liquor store include:
- Inventory: Your store’s inventory will be a major investment. You will need a good selection to offer customers, which can cost quite a bit upfront. Plan out your inventory and how you will have it organized and displayed.
- Renovations: Once your inventory is planned out and ordered, you may need to purchase new shelving units and racks. Depending on the condition of the building, you may need to make repairs, replace the flooring, and paint as needed. These renovations are an important but often overlooked aspect of opening a liquor store.
- Insurance: Make sure you have the proper insurance to protect your business, including things like worker’s compensation and liability.
Financing a Liquor Store
Consider your situation as you have several options for opening and financing a liquor store. These include buying an existing liquor store, joining a franchise, or starting a new liquor store.
Buy a Liquor Store
Perhaps the most straightforward option, you can choose to buy an existing liquor store from another owner. You can keep an existing building set up for selling liquor by doing so. In some business sales, you might have the option to purchase the inventory already in the store, saving some time and planning in the process.
Liquor Store Franchise
If you’re not looking to create your own brand, consider applying to open a franchise of an existing brand. Similar to how many fast food establishments are familiar brands run by individual owners, a liquor store franchise will allow you to own a liquor store without having to create your own brand. This option can be great for those looking to own a liquor store without prior experience. The company will provide training, assistance in opening and running your store, and other useful resources.
If you choose to franchise your store, keep in mind that you may have certain branding and business operations requirements. This option simplifies many aspects of owning a liquor store for you but may feel limiting if you would rather create your own brand.
Start a Liquor Store
If you’re ready to open a store from the ground up, consider starting a brand new liquor store. Build a new one from the ground up, or buy/rent an existing building that you can convert into a liquor store. If you choose this option, keep zoning and liquor licensing laws in mind. It may take some time to work out what you will need to do regarding the legal side of opening your new business, so be prepared for this process to take longer than purchasing an existing store or joining a franchise. This option will require the highest out-of-pocket investment and allow you the most freedom regarding branding and location.
Buying a liquor store can be a great business investment to make. As with any business, there are several factors and steps that you will need to follow to open your store properly. This process can be more complex for liquor sales than other businesses, so it is important to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before getting started.
What to Know Before Buying a Liquor Store
There are many things to consider before purchasing a liquor store. The process can be complicated, so here are some things you’ll need to keep in mind.
Florida Liquor Licensing Requirements and Costs
Making sure you know how to obtain a liquor license to sell liquor legally is perhaps the most important step you will take before buying a liquor store. Getting a liquor license has become increasingly complicated, so knowing what you have to do is a crucial part of liquor store ownership.
The licensing process is fairly simple when selling wine and beer, but things become a little more difficult when you want to open a liquor store. To sell liquor, you must obtain a full liquor license. In Florida, there is a limit on the number of full liquor licenses available that depends on the number of residents in a given county. To get a full liquor license, you must either buy an existing one or enter the quota drawing for the right to obtain one.
Consider the Location
There are two important factors you should consider when determining the location of your liquor store. First, consider the county you plan to build in. The higher the county’s population, the better your chances of getting a full liquor license because more are available. Second, you want to make sure your store is situated in an area that gets enough traffic but doesn’t have too much competition. Competing with many other liquor stores in the area can decrease your profit margins significantly, but being too far away from populated areas can leave you high and dry. Consider a location close to the action with enough distance from other liquor stores.
One of the biggest aspects that catch new owners off-guard is the high cost of investing in your initial inventory when opening your new liquor store. Inventory is a significant investment into your store that you will have to be ready to pay for upfront. Being prepared for this major cost can help you be better prepared for managing your business.
When you purchase an existing liquor store, the price may include the inventory as part of the sales price. This has its pros and cons. You may save some money on inventory initially, but make sure the products you are receiving can actually sell. Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up to lose money. Ask yourself why these products are still on the shelves before purchasing.
Review the Books & Records
Before purchasing an existing liquor store, carefully deep dive into its records, look over tax forms, inventory, sales records, and anything else you can get your hands on. Knowing the store’s history will help you determine how profitable the store has been in the past, giving you a glimpse of what you might be able to expect going forward.
Make sure that the numbers you have previously received match those on the books. You don’t want to be sold something that you thought was much more profitable than it truly is. If the seller cannot provide you with ample documentation, consider looking for another option.
Foundational Liquor Store Business Questions & Answers
Some of the most common questions individuals have before opening a liquor store are about profits. Liquor stores can be profitable and earn you a decent living, but several factors can affect the amount you make.
What is a Liquor Store Owner’s Salary?
Liquor stores can be highly profitable, but the amount you make will depend heavily on your location. Florida liquor stores are some of the most profitable in the United States. You can generally expect to take home around 10-15% of your total sales.
How Much Do Liquor Stores Make?
Liquor store profits in Florida are higher than in many other locales in the country. Many liquor stores in Florida have reported making around 350,000 per year.
Are Liquor Stores Profitable?
Liquor stores can be highly profitable, but the amount they make will depend on factors such as location, operating hours, advertising, and what you have in stock. How much your store will make depends on how much effort you put into it.
Contact the Florida Liquor License Experts
Delving into the liquor business in Florida can be difficult, especially when obtaining your liquor license. Thousands of businesses have trusted Beverage License Specialists for over 30 years for their Florida Alcoholic Beverage Licensing needs. If you’re interested in obtaining your Florida liquor license, we are here to help. Contact us today and see how our experts can help you meet your liquor business goals.
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