While the total number of small and mid-sized California businesses sold last year exceeded the count of completed deals in 2010, there were fewer transactions closed during the final 2011 quarter than in the last three months of 2010. The pattern of inconsistent results parallels the ups and downs reported by key indicators throughout the economy, such as stock market performance, retail sales and consumer confidence.
Some 13,948 small and mid-market businesses changed hands in California last year, an increase of about 4.4% from the 13,329 deals that closed in the state during 2010. Much of the gains were in the first part of the year, because the number of transactions completed in the last three months of 2011, a total of 3,453, lagged behind the count of 3,615 closed business escrows recorded during the final 2010 quarter.
Many people--small business owners, prospective buyers, intermediaries and the other professionals who provide services supporting small business transfers--seem to be waiting for the market to return to the way it was before the banking crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed. Sellers want the solid company profit performance and market values their businesses had more than three years ago. Many prospective buyers want to be able to choose between profitable, fairly priced purchase opportunities and, if they don’t find the right business, the option of accepting lucrative employment. Business intermediaries want to be able to put together deals with a minimum of difficulty, readily available funding and a sense of confidence about the economy among their clients.
But the market we’re dealing in today--in fact, the economy as a whole--have changed considerably since mid-2008. And it’s unlikely we’ll see a return to those old days in the near future. Or longer. Those of us involved in California’s business sales industry need to adapt to the realities of the New Economy in order to be successful.
2011 Sales Performance in The State’s Largest Counties
Many of California’s largest counties recorded higher levels of business transfers in 2011, compared to 2010 activity. The Los Angeles County total is 3,763 business sales last year, vs. 3,557 in 2010. Orange County recorded 8.5% more deals last year, with a 1,308 total, than the 1,205 figure for 2010. San Diego entrepreneurs completed 1,206 transactions in 2011, up from the 1,150 registered the previous year. And in Northern California, San Francisco recorded an increase from 2010 to 2011 of 94 deals (535 to 629), Santa Clara County’s growth went from 768 to 775, and Sacramento County saw a year-to-year rise from 403 to 452 transactions.
Large California counties registering declines in the transaction count during 2011 from 2010, were Alameda, down to 550 from 582; San Bernardino County, with its decline to 528 from 577; and Contra Costa, where the 319 completed escrow figure for 2010 dropped to 307 in 2011.
Total, by-county sales of small and mid-market businesses in California during 2011, compiled and reported by the BizBen Index and found at http://www.bizben.com/stats/stats-total.php are as follows:
Alameda: 537, Alpine: 2, Amador: 23, Butte: 53, Calaveras: 1, Contra Costa: 300, El Dorado: 80, Fresno: 379, Humboldt: 12, Imperial: 33, Inyo: 2, Kern: 325, Kings: 15, Lake: 4, Lassen: 12, Los Angeles: 3694, Madera: 25, Marin: 89, Mariposa: 1, Mendocino: 23, Merced: 83, Mono: 1, Monterey: 149, Napa: 58, Nevada: 20, Orange: 1292, Placer: 121, Plumas: 4, Riverside: 671, Sacramento: 445, San Benito: 4, San Bernardino: 522, San Diego: 1185, San Francisco: 620, San Joaquin: 231, San Luis Obispo: 161, San Mateo: 262, Santa Barbara: 173, Santa Clara: 753, Santa Cruz: 105, Shasta: 84, Solano: 133, Sonoma: 248, Stanislaus: 187, Sutter: 51, Tehama: 12, Trinity: 4, Tulare: 198, Tuolumne: 20, Ventura: 248, Yolo: 62, Yuba: 5.
Sales figures covering small California businesses in December, 2011, are found at and are as follows:
Alameda: 37, Amador: 1, Butte: 7, Contra Costa: 20, El Dorado: 7, Fresno: 27, Humboldt: 2, Imperial: 4, Kern: 26, Lassen: 2, Los Angeles: 253, Marin: 1, Mendocino: 1, Merced: 10, Monterey: 6, Napa: 4, Nevada: 2, Orange: 81, Placer: 8, Riverside: 72, Sacramento: 32, San Bernardino: 53, San Diego: 90, San Francisco: 42, San Joaquin: 10, San Luis Obispo: 16, San Mateo: 20, Santa Barbara: 21, Santa Clara: 39, Santa Cruz: 7, Shasta: 6, Solano: 12, Sonoma: 11, Stanislaus: 18, Sutter: 3, Tehama: 3, Tulare: 15, Tuolumne: 7, Ventura: 7, Yolo: 5.
For the past 15 years the BizBen Index has collected and reported important data about California’s small businesses for sale market.
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Janet Carrera - Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - SF Bay Area
Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.
|Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers
I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.
|Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses
Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.
|Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California
New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.
|Joe Sandbank, Esq. - Legal Services
I have provided legal counsel to business buyers, sellers and brokers for over 17 years. With prior experience as a business broker and SBA loan officer, Joe brings both a practical and legal approach to all aspects of the business acquisition process.
|Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services
California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.
|Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists
PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.
|Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services
Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.
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