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Buying A Gas Station: What To Look For When Doing Due Diligence

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Comments & Replies: 1     Views: 11042     Posted By: Peter Siegel MBA  Peter Siegel MBA: BizBen Founder, ProBuy/ProSell Program Director



Topics: Buying A Business, Due Diligence     Tags: buying a business, due diligence



Doing your due diligence when buying any type of business is extremely important. Regardless of what type of business you are buying there are certain things you will always look at such as, financials, equipment, legal issues etc. However, certain business present a whole different and unique set of issues that need to be investigated. Gas stations with C-stores are one of these businesses that require you to do a little more research before you buy. For example; you are going to want to look into any environmental issues that may exist or that may present themselves in the future. Any environmental problems found after the sale will be your problem to deal with.

It pays to have an environmental survey done before making the purchase. You will also want to instigate a certified property survey or request to receive a copy of a recent certified property survey. Potential buyers must consider rent and pool margin on gas. If there is a car wash you'll need to inspect the age of the car wash equipment. Most car washes last about 10 years. Regarding the lease situation; if the land is owned by the oil company that’s a plus; if a third party owns the land, check the underlying lease between the oil company and the landlord. You'll also want to check the transfer fee and security deposit charged by the oil company.

Take a close look at the financial records. A gas station owner that also has a convenience store, car wash or other amenities may claim that there are cash sales included in the store's total revenue or sales. Bottom line, if they can't prove it can't be added in to the value of the business. Insist on seeing at least the previous two years’ worth of financial statements and have them checked by an accountant or CPA. Find out if the inventory included in the price of sale.

If you’re buying a franchise keep in mind that you will probably be competing with the same brand. Find out how many other franchisees are in your area and determine if the market is already saturated. Another thing to consider if you choose to go the franchise route; as a franchisee you are obligated to purchase your gas and products from the franchise in contrast to an independent owner who can competitively source their products from available distributors. That leaves some room for price negotiation; however, most enter into long-term contracts with suppliers in order to take advantage of discounts.

Would like to hear from other Advisors on BizBen what thoughts they have on this topic. Please feel free to add a Comment (and reply on any Comments contributed by others).

If you have other questions or topics that you would like discussed on BizBen regarding buying, selling, valuing small to mid-sized businesses etc. please phone me (Peter Siegel at BizBen) at 866.270.6278.

Replies To This Comment
 
Contributor: Business Broker: LA County Area  Post ID: 976
Many excellent points, Peter. One thing I would add for buyers. Before you pull the trigger, contact the owners of your closest competitor gas stations. Make sure there aren't any brand changes coming anytime soon. I've dealt with situations where someone buys an unbranded station in hopes of changing to a branded station that is currently not in the immediate area. But then a major corporate merger happens or a one-off independent operator gets the same idea you have. The recent buyout of United Oil by a New York investment firm created situations where you saw two of the same branded stations at the same intersection. It's extremely important that you know you're headed in the right direction when you purchase. And you can't read the future unless you've spoken with the other players in your game.



  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Mani Singh, Business Broker, Southern California

I have successfully represented clients sell & acquire multitude of businesses ranging from Gas Stations, Liquor Stores, Markets, Super Markets, Smoke Shops, Postal Stores, Restaurants, General Retail, Auto and Construction related. Phone me for assistance with selling or buying at 951-296-7646 Cell

Abdul Jobah, Business Broker, Central Valley, Kern County

As A Real Estate Agent, I offer my clients assistance with the sale or purchase of commercial properties and/or businesses. Please contact me if you are looking to sell or buy a Central Valley business. If at any time you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me at 661-703-3916.

William Park, Business Broker - Southern California

Highest Volume Broker in California, Simply Check our HUNDREDS of Listings! Over 25 Associates, Speaking Dozen Languages, Helping Buyers and Sellers of Small Business since 1982, Centrally Located between Los Angeles and Orange Counties, while Riverside & San Bernardino Counties are Very Accessible.

Jack Oh, Business Broker - LA, Orange Counties

Business broker and real estate services in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. 10 years experience with great negotiating skills. To sell a business or buy a business in the LA or Orange County Areas phone Jack and his team at 562-787-4989.

Michael Floorman, Business Broker, BTI, San Francisco Bay Area

Business Team, San Jose (Campbell) located in the Pruneyard Towers at Bascom and Hamilton. Established in 1981 Business Team with over 6600 sales to date has 1000 business listings to choose from, paid Google advertising. We offer highly trained and experienced professionals.

Manjit Singh: SF Bay Area - Business Intermediary

Assistance in the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact me about buying or selling a restaurant, liquor store, gas stations, markets, and c-store businesses. If you are looking to buy or sell a SF Bay Area liquor store, market, c-store, restaurant, etc phone me direct at 510-417-9429.

Harry Sidhu, CBB, Broker - SF Bay Area, Central Valley, SAC Region

Assisting both sellers and buyers of businesses - dealing mainly with Liquor Stores, Grocery Markets, Gas Stations, Smoke Shops, Restaurant Related, Retail Related, Service Related. Serving SF Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento area. Call Harry Sidhu, CBB for assistance at 510-366-6130.

Matt Weiler, Business Broker: Gas Station Specialist

Business Broker Specializing in primarily gas stations. Geographic area of focus: San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento and as far South as Monterey, California. To sell or buy a small or large gas station phone Matt (gas station business broker specialist) direct at 408-623-0920.


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