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Does Curb Appeal Really Help Sell A Business?

Posted By: Timothy Cunha JD, Business Broker: San Francisco Bay Area.   This post is essential reading for any prospective business seller. Curb appeal is critically important, not just to the amount of the final sale price, but also to whether there will be a sale at all. Top ProIntermediaries and ProAdvisors discuss this valuable topic on this Discussion.

Comments & Feedback From Pro Intermediaries & Pro Advisors On BizBen:

This post is "essential reading" for any prospective business seller. Curb appeal is critically important, not just to the amount of the final sale price, but also to whether there will be a sale at all.

And, the comment about a fresh coat of paint illustrates how "do-able" enhancing curb appeal can be.

A few other pointers:

- Get rid of outdated posters, notices, and displays.
- De-clutter.... The more open space there is the larger the premises will appear and the more efficient the operation will seem.
- Lighten up.... The effect of more sunshine coming in or higher-wattage bulbs is amazing.
- Empty the trash.
- Make sure the restrooms are spotless. People form generalized opinions about the whole establishment based on the appearance of the lavatories. It's indicative of how you treat and respect your employees and customers. Same goes for the staff kitchen or break area.
- If the business has an office, clear the desks. Few things scare prospective buyers more than piles of paperwork.

Now for the real secret -- when business owners improve their "curb appeal," they are usually pleasantly surprised to find that their team's efficiency, productivity, and profitability improve as well.

I tell my clients to think about what people like most about franchise restaurants and businesses like 7-11 convenience stores. Corporate stores like In-n-Out Burgers are clean, bright, and have easy to read menus. 7-11 stores, with the exception of decals in the windows for monthly specials, also have clean windows and the store is brightly lit inside. I have gone into mini-marts where the entire windows are covered with posters, and inside is dark with missing fluorescent bulbs.

Just because a small business does not have the cache of a well know name is no excuse for the business not to be clean. Every Burger King, either in California to Maine, probably has the same guidelines on when the bathroom should be cleaned and whose responsibility it is to take out the trash. I often times will go into a public restrooms and on the wall is a clipboard with who cleaned it and their initials they wrote every hour it got done.

Contributor: Business Broker: LA County Area
I've found over the years that many owners don't bother to clean up because it seems like such an awesome and awful task. They often don't know where to start, so they never try. They fall in love with the term "as is." To these owners I point them to one thought - the magic of paint! A new paint job may cost a couple grand along with some time and effort, but the transformation is often incredible. Especially with retail and other businesses where comfort and cleanliness is a big part of the customer experience. The unintended benefit is that the painting and prepping usually leads to cleaning up space and tossing out clutter that's been there for years. It can make a huge difference when it's time to sell.

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