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Buying A Liquor Store - When Do I Perform The Inventory Count?

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Comments & Replies: 7     Views: 14322     Posted By: Peter Siegel MBA  Peter Siegel MBA: BizBen Founder, ProBuy/ProSell Program Director

The only time to get an exact and accurate inventory count, and valuation, is at the time the business is being transferred. To do so beforehand, would mean that any merchandise sold after inventory is taken, but before close of escrow - Peter Siegel, MBA with BizBen & others discuss this topic.

Topics: Buying A Business, Escrow Closing Issues     Tags: buying a business, escrow bulk sales, inventory



The only time to get an exact and accurate inventory count, and valuation, is at the time the business is being transferred.

To do so beforehand, would mean that any merchandise sold after inventory is taken, but before close of escrow - assuming the store remains open and some merchandise is sold before the deal is finalized - would enable the seller to collect the proceeds from any merchandise sales as well as receiving the wholesale value of that merchandise, even though it no longer is part of inventory and cannot be transferred to the buyer.

As an example, if a bottle of scotch whiskey is counted during inventory, and included in that count when inventory value is made part of the escrow, but actually was sold while the escrow was being conducted, the buyer will have paid for it, but won't have it on the shelf to sell when he or she assumes ownership.

Typically, the store is closed for the inventory count to avoid this problem. Alternatively, the store can remain open while escrow is conducted, with the store clerks making careful note regarding the sale of each item, so the inventory count can be adjusted to allow for what was sold.

Contributor: Business Appraisals, Valuations Advisor

After business hours or on slow days. I know that is hard to do with your business but those are the best times.


From the past transactions, we usually see the buyer and seller perform inventory count within 48 hours from close of escrow or at least a day before the close of escrow. In the opening escrow, buyer and seller usually agree on a rough estimate of the inventory amount and once parties complete the inventory count, then the escrow holder is notified of the exact figures so it can be incorporated into the escrow closing documents.

Contributor: Business Broker, SF Bay Area

Usually I recommend doing the Inventory the night before Close of Escrow. Then next morning you can take the Inventory information to Escrow to have them update the final price based on the actual inventory. There are Inventory services who will do the Inventory lot faster than you would do it on your own. If the Seller keeps the cost information handy that speeds up the process. Otherwise you can use the retail value divided by the normal markup for that kind of an item to arrive at the cost. If there will be a gap between when the Inventory is done and the date for close of escrow, then have Seller keep track of the sales during the interim period and then reduce the Inventory count by what Seller sold during that period. Usually Seller can arrange not to purchase any new inventory during those few days.


Usually the inventory is done the night before closing - buyer/seller can do inventory together OR there are companies out there that will do it for you.


I would assume you did a cursory inventory assessment prior to entering into any contract to purchase as a start. We always try to do a final inventory the night (ideally after hours) or day before closing and then all proceeds (upward or downward) are adjusted by escrow. This way "you get what you pay for" and there's no shenanigans.


The only time it really makes sense is the weekend before the close of escrow. Then have escrow scheduled to close Monday morning with the buyer taking over Monday morning. Any other time frame creates the possibility of inventory being sold between count and escrow closing. The professional inventory services are set up to do the inventory very quickly so that it does not take a week. The buyer should take pictures of the inventory while it is being taken so that when he takes over Monday morning he can compare the inventory on that date with the pictures. It would not be honest to have inventory disappear Sunday night. When the keys are being turned over Monday morning. If the keys could be turned over at the end of inventory that would be ideal. Escrow then closes the next morning. Even if it does not close the next morning, the buyer and seller treat everything as if it had.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
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.

Timothy Cunha, J.D., Business Broker, Northern California

Having managed and sold several businesses of his own, Tim offers business sellers extensive personal experience and professional expertise in building business value, planning a successful exit strategy, "packaging" and promoting the sale, and coordinating a successful sale. Phone 650-600-3751.

AJ Rana - Business Broker, San Francisco Bay Area

Professionals who understand the importance of world class business brokerage service and the value it can create. Specializing in assisting sellers and buyers with retail stores, restaurants, hospitality & lodging, manufacturing operations, distribution companies, e-commerce and service businesses.

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.

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.

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.

Taj Randhawa, Business Broker Specialist - Gas Stations, Liquor Stores

If you are interested buying or selling a gas station, liquor store feel free to phone me for a consultation. My vast experience & specialization in gas stations & liquor stores helps me in serving my clients with full confidence, trust & sincerity. Serving Central Valley, SF Bay Area. 559-259-4247.


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