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What Factors Contribute To Coin And Card Laundry Business Valuations?

Comments & Replies: 1     Views: 6996     Posted By: Chuck Post  Chuck Post: Laundry Specialist, Consultant, Due-Diligence

We are finding that many laundry buyers and investors are not being given true light to selected elements of value or there are inconsistencies in the interpretation of these elements of value. This common error needs to be addressed. In this BizBen Discussion we address many of those factors.

Topics: Business Valuation, Buying A Business     Tags: business valuation, buying a business, selling a business



We are finding that many laundry buyers and investors are not being given true light to selected elements of value or there are inconsistencies in the interpretation of these elements of value. This common error needs to be addressed. It is important to realize that it is not so much the history of the business that establishes its value; but rather the confidence in the ability of the business to continue to perform over time; sufficiently for the anticipated return of investment.

These can be costly errors to all parties. First is the cost to the New Investor, who may understand these things and then not find a good laundry or may overpay for the laundry, causing problems in keeping up the business profitably going forward. This is also bad for the Broker, because of failed escrows resulting in loss of income, wasted time and efforts. It is certainly bad for the equipment companies and the lenders. When the investor purchases with these misunderstandings, the consequences result in a bad investment leading to a resistance to re-invest into the laundry. This means lower income, poorly run laundries and in the end possibly a loss of a part or all of the original investment. This is very costly and is also counterproductive as to the forward advancements of the industry.

Please consider:

The true value of a laundry is not based on its history but rather its ability to continue performing into the future. The laundry is a time-lined business. The Equipment and the Lease both age, deteriorate and/or expire. The elements just have to be there to make the whole thing work. In general, the Laundry is an Investment Business. In stating that, I qualify the term "Investment Business" as a business that relies largely on your Capitol Infusion rather than on your time invested into the business. It is true that if a proper model is put into place that a laundry can be well operated with as little as/or less than 6 hours of the investors physical time weekly.

The variable issues that are important for the Broker, Buyer, Seller, Landlord and Lender to understand in evaluation of the laundry or taking a listing are:

1. The Lease. Consider this, if one is unable to return the original investment plus a reasonable return throughout the investment within the agreed lease period, the investment risk is greatly increased and the selling price should reflect it.

2. The Ancillary Business, such as, Fluff & Fold, Agency, Mini Markets, games and especially those games that are closely related to gambling, do not carry the same weight as the Wash & Dry income. These should be evaluated on their individual merits.

As a norm, For Vending and Games (any), it is reasonable to assume a level of about 4% of Wash & Dry as normal income in this category. Higher levels need to be looked at differently. Again, the anticipated long-term capabilities of the ancillary are essential.

3. Payroll and Janitorial is an area that needs to be made sense of. In some cases a janitor and security person may be paid as an independent contractor at very low rate. Assuming that person is legal and the hours and expense are properly accounted for, that should be acceptable in the valuation. However, if there are questions or pay systems that are contrary to the norm they need to be closely looked at. The question is, if a Buyer can operate the laundry as it is now operated with the same results long term with the stated costs then the valuation would reflect that. Remember, if the owner and family are working in the laundry (excepting up to 6-8 hours), it is a payroll item and needs to be accounted for.

These issues are in addition to the more traditional elements of value such as: the equipment age & condition, the areas of competition, the demographics and the condition and perceived longevity of the building, and so on.

The high multipliers used in the valuation of the laundry are justified by the cost of its infrastructure, length of lease, and the anticipated long-term use of the equipment. At a minimum, a Business Buyer should have confidence that the income number, leasehold terms and equipment would hold for at least as many months as it would take to recover the anticipated investment.

Comments are appreciated ...


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Brad Steinberg, Business Broker: Laundromat Specialist

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.

Helen Yoo, New Century Escrow - Escrow Services In 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.

Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence

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.

Janet Carrera: Escrow & Bulk Sale Service - 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.

William F. Ziprick, Attorney: Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

Through creative problem solving, attention to detail, accessibility, & understanding that unnecessary delay is often a deal killer, I work closely with my clients and other professionals to consistently achieve a high rate of successful closings. Office: 909-255-8353, Cell: 509-951-7230.

Peter Siegel, MBA, BizBen Founder, ProBuy, ProSell Programs

Founder & President Of BizBen.com (since 1994). I am the Lead Facilitator for both the ProSell & ProBuy Programs. I consult daily with business buyers, business owner/sellers, and brokers and agents daily about buying and selling California small to mid-sized businesses. Call 925-785-3118.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - San Francisco Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.

Chuck Post: Laundry Buyer Representation, Consulting, Due Diligence

I have 32 years experience in the laundry industry, specializing in assisting laundry buyers with buying or starting up, building, re-tooling, laundries in Southern CA. Laundry buyer representation, consulting, due-diligence, lease negotiations, laundry valuations. Call 619-227-5711 (Cell).


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Chuck Post Laundromat Industry Expert
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