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When Buying A Laundry Why You Should Have An Exit Strategy When You Buy

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Comments & Replies: 2     Views: 36684     Posted By: Chuck Post  Chuck Post: Laundry Specialist, Consultant, Due-Diligence

Chuck Post a laundry consultant, specialty broker, buyer representative & due diligence advisor starts this discussion on why it's important to have an exit strategy in mind while buying a laundromat! He & others explain why this concept is so important for buyers especially in the laundry business.

Topics: Buying A Business, Deal Structures, Selling A Business     Tags: buying a business, deal structures, selling a business



While my point of reference comes mostly from my experience in the vended laundry business, I believe it is also good practice for all entering a new business to have a well thought out exit strategy.

In many small businesses, you can purchase it; build it up with your wit and sweat. Then, when you want out it s likely worth much more than you originally paid for it. If your lease fails, you can probably move the business to a new and maybe even better location. You likely will have plenty of time to consider the right move.

A laundry business investment is different. First consider that the size of investment required for a vended laundry is substantial. A basic laundry earning a $10,000 monthly cash flow (Discretionary Income) may cost in the $600,000.00 range. Most of this investment is in the ground; owned permanently by the landlord. The equipment value of the “In Place Equipment” is much greater than the liquid value, if you desired selling it off, making recouping your investment by selling the equipment pretty unlikely. So, you need to look at how you will sustain or grow the value of this business in a manner that maximizes the end game as well. It will take very careful planning, a thorough and well-understood due diligence and a strong understanding of the laundry model, of the store in question and a plan going forward, including equipment replacement, operation modifications and all other elements of the laundries value.

The laundry business is an investment business. Designed to be easy on your time and relatively easy to operate. It is a also high cap business and if run properly a very enjoyable business to own. Worth mentioning, it is an all cash - necessity of life – service business that is also pretty easy to operate. The challenge is keeping up with the changes, deterioration and model management. Fortunately for laundry buyers and unfortunately for many owner-operators, this is not typically done. So there are many disadvantaged laundries available for sale. Some are diamonds in the rough and others you just want to stay away from. Just have your eyes wide open when reviewing the value of the laundromat. Be sure to look at everything carefully.

Be assured, that growth is potentially very good for laundries. With a majority of your investment being dependent on the value of two critical elements, you just have to enter this business with a good and realistic plan. Things need to add up. It’s better to deal with all of these issues on the buy in.

In a nutshell, if you are cash flowing 20% on a $600K investment ($10,000 Monthly) and have sufficient time on the lease and equipment to return your investment plus a return for your valuable time (not so much here), and consider what the value is of what you will have to sell at the end. Does it add up? What are the challenges to get them to?

Remember, that 20% cash flow is dependent on your ability to have it returned. If not that 20% may end up very low.


I think its important not only to have an exit strategy but to have an entire strategy for the business. Just because laundromats are peculiar in operation and investment, it is still essentially a business. With any business you should have a strong business plan, marketing strategy, customer acquisition and retention processes and more. Included in your business plan would be an exit strategy, however, an entire business strategy, specific to the location you are hoping to buy, is important before making a purchase decision.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
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.

Steve Erlinger: Laundry Broker, Consultant - Southern California

I specialize in the laundry industry broker and consultant in Southern California. I assist buyers navigate the many facets of finding, evaluating, and operating a laundry business. I also help current laundry owners find additional stores, sell, evaluate an existing laundromat.

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.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF 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

Chuck Post has 32 years experience in the laundry industry, specializing in assisting laundry buyers (and entrepreneurs) with buying or starting up, building, re-tooling, laundries throughout California. Laundry buyer representation, consulting, due-diligence, lease negotiations, laundry valuations.

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.


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