Have you ever asked yourself the question? “Is this a good time to sell my business?” That is a question every business owner asks himself, every time he has a bad day. I once received e-mail from the editor of the Auto Body News, asking me that key question. “What is happening in the market today? Is this a good time to sell? ” My quick answer was “These are very interesting times.”
Of course that answer doesn’t tell you anything that you can get your teeth into. So! Let me clarify my answer. Since I have been selling body shops for nearly 5 years, I have seen many changes in the body shop industry. One thing that hasn’t changed is that there have always been an abundance of both sellers and buyers. The buyers have always been, and still are picky about what they were looking for.
The perfect shop in the eyes to the buyers is (A) one that has a customer base and a revenue stream that is reliable and isn’t dependent on the owner being there to retain each individual customer, and. (B) doing a volume of at least $100,000 per month, but really much more. Large volume sellers think that if they have a DRP (Direct Repair Program. This is where the insurance companies set up a relationship with the body shop to do all their clients business. Much like an HMO in health insurance) contract, they have what the buyers want.
This may be true but the contracts are not automatically transferable, and a buyer will be very unhappy if the DRP leaves after paying money for this “reliable revenue stream.” Smaller volume sellers, on the other-hand, not having corporate accounts, dealerships or other contracts still have hopes of getting lot of money for their shops. The average shop I run across is only doing about $300,000-$500,000 annual gross income. So what we have is a situation where a lot of buyers are looking to buy a shop, but there are not a lot of shops available, that fit what they are interested in.