Is this A Good Time To Sell Your Body Shop Business?

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.

This year, one change has occurred. There are fewer shops available than at any time in my career. Not fewer of the large volume shops for sale, that is fairly stable, but fewer of the small mom and pop repair shops that have not been in heavy demand. The reason, I believe this has happened is because of the booming economy. Low volume shops are doing better than they have in years. They are making money, and do not feel as much pressure to close down. They still would like to get out, but when they find out that their 5,000 sq. foot shop which is making them a $100,000 net profit, is only worth $100,000 on the open market they decide to keep on working.

As always, the shops doing $1 Million to $3 Million per year gross income is still in demand. The price alone still is the main factor, in determining if these shops will sell. A good example of this is what is happening in lower Orange County. There are currently a couple of shops in Lower Orange County that are for sale, by the owners. They appear to be very profitable but the asking price is too high and the buyers all know it. Even the fact that these are the only shops available for sale in this prime area has not changed the fact that buyers just refuse to over pay.

Last year I was marketing a high volume shop, in Ventura County. The buyers refused to pay the asking price, even though the volume was there. Why? The profit wasn’t. In this situation, the buyers would not pay for the volume and stability of income unless the net profits were there. They didn’t assume that they would make a profit where the current owner was not. It appears that buyers of today are very careful. I believe they do not trust their own ability to get business and are too careful.

To clear up any confusion about what kind of buyers we are talking about, lets break the buyers up into categories. The first category is the consolidators. There are two large ones in Southern California but they are not the whole market. I have talked to out of state consolidators that have inquired about moving in to the So California market. Consolidators want shops that fit their model. That model sometimes changes but basically they will buy a shop if it fits their model.

If it doesn’t, they will not touch it. The price by itself doesn’t turn their interest on or off. We do not have enough space to discuss what this group will buy, in this article. It is enough to say, ” If your shop fits their criteria they would have contacted you and expressed interest. If they haven’t contacted you, they are not interested.” Period! They know their market place and who is in it.

By the way, if I owned a shop that a consolidator wanted, I would never sell to them. Being a professional negotiator for 20 years, I find the requested seller financing terms totally unacceptable. When I have found out about these sales, after the fact, I am amazed. I had buyers for the same money, or more, without the seller being at risk, but no one asked me.

The second category is the multiple location shop owners. Usually with one or more DRP contracts shop that wants to expand into more areas. They are very interested in the sq. footage of the shop, and its ability to handle over $2. Million Gross Income per year. This buyer only looks in limited areas. The areas being where they have been offered a DRP contract. When they are looking, they need it now, while the window of opportunity is open to them. If they can’t find it quick, they will not need it at all. Recently I had a multiple shop buyer who had made an offer and was negotiating a shop in West Los Angeles. By the time we finished the negotiations, the DRP contract was gone and so was the buyer.

The third category is the buyers who have worked in the industry before, but do not currently own a shop. Also in this group are the buyers who have family in the industry, and money is no problem. This buyer believes ” If it doesn’t have a DRP, forget it. If it has a DRP and isn’t making much money, also forget it”. If it has a DRP, and it is making money, they are interested but only at what they consider is a fair price (In their eyes). This group I have successfully changed their mind at how they analyze what a good shop looks like and on occasion have bought shops with “a steady reliable income”, other than insurance contracts.

The fourth category is the person that just wants a shop. They will do what they have to, to afford a shop that will work for them. This group is the working body man or auto repair shop mechanic. Because of their limited funds, this buyer will only pay what he or she feels the equipment is worth. They will pay nothing for goodwill because they believe that the seller’s customers are not stable and will leave when the ownership changes. Are they wrong?

In Conclusion: There are a lot of buyers out there. My database has over 250 current names of body shop buyers. There is currently a shortage of shops for sale but mostly in the properly priced category. Most days I feel like a marriage broker with a lot of plain brides and a few beauties. The dowry for the beauties is more than most good-looking boys will pay. The balance of the girls may not be pretty, but some of them can sure cook. . Anyone want to get married? “Have I got a girl for you”

ArdyssLife Review – Is There a Business Beyond Their Body Magic Products?

The Busy Body – A Sibling Of Eckhart Tolle’s Pain Body

Have you ever noticed that your mind is chattering constantly? Have you ever been able to stop this chatter? Almost everyone answers, “Yes” to the first question and “No” to the second one.

I call this part of ourselves the busy body. It is like a restless, frisky kitten, pouncing on anything that draws its attention and batting it about with no particular purpose other than to keep itself constantly busy. In most of us, the Busy Body is utterly unrelenting in its pursuit of items with which it can play around. Any stimulation of our senses may set it off on a series of mental associations, one leading endlessly to another until a new focus catches its attention and then off it goes in another series of directions.

I woke up one morning to the sound of a construction crew hammering on the roof of a home across the street. I was tired and annoyed to have my sleep interrupted, feeling I was being treated inconsiderately by the universe.

My mind pulled on this thread of feeling inconsiderately treated, finding that it was also attached to the neighbors who had been partying the previous night, keeping me awake late; to blaming myself for not getting to bed earlier so that I wouldn’t be so tired; to blaming myself for blaming myself rather than being kind and compassionate with myself.

This started a new series of thoughts about my practice of meditation, disciplining my mind so that it would not constantly chase bits of chaff blown in the breezes, winds and storms of my thoughts and imagination; and then turning a corner to chase memories and speculations about my uses of WHEE (a self-healing method) with myself to release bunches of my self-criticisms; and then off to threads of WHEE that tangled into untidy webs of memories about clients I was helping with WHEE and some of the lessons I was learning along with them about my own issues that needed clearing…

In classical Freudian psychoanalysis this process would be called “free association,” which is presumed to be a completely normal activity of the mind. In fact, free association can reveal much about ourselves when we observe the threads of associations that we weave.

The patterns in the weaving help to uncover ways that we defend ourselves from anxieties, fears and hurts that were long ago buried and forgotten by our consciousness – but remain alive and very active in the depths of our unconscious mind. By practicing observing these patterns we learn to disengage from them to the extent that we can catch ourselves chasing about and bring ourselves back on tracks of our conscious choosing.

I find it more helpful to identify this part of ourselves as this restless, mischievous kitten I call the busy body. This is similar to Eckhart Tolle’s identification of the pain body, an inner aspect of ourselves that thrives on pain and seeks frequently to cause and experience pain.

Tolle notes that when we become aware of the pain body, it is possible gradually to reduce its intensity by disengaging our energies from it. Tolle’s approach is to constantly bring our awareness back to the Now, the present moment, the only moment that actually exists. This, like psychoanalysis, is usually a process that takes a very long time to learn and master.

Anxieties, worries, fears and pains increase the activity of the busy body. They also make it more difficult to control the pain body and to stay in the Now.

Calming the busy body is also very helpful in developing a practice of meditation. By quieting the mind, we are able to stay centered and move more deeply into the meditative states we are pursuing.

WHEE (Whole Health – Easily and Effectively) is a powerful method for decreasing anxieties and other stress reactions, which then slows down the busy body. For instance, sorting myself out at the end of my meanders described above:

I realized my most intense annoyance was with myself. I used WHEE, tapping on either side of my body while reciting an affirmation, until I released this irritation. This helped me settle my mind down to where I could concentrate on what I needed to do that day.

Working as a wholistic psychotherapist, many of my clients have reported they also find WHEE helpful with their busy body, their pain body, and with the stresses that often made it difficult to deal with these challenging parts of themselves.