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”

Male Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia

It was his turn to look after his toddler son. And it was morning, time to soak his skin thoroughly in hot water in the shower, so he would be very smooth-shaven when he shaves. His son was crying. He could hear it but was not listening. The voice of self-criticism was louder. It said to make sure there was not a hair out of place, not a bump of skin. He was frantic, a morning ritual normal for him.

His son cried louder. His nappy was soaked through. He missed his potty time so had to wet his nappy. The crying made him lose control of his bladder again, and now he was soaked through. He was so upset, he could not walk. He crawled to the bathroom where Daddy was. Daddy played a game with him to take away the crying.

The game was going on the scales. John (a fictional character), was due to weigh himself. Another morning “normal” ritual. And evening ritual, all normal, of course. It never occurs to him that there is anything wrong with this obsession. It is normal to look your best and be “healthy”. He needs to weigh himself twice a day, in case his weight approached an “unhealthy” level. He has just under 10% body fat, normal, he considers, for body-building athletes.

Only John is not an athlete. He works in an office and works out in the gym 1 hour a day, five days a week. It is too tiring to do more, but that too, is considered normal, as he does intense workouts, helped by his “healthy” shakes.

The same shakes his doctor recommended he stops. The same shakes the dietician his doctor recommended told him to stop, at least for a while. the same shakes the allergy consultant told him were a contributor to his allergies. The same shakes the alternative health practitioner said were affecting his health. Of course, they are all wrong; interfering busy-bodies.

He is pleased with himself. As his son plays the weighing game with him, the crying stops. And, he is 100g leaner. So, eating food with no fat is perfect. He is so happy with his new diet; two shakes morning and night, a low-fat sandwich so his colleagues can see him eat at lunchtime, and meat cooked so well on a rack, that it oozes all of its fat. He is delighted. The new diet is working.

Smiling happily at his son, his son responds with a smile. Daddy notices him.

At this point, his ex-wife rings the doorbell. She collects their son after the overnight visit, changes his nappy and feeds him in the car.

John is glad she is out of the way. He can now go to the gym and forget what she did to him. Like all women, she was a demanding useless thing who left him. And she was fat, too. That stupid doctor refused to send her to the dietician for her weight. The doctor had the wrong equipment. He could not see how fat she was; disgusting.

His mother is always thin, a true beauty. He had a happy childhood, always being taught not to let his feelings show, being encouraged to be the strongest, thinnest, most muscular man in high school. His mother is the best. That counsellor he saw lied and told him he had a bad childhood. Another stupid useless person. His parents loved him very much. They sent him to the top schools, bought him the latest toys, gadgets, phone, and computer. They were a happy family.

He gets dressed and goes to the gym. He gets back home to shower. He never showers in the gym. He weighs himself just one more time, then dresses to go and see his parents. Happy times ahead.

Getting Your Business And Life Going

If you find yourself going in circles and not getting anywhere with your life, personal or business, this article will help give you the power to break the endless loop.

Look at every part of whatever you want to do and find the part or parts that are being done wrong. For example, if it is your business, you would examine the marketing, employees, pricing, production, debts, expenses, etc. If it is personal, you could objectively review your attitude and character, if you are open minded, and I mean really open minded, not just think you are. Do you treat people with respect, do you think you are always right, etc. For personal issues like this, you will need someone who knows you to give you their opinion as yours will be flawed.

In a business situation, the problem is usually a combination of both a business issue and your character. If it is an aspect of your personal life, although the problem is found in your character, it probably is expressed and can be found in how you work or run your business.

It takes beginning with an assumption that everything you are doing is wrong. In business, accept that you are not capable nor adequately skilled in your field, nor in how to be a true entrepreneur. You are basically a kid who knows nothing at all. Without this sincere attitude, you will not be able to see the objective reality.

Next, you must be willing to take out the garbage and wash the floors or do anything and everything that is required to run the business. That is what I did for my stores even though I was the owner and had employees. In a relationship, you should be happy to help in any way the other person needs without thought, just respond immediately to any need.

This puts your ego in its place as a servant rather than immature master who wants to be the boss and thinks itself more capable than it actually is, or, above doing the dirty work. That attitude is guaranteed disaster. Certainly, Donald Trump can be as arrogant as he wants, but he was born into wealth. You do not have that head start and cannot afford to be selective of your tasks.

If you want to start a new business, you have to do it all yourself or you will not understand it well enough to make it succeed. When there is a problem, if you have to pay someone else to fix it, they will not do a great job, and you will spend all your capital, thus ending up with no money at the end of the year. 

Find something that you can do entirely on your own to build up some capital and experience. If you cannot do it, then your first step is to learn how, get the skill to a high level, then start the business. As the business grows, then hire people to work for you.

Your life is in your hands, make sure they are clean and ready for hard work.

Imagine that you are operating on your own body, which is where you live. In this case, it is the body of your world which you are operating on, that means your life including business and personal relationships.

Our consciousness lives within our body. Nothing mystical or special about it, simply the objective fact. I am conscious but I am limited and restricted to my body. I cannot go anywhere or do anything other than with the use of my body, so I live within my body, my body is my world.

My body lives within the larger body of my life. My life comprises my home, my work, the company if I own the business, and of course, the relationships with the people close to me.

If I do not like someone, and I am in a good mood but then meet with that person, all of a sudden my mood may change. It is like going from the warm dry house out into the snow or rain, I get wet and cold, i.e. in a negative mood. My body has changed its physical condition based on entering the larger body of the environment. Likewise, coming in from the cold, I enter the body of the house and am warm and dry.

The environment, the body I am in at the moment, can be the climate and physically felt (the body of the planet), or emotional and mood altering (the events or people I am with, the body of my thoughts and emotions). Of course, your mood can be altered by the weather. All these things are the bodies your physical body goes in and out of at all times.

I live in my physical body and my body lives in the body of the building I am in or the body of the world and the weather at the moment. The climate of that building or the weather is effected by the people near me or in the room. Thus those people make, and in a way become, the body my physical body presently resides within.

My mind determines what my hands do as well as the words my mouth utters. My hands and mouth are effecting the larger body that my physical body is in. If they are dirty, and they ruin the business or home life, my whole life becomes infected and ill.

This is why I say, keep your hands and mouth clean, and you will always have perfect health in the larger body of all the things in your life.

Consciousness is cleanliness. Consciousness is awareness and respect. To succeed in your life and goals, be aware, respectful and humble. This can be summarized in one word; realistic.