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When Is the Best Time to Sell Your Laundry?

Robert J. Renteria |

There seems to be a common misconception that there is no single time that’s better than another to sell a laundry, but that’s only a myth. The laundries that are showing a nice cash flow are the first choice of today’s investors, who would otherwise have to dive in full-force to build a new business from the bottom up. Investors are first looking for verifiable income from not only those operators who are keeping good books and records, but also those who are managing the business for exactly what it’s supposed to be — a business.Today’s buyers want an almost perfect scenario: a business from which they can draw immediate cash after all debt service. That’s why those of you who are keeping good books and records are going to have a much easier time selling your business — not to mention doing it faster and for a higher margin — than those who suck the business dry and say “just trust me” when it comes time to sell. Who do they think they’re kidding?I always recommend that everyone keep audited financial statements and tax returns. Otherwise you’ll have to compromise on your sales price because you can’t prove 100% of actual net income.I hear all the time, “Well, that’s how everybody does it.” It’s simply not true, and that’s why many prepared sellers are able to cash out and enjoy the next chapter in their lives. Then there are those who are left crying after years of owning a laundry, pointing their fingers and blaming others because they didn’t get top dollar when they sold, even though they robbed the business like a thief in the night. By the way, just for the record, only children and cowards point fingers and blame other people.Owning a business can be very rewarding, and it can be quite a rush when you find your groove, because it’s then that you go from being employed to being empowered! Let’s face it, the only way to make it in today’s world is to own a business, so if you are a current owner or someone looking at getting into the laundry business, remember that I believe most sellers are liars, and if you don’t get the books and records needed to support the asking price, then you should either adjust the asking price until it’s in line with the numbers or simply don’t buy that particular business.I’ve been here for almost 19 years, and have been involved in every phase of the industry, so I’ll say that the coin-operated side of the industry is doing well for those who are making every effort. When is the best time to sell? When you follow the program and can provide proof of what the business is actually making. Investors are buying verifiable cash flow.Here are the three secrets to success, which I shared the other night in a high school commencement speech.

  1. Hard work. It always has been and always will be.
  2. Determination. You have to want it, and want it badly, because nobody is going to give it to you.
  3. Education. In this case, listen to those in this industry who can show you the way.

I am here to support the industry both nationally and internationally, so if anyone has any questions about my articles or the self-serve laundry business, feel free to contact me. 

About the author

Robert J. Renteria

Consultant

Robert J. Renteria is a national consultant based in Chicago. He has more than 23 years of industry experience, having helped develop more than 750 coin laundries nationally and abroad. The author of three books, he was named the 2010 Chicago Latino Professional of the Year and is the sole recipient of the 2011 International Outstanding Humanitarian Award. In 2013, he received two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for his work in civil rights advocacy and educational reform. He can be reached at 312-933-5619 or robert@fromthebarrio.com.

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