Did you go into business planning to build a multi-million dollar “product” you could sell? When it comes to auto repair, this is rarely the case. Most of the shop owners I work with started their shop as technicians with a desire to do a better job than the guy they worked for. Often, they wanted out of the dealership environment, and going independent seemed like the best way to do that. In the beginning, it was just about building a great service business and finding the right customers.
Non-ATI Members: Looking for ways to build your team, increase sales, and increase net profit? Get tips for increasing your shop’s value in ATI’s latest non-member shop owner webinar.
Considerations for Selling the Business
Perhaps you’ve been in business for a while and want to sell the shop. Maybe you want to retire. Perhaps you have other businesses you want to start. Maybe the everyday responsibilities of ownership have become more than you want to deal with. Whatever the case, selling an auto repair shop is not like selling your house — there’s a lot more to consider:
- Is your facility well maintained and in good condition? Does it have curb appeal?
- Do you own the dirt (and will it be part of the sale)?
- Is your marketing automated?
- What does your brand look like online?
- Will your team of service advisor(s) and technicians stay with a new owner?
- Are you fulfilling a daily role (i.e., are you the main service advisor or a primary technician)?
- Are your books up to date and “clean”?
The sales considerations above are just the shortlist. Figuring out what your business is worth is a lot more complicated. The majority of owners I work with are disappointed by the business valuation they get the first time around. However, by giving yourself 2-3 years to prepare for sale, you can implement the improvements you need, including building the team, increasing sales, and increasing net profit to make your shop more attractive to a buyer.
Maybe you decide you want to maintain ownership and put someone else in charge of the daily operations. This still requires preparation on your part. If you are in the daily grind, preparing your team for you to step into a part-time role requires setting expectations and standard operating procedures — how you want things done in your absence.
Optimize Your Opportunity
Ensuring your shop is well staffed, well run, and reputable will go a long way to increase the value and make it attractive to potential buyers. Take the time to plan for and implement the improvements you need to increase the value of your shop so you can move closer to the next goal on your list.
At ATI, we work with shop owners to prepare their shop for whatever future the owner wants. Want to learn more? Start by registering for a shop owner event at www.atievent.com.