Apple Growth Partners

Selling Your Car Wash

Photo of Car Wash for Selling Your Car Wash Article
By Brandon Fredericks, CPA

After putting in the work to build your car wash business, you have reviewed all your uncertainties and decided you are ready to sell – now what?

Focus on your core operations and your team

Whether you want to start the sale process tomorrow, or five years from now, keep making decisions as if you were going to own that car wash forever. This is how you will maintain and increase your overall valuation and be the most attractive to potential buyers. Serious buyers will know your team is key to your car wash’s success. Maintaining day-to-day management will set your employees up for success under new owners, and when it comes time to talk with potential buyers, negotiate well for your team.

Consider what a successful transaction looks like to you

It is important to know what you want before beginning the sale process. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What role do I want to play after the sale?
  • What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
  • What are my key business and personal goals from a sale?
  • What number do I need to retire or need to make this deal worth it to me?
  • What are the qualities I want in a buyer?
  • When is the ideal timing?
Take steps to strengthen your financial position
  • Minimize risk by evaluating wash plans and pricing structure. While doing so, consider the recent inflationary environment to maintain margins.
  • Evaluate cost to industry standards, further maximizing margins.
  • Avoid signing any long contracts when possible.
  • Evaluate supplier concentrations and diversify where it makes good business sense.
  • Increase your presence on social media, at trade shows, and at community events to establish brand awareness.
  • Consider new marketing campaigns to attract new customers.
Get your house in order
  • Having detailed and recast financial records will help tell a better story around your value and make any due diligence process run smoother. This is especially critical if you have multiple locations. Investing time upfront can save time in the sale process and help maximize the value of your business.
  • If not done already, revisit corporate governance matters and make sure meeting minutes, partnership agreements, etc., are in order.
  • Resolve any legal issues or claims that may be outstanding.
Build a team to achieve your goals and objectives
  • Consider your sell-side partners wisely.
  • Build yourself a team of advisors to ensure the most successful transaction possible.
  • Partner with transactional CPAs that know carwashes on your side to handle both financial and tax related matters.
  • Find an M&A advisor to coach you through the process and help you make the best decisions.
  • Search for a transaction lawyer with solid deal experience.
  • Have a wealth advisor for the forthcoming liquidity event.

Your sell-side team is essential to help you prepare, market, and close a deal that helps you achieve all your personal and business goals.


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