[This is the second in a series of early blog posts documenting the purchase process of our first laundry back in 2014. Enjoy.]
The Big News
Last time around we told you that we’ve decided to pursue the purchase of a self-service coin laundry business.
For the last few weeks we’ve been completely immersed in coin laundry industry jargon. Who knew there was an entire underground (well, sort of) community of people who live and breathe the laundry business? No joke. I can now state with complete confidence that it’s true.
Everything from how to decide on what your wash and dry vend prices should be, to accurately estimating the value of an existing laundromat, to discussing the minutiae of utility usage.
Terms like ‘turns-per-day’ (how many times the average machine is used per day) and ‘water bill analysis’ (a method of using the water bill to support the seller’s stated monthly incomes) are things we’ve become very familiar with.
The Information Sponge
We firmly believe that one of the best things you can do when going into business (whether you’re starting new or buying an existing one) is to soak up everything you possibly can on the industry you’re interested in. This is critical not only for your own continued success in the industry, but it’s just as important to have this knowledge before you even make an offer.
As part of the business purchase process, you need to have confidence. You must be able to speak intelligently to industry concepts and terminology. Not only will this make the parties involved (business brokers, sellers, lenders) take you more seriously, but they will be less likely to take advantage of you if you sound like you know what you’re talking about.
In our case, we have a bit of a leg up, as Randy worked full time as a Production Manager for a large commercial laundry company. But running a commercial laundry plant and owning a laundromat are still fairly distant cousins in the laundry business “family tree”.
Well, we’re knee-deep in digital paperwork.
After signing a confidentiality agreement, we received the first half of what I call the due diligence records. By this I mean that the seller has provided a large chunk of detailed financial information…profit-loss statements, revenue and expense records, utility bills, lease terms, etc.
However, we are still waiting on some other documents…more recent utility bills and the Schedule C forms from the last 3 years of income taxes, to name a few.
And because I’ve been Mrs. SpongeData LaundryPants lately, and have become fairly familiar with laundromat valuations and income/expense statements, I can actually review these records and make a fairly quick assessment of whether the business is something we should continue to pursue.
So far, so good. We’re moving forward.
However, it’s important to note that our signed purchase contract is extremely flexible; we could essentially back out for absolutely no reason at all.
We’re meeting with the seller for the first time on Saturday afternoon to go over details of the business, procedures, etc. I’ll give you an update afterwards and let you know how it goes…