My comments here are very philosophical general in nature, but because I get so many inquiries on this topic, I thought it might be good to discuss it.
I have been hired many times to help determine the value of a yard (not including real estate), in cases ranging from contract disputes, tax cases, condemnations, assisting buyers and sellers.
I have NEVER heard of a wrecking yard (not including real estate) sell for more than one times annual sales, and most often much less. Typically, the sales price for the business is a multiple of earnings (about 5-6 times earnings), which need to be legitimately recast to solve errors. Another method is to use the value of the assets. An operation with significant upside can be worth more than 5 times earnings. It’s funny, most sellers are “just turning the corner on earnings”, and see significant upside, even though they have been there decades.
In asset discussion, the value of used parts inventory always comes up. Typically, it can’t be worth more than about three months sales (from that inventory, not including brokered parts or car sales)
The earnings used for the multiple must include fair market value rent (which will drive the land value), and compensation for the owner.
The land may be worth more for other uses, and if so, sell it for those uses and close the yard. Also, a typical well run yard shouldn’t need more than 10 acres (many do well with 3-7 acres), so I suggest you sell the yard with the land currently being utilized, not to exceed 10 acres, and sell rest of the land to another user who can pay top dollar. No need to buy a shopping center to get a store, from the buyer’s perspective.
The land value for the wrecking yard should be driven by the rent payment being made, using a 10 – 10% or so return on investment. A typical real estate investor will want a higher return due to environmental risk. Obviously an ex-operator could settle for less of a return, as they are more comfortable with the risk. So, your P&L should show the rent, before net earnings. If the rent is say, $3,000/mo, or $36,000 per year, on a triple net lease (where the tenant pays insurance, taxes and utilities), the land is worth $257,000 for the yard use (give or take some, but not much). If you aren’t paying yourself enough rent, why not?
If after rent, ($36,000), and adequate compensation to owner (at least $50,000), you still have earnings, of say, $35,000 (10% of sales), the business is worth a maximum of $175,000 (5 times earnings), and the land is worth about $250,000 based on the rent being paid. If the rent isn’t market rate, or there has been significant development in the area, the land could be worth more of course, perhaps much more. Obviously if the earnings are more and can be proven, the business could be worth more.
My experience is that owners hardly pay themselves anything, and rent isn’t being paid, or is not at market rates, and if they were, the earnings are negative, which means the whole enterprise is worth commensurately less.
Ninety percent of people that contact me are unrealistic about the value of their business. Their savior is that their land is worth more for other uses. If you are looking to sell your business, be sure to find out what the land is worth – it may be time to close or move the business and realize the value of the land.
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AutoSalvageconsultant.com was formed in 2001 to help recyclers improve their businesses. With over fifty years of experience in three staff members, the group is THE definitive source for recyclers’ management and training needs. The founder, Ron Sturgeon, is past owner of AAA Small Car World. You can review his resume, with skills and experience, at our website. In 2002, his book How to Salvage Millions From Your Small Business was published to help small business owners achieve significant success. It was recently reprinted in the U.S. and published in China, Korea and the Czech Republic. You can learn more about how to help your business at www.autosalvageconsultant.com. You can reach us at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or by calling or emailing Mike Gibson or Tammy Sturgeon. Mike can be reached at 817-925-0061 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Tammy can be reached at 817-999-1224 or email@example.com