ADVANCED DUE DILIGENCE OR THINGS YOU NEED TO DO DURING DUE DILIGENCE
In California the needed paperwork on a Laundromat sale are provided by the brokers and the escrow agents. Besides understanding the lease, the remaining aspects of a sale of a Laundromat (equipment, fixtures, goodwell, personal property, leasehold value) are understandable to most buyers. What I recommend to potential buyers in this order are: 1) Hire a professional property inspection company. 2) Hire a professional roof inspector. 3) Visit the City building department and obtain all permits, records and insure the Certificate of Occupancy is listed as a Laundromat. 4) Visit all Laundromats within a one mile radius and note vending prices, equipment brand, equipment condition, number, SqFt of premises and upkeep. 5) Visit all the large apartment buildings within one mile and note all aspects of item four above. 6) Visit local police agency and ask for historical records of incidents and crimes in or about the premises. 7) Visit neighboring business and ask for information about the Laundromat, past traffic and problems. 8) Obtain a demographic study and review it for those items important to a successful Laundromat. 9) Speak to the repair person and staff of the business to gather information and indications of problems. 10) Check the neighborhood for any potential new stores being developed near your location. City building department, other owners and distributors are good sources of information. 11) Verify with planning department that no changes to road or property development are planned. 12) Review the last three years of income and expenses, noting trends and sudden increases prior to this sale. 13) Do a water and utility bill analysis. 14) Ask your tax advisor to share their opinion of allocation of purchase price. 15) Ask an attorney about any aspects of the purchase agreement or lease terms you don't understand. 16) Hire an equipment repair person to offer an opinion of the condition of the installed equipment.
In a dense urban setting, with a variety of washing facilities available, street side monument signs, fast moving traffic and arterial roadways, I believe your exterior signs need to quickly grab your eye and brain.
Signs declaring their service are very popular, such as Butcher, Computer Repair, Emergency Room, Palm Reader, Gentleman’s Club, and Watch Repair are just a few examples. You don’t need to brand these enterprises on their exterior signage, people know immediately the services offered.
Let’s look at a few branding names that make quick recognition difficult. “The Coin Wash,” “Clean and Lean” (combination of Laundromat and exercise), “Suds and Duds,” “Come on Over Laundry,” “Sparkle Plenty Home Washing” and “Rub a Dub Wash in a Tub.”
I suggest that cute names, logos, pictures, phrases or phone numbers do not need to be displayed on exterior signs. Signs that display the brand of the washers and dryers may last longer than the brands. Anyone still have a Norge, GE or Primus logo on their sign? Does anyone believe that advertising the equipment brand increases customers?
Another common branding technique is used by distributors to push their brand. They use a name such as “SWP Laundry Land” to continually advertise their name on your business free of charge. Here SWP Distributor has created a smart, continuing promotion at your expense. Their branding doesn’t draw in customers for you, but for them.
I believe that embellishment on street side monument signs should be block letters, short and simple. Storefront signs should be simple and as large as possible by city codes. If you just can’t control your creativity, limit size and the number of additions