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Forget The Asking Price When Buying a Liquor Store!

By Richard Parker: President of The Resource Center for Buying a Liquor Store™ and author of How To Buy A Good Liquor Store At A Great Price© .

Let’s take a look at an actual ad that I just pulled off the Internet for a liquor store for sale. (I have lightly edited it for this article):

"Liquor store with great seller financing and easy terms! Business can easily carry debt service and still deliver six-figure income. Good will $300,000, only asking $695,000 Excellent Business performance, deceiving from small size of the store. Seller financing with $350,000. Seller will train as needed. Retiring."

Well, that ad represents one side of the equation: the seller’s side!

There’s a popular saying regarding the asking price of any business for sale: “a business is overpriced the day it’s listed for sale.” Experience shows there’s more truth than fiction to this statement.

The asking price has nothing to do with the purchase price. Good negotiating skills and creative deal-making are what gets a deal done! So, when looking at listings, don’t get discouraged by what they’re asking.

After all, if you structure the purchase intelligently,  that price is not what you’re going to be paying . . . right?  And after all, it’s easy to understand the seller’s desire to price a business higher than what the market will bear.

Most Sellers Have an Emotional Attachment to Their Business

Sellers generally do not receive any professional input when establishing their selling price. Every seller wants to get the most money in his or her pocket from the sale.

The challenge for a potential buyer is to combat these issues with factual information in order to acquire the business and achieve the greatest possible return.

Both buyers and sellers must also realize that business valuations are very subjective. Valuation is an art, not a science. Both parties must also realize that appropriate formulas for that particular size and type business must be applied. Of equal importance is that both parties must acknowledge that a business is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay and what a seller is willing to accept.

All of this sounds pretty basic and generic, doesn’t it? The difficulty, of course, is to come to a common dollar figure. I’ve always felt that every seller’s value is too high and every buyer’s calculation is too low, and somewhere in the middle lays an accurate valuation.

Remember, Buying a Liquor Store Is a Down Payment-Driven Negotiation

Sellers usually have a fixed figure of what they want to walk away with in their pocket. That is why the down payment is quite often more important than the actual purchase price. I have been involved in countless transactions on behalf of buyers when we’ve offered to meet the down payment requirements in exchange for a massive reduction in the total purchase price or have received incredible concessions on the balance of sale note (zero interest for one year, extended terms, etc.).

When addressing the price in any negotiation, ask the seller to outline how they arrived at their price. If you do your research, you’ll be able to demonstrate an abundance of reasons why they may be asking too much. Having said this, there are certain sellers, highly motivated ones, who price their business fairly. In these cases, work on getting other concessions in the deal in exchange for meeting their price.

Whenever you look at a business purchase, keep in mind that EVERYTHING is negotiable, especially the price. Use it as a barometer for the seller's thought process. Don't allow the asking price of any business within striking distance be a deterrent to you. If it's the right liquor store for you, then solid negotiating skills can adjust any seller's thinking. 

To learn more success secrets of top-performing liquor stores, be sure to order our guide, How to Buy a Good Liquor Store at a Great Price.


This article represents a fraction of what you’ll learn in How To Buy A Good Liquor Store At A Great Price© - the most widely used reference resource and strategy guide for anyone thinking about buying a liquor store. Read a detailed listing of what you'll learn.

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