Nearly 450 Dallas-area businesses are for sale at this very moment, priced from $12,000 to $17 million. And, it so happens, many of those those buying in are those recently laid off. So says Douglas Batts, a business broker at BizBuySell.com, which fancies itself "the Internet's largest business for sale marketplace." Says Batts, "What we see in the business brokerage industry is these executives are approaching us looking for a business to buy. They are buying their next job."
Which would be what, exactly? Could be anything: There are 14 pages' worth of Dallas listings, everything from this near-downtown boozeteria to a Chevron station to a towing business. And there are plenty of convenience stores and gas stations -- plenty. Used to be, folks sold their businesses when it was time to wind down -- after they paid for the house and the kids were out of college. "They ha[d] equity that buyers [were] willing to pay for," Batts says. But these days, folks just need to get out -- better to lose a little now than everything later, especially restaurants, who make up a big hunk of the BizBuySell-ers. Alas, says Batts, "People in that situation who are selling their business end up not getting a top-dollar price."
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Mom-and-Pop specialty stores are also in trouble. Ask Prakash Dighe, a 65-year-old owner of Yoga for Life at Preston Road and LBJ Freeway, in a formerly robust shopping center that's seen better days. "The economic environment is very tough here," Dighe tells Unfair Park.
He wishes he could have held on to his business longer in the hopes of making a profit, but the outlook was bleak. Besides, his government paperwork finally went through, and he can now go back to practicing as a mechanical engineer, which was his profession in his native India. "Perhaps if I hadn't had that opportunity, maybe I would have forced myself to persevere and make it work."
But for now, he just wants out. He has it priced for immediate sale at just $40,000.
Batts has advice for buyers: "You're going to get the best deal on businesses that tend to be the most resistant in economic downturns," he says. Which means anything in health care, computers and technology. And this: "Assisted-living facilities is an industry right now that is benefiting from the Baby Boomers. It's a hot market for those."