b'SMART OPERATIONSPaying Attention to Preparation is Key to Selling Parking budgets, or taking on a disinter- gan-based The Campground Connec- of 2.5% on advertising, 5% on repairsested persona. A prospective buyer is tion, advise that it is critical that the and maintenance, and wages that varygoing to expect to pay lesssignifi- owner continues to operate the busi- with the type of park and vary any-Petercantly lessfor a park with peeling ness as if it hasnt sold, adding that where from 15% up to 35%.paint, obsolete utilities, cancelled di- the business must continue to thrive Following up on the two sets ofPelland rectory advertising, and a general im- until the transaction is complete be- books syndrome, Johnson warns sell-pression of owners with an unpleasant cause nothing is final until the check ers to do what she calls a corporateattitude. From the marketing perspec- crosses the table. In essence, the owner housecleaningandconfirmthattive that is part of my day-to-day work, shouldcontinuetospendasmuch everything is properly permitted. It is said that every business is for I am frequently called upon to design time as possible on running the busi- If you are operating 150 sites, butsale, as long as a buyer comes along newwebsitesforparkownerswho ness. The DeWards also mention the you are only permitted for 125 sites,who is willing to pay the right price. wouldliketomaximizetheselling importance of dealing with an agent with the other sites referred to as over-Particularly, if you watch any of the price of their property. I am also asked who will properly vet qualified buy- flow sites, the buyer, lender and ap-countless reality TV shows involved to design new websites for new owners ers, adding that one of the biggest praiser may dismiss the revenue derivedwith the selling of residential real es- who have purchased a park (typically problemsassociatedwithsellinga from those unpermitted sites when cal-tate that are broadcast on the HGTV atalowerpricethantheproperty business is dealing with people who culating the value of the property, hecable network, you realize that there is would have otherwise commanded) are curious about buying a business, noted. There is always a chance thata growing industry these days involved with an ineffective online presence. but may not be financially qualified. the town or state may learn about thosewith staging homes in order to maxi- Theyaddthat,duringtheselling unpermittedsitesduringthelicensemize selling prices and minimize list- Some Additional Perspectives process, it is critical to maintain confi- transfer process, shutting them down asing periods.Iinvitedseveralexpertsinthe dentiality in order to prevent panic future sources of revenue.Staging experts work to improve the campground real estate and financial among customers and employees who Will Szabo, of Ohio-based Ameri-many visual aspects that help a prop- fields to share some of their thoughts might fear the changes that may ac- can Property Analysts Inc., says that iterty look its best, including cleaning, that apply to prospective park sellers. company the sale. is important to reduce doubt in theremoving clutter, arranging furniture, Mia Caetano Johnson, of Rhode Is- Johnson advises that sellers need to mind of the buyer by preparing atbringing in rented furnishings, doing land-basedNortheastCampground get their financial houses in order. She least 3 trailing years worth of itemizedsomebasiclandscapingandpower Brokers, seems to agree with my mar- says, If you do not prepare profit and incomeandexpensestatementswashing, enhancing lighting, painting, keting-relatedobservations,com- loss statements, you should start to do using QuickBooks or other accountingand otherwise enhancing that all-im- menting that it is crucial to make a this. Buyers and lenders want to see software, and breaking down the de-portant first impression. good first impression by doing some where the money comes in and goes tailsofrevenuesandexpensesbyYou will generally know when the painting and some simple clean-up. out in more detail than what a tax re- source, for example seasonal campingtime comes for you to sell your prop- She suggests putting a fence around turn would normally show. Providing vs.overnightcampingvs.cabinerty. You might be ready to retire, you the junk area and enforcing rules for this type of information is worth the rentals. He emphasizes that sellersmay want a change in career, you may seasonal campers so that their junk is time and money when it comes time to must keep accurate records (because)find yourself repeatedly approached also not in the open. When it comes sell. You will get this investment back.every undeclared dollar costs $10 inby interested buyers, you may be fac- to capital improvements, she suggests ThisadviceisechoedbyRandy market share. ing a sudden health issue or a divorce, that, if you plan on selling in the next Greenman II, of Minnesota- and Wis- Johnson concurs, saying, Run youror you may have simply decided that couple of years, only make improve- consin-based Unity Bank, who says business like a business, and not like ayouhavecleanedyourlasttoilet. mentsthatwillincreaseyourvalue that all sales must be reported, citing hobby. If you make more money, thatWhatever your impetus for wanting to veryquickly,suchasaddingrental how he frequently encounters sellers will be good for you in the short term,sell, the time does not generally sneak cabins, adding a gate, or doing addi- who say there is more cash coming in, and it will help your value when youup on you unexpectedly. tional marketing and advertising. Oth- but we just dont report it, in order to try to sell down the road. Report all ofWithallthisinmind,italways erwise such capital improvements will pay less taxes. He adds, Buyers and your income. Unreported income doesamazes me when I encounter camp- not increase your value right away, and lenders evaluate based upon what is not help your value (and its illegal!)ground owners who are scaling back you will not get that money back when reported.Simplemath:ifyoudontreporttheir businesses by deferring general you go to sell. He suggests some general rules of $10,000, you may save $3,000 in taxesmaintenance, pruning their advertis- Dickand Marilyn DeWard, of Michi- thumb on expenses to gross revenues but you lose $100,000 in value.The bottom line is to take all of thisexpertise into account when runningyour business today, in order to maxi-mize your income at the time of sale an eventuality that may come soonerrather than later.PeterPellandistheCEOof Pelland Advertising, a company thathe founded in 1980 that has beenserving the family camping industryfor nearly 40 years. His company spe-cializes in building fully responsivewebsites, along with producing a fullrange of four-color process print ad-vertising,forclients.LearnmoreaboutPellandAdvertisingathttps://pelland.com/ or see its ad inthis issue. WCM8 -February 2020 Woodalls Campground Management'