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Should I close my business and sell off properties
Old 08-03-2018, 10:13 AM   #1
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Should I close my business and sell off properties

I am the 4th gereration of a family owned funeral home. . 135 years in business. I have no kids, I am 59 . My wife and I are on call 24/7 Millianals are not getting into our line of work because of the long hrs and working weekends. We have had an ad out for a director for 15 months to hire full time with no luck, so we have no time off . Itís high stress, and this is my 34th year.
Now I think every day that Iím done, however guilt trip every time I think of ending a 135 yr old business. No , no one is buying in our industry , so when we are done , we just close the doors.
The commerical property we have no morgage and worth 1.5 M. With our 401k we would have 2.7M. +. I know I could retire and be fine,
How do I deal with the guilt of closing such a long success business, that is my problem. need help and advise.
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:23 AM   #2
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It is your life and as you only know too well, it is finite. Enjoy what you have left and let the critics buy the place if they want it to continue.
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:31 AM   #3
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Tough call Monterey. Such a sad situation - it must be very hard on you both.

My dad sold his business, and watched the new owner run it into the ground and lose everything. He often said he just wished he'd closed it when he retired because watching it crash & burn was very painful.

I'd sell the building/property while the market is up and enjoy your well-deserved time off. Life is short, eat dessert first and retire when you can.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:16 AM   #4
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No need for guilt.... it is not your fault.... times have changed and such businesses are not in demand, in part because they require hard work and long hours and people want more work/life balance.

We have a similar story down the road a bit... a gas stop/deli/grocery store that is a proverbial gold mine... but it does require long hours (owner is there religiously at 5am for a few hours, on and off during the day and for a bit before closing in the late evening but has a lot of flexibility)... owner has kids but none are interested... too demanding.

Not to be political but IMO that is part of the reason why we need more (legal) immigration.... immigrants seem to be hungrier and more willing to sacrifice work/life balance for financial security.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:19 AM   #5
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Close biz.
Sell land.
Enjoy life.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:30 AM   #6
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Close biz.
Sell land.
Enjoy life.
+1

We did this 3+ years ago. No regrets.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:36 AM   #7
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The question of guilt is an odd one. Guilt at closing because it's been around so long? Eh, that's just the natural ebb and flow of businesses, supply & demand, etc. Not a good reason to sacrifice your remaining years just to make it a 136, 7, or 8 year old business before the inevitable happens.

Guilt to your staff? Maybe...but you have the control to figure out the best way to do things that lessens their impact (financially, references, warning time, etc.) If you've had an opening for a director open for that long, they already expect this.

Find a realtor today, and start making plans.
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:53 AM   #8
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What is the alternative? Sure, you can keep it open awhile longer and keep working. Eventually you will have to stop working, especially those hours. What then? Same thing? So then it's just a matter of time. In that case, why not now?
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:30 PM   #9
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Do you own your own home outright or do you live at the business address? If you do I would do it in a heartbeat. If Not, consider what the price of a home is and if the resulting cash leftover will accommodate your desired burn rate, not that you should not do that anyway.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:41 PM   #10
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Don't know where you are located, but have you contacted Service Corp?


I know a long time ago (about 18 years) they were buying up a large number of single owner funeral homes if they could get them in their circle... they shared equipment etc so could get costs down..


It looks like they realigned and got rid of all their overseas holdings (at one point they were the largest in Australia IIRC)...


Might not get a great price, but something is better than nothing...
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:42 PM   #11
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Close it. Do what you want. You don’t owe anybody anything. The business has provided years of income for you and your family. But if you don’t want to do it any more then don’t.

I have a similar situation in which the company provided me with a good income for years. Company was sold to mega Corp who is in the process of destroying it one rule/policy/standardization at a time. At first it was sad to see a rally good business just derail almost overnight. But that’s life. Nothing lasts forever. Times, people, motivations, and dreams change. Embrace the change and enjoy your life.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:47 PM   #12
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Sell now. Enjoy Life. And quietly thank your ancestors for giving you the opportunity to do so on your terms.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:49 PM   #13
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What is the alternative? Sure, you can keep it open awhile longer and keep working. Eventually you will have to stop working, especially those hours. What then? Same thing? So then it's just a matter of time. In that case, why not now?
+1 Same decision now or when you are older. At least if you make the decision now you can enjoy a well deserved retirement.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:54 PM   #14
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Perhaps the compensation being offered to the prospective director is not what is needed in this market?

On the other hand, aren't there commercial brokers out there that can value your business based on sales/profits and suggest a price (beyond the land value), and assist in finding a buyer?

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Old 08-03-2018, 02:00 PM   #15
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When I sold off my portion of the longstanding family business I felt a lot of guilt as I was the last of the Ďfamilyí and had felt responsible to pass it along, profitably to the next generation.
Eventually I realized that all the rest of my cousins and uncles had bailed over the years and obviously felt no remorse or guilt about legacy etc.

As Gauss said above, find a broker or sell to a larger national chain who may want your, ahem, clients. In our part of the world commercial accountants have access to many businesses both large and small that are trying to sell ( as they plan the tax advantaged exit strategy for their clients). Look your accountant up or another firm and perhaps they might have someone who is looking for an established business.

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Old 08-03-2018, 02:04 PM   #16
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Monterey - You could engage a Headhunter to try and find your Director. Many work on a contingent basis where they do not get paid unless they find someone for you. Let them handle the recruiting and networking. Most will recruit for around 20-25% of first year's salary. Just a thought from someone in the recruiting business...
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Old 08-03-2018, 02:19 PM   #17
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Don't know where you are located, but have you contacted Service Corp?


I know a long time ago (about 18 years) they were buying up a large number of single owner funeral homes if they could get them in their circle... they shared equipment etc so could get costs down..


It looks like they realigned and got rid of all their overseas holdings (at one point they were the largest in Australia IIRC)...


Might not get a great price, but something is better than nothing...
Correct 18 yrs ago. Market has changed and yes we contacted them. NO ONE IS BUYING
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Old 08-03-2018, 02:25 PM   #18
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Correct 18 yrs ago. Market has changed and yes we contacted them. NO ONE IS BUYING
Curious - Is cremation the 100 lb gorilla in the room effecting your business value?
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Old 08-03-2018, 02:30 PM   #19
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Don't funeral homes handle cremation too? My mother's did.
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Old 08-03-2018, 03:33 PM   #20
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No, in fact the death rate will rise with baby bomers, just can’t find licensed help. Kids don’t want to work.
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