Selling a Boat Dealership: Tips from Tampa, FL


If you are a boat dealer considering an exit, there are several factors to consider. On a high level, the following tips apply to any owner looking to sell a business, regardless of industry or location. Read on for our top 3 business-selling tips tailored for boat dealership owners. 

3 Tips for Selling a Boat Dealership

1. Consider Timing

Considering there is not a “wrong” time to sell a business nor a boat dealership it may, however, be more challenging to sell during peak boating season, simply because the demands of running the business will be higher at that time. On the other hand, it’s not necessarily desirable to sell in an extreme off-season, when there isn’t any business happening.

Here is where it’s helpful to remember that every season is boating season in Florida. (Many Floridians couldn’t even tell you how to winterize a boat!) So, particularly if you are a boat dealer in the state of Florida, the immediate market shows that there is not a considerable wrong time of year to sell your business. In that case, what is more important is to have a plan, and assume that your business will sell within a year.

2. Get Educated

One of the most valuable steps you can take toward selling a business is to learn everything you can about the selling process, current market, and the value of your business. Employing a business broker is the best way to do this, and getting a business valuation is the best place to start. For example, with Viking, in addition to calculating the value of your boat dealership, our valuation process will provide insight into what is going on in the market, as well as relevant industry information and projections. 

Viking is able to provide this real-time market and industry information because we are active in the sales market. This is a distinct advantage to you as a seller. On one hand, it’s common for dealers to consult with other dealers about running their business; but, that is not the same as discussing the ins and outs of buying and selling businesses. This is where Viking Advisors can provide the kind of insight and information that will help you make the best decisions for you and your business.

For reference, here is a list of information you will need to provide for a business valuation:

  • Past 3 years Federal Tax Returns
  • Last 3 years Profit and Loss Statements (P&L), including balance sheets
  • Interim Profit and Loss Statement (P&L), including balance sheet and a year-to-date comparison for the same period last year
  • The average value of inventory of saleable product on hand at any time of year
  • Equipment List
  • Copy of tax bill on real estate, if the real estate may be included in the sale
  • Copy of any real estate appraisal that is available
  • Lease information

3. Maximize Value

To sell a boat dealership for top dollar, you must keep running the business as if you are NOT going to sell. Specifically for boat dealers, that means keeping up with pre-ordering inventory and parts from manufacturers. One reason for this is that it’s not possible to perfectly predict the timing of your selling process; if it extends longer than you initially assumed, you don’t want to be stuck without inventory. 

On the other hand, when the sale does close, you also don’t want a new owner to be behind on inventory, especially as a small business. Buyers will want to see that the business is running smoothly, even when you’re headed toward an exit. Remember, in the end, if you have deposits on pre-ordered inventory, you will get paid/reimbursed for that, and you are going to get paid for new /used inventory. This is all part of your business’s value.

Viking Mergers & Acquisitions has decades of experience buying and selling businesses in more than twenty-five industries across the Southeast, and this provides a well-rounded foundation to complement our more specific expertise here in Florida. We can help you understand not only the process of selling a boat dealership, but specifically of selling a boat dealership in Florida. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-obligation business valuation.