In the Know: Consider property value when selling your company

March 16, 2023 By    

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas and Propane Resources. This month, Adam Zoellner explains the value real estate brings when thinking about selling your propane company.

QUESTION: What roles do real estate and property value play when selling a propane business?

ANSWER: I’m a fan of using the analogy: “Sell your company as you would sell your project car.”

A lot of blood, sweat, tears, time and money can be invested building your dream car or company. Selling this chapter of your life should be a pinnacle of pride, so let’s talk about how some of the less glamorous aspects of your company need their fair share of polish and attention to bring in the right buyers.

Visual presentation

Just like selling a car, your company’s visual presentation delivers a clear first impression and is the first thing that can make or break the sale of your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to sell a hard-working garbage truck, RV camper or motorcycle. Investing in new tires, fresh paint and a car wash will prompt buyers to stop, investigate and take a closer look. That’s the first hook.

If you’re selling your life’s work or the family legacy, don’t lose potential buyers because you couldn’t be bothered to keep the imagery spruced up. You wouldn’t sell your car with the seats stained or crumbs and trash scattered about. Clean up your property. Weed the lots, clean off your tanks, remove defunct tanks, purge the clutter, mow the grass, clean the exterior of buildings and show your property the respect it deserves.

Unlike a vehicle, a property’s appraisal does not directly affect the purchase price in a propane business sale. A property’s attributes determine the value, as the buyer is purchasing the business as a whole for its perceived potential, not the sum of its parts. Having a sound understanding of the fair market value (FMV) will be important when discussing purchase price allocation with your accountant and attorney.

Environmental integrity

Are you aware of any environmental impacts on your property? Acquisition teams in our industry are hyperaware of the impact environmental spills or damages can have on the value of a parcel of land. Buyers almost always notice or check if a car is leaking oil or other chemicals, so you better believe they will inspect your property for the same.

Common environmental damages we see include diesel or gasoline spills, history of fertilizer being stored on-site or even chemicals associated with mechanic shops, dry cleaners or other cleaning companies. Far too many sellers overlook or ignore this detail on their property before a sale, sometimes impeding a sale. Propane business owners should know your property’s history of chemical and oil usage and storage practices.


This last one is the most important. Keep all real estate documents on file and current. It’s very important when it comes time to sell your business. Ensure you have deeds, surveys, appraisals, environmental analyses, if applicable, and any lease agreements that are in place.

A common oversight amongst propane retailers is keeping lease agreements current and assignable. Avoid verbal or mutual agreements, if possible. This can scare off potential buyers if they know a property may not be available to use after an acquisition transaction is completed. It is critical that lease agreements have an assignability clause so it can be assigned to the buyer. A majority of buyers will view or treat verbal agreements as null, so be sure to have everything documented in writing. Keep all legal real estate documents on file. This also improves the process of selling your business when the time comes.

We hope this helps you understand the value real estate brings when thinking about selling your company.

Adam Zoellner is a mergers and acquisitions manager at Propane Resources. He can be reached at

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