Business For Sale Classified Ads a Humorous Take on The True Meaning

Business For Sale Classified Ads and Their True Meaning. A Humorous Take.


Business For Sale Classified Ads. Advertising Puffery that can make a buyers dream turn into a nightmare.
pufferyAlmost every Sunday, I read the classified ads in a number of papers instead of the comics. I guess you could call it my twisted way of getting a chuckle – but it never ceases to amaze amuse me when it comes to classified ads.

By far, the most entertaining are business opportunities and businesses for sale, and over time, I have copied down some of the most creative and then added my translation to them.

A Comical Translation to “Business For Sale Classified Ads” and “Business Opportunity” Ads

If you’re in the market to buy a business, you might enjoy the translations I put together while reading the advertising.

WARNING ….. You should not be drinking any liquids while reading this because you run the risk of spitting the liquid out of your mouth and all over whatever you are reading it on. Laptop keyboards are extremely susceptible to liquid.

Besides a few chuckles, the translations might very well save your ass-ets too.


Below are the headlines – please leave a comment on the bottom with feedback – I would appreciate hearing from you.


“Multi-Billion Dollar Industry” translates into field saturated with competitors.

“Must Sell” is another way of saying: Looking for a greater fool.

“Call To See If You Qualify.” If you call, you’re qualified.

“Earn Huge Income Immediately.” Believe in the tooth fairy.

“Serious Buyers Only” Means don’t call if you expect answers to tough questions.

“Excellent History” suggests trouble around the corner.

“Well Maintained” or “Great Lifestyle” is another way of saying unprofitable.

“Make Your Own Hours” is work like a slave or starve.

“Excellent Opportunity” is a nice way to say assume our mess.

“Dream business” is a nightmare.

“Easy” means you and everyone else the promoter can sell will compete with each other.

“Illness Forces Sale” could be we’re sick of this lousy business— that’s why we don’t hire a manager to run it and send us the profits.

“Owner Moving, Anxious To Sell” means about to go out of business.

“Call For Details” equals call for sales pitch.

“Divorce Forces Sale” The business is so time consuming your spouse will want to divorce you too in a few months after buying this turkey.

“Absentee Owner” raises the question: If the owner doesn’t need to be there to make money, why is he selling?

“Premium locations!” Franchisors are selling concepts that they refuse to admit are not good enough for them to invest their own money.

“Priced To Sell” usually means not worth owning.

“Owner Makes $150K, Employs Wife and Kids” is better than “work is our only activity, business can’t afford to employ others.”

“Anxious To Sell” hints that it won’t be long and you will be anxious to sell too.

“Tavern: Fun Lifestyle” by an owner who is tired of being robbed, smelling beer breath and coping with thieving bartenders.

“As-Is Condition” invites the fool born today.

“Turnkey Business” might convey we can’t wait to lock the door behind

“Mature Company” has seen its best days.

“Built-in Clientele” should say we’ve got all the customers there are to get.

“Huge Value” = worthless.

“Will Pay For Itself In One Season” should come with its own warning label: “If not, you’ll lose money for the next nine months. Make sure you have lots of savings so you can get a second chance next year.”

“Established Business With Living Quarters” so you can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Distributors Wanted” suggests the territory too risky for us to staff.

“Low Rent” surely means terrible location.

“Growing Population” sounds better than we’re still not making any money.

“Liquidating All Assets” at exorbitant prices the pros won’t pay.

“Major Shopping Center Location” becomes landlord will lease to your competitors.

“Free Long Term Support” promises that the seller will treat you like @$#&!, so you don’t call again.

“Owner Financing” means the deal is too dumb for a bank or other source of capital to finance.

“Low Down Payment” almost always means the owner is thinking of shutting down but prefers to attract an unsuspecting buyer who will make payments until he too goes broke.

“Free video.” This is as good as it gets. Rent a movie, instead.

“Real Estate Included” means you don’t collect rent when your business can’t pay it.

“Fun Business.” Ask: If it’s so much fun, why are you selling? Maybe I’d prefer that kind of fun, too.

“50% profit” sounds good until you remember the best firms (i.e., Microsoft) don’t earn anywhere near this.

“Rated #1.” Thanks, mom.

“One of a kind.” You can say that, again.

“Relieve Stress.” Whose?

“Tired of Corporate Politics?” It’s your turn to try to manage our band of incompetent, demanding employees.

“No Selling.” Turn iron into gold.

“Tired of The 9-5 Grind?” Imagine working until dawn.

“Principals Only.” We don’t want to talk to your knowledgeable professional advisors, only whoever can write us a check.

“Realistic Top Dollar Income Potential.” Putting “realistic” and “potential” into the same sentence is like putting a cat and dog together in a dark closet.

“Short Hours” means there is not much demand for the company’s product.

“Millionaire’s Secret!” Run ads, sell pamphlet containing secret: Run ads, sell pamphlet…

“You Won’t Believe This Until You See It,” means you will not believe this when you see it.

“Riches From MLM.” How to lose all your friends and family and cause your significant other to sleep on the couch.

“Surround Yourself With Beautiful Women, Earn Thousands.” Okay, you got me there …… I’m curious.


In closing, here is the best ad headline I have ever seen and have used myself. It out-performs all others by an average of a 10 to 1 margin.

“Profitable – Fair Price, Will Train New Owner”


What about you? Do you have any ad headline translations?


Published with permission from © 1999-2006 Ted J. Leverette, The Original Business Buyer Advocate ®,






Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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