Business For Sale:$1

Reporter: Gavin Alder

Many Australians dream of being their own boss. Many more dream of making a 'sea change'. But what if you could have both for $1? A business for sale in one of Queensland's most popular beach suburbs could be yours for a gold coin.

It's certainly one hell of a sales pitch: an apparently flourishing business for a dollar. Phil Steele and his wife Linda are the motivated vendors. "We'll sell it for whatever we can get for it, as long as someone will take over the lease for us," Phil said. He says he's prepared to sell the eatery lock, stock and wok, for a little loose change - literally. "We'd like maybe $10,000 if we could get that," Phil said. But he also said he was quite serious about selling for as little as a dollar or just a few dollars.

The Steeles are paying the price for biting off more than they could chew. They have been running the Thai eatery in a popular shopping centre food court for two years, while at the same time running another restaurant. "It's going OK," Phil said. "But we can't afford to run both at the moment. It just takes up too much of our time."

But is it a good business? "It's not doing too badly," Phil said. "We cover the rent, we cover the expenses, but it could do better because we're not able to work here the whole time. "We have to leave early, so we're not putting in the time that we should."

It's a first for real estate agent Jim Richards. And he has trouble convincing people it's fair dinkum. "You probably won't see another opportunity like this come along in my lifetime, anyway," Jim said. There's that old saying, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. But Jim said the restaurant is a genuine business and a genuine sale.

Similar offers have been made in the past. Blocks of land in country Victoria were given away, while a country property at Toodyay, east of Perth, was up for tender for $1. But the restaurant is not in some out-of-the-way place or a town desperate to attract people. It is smack, bang in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, minutes away from some of Australia's best beaches â?? a lifestyle that normally attracts a hefty price tag. "As a general rule of thumb in a food court like that, a couple of hundred thousand [dollars]," Jim estimated. "It is a bargain in all aspects of the word bargain."

The Fil Thai Spice is not the only restaurant up for sale for a song. On the Gold coast, The Penny Kitchen is currently for sale and could and we stress 'could' - be bought with a single gold coin. You might think offering a restaurant for sale for the same amount as it would cost you to buy a spring roll would mean Phil was inundated with offers. But incredibly, he hasn't had a bite.

Is there a catch? Well, you do have to take over a three-year lease. And it's always advisable to get an accountant to look at the books. And Phil will tell you, like any small business, running the place takes a lot of work and long hours. He insisted the offer is not mad. "No, not at all," Phil said. "We're just tired."

The restaurant is called Fil Thai Spice. It's at the food court in the Sunshine Plaza shopping centre at Maroochydore. For more information, contact Jim Robinson on 07 5412 1600 or email jim@propertytoday.net.au or visit http://www.propertytoday.net.au/