What would you say to someone who is thinking about selling?
I would say that they should at least give you a call and talk to you. Maybe you’re not ready to sell today, or tomorrow, but you can assist them in selling maybe in a year from now, maybe in two years from now. You can tell them what they may need to do or show to make their business more valuable, like when you came to one of our meetings and you were telling everybody else at the meeting what you need to do to increase the value of your business. So maybe you’re not ready yet, but you might find you’re ready, so and if you’re ready, you’re the guy to do it. I would say as a business owner, if you’re thinking about selling your business, maybe call some other people that used you as a broker. Just get, honestly talk to someone on the phone. Just don’t fly by on what you see. It really does help when you speak to people. We have about a year ago we had a guy who owned a Servpro in California, and he had a friend in Orlando who was interested in buying, and we met with them, and we threw a price at them, and it was a lot less than what we came up with that we should ask for. So, if we had sold then, we would have really undervalued our business. So I’m glad we waited until we had someone who really knew what the restoration businesses are worth. And that helped with the value. You know, we would have taken a lot less a year ago, because we didn’t know. Sometimes people think, well I won’t pay that commission. Yeah you won’t, but maybe you’re not going to get the true value of your business. So research it, make the call.
How do I compare to others you’ve known?
What I liked is that you got out ahead in front of potential problems or concerns. You didn’t let them come to you and happen and then deal with them. You got out in front of it, like we had with the mold license. We had a little discrepancy there and I had informed your buyer when we were really close to closing, and you got out ahead and you spoke to the lawyers and all the clients and everything, and you worked it out. So it didn’t become an issue. And, being proactive is what I like about you. Not waiting for a problem to happen, and if you solve them with your experience, let’s go after that. Now, being if it’s at night, weekend, whatever, you took care of it. Well, the other thing I felt comfortable with too is the people you presented us, you felt were qualified. You just didn’t come and say, hey, would you talk to this person or that person, just because they called up about a business. I feel like everybody you had sent our way to talk to about our business were serious individuals, so you didn’t waste our time, because we were busy conducting business still.
What were your fears about hiring a business broker?
I had a lot of fears about it, because I had to experience something in the past with a business broker that didn’t, it wasn’t successful at all, and so, when you’re going to hand something over to somebody that you’ve worked hard for 20 years and basically you are handing it over to them, because you’re saying, okay, you can sell this, and you have to put a lot of trust in that person that they’re going to present you with the right people. They are also going to present your business in the correct light, and that was important to me. I didn’t feel I had that opportunity in past. The way he advertised it, I was extremely unhappy with. Well I thought that it’s commitment time, and he has commitment, and I didn’t want to sign with a broker, and if it was a bad broker then we’re kind of committed to each other for a year. It’s like a marriage for a year. So I wanted to make sure who we picked was going to be able to sell it, and well, we did.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before?
Well, what I know now is that it was a lot easier road than I thought. That I have much more appreciation for brokers.I truly do. You know, I was always leery of it, but I think that I’ve come to the realization, everybody has a job and a purpose, and it was well worth that when I see the amount of effort that you put into it and the time, and I can see that no matter what it was, like he said, I could call you day, night, weekend. You always picked up, and you always responded. So that’s more like the 24/7 business that we’re all in. So, it does make it a lot easier. The whole transition, like I said, I think you help the transition of the buyer coming in too. It made it easier for the buyer to feel comfortable that he could call you, or you were emailing and keeping him updated on things too. So, you’re not just helping the seller, you’re helping the buyer too. It’s a process, and sometimes there might be a quicker process, but you got to be prepared that it’s going to be a process. Go about, run your business like you tell me, go about, forget you’re selling it until I contact you, and I’ll let you know what you need to know about selling. That was, we could focus on still operating our business, making our business as much money as we can. We want to keep the business up there, which we did. Our last year was like our best year. And we let you focus on the selling, and it worked out.
How have previous brokers let you down?
If he was sending us a potential buyer, he didn’t give us much information about it. Just a name, and that they wanted to buy the business. So we were going in it blind. But when you presented someone to us, we had the information, what their background and history was, their financial, are they capable of affording the business. We had some background information to work with. We weren’t going into a meeting blind or showing somebody blind. We knew what they were about. We had a good picture. Yeah, he, because he did where somebody would just call on a business and he would just send them over to me. I mean, and you know, sometimes these individuals didn’t have brokers, and I didn’t know what to present or say to these people, because you can seriously, you can make the mistake of say the wrong things and chase a person away who might have been the person you needed. So, it does help to have somebody there who knows what they’re doing. You kinda coach on what you might want to say, and what you might want to stay away from. We’re still being honest, but you know, saying the right thing, put your business in the best possible light, and that’s what you helped us to do.
How was the process with me?
The process was kinda two fold for us because I mostly started talking to you about the value, how you assess the value. We just, didn’t tell you what we made for the last three years, and you said, what equipment, okay, here’s what you should ask. You went about it methodically. You have a certain way you go about evaluating restoration businesses. So, me and you worked on that, we came to a consensus on what we wanted to do, we put it for sale. You told us the marketing plan, we pretty much went with it. Then, when we got into the number crunching and everything, I had to turn it over to my wife Gale, because she’s the one who does the QuickBooks and the book keeping. Then, you had to work with her, for her to give you the supporting documents, which is important. So you made sure that you had all those documents, or most of them, so when a client was really serious, we could just give them whatever they want. We gave them the paper trail, it was there ready to go. We didn’t say, oh where’s that. We had it.
What would you say to someone who is sitting on the fence?
If you feel the time is right, you gotta just feel it. If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you’re used to taking chances. So this is an educated chance, if you want to change your life, you got to do it. If you’re not ready, take some more time, but at least get some information to chew on for a while, and then when the time is right, you’ll know. You’ll feel it. You know, whether you say the phrase I’m burnt out, or you just know when you’re high it’s time to get out. And when it’s time to get out, give you a call. I don’t think people should necessarily throw the word burnt out out there. I think that what it should be more is that you’re not enjoying the life you have right now. It was exciting at one time, and like it was for us, it was 20 year effort that we put in to this. But, we have reached the point in our lives where we would like to do something else a little bit different, and it doesn’t mean that you’re just going to drop everything and not do anything anymore, it’s that you have the spirit to go on to something else. And so, you know, if you do have that passion, and you can see that it is a easier process than what you think, and you go out like that on the other side, there’s so much more out there to still do. You know, no matter what age you are, there’s still plenty of things out there to do. You just have to have the confidence in yourself that you know that today’s the day that I’m going to live the life I love.