It’s flattering to hear, but what should you do when a buyer comes calling?

You’ve probably received multiple emails and telephone calls from potential buyers for your landscaping business in the past few months.  As a landscape business owner you are the object of multiple buyers’ attention. The good news is that this indicates a continuing high level of demand for landscaping companies.  

There is a full court press on for buyers to find and develop relationships with sellers, especially the largest and most profitable sellers meeting their criteria.  Every week we receive multiple calls from new buyer entrants launching their landscaping business platform.  Most are seeking the same few companies having more than $1 million in EBITDA, commercial maintenance, etc.  Recently, residential maintenance buyers have entered in a big way.  Sellers should benefit from this demand.  

As a result of so many buyers, the criteria are expanding to include add-ons to existing platforms that are smaller than $1 million in EBITDA.  Buyers are usually under pressure to continue to grow through acquisition and organic growth.  While the pressure isn’t as ruthless as it might be if they were public companies, there is always demand from investors for the company to grow. (And to grow profitably, but that’s another blog.)

How can you make the most of these opportunities?  Starting this week I will share with you some of the actual phone calls I’ve received from owners and buyers and a few thoughts you might consider going forward.  

  • Are these calls for real?  

I’ve talked to a friend of mine who sold his company, and he vouches for these buyers.  Or, I met these guys at an industry meeting or-I’ve read about these buyers in the industry, or similar.) 

Yes, BUT… 

You are most likely receiving calls from business developers who are either working for the company or private equity group seeking additions to their portfolio. Or, you may be the recipient of a call from a buyer’s representative that is looking on behalf of several buyers.  

Remember, there isn’t a lot of information about existing landscape businesses available.  Most are privately held and, other than those participating in Top 100/Top 150 lists or featured in a trade journal, information is not widely available.  

Potential buyers would love to have a database of landscaping businesses that fit their criteria for size, type of business, region, etc.  Do you want your information in a database?  What’s the benefit to you?

Should you share your information, even with a company that is willing to sign a nondisclosure confidentiality agreement?  Probably not.  Why limit yourself to one potential buyer when you might have several?  Also, your information is valuable and even though it is confidential, it is still going to be recorded somewhere.  With all the analytical tools that can be used to “mine” data, I would prefer not to share information.  

Instead, find out what you can about who the buyer is, what they are looking for, who they may have bought already, etc.  

Next, what is your company’s market value range likely to be on the open market?  Are you in the best position to sell now?  Do you know what makes your company valuable to potential buyers? 

If the answer to these is yes, you may want to engage in discussions with that buyer.  But first, please find someone to advise you on your next steps.  If there is one potential buyer, there are probably several.  Your best strategy if you are ready and willing to sell is to engage an advisor who can explore options with you before you make yourself available for sale.  

Don’t miss your opportunity to maximize the price and terms you could receive from selling your business.  If you’d like to discuss your situation on confidential basis, we’d be happy to have a complimentary conversation with you about these or any other exit/sales/buying issues.

You can reach me via email: [email protected] or on my cell phone a: 224-688-8838.

We’re here to help you Harvest Your Potential!

*DISCLAIMER: Business sales and purchases have risks. Buyers and Sellers should understand that Harvest the Green Partners, Inc. does not provide legal, accounting or tax advice and does not act as licensed attorneys, accountants, or tax advisors. Buyers and Sellers should seek counsel from an attorney, Certified Public Accountant, and any other parties necessary to make an informed decision regarding the transaction. Buyers should conduct their own due diligence. Harvest the Green Partners does not verify information and does not conduct due diligence on the business, the parties, or the business’ records.

Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio