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Over 10,000 small businesses were sold last year. That’s a new record! So how did Tom make his lawn care company listing stand out so that it sold quickly, for top dollar while avoiding common mistakes?

When Tom contacted our office last year he didn’t have a plan for selling his lawn care company. In fact, he wasn’t even sure if it was the right time. What he did know, was that he wouldn’t own it forever and he wasn’t turning it over to a family member.

Tom also wasn’t sure exactly what his lawn care company was worth. He could tell you the value of his home, his car, and his financial accounts, but he didn’t know the true value of his most important asset, his business. He’s not alone; most business owners aren’t sure of the true value of their business.

After a free consultation with our team, Tom was able to share his ideas about the next phase of life and his priorities for when it was time to sell. Within a few conversations, Tom realized he was ready to move forward with taking the steps necessary to put his business in the best position for a smooth transaction.

Small businesses are being bought and sold in record numbers. How do you make your business listing stand out from the crowd? Savvy business owners use the following strategies to put their business in the best position for a successful transaction.

Get Financial Paperwork Organized

As lawn care companies tend to have seasonal business fluctuations, you may want to spend downtime getting organized for the sale. Any buyer will expect proper documentation, so it’s essential that your paperwork is accurate, complete and up to date. Otherwise you risk a much lower offer than what your business is truly worth.

Bank records listing deposits and expenditures, plus your personal tax return showing your reported income from the lawn business will be needed. You also want to include a list of regular customers and copies of service agreements with your financial statements. These can all help with your appraisal for the overall value of your company as will information on lease agreements, supplies, and equipment.

Prepare The Business To Sell

Once you’ve organized paperwork, it’s time to focus on the business itself. This step can be particularly challenging for business owners who have spent years building up a business they love. Many owners are involved in the daily operations and care deeply about the relationships they’ve established with both employees and clients.

In order to step away from the business with minimal impact to its profits, it’s best for owners to establish a strong operations system. Having a reliable crew and solid management team in place will alleviate any potential nervousness employees or clients may feel about your departure. This is another selling point for potential buyers as they will be willing to pay more for a business with established revenue and sound exit strategy.

This is also an excellent opportunity to update websites, logos, or marketing strategies as these are indicators of a healthy business in today’s marketplace.

Use a Business Broker

Finding the right buyer for a business is not always an easy search to complete. Using a business broker to list the sale of your lawn care company expands the possibilities to a wide network of potential buyers.

Many sellers have high expectations about selling their company and its important to decide priorities. Do you want to sell to a like-minded owner who understands the value of the services the business provides? Do you have a certain amount of money you need to receive?  If so, is the amount in line with what other companies in your industry and size sell for currently?

Working with a business broker can help you identify the priorities of your sale and can be invaluable during negotiations. Most buyers don’t want to pay more than the business is worth and many sellers think their business is worth more than it is. Using a business broker to navigate the complexities of business value and negotiations saves business owners a lot of time and frustration.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners enjoy a sense of independence and can-do it attitude that has helped them develop successful businesses. However, you will only sell this business once so it’s best to rely on an advisor to maximize potential and manage due diligence through the process.

If you’re considering selling your lawn care company in the near future, contact us today to talk to an expert and discover the true market value for your business.