You may view your business as your baby. You’ve nurtured it for years, watched it grow, and loved it. You’ve done your best; now it’s time to move on. After all the work you’ve put into your HVAC business, you know it will continue to grow and thrive in the hands of the right buyer. But how do you weed out the scams and the half-interest inquiries against the truly interested buyers with promising offers?
Here are nine ways to identify that a potential buyer means business:
1. They Know What They Want
A serious buyer is ready to make an offer as soon as they find the right fit and have a list of elements the business must acquire. First, they seek something that matches their expertise and skill set. They also have realistic expectations, know what they can afford, and have a good idea of the size of the HVAC business they’d like to invest in.
2. They Don’t Waste Time
A sincere buyer has every intention to look into your business and potentially make an offer. They’ve already researched your business, and when they make contact, they are eager to make appointments and visit your company. They’ve met with potential financial partners as well. If a buyer doesn’t seem ready, don’t let them waste your time.
3. They Are Transparent
Transparency is crucial when talking with potential buyers. An interested buyer should have no problem disclosing their personal information and background to the seller. They should also be excited to tell you about their interests and reasons for buying your business. The buyer should also be able to prove their understanding of the HVAC industry and their qualifications to run a business. It’s all about building a trusting relationship.
4. They Have Their Ducks In A Row, Financially
A serious buyer has the funds sorted out and is healthy enough to buy a business. There should be income statements, banking references, and borrowing documents in place, as well as a substantial down payment. They should disclose their plan to you about financing. Funds should already be in place from investors.
5. They Are Ready And Willing To Sign A Non-Disclosure
Signing a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement speeds up the buying process as the buyer can receive all the information about the business to make an informed decision and assure the seller that nobody will share sensitive information.
6. They Have A History Of Ownership In HVAC
A former or current business owner understands what owning and running an HVAC business entails. A history of ownership is one indication of a serious buyer. They are no strangers to taking risks, making down payments, and sorting out financing plans.
7. They Ask About Your Financials
A motivated buyer wants to know about your cash flow. The business has to be profitable and a worthwhile investment for them. An earnest buyer will ask plenty of questions about your profits and inventory. If you have unusable inventory, your buyer might grow concerned and count that as a red flag. However, disclose this information upfront to instill trust since they will eventually discover it anyway.
8. They Show Interest in Your Staff
A serious buyer is going to want to know about your employees. The staff speaks volumes about the company culture and overall morale of the business. A buyer will want a reliable team with little turnover and want to know about their salaries as well. Many companies are short-staffed, so a buyer will want to know how much staying power the staff has and if they are getting salaries that will motivate them to stay after new ownership takes over.
9. They Ask About Capital Expenditures
A buyer close to making an offer will ask how your company spends money. They will want assurance that your business has already covered major expenses and that any large pending purchases down the road won’t blindside them.
If you’re selling your business, your baby, you want to separate the ‘wastes of time’ from the serious potential buyers. Your time is valuable, and you don’t need to deal with a handful of inquiries leading nowhere. Your HVAC business broker will be able to aid you in only moving forward with serious buyers whose actions back up their claims.
The interest should go both ways, and you should be able to back up your claims. If you want to attract serious buyers, you should also do your due diligence to be an attractive seller who buyers will take seriously. Read more about how to prepare your business for buyers here. Selling your HVAC business can be overwhelming, but these nine indicators should help you efficiently identify who takes your business and time seriously.