Want to sell your HVAC or Plumbing business? Do Not Tell Anyone….
I realize as you just read the above statement you may be thinking, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. If I do not tell anyone I am going to sell my business, how will I ever find a buyer? And the answer to that is quietly and with confidentiality.
Let’s take a look why briefly with just three of the top reasons;
Reason #1: So your employees do not find out until you are ready and have found a new buyer. Several sellers I have worked with told me in initial meetings that out of respect they want to tell their employees right away, and I understand and respect your loyalty. However, what you are selling typically will make your existing employee a very needed person, as the new owner is not familiar with your business, customers, and often suppliers and a quality employee will drastically add value to your business.
Many employees when they find out the business is for sale go directly into panic mode, and start to talk with each other of how they will be out of a job, the new owner will not like them, they already hate the new owner, and on and on.
We have achieved much better success with not notifying the employee of the change until the sale is complete or almost complete. This reduces the amount of time they have to speculate, and gives the new owner an opportunity to meet with them and explain what their goals are for the future and how they can be part of that future.
Reason #2: So your customers do not find out ahead of time. Often times customers, just like employees can go into panic mode as soon as they find out your business if for sale. They start assuming that the new owner will not do as good of a job, or they will raise the prices, or they will make some other change that will affect their business. Because of loyalty to you and your company, most of your customers will just throw marketing items in the trash when they get them in the mail because they already have you and do not need anyone else. Now, when they know ahead of time you are selling they may be more receptive to a low ball offer just to try someone new since you are not going to be around anymore. When done ahead of time, this can not only hurt your operating business, but also lower the sales price when it is time to sell because of lost revenue of those looking for someone new.
The person or company who is buying you out wants and needs every customer you have, and that is what they are paying you for. More importantly, let your customers vote with their wallets. If the new owners do a good job and take care of them, they will stay as a customer, if they do not, they will move their business to someone who does, but let them make that choice.
Reason #3: So your competitors do not know. You may not realize this but some of your competitors may not be as ethical or honest and you are ( BIG SURPRISE RIGHT??? ).
In the past, I have heard horror stories of competitors mentioning to customers how you are going out of business, and will not be able to service the new equipment you just quoted them on. Or seeing your employees at the supply house and mentioning that you were going out of business and if they wanted a job they better leave now and come to them. Obviously for reasons already mentioned both of these scenarios would be detrimental to your current business and possibly the selling price in the future.
In summary, I would strongly suggest not making your sale public information until you have already secured a buyer and have a plan in place for the transition, which may include not saying anything until the sale is over and the transition has taken place.
If you have any questions on selling your HVAC or plumbing company, please contact me at any time, I am happy to help out.