A detail nobody talks about.
A wise philosopher once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” I’ve been helping people sell their HVAC businesses for a long time, and I’ve seen almost everything happen during a sale, including the sale not happening at all. It’s rare, but sometimes company sales fall through at the last minute. Owners who can manage their emotions during the process will be more prepared to handle any last-minute changes or disappointments.
Let’s talk about some of the emotions that you’ll experience when you finally decide to sell your A/C business.
First, you’ll probably feel elated. You’ve worked hard for years, and finally, it’s paid off. You’ll be able to do all the things you’ve dreamed about: buy an RV and take the family on the road. Go fly fishing or whitewater rafting. Join a beer league ball team. Learn how to speak Italian. Your dreams are close enough to touch.
Don’t buy that RV yet. It’s one of the most important things I tell my sellers: put off big purchases until after the sale. First, because it’s never a good idea to make a big purchase under the influence (of euphoria.) Second, because the deal isn’t done until the buyer’s funds hit your bank account. Again, it’s rare, but sales do get delayed or canceled, and having taken on big debt will just make you feel worse if something goes wrong.
When you finally realize that your company is going to be someone else’s company, you may not feel elated at all. In fact, you may be feeling terrified. After all, you’ve been a business owner and trusted A/C guy for years, maybe decades. It’s who you are. If you’re not that guy anymore, who are you now? Losing a significant part of your identity is life-changing. Your prestige, your sense of worth, even your circle of friends may be tied to your company. You’re in for a big adjustment, and it’s normal to be worried about what comes next.
You might also be worried about how your team will take the news. If you have a competent business broker, he’ll help you formulate a plan for how and when to break the news of the sale to your employees. If you’ve been a good business owner and boss, at least some of your staff is bound to take the news hard. That means you might have to manage their emotions in addition to your own. Be prepared for some to be anxious about the future – they’ll want to know what things might change and whether their job is safe.
Some might even be angry and think about quitting. Part of your responsibility during the sale process is to keep your workers productive and keep them from looking for work elsewhere. Your employees are a large part of the value of your business, and you’ll need to maintain that value for the new owner.
Even while making a big change in your life, it’s the little changes that might make you crazy. Your stuff isn’t your stuff anymore. You might have to get a new cell phone plan or a new number. Changing email addresses, closing bank accounts, notifying customers and vendors, and taking care of other details can be overwhelming. Together, the thousand and one things you have to do can create anxiety that keeps you up at night.
That’s where someone who deals specifically with helping owners buy and sell HVAC businesses can help. Someone with experience in the industry and with many successful business sales will be able to help you make a list of what needs to get done and what’s most important to focus on first.
No matter how excited and pleased you are to sell your business, you might be surprised at how sad you also are. Cleaning out your desk, packing up your personal belongings, shaking hands and hugging your workers as you say goodbye – you might get pretty emotional during your final few days as the business owner. That’s okay, too.
A good business broker can save you time, money, and help you manage the roller coaster of feelings you’ll experience during your company’s sale.
Have faith in the process. An HVAC-specific business broker will guide you through the steps to make sure all details are accounted for.
No emotional support animal needed.
About the author:
Patrick Lange is an experienced HVAC-specific business broker with Business Modification Group based in Horseshoe Beach, Florida. He has a unique background in financial planning and has even owned an HVAC business himself. This makes him well suited to working with some of the most successful HVAC business owners in the country. Specializing in companies with 1-10 million dollars in revenue, he maintains a network of buyers and sellers in the industry. He has sold more HVAC businesses than any other broker in the United States over the last 12 months and is currently the Vice President of the Business Brokers of Florida (North Florida District.)