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How to sell your commercial cleaning company

24 October 2014

Are you thinking of selling your commercial cleaning company but don’t know where to start? Help is at hand to help you navigate the selling process. Ross Bennett, an experienced business broker at Axis Partnership specialising in the sale of commercial cleaning companies throughout the UK, shares his advice and tips on getting your business ready for sale.

Deciding to sell your business can be difficult and stressful but it doesn’t need to be – the key is preparation.

There are a few key questions that you need to ask before you begin the process of selling your business:

  • Do I have a strong management team and infrastructure in place?
  • Do I have written evidence of contractual, ongoing work with clients so I can demonstrate that my business is sustainable?
  • Do I have multiple revenue streams? Being reliant on a few key clients is not going to make your businesses attractive to buyers. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have multiple revenue streams so if one dries up, the business is not affected as much
  • Do I have strong profit margins and evidence of keeping overheads down?

If you can answer yes to all of these then you are ready to go - buyers need the confidence that you have built something that is sustainable, that has a good reputation, and most importantly, they know it has a strong future.

So your business is ready to sell, but where do you go from here? You need to make a decision about how you want to sell your business, do you have the time, commitment and knowledge to market it and sell it yourself or are you going to invest in an expert to do it for you?

In the same way that you would employ an estate agent to sell your house, you may want to seek help from an expert who can support you through the process of selling your business.

If you are concentrating on the sale of the business and not driving the ship forward, keeping the profits where they are or even improving them, who is? The sale process could take up to 18 months in some sectors, which is why it is beneficial having an independent advisor on the sale 24/7.

Independent advisors can guide you through the tricky legalities, help you avoid time wasters and use their knowledge and contacts to get you the right buyer who will pay the right price for your business.

Whether you decide to go it alone or seek the support of a seasoned professional, here are three top tips for anyone thinking of selling their business:

  • When we sell our homes we work hard to ensure it is presented in the best possible light, we fix the leaky tap, tidy away the junk and ensure it is spick and span – we do this because we want to get the best price for it. Selling your business is the same – put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and ask yourself if it is a business you would want to buy and why.
  • Be prepared, you don’t want to lose a buyer because you haven’t got your documentation organised and available. As a starting point you will need: Profit and loss statements for the last three years, balance sheets from the last three years, tax returns from the last three years, list of equipment, lease agreements, insurance policies, employee agreements, customer contracts, equipment leases and bank statements. 
  • Seek the advice of experts and take advantage of the relationships they have built with professionals in the business community who can help you, like solicitors, finance companies and accountants.

For more advice and information about selling your business visit:www.axispartnership.co.uk/selling/