Ambulance business owners often want to know how quickly they’ll be able to sell or what price to expect. But the answers are not so straightforward. Your success selling an ambulance company may have less to do with the qualities of your business and more to do with how you handle the sales process, including timing, business valuation, and marketing.
1) Determine what you need
Knowing your ideal outcome will influence the timing of putting an ambulance business for sale as well as the preparation process. If you’re hoping to retire afterward, for example, you will need to receive a certain price to live comfortably post-paycheck. Adjustments made to your company in the months leading up to your sale can make it more appealing to buyers. If selling a decision fueled by illness, divorce, or a partner dispute, you may not have the time or resources to reinvest. Instead, your best bet may be identifying a buyer more interested in the potential of your ambulance business than its current profits or lack thereof.
2) Value your business
Just 10-20 percent of all businesses for sale actually end up selling, according to the International Business Brokers Association. That doesn’t mean the other 80 percent were bad investments – in many cases, they were just priced incorrectly. Pricing too high scares away buyers, while pricing low can mean practically giving away your business. Many sellers mistakenly slap a price on their company based on oversimplified valuation formulas which overlook aspects unique to ambulance companies. A professional appraisal is always your best pricing tool.
3) Play up the positives
You want to paint an honest picture of your business, of course, but you also want to make it look as appealing as possible. Recasting your numbers is a legal way to do just that. Chances are your accountant has minimized your taxable income by including one–time expenses while leaving out important sources of profit such as owner salaries and benefits. A recast financial statement adjusts these sources to maximize net income – and attractiveness to buyers.
4) Find the right buyer
Until you find a buyer, your business value is just a number on paper. Knowing whether your best buyer has financial or strategic motives will affect how you market your company as well as impact the price that you receive. Placing advertisements in trade magazines and on business sale websites will spread the word about your ambulance service for sale, but this limits your prospects to investors actively seeking a business. Engaging a transportation industry broker may allow you to target buyers able and willing to pay top dollar for your company, even if they were not previously in the market for a purchase.
5) Close the deal
You’ve found your ideal buyer, but you’re not finished yet. Now you have to convince him or her that your ambulance business for sale is worth buying. Offering perks like seller financing and owner training help show the buyer you believe in the continued success of the company. Of course, how you handle the negotiations process is as important as what’s being negotiated. For most people, selling an ambulance business will be the most complex legal transaction they undertake in their lifetime. A team composed of industry professionals such as a transportation business broker, transaction attorney, and a transaction tax strategist can get you to the closing table smoothly and successfully. When you enlist the objective expertise of a third party, you can leave the details to the pros while you focus on keeping your business profitable and marketable.