When it comes to selling an ambulance business, the transition from one owner to another rarely happens overnight. No one knows a business better than its former proprietor. For this reason, most sellers opt to stay on for a brief business sale training period to help the new owner learn the ropes. How long a seller stays will vary by business, but can ultimately play an important role in everything from sale price to the success of the new management.
Transition training periods can last from days to months, depending on the size and complexity of a business. In a small company where the owner works alongside management and drivers, seasoned employees may be able to walk a new owner through most of the daily operations. However, a large company with multiple departments and advanced technology systems is likely to require a lengthier training commitment. Companies with high client concentrations are especially sensitive to changes in management. If 70 percent of your business comes from two clients, losing one could bankrupt the new owner before they have a chance to get established. In this case, a little extra hand-holding while the buyer builds relationships with customers can go a long way toward ensuring future stability.
The amount of experience your buyer brings to the table also determines how much training is needed. A fellow ambulance business owner, for instance, is probably already familiar with key clients, driver requirements, and government regulation. An industry newcomer, on the other hand, is going to need a crash course in owning an ambulance or paratransit company, from what it takes to manage relationships with important customers to how to handle licenses and permits.
Some buyers and sellers get along swimmingly, while others may be threatened by each other. A seller not ready to emotionally detach from a former business may become a hindrance, while a stubborn new owner may tune out important insight. The best seller-buyer relationships maintain a healthy balance. They remain friendly enough that the buyer feels comfortable calling the seller if a problem arises, while the seller accepts that the new owner is going to do things his or her own way.
No one can make you stick around to provide training if you’re dead set against it. But ambulance business sales are most effective when both buyer and seller are flexible concerning a consulting period. Obviously, the buyer will benefit from your assistance, as your help can ensure the management change gets off on the right foot; your help can also show vendors that the business is still going to provide the same consistent service. But there are benefits for the seller as well. When you’re negotiating a deal, offering your consulting services can enhance your appeal to a buyer, potentially garnering a higher price. More than that, it can help secure a smooth transition for your employees and allow you to walk away knowing that your former business is in good hands.