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Old 04-14-2014, 10:01 PM   #1
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I have a very good friend who is thinking seriously about hanging up his guns. He has a great 1 man band with more work than he can do. Mike has built up a business slowly over the last 20 or so years doing service and repair work. He was union trained and still pays his dues and will get a retirement from local 91 in our area. He has a very good reputation and his customers are friends also. If anyone wants to relocate (to Alabama)(Birmingham) or knows someone who is looking for a top notch business to buy let me know. Eddie Self [email protected] I will give more info by phone
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retired rooter
I have a very good friend who is thinking seriously about hanging up his guns. He has a great 1 man band with more work than he can do. Mike has built up a business slowly over the last 20 or so years doing service and repair work. He was union trained and still pays his dues and will get a retirement from local 91 in our area. He has a very good reputation and his customers are friends also. If anyone wants to relocate (to Alabama)(Birmingham) or knows someone who is looking for a top notch business to buy let me know. Eddie Self [email protected] I will give more info by phone
Unfortunately customer's of a one man band are dedicated to him and not the company, even more so if they are friends with him. As soon as someone else starts answering the phone and showing up to the call, they might jump ship. Best he may hope for is to sell off the equipment and the phone number. He may also consider keeping it going and try selling the jobs that come in to local plumbers and see how that works.
I'm a one man band for the past 11 years and realize this may be my problem some day if I don't get out of the truck.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:39 PM   #3
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You are absolutely right .The franchises are talking to him and he is having reservations. I did his drain work for awhile and you would think he was the 2nd coming he is going to take his time and try to find Mr Perfect ,but he has always worked alone its going to be interesting to watch this I gave him a lot of work when he started and when I started to retire he sent me easy stuff (drains) that he didn't want.
Now when he passes a plumbing job to another plumber he calls, checks up them and I hear a story how they mistreated his customer. IF I were him I would have found someone a few yrs back and showed them how I wanted my biz run and sorta pass it on. Now he is wanting to get out prob at end of the yr not sure how this will turn out . I will keep you guys informed as this plays out it might help some of you that will go thru this sometime down the road
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:03 AM   #4
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I was going to buy out a one man show also once, like Sierra said they like him not his crew- if he had one, it would have to be a slow blend of owner/new owner to take it over slowly, I just didn't have time to follow him around and be there for each call and bs'n around to meet each one of his customers, he does service in my area and if he goes out I'll eventually pick up a good chunk of his customers, I'd buy the # if he would sell it but I wouldn't need his tools or van and materials, def has to be the right guy like u said to take it gradually over
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:46 AM   #5
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I was going to buy out a one man show also once, like Sierra said they like him not his crew- if he had one, it would have to be a slow blend of owner/new owner to take it over slowly, I just didn't have time to follow him around and be there for each call and bs'n around to meet each one of his customers, he does service in my area and if he goes out I'll eventually pick up a good chunk of his customers, I'd buy the # if he would sell it but I wouldn't need his tools or van and materials, def has to be the right guy like u said to take it gradually over
I know personally (1) fellow from our area who had a 30 plus year 1 man band appliance repair business. He found a young man( that got started in trade school) with his apprent, gas cards and apprent. cards for air conditioning.( not sure what cards are needed besides gas Freon. medical, maybe?) To make a long story short he put him in his truck and trained him for close to 20 years and they worked out a deal for the younger fellow to buy him out. The young fellow fit in perfect and worked and got his master card for gas fitting and what ever it took to run an air conditioning biz . He is now studying to get plumbing cards ,or may have them now. The original owner hung it up after approx. 45 or 50 yrs
In a lot of cases just having the cards doesn't mean you can run a successful business. ( He phased out the appliance side now its strictly AC but he wants to put in water heaters for regular customers needs a master plumbing card for that)
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:18 AM   #6
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His customer list is valuable, I would argue. Simply because after he retires, his customers will have to call somebody when the need arises. Repeated marketing to his customer list is a great lead generator.
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retired rooter
...I did his drain work for awhile and you would think he was the 2nd coming he is going to take his time and try to find Mr Perfect.....
....Now when he passes a plumbing job to another plumber he calls, checks up them and I hear a story how they mistreated his customer....
This indicates he has an unrealistic view of the actual cash value of his customer base.

Nobody with the ability, desire, circumstances, and knowhow to successfully take over his customer list/phone number will do any of these things:

1. Waste time being trained by him
2. Feel obligated to please him
3. Use his methods or pricing
4. Care if he approves of their methods or pricing
5. Pay one penny for devotional good-will to customers

He is having second thoughts about selling to a franchise? Of course he is. That is because they are not offering him anywhere near the amount of money he thinks he deserves. What he fails to appreciate is this is not about what he deserves, but about what they will actually gain for their money. A phone number and customer list comprised of people devoted to a single individual is just not ever as valuable as the seller would like to believe.

Exception....

Like the appliance repair guy, he grows his replacement. However, a 20 year succession plan is just not a good plan for the recipient. And after twenty years of working for a one-man-shop, what could the buyer possibly offer? The ability to make the retiree "feel" better about not doing work for those people any longer.

The real issue for this guy seems to be the same that many OMS's deal with. They ascribe more loyalty and value to their customers than the customers ever ascribe to them. On some level, deep inside, they truly believe the jobs can't be done if they are not doing them. The harsh reality they refuse to recognize is this...

If one Plumber could do all the work, there would only be one Plumber.

Your friend needs to come down off his mountain, evaluate the deals, and take one...while he still has something to offer a real buyer.
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Last edited by plbgbiz; 04-17-2014 at 04:28 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:41 AM   #8
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Retired Rooter,

I just read my post and "feel" the need to follow up.

It sounded cold and harsh. Void of any respect or consideration for this man not only being your friend but also for his devotion to the grandest of all licensed trades. By your description of him, it seems you genuinely care for his well being. By that same description, I believe I would feel the same way if I knew him personally.

But selling a business is not about any of that. It is just dollars and sense (not cents). And in an acquisition, the dollars MUST make sense.

No disrespect was meant toward your friend, his accomplishments, or his countless contributions to our trade.

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Old 04-17-2014, 05:25 PM   #9
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I have to stop posting in the middle of the night.
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:54 PM   #10
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Its amazing how you put your lifes work into building a business to have it all just become a memory. I watched my fathers excavating company do just that. 42 years and over 3 million in equipment gone in the drop of an auctioneers anvil. It was sickening watching machines that costed you $400,000 dollars going for a price of a new pick up truck. Not to mention seeing his face wrinkled and wore out and the sorrow of the majority of his adult life put into building it. I feel for your buddy. But im not one to talk. I will be there someday.
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