|Commentary – Seizing the Opportunity|
These days are often frustrating to me because many of the clients and potential clients I would otherwise be talking to are entirely focused on serving their clients with emergency snow and ice removal services.
We all know that a “good” snow season makes all the difference to many landscape operators in the snow-belt (and this year somewhat beyond). Even though some landscape companies may not be really excited at snow removal as a service, they know that it can be very profitable, especially tantalizing given the business downturn many have experienced over the past three years. In addition, it can provide work for their crews during a time when many might otherwise be subject to either seasonal layoffs or, at a minimum, subject to a very much reduced work schedule.
Even though not every year provides the opportunities in this service line that the winter of 2010-2011 has so far, some operators have a contingency plan in place to be able to mobilize quickly to respond when the opportunity to provide snow removal services presents itself, either in a routine way or in the more significant and critical way that La Niña seems to have provided this year. Those landscape companies that have gone through the planning process are by far the most likely to really take advantage of a snow event when it occurs.
Because I have been thinking about, focusing on and writing about exit strategy planning for some time now, I asked myself “What do snow removal services and exit strategy planning have in common? The answer I came up is pretty simple – those that plan for the unexpected or uncertain have the best chance to profit from their ability to seize the opportunity when it presents itself.
As always, if you are considering the purchase or sale of a green industry business or beginning to plan an exit strategy, we’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you.
SavATree, the tree care and lawn care services company based in Bedford, New York recently expanded its operations into Illinois, merging first with Autumn Tree Experts, which added three Chcago-land branches t the SavATree network and then with the similarly-named Save A Tree, which has been merged into Autumn Tree Experts.
SavATree has been serving customers from New England through the Mid-Atlantic for over 25 years. It now has 23 branches in eight states. SavATree also offers lawn care services under the SavaLawn brand name.
SavATree also acquired DeerTech in late 2010. DeerTech’s service combines a patented ultra-sound technology with a proprietary treatment program to provide maximum protection.
SavATree has made a number of acquisitions of local tree and lawncare companies in recent years. The Illinois acquisitions represent a significant geographic expansion for the company, whose other operations are in the Northeast.
Daniel van Starrenburg, president & CEO of SavATree, commented on the company’s acquisition program, “Our reputation and track record make SavATree an ideal company for others looking to join forces. We have successfully integrated a number of businesses and are always diligent to understand what made these companies successful and then leverage those capabilities to make us both better.”
Clark Pest Control of Lodi, California, recently announced two acquisitions – High Desert Pest Control of Sparks, Nevada and Smart Pest Control of San Diego, California. Clark provides lawn and garden services in addition to general pest control and termite services.
The January issue of Landscape Management magazine has a pair of interesting articles related to mergers & acquisitions by its editor-in-chief Nicole Wisnewski.
The cover story is entitled “Smart Money”. In this article, she investigates the attractiveness of the green industry for investment capital. Among a variety of other industry experts, Ron Edmonds of The Principium Group was quoted in this article.
“Buy & Build” chronicles the emergence of Yellowstone landscape Group including its launch in 2008 by GridIron Capital and its three platform acquisitions: BIO Landscape & Maintenance in Texas, Piedmont Landscape Contractors of Georgia and Austin Outdoor of Florida.
By Richard Helling
“That’s a stupid question.” All of us have been told that before and there is nothing worse than feeling like you are an idiot. That’s why people will tell you that. They want to make you feel dumb. When you feel dumb you feel unprepared and there is nothing worse in business than feeling unprepared. Being unprepared is disarming. Being unprepared is what keeps a business owner up at night. It makes them pace their houses when no one else is around because they don’t have the answers and they don’t know where to turn to ask the questions.
Selling a lawn or landscape business can be hard. So can owning a lawn or landscape business.
Business owners are an interesting breed apart from the average person. That’s why we have always liked working with them. Their independence and can-do attitude make things happen and excite possibilities. However, this same can-do attitude is also frequently the highest hurdle that business owners face because they feel like they should know all the answers. The great quote we all have heard is “experience is something you’ve gained just after you’ve needed it.” It’s a great quote because we have all had that feeling. If you want to sell your lawn care business we don’t have all the answers, but we have the tools and the experience to help find the best answers available. There are no dumb questions, only those too stupid not to ask what they haven’t yet learned.
Give us a call if you would like to talk about buying or selling a green industry business. We promise NEVER to tell you you’ve asked a stupid question.