Your mechanical services business is the gatekeeper between customers and their assumed way of life. The service you offer stands between Everyday Joe and a cool summer day. Or running water. Or a functioning laundry machine. As the owner of a mechanical services business, you offer expertise to ensure customers’ daily essentials work as intended. You can’t put a price on that.
We won’t sugar coat it — selling any business is hard. But, lucky for you, as the owner of a mechanical services business, you possess capabilities that many people require but few have mastered.
Whether you service homes, offices, businesses, or public spaces, mechanical service businesses are integral to a diversity of people. So, as long as people care to maintain their standard of modern living, mechanical services businesses will be profitable and therefore attractive to prospective buyers.
Recognize your competitive advantage
As the owner of a mechanical services business, you’re in a uniquely advantageous position. You and your team offer specialized service that few can match. That’s why there is serious value in this sector — most people don’t have the skill, craft, or knowledge to maintain or repair their machines.
Your greatest sales leverage will be your expertise. Something like HVAC might be taken for granted during our day-to-day, but when something goes wrong, and there is no heat in the middle of the winter, customers will pay nearly anything to get their lives back to normal.
The margin between your capabilities and market demand will be the golden number most buyers will want to see. In order to discover your market niche, ask yourself the following questions (because your prospective buyers almost certainly will):
- When are your seasonal peaks? How much is earned during this time?
- Does the profit earned during these peaks outlast your seasonal lulls?
- Who is your target demographic?
- Does your business trend more toward design/install or repair/maintenance?
- Which corporate clients do you serve?
It’s time to do some soul searching. Find out what makes your business unique and bring those qualities to the forefront during contract negotiations.
Standing out in a data-driven industry
Mechanical services — an industry many depend on, but few have mastered — runs on numbers. Data helps to easily contextualize the engineering complexities entrepreneurs don’t care to learn. So, more than anything, sales negotiations will be data-driven. Prospective buyers want to be sure this industry is worth their investment, and numbers don’t lie.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a staggering 15 percent job growth within the field of HVAC and refrigeration between now and 2026. Or, the mechanical services sector as a whole has grown 3.1 percent since 2012 and enjoys just under $100 billion in revenue. This industry is thriving, so show it off when you can.
Internal figures will be equally as important. Be sure to collect any records you think might be relevant to a prospective buyer. These numbers will go beyond just gross income — taxes, real estate costs, equipment warranties, etc. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to business data because buyers will want to know what they’re getting themselves into. Do your homework and come prepared.
You should also look at other businesses in this sector that are for sale so that you can justify how your business is valued in comparison.
When it comes to selling a business, timing is everything. Entering the market at the wrong time could decide millions of dollars in return; this is especially true when it comes to mechanical services businesses.
Mechanical services businesses are more susceptible to seasonal variations than most other businesses. For example, people probably aren’t dying to repair their AC units in the dead of winter. Frame this downtime as an advantage — seasonal dips are a great time to work on the logistics of selling your business. Selling your business can feel like a full-time job, so try to plan around downtime so that you’re not overwhelmed when it really matters.
Otherwise, you might want to get some help.
Selling your mechanical services business will be easier when you surround yourself with the right people. Half of the sales process is just a matter of building the right team: realtors to handle the exchange of property, lawyers to review sales terms, brokers to find prospects, etc. It turns out the cliche is true, and you really are only as good as the sum of your parts.
Businesses within the mechanical services sector are vital to the American lifestyle. This market appeal, mixed with a very positive industry outlook, makes it an excellent time to sell a mechanical services business. And, when it comes time to look for a new business to invest in, take a look at the opportunities that are available in other sectors.