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Looking to sell or find investor for my landscaping business, witch is better?

After 17 years I am finding it more difficult to manage my business, it is not fun anymore.
However, I do enjoy the work but over the years, I have scaled back, my gross sales were around 200k 6 years ago, as of 2009 I did 87k I had good guys that went bad on me, don't know why but it happened.
I'm now I to have to go out and do the work myself and retrain or sell or get a partner. What would be best?

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Answers (8)
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Olivera Landscaping
Hampden County, MA

I've tried that in the past it worked for a month, the person was trying make more then I was at the end, so I had to end it. I feel If someone wants to split the profit, there better be capital Invested in it or bring some HUGE jobs.

Answer for other question.

Net profit depends how well a business is ran. Contract Gross Sales for 2010 are so far 10% above 2009.

Apr 1, 2010
Julie A. Barnes, CPA
Small Business Exchange, Inc.
Travis County, TX

Hello Antonio,

It sounds like you need a managing parter, rather than just an investor. Have you considered hiring a manager who will work on salary + a percentage of profit? The amount of salary vs. percentage of profit would be entirely dependent upon this person's entrepreneurial spirit. Obviously, you need to make it worth their while so don't be stingy about sharing profits - 20% of additional profits generated by a managing partner is better than 0% of nothing.

You might want to also consider a vesting schedule - that is, the longer that a candidate works with you (effectively), the greater equity position would be made available.

For more advice, please visit my blog: http:///

Thanks and Good Luck!
Julie A. Barnes, CPA
President, SBX, INc.

Mar 29, 2010
Buy-a- Company


When you say, "Customers that would be transferred would have a value of approx 87,000", is that the annual sales volume ($) for those customers? At that level, what would your net profit (owner's compensation, before taxes, interest, etc.) be? And, haw many hours do YOU have to work to stay at that level? I am trying to determine the opportunity value for a new partner.

Mar 29, 2010
Jon Holmquist
Edgemaster Model 400 sharpener
Marion County, OR

Antonio, Since you are well aware of working with people, are used to travel and can start another business part time. Consider adding an Edgemaster Mobile Sharpening business and just work when you feel like it doing something a lot more fun, less work, and you can enjoy life until you can sell your business. We have a number of guys who have inquired in MA so you wouldn't be alone. Might be worth checking out the possibilities. Our web site below or or franchisees can be called at thanks, Jon A. Holmquist.

Mar 28, 2010
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Olivera Landscaping
Hampden County, MA


Thank you for your response.
The reason it is not fun anymore is that I am forced to scale back my business because of bad help or lack of it, in the office and out in the field. What I meant when I said finding an investor is a working partner someone that would run the paper end of the business and I would handle the fieldwork. Those numbers can come back very quickly, by just taking more work and its avail to me like that. However, I only take what I can handle, between doing the work, looking at work, billing the work, picking up material, maintenance on equipment, etc.. In this business, you have to be careful whom you hire. I've found good people but they only last 3-4 years, then there trying to figure out how much you're charging, the girl in the office was giving me work orders after getting a deposit then no final payment and history on customer gone, it's only happened on 3 accounts but I caught on and had to let her go. I do not want to go on an on about this I think by now you get the point.

I do love the work and would like for nothing more then to run a smooth business without burning myself out on both ends.

The actual cash value of your equipment, trailers, and vehicles is approx 60,000.
Customers that would be transferred would have a value of approx 87,000.

Do I try to find a working partner/investor? If so, could you direct me on how to go about finding one or should I just sell it?

Again thank you both for your response.


Mar 27, 2010
Buy-a- Company


What is the actual cash value of your equipment, trailers, vehicles, etc.? Not what they cost new, but what they would sell for today, in their current condition.

How many customers do you have? Count only those that would transfer to the buyer (not your mother-in-law, etc.)

I agree with Don, that landscaping businesses are fairly easy to start. But with answers to the above, it should be fairly easy to put a valuation on your opportunity. Then, you just have to decide whether you'd rather have the proceeds of the sale or the business in its current condition.

Mar 26, 2010
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The BAF Group LLC

First and foremost, you need to ask yourself, if the business is not fun any more, do you really want to get an investor, so that you can increase your level of dissatisfaction? Or, is the fact that the business has eroded been the cause of your dissatisfaction? Another way to put it is, what do you want to do?

Second, what would getting an investor into the business do for you? Why did the business dwindle, and how would the investor's turn the company around? Sometimes - and I have no idea of knowing your situation - but getting investment money is just a process of throwing good money down the toilet. You really have to have a plan to spend the money so the business grows; otherwise, no investor will be interested. And not only do you need to know how you would grow the business, but how you would do it in a way to give the investor a reason to financially benefit? Can you pay him/her back with interest and/or a piece of the profits, because an investor is not in this to be your friend!

Finally, selling is probably your last choice. With the business down by more than 50%, what do you have to sell? Landscaping is one of those businesses that is somewhat easy to start. And any Buyer is going to ask him/herself, "Should I buy this business, or is it a better financial decision to simply start a competitive business myself, and escape the history that made this business erode?" Even if there are no such worries, the fact that the business Revenue dropped that much is going to be worrisome to Buyers, and it will make selling it difficult, and less profitable to you.

The alternative, if you want to sell, is to try to get the Revenue back up in 2010, and show Buyers that this has an upside. Demonstrate that there is a reason for them to pay a premium to purchase this company. Show them that the problems are behind you.

This is a common problem, particularly in this economy. A lot of people are facing the same questions. And none of the answers are very attractive!

Mar 25, 2010
Satish Patel
Sunbelt Business Advisors
Middlesex County, MA
Premium Broker

Why don't you consider registering with us? We are a team of experienced business brokers with a huge database of national-level buyers. We can also give your business national exposure through our established network.

You can register with us on

Mark S.,

Mar 25, 2010

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