Is This A Good Time To Consider Selling Your Business?

April 3, 2020

With the coronavirus crisis, I have had several calls from operators asking about selling their business due to the fear and uncertainty that these times have created.

For the longtime operators who have been in this industry for 30+ years like me, I thought I had seen it all — 9/11, hurricanes, oil industry downturns, recessions, virus scares and more. What is different this time around is that this affects everyone. Most of the previous industry scares were regional, such as hurricanes and oil industry. All of us are in the same situation in the vending and office coffee industry: If people are not at work, this industry loses sales. The big difference here is the government has stepped in to help small businesses.

I have been in your shoes as a vending and OCS owner. I always tell operators, do not use fear in making decisions. Our industry has overcome many hurdles, and this too will pass. Remember, as I write this, I make my living off matching sellers to qualified buyers. I am in this for the long haul and that’s why I use the term “I speak fluent vending and office coffee” in my email signature. I do want to be your broker, but I also want you to be well informed when you decide to sell your business.

The government, in this case, is willing to help you and will provide resources to use if you get started on this now. It’s going to be first come, first serve, so don’t wait to apply for help: Do it today if help is needed. The “PPP” or Paycheck Protection Program authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be for the same for everyone. I have sample documents and can share with you. Just reach out to me at [email protected].

Before this crisis, I had several companies ready to sell. These will close, but probably not in the timeline as desired by the sellers. These deals were negotiated before the virus hit and the deals were already done and will close with the original offers.

If selling is in your mind today, now may not be the right time. If possible, wait until this crisis comes to a halt and people are back at work. You want your sales numbers to reflect your typical sales, not 50% plus or minus of your sales, like during this crisis. You will want to be fully staffed as usual, so that all customers are being taken care of properly.

The big growth in this industry is when vending companies merge or fold other operators into their existing operation. Acquisitions also bring experienced talent, which is attractive to buyers. Now, will your competition be interested? YES. Will other vending operators be interested in moving into your area for rapid growth? YES. Will acquisitions happen after all of this is over? YES.

Don’t sell due to fear! Do what you need to do to survive this crisis. Then, once your business is restored, if you are ready to sell, move forward on it. This is America, and we will come back!