Selling a fully automated online business
Updated: Feb 1
Name of business: Emerald Pest Control
Date sold: 28.01.2019- completed offer made and accepted on 10.12.2019
Sold Price: £57,000 which was full asking price plus cash in bank and assets which were £8,000
This business is an automated Turnkey Home Based Pest Control operated by a part time owner from home. The owner wished to concentrate on his career. It provides general pest control and was established in 2014. The work, marketing, and sales calls are all sub-contracted and it it is a turnkey, automated business. The turnover for this financial year was in excess of £76,000 with an anticipated EBITDA of over £40,000. The Owner had over £30,000 in the business account, which also had to be part of the sale price for this amount to quality for entrepreneur’s tax relief.
The service covered the Greater London area and services North Kent, South London, and it is establishing itself in Essex so ideally suited a larger acquirer. The Company provides a general pest control service and the client base is 90% domestic; the commercial work is, however steadily increasing. It has huge potential for growth as it has recently been audited and has become a member of the British Pest Control Association and there were over 3,000 referrals within the area covered by this body last year. The commercial market is also a largely untapped area of growth.
The marketing strategy to gain new clients was very effective; the client base was grown gained via Google (30%), Check a Trade (50% and over 200 reviews) and referrals (20%) and recent reports had highlighted that Greater London is one of the most profitable locations as it has a high demand for pest control.
The Owner devoted only 16 hours a week to the business but had produced an automated and turnkey business. He had no staff, but 3 sub-contractors to carry out the work and the marketing was also sub-contracted. Initial enquiries were handled by only a certain 4 personnel in a call centre, that have been trained and briefed to handle all bookings via a Google diary. Again, this part of the business was fully automated. The Owner was also willing to offer an extensive handover period and to stay on in the business as a consultant if required.
The main strengths of the business are the processes in place to make it very easy to run, its public image and its customer service. The automation made it a very attractive proposal for a larger acquirer.
Client's decision to work with us
The client contacted 3 or 4 brokers.
“I first looked at the reputation of the brokers online and the sale rate for businesses. A lot of agents had a lot of business that seemed to be stagnating and had been on there for a long time. I spoke to yourself and we discussed terms of your work and the big difference for us was there was no upfront fee, so for me I felt more comfortable with that and that we would be paying for a service if we were successful and that was a big thing for me.”
How we help with the solution
We provided a very personalised service, and literally held the clients hand throughout the whole process. We exposed the business to as many buyers as possible whilst maintaining the confidentiality of the sale, as the owner did not want competitors, or staff to find out that the business was on the market.
The client had a full-time job, with shift work, so Zach was available early mornings and weekends for the client. He had never sold a business before, so was literally on the phone at each stage of the process relying heavily on Zach’s expertise and experience throughout the whole journey.
We were able to sell the business confidentially and for the full asking price. This included the cash in bank of just under £30,000 which meant the whole sum qualified for tax relief. It was sold to a larger acquirer and our client was also offered a generous consultancy contract.
ETS specialise in the sale of automated and online businesses and through internet advertising, utilising a 650,000 strong buyer database, and a network of Buyer side agents, have established an effective system for selling businesses. This is accompanied with a personal, effective and professional service, which is able to get the best deal for the client, whilst maintaining confidentiality and making it as stress free as possible. The win-win approach ETS have adopted means a good long-term relationship with acquirers and to attractive ongoing revenue for the Client.
Would you like to discuss the sale of your business?
Book your free consultation with the author of this post Zach Dogar.