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Selling Window Cleaning biz, need help

GravyBoat

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Gents and ladies,

A friend and I have another friend that has a window cleaning business with a massive client base. He has been doing this for almost 20 years. He works 7 days a week, and he's getting burnt out. He is semi old school, so he came to us in hopes that we could help him sell his window cleaning business.

He has a handfull of 1099 contractors, but no real employees.

He has a van or two, equipment.

He has a ton of accounts with re-occurring services (he does lots of stuff, but mainly window cleaning)

We realize that the main value is in the client base. Our current idea is to call up every window cleaning business in the vicinity and see if they want to buy it.

Our issues are, we don't know how much to value it at. We need alot more information before hitting them up.

Do you have any advice for us?

Thanks in advance

Gravy
 

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Real Deal Denver

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I think your friend should get OUT of the business, but not in the way he is considering...

After 20 years, he should not be washing windows anymore. Your friend has a great opportunity to own a BUSINESS. By your brief description, it sounds like he, instead, has created a JOB for himself. All is not lost. The ideal goal of any business owner should be to work themselves OUT of a job, and let the business run itself. Then do it all over again. And yet again. This is also an ideal business because he has a customer base in place that he can easily build on to double his business. Add lawn mowing, for example. This service, which can scale up easily and run itself because it does not need skilled workers, could be an ideal candidate for great potential in several different directions - all at the same time!

He desperately needs to lay this out in a spreadsheet to see what he can net on every job he does. Then step back and RUN the business, instead of it running him. Since he has a massive customer base, go for the kill. Discount and go for quantity. Can he double his customer base in a year? Triple it? He could own the market with the right strategic moves.

I know a guy that did exactly that, but with lawn mowing. Now he not only mows residential lawns, but many commercial sites and he also does landscaping. He is a pro that is entrusted to all the golf courses, as well. He's a millionaire, and he never mows a lawn himself. He also does not NEED to run the business, as he has a team that does that too.

In the event he does actually want to sell the goose laying the golden eggs, check out this website:

How to Value a Business: The Ultimate Guide to Business Valuation
 
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GravyBoat

GravyBoat

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Thanks for the reply man.

This guy really isn't "business minded," and his business definitely isn't "built to sell." We are going to sit down with him this weekend to see A, how serious he is about selling and B, if he's really willing to put in the effort needed to sell.

We are also figuring out that since he has 1099 contractors instead of employees, this could come back to bite him when he sells (IRS). We are also sketched since sometimes he gets paid cash, so we don't know ACTUAL numbers yet.

I'll find out this weekend and report back. Could be a cool little venture for us, and maybe a great thread will come out of it.
 

Supercar

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My girlfriend has a cleaning business, a quite profitable one too. Someone just gifted her about 20 clients.

I am curious to learn what you guys end up doing. I want to know if such a business can be exited with a profit.
 
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GravyBoat

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Sadly, this guy does NOT have his shit together we're figuring out.

Not sure if we're gonna be able to sell this the way it is.

He does not even 1099 his guys, he just pays them cash, or crypto currency even.

Not sure how much he reports, he's skirted around the question somewhat.

The accounting is F*cked. I'm pretty sure the ONLY value here is the actual clients.

That's awesome that she was gifted clients. Does she have real W2 employees at this point??
 

minivanman

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Sadly, this guy does NOT have his sh*t together we're figuring out.

Not sure if we're gonna be able to sell this the way it is.

He does not even 1099 his guys, he just pays them cash, or crypto currency even.

Not sure how much he reports, he's skirted around the question somewhat.

The accounting is f*cked. I'm pretty sure the ONLY value here is the actual clients.

That's awesome that she was gifted clients. Does she have real W2 employees at this point??
Happens all the time in these types of businesses. In case someone reads this the day before they go in to business.... do not start your business 'under the table' and think, "Well, once I start making money, I'll do everything the legal way". This is how you start screwing yourself before you ever even open for business. Just do it legal from day 1 because if you think you are different from everyone else and that you will make your business legal down the road.... I doubt it. I've helped too many people to think any different.
 

GoGetter24

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Yeah it's not a real business if he's working 7 days a week. He's built himself a job.

You, or some qualified professional (if he's making good coin he should be able to afford it), need to devise a plan to extricate him from business operations until he's not touching soap anymore. At that point a sale becomes a feasible reality.

Our current idea is to call up every window cleaning business in the vicinity and see if they want to buy it.

Our issues are, we don't know how much to value it at. We need alot more information before hitting them up.

Do you have any advice for us?
Get advice from professionals. Looking for free advice on an internet forum is false economy. Restructuring and auditing a company can double the multiple it sells for.
 
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GravyBoat

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Happens all the time in these types of businesses. In case someone reads this the day before they go in to business.... do not start your business 'under the table' and think, "Well, once I start making money, I'll do everything the legal way". This is how you start screwing yourself before you ever even open for business. Just do it legal from day 1 because if you think you are different from everyone else and that you will make your business legal down the road.... I doubt it. I've helped too many people to think any different.
You're totally right. We're basically trying to sell an illegal business. The only people who are gonna buy that are other illegal businesses LOL

et advice from professionals. Looking for free advice on an internet forum is false economy. Restructuring and auditing a company can double the multiple it sells for.
Again totally right. I honestly don't care about this guy's business, I'm just looking for a way to make some quick money by "helping him sell it." The more I think about it, the more I realize that if he ACTUALLY wants to sell it, he doesn't need us, he needs a professional to help him get his shit together. One that he's PAYING so he has some skin in the game, light a fire under his own a$$ to make a change. Otherwise he's gonna keep doing what he's doing. So we will see if this guy ACTUALLY wants to sell, or not. My guess is that he's too lazy, and will keep doing this until he hits a breaking point.

Our plan was to call him after a suuuuuper hot day where he just worked 10 hours in the blazing sun, he hates his life, THEN ask him if he's ready haha. But yeah, maybe we can hire a professional for him, with his money. Just do fixing for him. There would have to be some papers signed before hand obviously...
 

Real Deal Denver

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You're totally right. We're basically trying to sell an illegal business. The only people who are gonna buy that are other illegal businesses LOL
Aw, come on. You make illegal businesses sound bad. Here is how some fine business people improved life for all of us, for which we should be grateful every single day for the likes of...

The Kennedy's, who were believed to have started out by running liquor and insider trading and look what fine outstanding... OK, skip that one... Martin Shkreli, CEO of a drug company, raised the price of a life saving cancer drug by 5,000% and turned out to be a fine... Let's try again... Heather Bresch, chief executive of the drug company Mylan, maker of EpiPens, who raised the price by 400%, and is the daughter of a fine Senator, said... OK, I'll get this one... Bernie Madoff created the largest ponzi scheme in history and... wait - how about - Angelo Mozillo created vast wealth with his "anyone can get a mortgage" approval system at Countrywide, which was instrumental in bringing the entire country in setting the stage for the great recession, and... did I mention Enron?

What do all of these fine people have in common? They all made a LOT of money. I think there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Now, let's look at the sleazy underbelly of our culture. The bad guys. {cue the drama music!}

I like Al Capone. You knew where he stood. He was actually well liked and very generous. He was considered to be a crusader of sorts; a kind of Robin Hood of the common people. Maybe. Capone started a program in which he provided a daily milk portions to Chicago school children, in order to fight rickets (a disease that softens bones), and also opened many soup kitchens for the poor and homeless during the Great Depression.

This is all "mind candy" to savor and ponder. Interesting isn't it?
 

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