The Enterprise Value Specialists at Ceibass have been very busy helping owners buy and sell lawn & landscape businesses. They’ve been involved in a lot of transactions lately. So here is some up-to-the-minute advice from the trenches:

Remember, it is not what you sell for that is important, it is what you net. Tax planning is key. Don’t get complacent about taxes. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Don’t insist on putting family & friends on your M&A team. For many owners, this is the most important transaction of your life. You need a “team” that works well together, that is highly, competent, extremely reliable and understands the urgency of getting documents completed in a timely fashion. Often the demands of the M&A process put a strain on “family & friend” relationships.

As one owner put it, “I made a mistake putting my attorney “friend” on my team. He wasn’t up to snuff in certain areas, we couldn’t be a “hard-ass” when we needed it, and the whole thing became a mess. Much better to keep it professional.”

If you’re paying for second opinions and being delayed because of missed deadlines or competency issues, you have the wrong team.

It is not prudent to go into a transaction thinking “the happy path,” that everything is going to be OK, that it is all going to work out.

Work with people who look for and anticipate the problems… who know their stuff. It pays. That’s what you hire an advisor for…to advise and guide you through the transaction.

Use the advisor’s team or at least interview their legal and tax professionals. You need an M&A attorney and most business attorneys are NOT well versed in M&A transactions. And you need the absolute best tax advisor on the planet. Don’t settle for anything less!