How longs a bit of string?

Hi folks, just mulling things over about the day I can retire, and live the good life (even more than now!) in the sunny Dordogne. So, whats my business worth? Proper co, paying VAT, and paying into the French system. We (wife unpaid) work from Mid - End March through to November. November to March hibernation! We have been growing the business from nowt to 130kpa t/o in 13 years, (goes up every year :) ) we have a mix of domestic and commercial customers. We have 30 odd pool contracts (weekly visits after opening) and we have 14 cleaners and 5 gardeners all self employed working with/for us.We sub out or pass on trees, hedges etc. and some days are 1/2 days during the summer and some are 12 hr days (few and far between though!) We always try and have 1/2 day for fishing / hossying and wifey has 1 day admin a week. we work Saturdays (busiest day with change overs etc) and Sundays pool day. Probably 40 or 50k of equipment.(value on books) Looking to sell probably 3-5 years, 

Sooo, whats it worth at a guess?


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  • PRO
    Depends how much profit your making doesn't it. TO is meaningless and by that I mean that you could have a £10M turnover but if it costs you £999000 then it worth nothing.
    What you will get is second hand value for your tools.
    And some value for your written contracts, no idea how much though, 19 staff to pay out of 130K seems like a lot to me.
    • Yes of course - we are generating about 30% profit. As for cleaners etc, they are all self employed, so no contributions to pay. cleaners work for 4 or 5 hrs on a Saturday during the rental season (july/Aug). We have our accounts done every year, the equipment is valued in these - so cant sell for a profit :(

      As I say, just thinking when / if I can retire, and then go play in North Africa for a bit !

      • PRO
        Sounds nice from what you said at the start with 19 staff and 130K didn't seem much, but if cleaners only work 1 day a week the numbers become better. No idea on value really 3 times profit maybe? It would be interesting to know. I hope you sell it for enough to retire. Could you employ someone to run it for you maybe try to expand to cover thier wage and the semi retire?
        • May well end up doing the semi retire thing and sub out everything - we have a good name and are # 1 on google searches for grass cutting in the Dordogne, so are never short of new customers - everyone has a turnover of customers and we are in the fortunate position to pick and choose now. Only work within 40min radius of home, and sub out the smaller (less than 1hr) gardens, keeping the 5.5 acre ones for the big John Deere :) The only thing I dont want to do is loose control if you know what I mean. The gardeners perhaps spend 1 or 2 days a week for us. The pools I look after 100% - I am pretty Anal when it comes to my pools!

          • PRO
            Sounds like you need to keep working just a little bit so you keep control. Maybe work on finding someone you trust to take over gradually so they work with you and learn your way and then keep doing it and then you can do less and less as time goes by?
  • Valuations
    Generally we value businesses at whichever is higher of 3 times the annual profit available to an owner working full time or 6 times the annual profit available to an owner who delegated everything. Stock is valued at cost, equipment at depreciated value and both are added to the guide price. Freehold property is valued and offered for sale or lease.

    This was sent to me by a company looking to buy/sell garden businesses
    • PRO

      Good find...and a useful benchmark :) ?

    • Sounds promising then!  Just over half a years work with loads of potential if you want to do winter stuff - we probably work (drive around) 1 day a week in the winter doing 'security' checks, and that it - all the pools are closed up, so its a doddle after November :)

      • In answer to your question the string is twice as long from the middle to the end!

        hope that helps ;)

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