Congratulations! You’ve decided to sell a manufacturing business but before you jump in with both feet, we suggest you settle in to take stock of your business, systems and current processes. While it may seem like a simple route to just list your business for sale, there are far more complexities at stake. All industries, including manufacturing, have unique characteristics that need to be considered as you prepare for the eventual sale.
Some of these items take a significant amount of time to implement so a business owner would be wise to begin working on these elements well in advance of attempting to sell their company. Your due diligence and careful review of your business NOW will help to secure the opportunity for higher valuation.
- Work-in-Process Accounting: Work-in-Process can involve substantial assets and liabilities. In addition, these numbers are moving nearly every day. Labor goes into the project, more materials, customer progress payments, etc. Buyers won’t go for the “eyeball” estimate for the money. Implement industry standard work-in-process systems and have the discipline to accurate accounting.
- Proper Management of Customer Payments: This is associated with #1. Far too often we see customer deposits or progress payments just booked straight into accounts receivables. We’ve even seen progress payments booked as revenue. Part of a business sale often involves working capital adjustments, if you are mixing a/r and sales that should be in the work-in-process calculation the problems multiply.
- Safety: Make sure your safety processes and procedures are up-to-date. Many buyer will conduct a due diligence “OSHA Style” audit to make certain there are no hidden liabilities. Also, for obvious reasons, take meticulous care to document and track any and all job injuries and accidents.
- Contracts with Customers: Whenever possible have your contracts with customers written so that they are assignable. Also, look to limit “change of control” clauses that create risks when buyers take over the contracts in progress. Get a review by a good contracts attorney.
- Environmental: If you haven’t had a Phase 1 Environmental Survey done on your property in the last 10 years it might be a good idea to make sure no issues have inadvertently crept into your operations.
Preparing for these 5 items will not only significantly reduce the time and friction involved in due diligence but will increase the odds that your deal of your life will make it to the closing table.
Sunbelt Texas has 20 years experience, the decision to sell a manufacturing business will create value for the business owner if done properly.