Key Points From the Interview
'm so excited to bring you this episode.
My two guests Bradley & Logan bought, grew, and sold a local landscaping business in Austin, Texas.
You know from the headline that their sale price was eye watering, especially for a couple guys not yet 30 years old.
So the story itself is spectacular:
From not knowing what a search fund was in 2017, to selling the business they'd acquired to a public corporation just over 3 years later.
But what I actually love most about this conversation is all the strategy that got them from point A to B.
We go deep on how Bradley & Logan took a project-based business with chronic and existential cash flow headaches, and made it a recurring revenue machine with a predictable sales function.
Their business happened to be landscaping, but the lessons you'll learn here are applicable to so many service businesses where there is both project revenue and contract or recurring revenue to be had.
Now, as an Acquiring Minds listener, you already know how coveted recurring revenue is, but it needs to be emphasized:
In Bradley & Logan's case, it made the difference between a fragile, hanging-on-by-their-fingernails landscaping business...to one that was healthy and growing fast and beating its competition and ultimately worth 8 figures to a large & sophisticated acquirer.
And, quick aside about that sale number...
You'll hear at the end when I do some quick math to arrive at a number in the range of 25 to 30 million. Just to give a little more space to that here:
Bradley & Logan can’t disclose any information about BrightView’s valuation math and acquisition price, but there's an article on the industry site Landscape Management that says BrightView acquires at between 5 and 7x EBITDA.
Then, the 2019 revenue of WLE (Bradley & Logan's company) is listed on that same industry site's top 100 list from that year as $23.5m.
Finally, industry standard EBITDA margins in landscaping are in the low 20s.
So if you multiply all these numbers together — industry margins by WLE's revenue in 2019 by BrightView's average acquisition multiple — my math gets $28.2m.
This is just me on a napkin, but it seems like a fair way to calculate their sale price much more specifically than just saying 8 figures. I couldn't get any confirmation, but mid to high 20s feels realistic to me.
(I like to know the numbers, especially the big ones, so hopefully I didn't lose you in the weeds there.)
OK, and lastly, this interview is over 2 hours. I tried to cut but there was just so much good stuff, I really didn't cut much. So it's in 2 parts; I'll release part 2 on Thursday.
Please enjoy this story and education from Logan Brown & Bradley Roofner.
August Felker is a 2-time successful searcher — first with a traditional search fund; the second time around, he did a self-funded search.
Today August runs Oberle Risk Strategies, an insurance firm with a dedicated practice group for searchers and acquisition entrepreneurs like you.
If you've got a business under LOI, Oberle will provide complimentary due diligence on that business's insurance and benefits program. A great, no-risk way to get to know August & team.
They love helping searchers; they've worked with hundreds. Oberle is a specialty insurance brokerage for searchers, by a former searcher.
Check out the Search Fund Team at Oberle.