What happens at the bargaining table can make or break a business deal. But since most trucking business owners have no prior experience selling a company, it’s easy for them to make mistakes that drive away buyers. Whether it’s by setting an unrealistic price, expecting an all-cash deal, or taking offense when a buyer asks a valid question, sellers can be their own worst enemies.
If you’re serious about putting your trucking business for sale, it’s imperative that you set aside your owner bias. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. Because a business sale is often an emotional experience for an owner, it’s helpful to enlist the assistance of a middleman such as an experienced trucking business broker to help negotiations stay on track.
Bending the Truth
Honesty truly is the best policy when you’re putting a trucking company on the selling block. Many times, business owners feel compelled to fudge numbers or skim over the details of debts, lawsuits, and other liabilities. But sugarcoating the truth is only putting off the inevitable, as the real story will come out during due diligence. No business has a clean slate, and buyers naturally expect to encounter some problems. You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by failing to disclose a lease that’s about to expire or a recent downward trend in earnings, but withholding details is a surefire way to lose a buyer’s trust.
Pricing with Bias
Many sellers make the mistake of setting a price based on their needs rather than the needs of a buyer. Buyers don’t care how much it will take you to pay off debts or retire comfortably, or how much you think the business could be worth after a new owner makes a whole host of changes. Valuation is determined by a complex combination of the market and the factors that make your business unique. A transportation business broker with trucking industry experience has the technical savvy and market knowledge to set a price that’s right for buyer and seller.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to a sale isn’t financial, but emotional. Many potentially lucrative transactions are spoiled by ego. Before you eschew expert advice or turn down a price without looking at the structure of the deal, put yourself in the shoes of your buyer. Purchasing a trucking business is expensive and intimidating. When you’ve got a buyer ready to agree to a million-dollar deal, do you really want to bicker about the small stuff?
There are many reasons why someone may look into buying a business, whether they’re seeking to buy a stable job or dreaming of making a fortune. However, looking to buy is different than being prepared to buy. When you put your truck business for sale, the vast majority of inquiries you receive will be from window shoppers. Many sellers get burned out with the sale process because they spend the first few months wasting time on unmotivated buyers. These individuals will nitpick at price and ask for unrealistic deal structures because they either can’t afford your business or aren’t willing to make a commitment.
The longer you waste time on unsuccessful negotiations, the more you risk disrupting operations, losing market value, and turning off motivated buyers who wonder if there’s something wrong with your business. A transportation industry intermediary can get the job done smoothly and swiftly so you can move forward.