Selling My Business has the dedicated expertise required to ensure that selling your transport and logistics company is both successful and profitable
Successfully selling a transport and logistics business involves so much more than just placing an advert and waiting for a buyer. Achieving an efficient and profitable sale requires the dedicated skills of business sales brokers that specialise in selling transport, logistics and haulage businesses.
Selling My Business has over 30 years’ experience of successfully selling transport, logistics and haulage businesses. We understand everything right down to the minute of the transport industry and so are able to place your business for sale at the right place, the right time and for the right price. With over £500 million raised in business sales we have the contacts, expertise and transport industry insight to ensure that your transport business sale is handled proficiently, professionally and profitably.
The success of a transport, logistics or haulage business, and therefore its attractiveness to at sale, is largely down to two main factors; its assets and its regulatory compliance history. For example if you have a company with an ageing fleet and patchy records signifying potential compliance issues, it is more likely to only be attractive to buyers who are looking to take over your market share, rather than continue the business as a going concern. However a company that can offer a strong base of tangible assets and exemplary compliance record will undoubtedly attract a higher price from a more varied buyer profile.
Through our in-depth knowledge of the business sales process and our team’s specialist knowledge of selling transport and logistics businesses, we will ensure that the entire process from initial enquiry to completed sale is handled proficiently and professionally, ensuring that:
To start the sale process, you will be required to carry out a business valuation to calculate the worth of your business. This will determine a guide sale price for prospective buyers and help you with future planning. At Selling My Business, our in-house, valuation team offer free transport and logistics business valuation services on a fast turnaround basis. They will explain how to value a transport and logistics business, taking you through the core factors which influence the worth.
Valuing a transport and logistics business will take place before embarking on sourcing a buyer for your business. We have a database of over 10,000 actively searching buyers and over 60 years’ experience in the field of business transfer so we can share our expertise and understanding of the industry, along with carrying out the valuation of your business and sourcing a reputable buyer.
"I was looking to pass on the baton and realise value from my logistics company which has been going for a decade. The SMB team helped turn an overwhelming process into a streamlined operation which was important to me as this was my first sale."
Harry - Import and Export Logistics, Cardiff
There are many reasons why you may want to sell your transport business or sell your haulage business. It may be time to move on to the next big venture, fund you retirement, you can see profits slipping and feel that now is the time to get out or conversely feel that this is as good as it is going to get so it’s time to sell whilst the business is looking great.
Whatever your reason for selling your transport business, it is important to think about the market overall and what affect this is going to have on your sale.
The UK transport industry is undergoing somewhat of a revolution. Our current infrastructure is struggling to cope with the increased number of journeys that are being made every year – which has nearly doubled since the 1970’s. Therefore the government has committed £411 billion towards 564 road and rail projects, including the modernisation of the M4 and M5 motorways in the South West and the A1 in the North East and the development of the high speed rail link HS2.
The rise in online shopping has seen a significant increase in the movement of freight by light goods vehicles, however there are increasing challenges facing the UK transport industry from both national and international policies pertaining to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. The current EU framework requires emissions to be cut by 10% from 2005 levels, and for 10% of transport fuels to come from renewable sources, by 2020. Although how this is interpreted after Brexit remains to be seen.
There is also uncertainty surrounding potential future changes to road transport taxes. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that revenue from both fuel and vehicle duty will fall in future years if current policies remain unchanged. This is due to expected rises in both more fuel efficient vehicles and those which fall into the lower tax bands for less polluting vehicles. Transport industry concerns are therefore focussing on how this projected loss in government revenue will be compensated for and what effect this will have on the sector.
So, although the UK transport and haulage industry is certainly facing some challenges, there seems to be opportunities for savvy transport businesses to adapt and thrive. Forward thinking mergers and acquisitions policies could see companies looking to diversify their portfolios or streamline their industry sector, which could mean that this could be the perfect time to sell your transport business.
Our dedicated transport and logistic business sales advisors are able to fully assess your business against both current market trends and its individual performance levels, to evaluate its current saleability. If the time is right we can then manage all aspects of your business sale, however if the time is not then we are committed to giving you an open and honest assessment of the situation.
Although market forces may suggest that the time is right to sell your transport business, there are also a number of other factors that you should take into consideration. A successful business sale results from more than just the market saying yes; it also requires the business to be attractive enough to a buyer for them to offer a price which makes you say yes.
Ensuring that your transport business is attractive to a buyer is rarely a quick process; in fact most successful transport business sales have been planned for at least 2 to 3 years in advance. Thoroughly planning your business sale will mean that when the time comes to sell your business it is in the perfect sale-ready condition. This could include succession planning, thorough financial auditing and ensuring that your business has a full and robust compliance record. Not only will this make your business more attractive to buyers in the first place but will also ensure that the due diligence process runs smoothly.
There is no definitive method of placing an absolute value on your transport business, essentially your business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it – and please note that this is not always the same as what you are willing to accept for it. However there are a number of industry standard techniques that can be used to place an initial estimate on your sale price.
One of the most universally accepting transport business valuation strategies is by calculating the company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) value and then multiplying this by an agreed number.
Achieving the EBITDA figure itself can be relatively easy; however there are sometimes other factors which need to be taken into account. Factors such as:
There is then the question of agreeing on the multiplier figure. A recent review found that over the last 10 years, the multipliers in sales of UK road haulage businesses were generally between 4.5 and 7.5. Although this is, of course, not a set figure. Multipliers can obviously range between these two figures or outside of them dependant on factors such as:
Our business sales experts are able to take all of the above factors into account when placing a realistic and fair valuation on your business.
In general the way to make any business attractive to potential buyers is to price it competitively and to ensure that your sale has been fully planned for. There are also factors that are common to all business that you must ensure are in hand. Ensuring that your accounting records are completely up to date and clearly show exact state of your business is paramount. Without this buyers will be less likely to engage with you at all, and if they do you may find that you encounter problems during the due diligence process.
Also planning for any goodwill or business that is tied up with the departing owner themselves is particularly important. Prior to the sale consider moving contacts onto incentivised key staff that will remain with the new owner.
However there are also a number of issues which are specific to the transport and logistics industry itself which must be carefully considered and planned for when you are selling your business.
Specifically in the case of road haulage companies, it is illegal to operate a goods vehicle with a weight of over 3.5 tonnes with an authorised operator’s licence. When it comes to the sale of a business, the operator’s licence cannot simply be transferred from the departing owner to the new; the new owner must either already be in possession of an operator licence or apply for a new licence to coincide with the business sale.
It is also worth noting that operator licences are unlikely to be granted to individuals with a criminal record, history of regulatory incompliance or insolvency etc. Therefore it is important to vet potential buyers early on in the sale process to avoid wasting time and money on a sale which is doomed to failure.
However if you operate as a limited company and the operator licence is in the company name, then this can be transferred to the new owner. The new directors will need to be notified to the Traffic Commissioner but this is usually done after the sale. Therefore even if you are not currently trading as a limited company it may be worth setting up as one to ease the sale process. However remember that this will take time and could have associated tax effects.
Operating centre licences refers to the physical location where you have the legal authority to park any haulage vehicles when not in use. Similar to operator licences, operating centre licences can only be transferred to a new owner if your business is trading as a limited company and the licence lies with the company. If the licence has to be transferred to a new owner as an individual then they will have to submit a new application which must then be subject to a period of public consultation before being granted, which is not always a straightforward process. Again incorporating your business as a limited company before sale could make it significantly more attractive to potential buyers.
To be granted an operator licence, any UK haulage operator must prove to the Traffic Commissioner that they have sufficient financial standing to run their business and correctly maintain their vehicles. From 1 January 2017 the financial standing requirement was raised to £7,850 for the first vehicles and £4,350 for any additional vehicles. If the new owner cannot meet these requirements then the sale of the business is unlikely to proceed. However it may be possible to include such caveats in your sale that would allow the buyer to take a share of the business worth to meet the requirement, although this would require specialist accounting services.
If your company is road haulage based and you maintain a fleet of vehicles then these can be seen as one of the main assets of your business. However the exact and ongoing condition of your fleet can cause issues during the sales of transport businesses. An ageing fleet with patchy maintenance records may be off-putting to a potential buyer due to concerns about future repair or replacement costs. Therefore it is important that if possible older vehicles are replaced prior to a sale or that a fair worth is placed on them during the valuation process. Ensuring that your vehicles are ‘sold as seen’ may protect you from future recompense, however could be off-putting to a potential buyer.
Ensuring that your records regarding staff checks, vehicle maintenance and other regulatory areas are fully up to date and compliance can be easily proved is paramount to a straightforward sale. The UK transport industry, especially in relation to haulage businesses, is extremely heavily regulated and any suggestion of non-compliance could seriously dissuade potential buyers. For example MOT certificates, tachograph calibrations, driver’s licences and CPC qualifications are essential documents relating to the overall health and compliance status of your business.
With the move towards further automation and the increase in data processing, the transport, logistics and haulage industries are undergoing somewhat of a revolution. Advanced fleet tracking and logistics software are making transport businesses more streamlined and efficient. Early adoption of, and investment in, new technologies can make your business more attractive to potential buyers as it will remove any concerns about the need for initial heavy investment to get your company up to speed.
For more information or advice about selling your transport and logistics business contact Selling My Business today.
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