Top Three Reasons Kennels Don’t Sell
& What You Can Do About It
By Laura Laaman
Most owners of a pet care business start their business with ideas of being surrounding by happy puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, and their grateful pet parents. Lovely thought. Then, all the unexpected challenges arise. Employee, customer and financial challenges quickly make this business—though still rewarding—very taxing.
There is currently quite a buzz in the pet care industry. With a profusion of successful kennel sales closings, some even describe this development as a bubble. So it’s tough not to wonder what your business and all your hard work could be worth. I’ve had the distinct privilege of knowing what my clients have sold their businesses for. Outstanding Pet Care clients have sold their businesses for record values. Most are able to retire with ample money to enjoy a high quality of life. Sounds great, right? But how can you get to the same point?
First things first, it’s fiscally wise to invest in a professional valuation by an industry expert. I consulted with power broker Teija Heikkila at National Kennel Sales & Appraisals. Teija is a Certified M&A Advisor and principal broker of National Kennel Sales & Appraisals. Each week Teija and her firm are approached by dozens of pet care facility owners who are ready to sell their businesses. Sadly, the majority of those businesses aren’t in a position to be sold for any real value.
According to National Kennel Sales, here are the top three reasons kennels don’t sell and what you can do about changing your financial future today:
1. Low Cash Flow. Cash flow can be kind of a squishy term, but very simply stated, it’s the amount of money you have left in your pocket after you pay your employees, suppliers, tax man, and other expenses. All buyers are looking for strong cash flows. If you want to get maximum value for your business, or even be able to sell it at all, you have to have strong cash flow. Cash is king; a pretty, newer building with lower cash flow is far less appealing to a buyer than an older, less attractive building that is throwing off lots of cash.
2. Low Revenues. If the business is not producing strong, growing, revenues, it’s not going to be very appealing to most buyers. This doesn’t mean a small business (lower number of enclosures or small yards) can’t be valuable. It’s the amount of revenue you produce with what you have. We have clients with only 33 overnight enclosures that, without dog training, produce over $1,000,000 in annual sales. According to National Kennel Sales, there are buyers for every price point. However, the businesses that sell have growing, strong revenues sufficient to justify the asking price.
3. Lack of Systems. When prospective owners are interested in purchasing your business, they’re looking for a turn–key, free–standing, independent business—which doesn’t include you. That means you need to have systems in place that allow the business to run and generate income without you. I love this quote from Michael Gerber, author of a fabulous business book, The E-Myth Revisited:
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job!”
So all this makes sense, you say, but how do you end up with enough cash flow for you now and for a buyer in the future?? A fundamental key is having proven systems—particularly ones that generate increasing revenues. These have proven to have a dramatic impact on your business’ short and long-term value.
For example; consider how revenue comes into your pet care business. The pets don’t have credit cards, their pet parents do. How do pet parents choose to contact you? Because this is such an emotional business, they want to talk to someone either over the phone or in person, to better understand the care you provide. They want to be assured intellectually and emotionally. Intellectually, they need to hear that you are doing the right things to care for pets. Emotionally, they want to feel they would be making the right decision in trusting your company. Due to the latter, a website alone is NOT going to get this job done. Pet parents want to talk to someone, so they either call you or come in for a tour.
Having an organized process that provides concerned pet parents with a concise, compelling, and competitively superior phone and tour experience has proven to be a game changing improvement for my clients. This proven system can produce double the revenue each pet-night compared to the industry’s average.
Having these systems in place makes your business much more turnkey than a company without them. Solid systems should be:
Duplicable (doable by current or future employees)
Measurable (results can be quantified)
Provable (by the bottom line)
You’re likely good or great at pet care. You might have an intuitive gift for providing wonderful, loving care. But wise and mature business owners realize it’s virtually impossible to also be good at the other important parts of developing a strong, sellable business.
By implementing valuable systems and ensuring they “stick” in your business, you’ll likely also quickly end up with more time to focus on other important tasks—or just enjoy a less demanding schedule.
If you’re interested in additional information on Outstanding Pet Care Services, a one-on-one consultation with Laura Laaman, or an information–packed webinar with even more detail on Steps to Successfully Selling your Pet Care Business (now or in the future), go to www.OutstandingPetCare.com or call Laura Laaman’s team at
Interested in learning the value of your business or have questions about selling your pet care business? Contact Teija Heikkila and her team at National Kennel Sales & Appraisals at 877 690 3647 or email her directly at [email protected]