By Eduardo Tavel
For many agency owners, selling their home care or hospice agency will be the most important financial decision of their life. Not only is this a difficult decision because of its emotional ties, but it is also tough to know when to sell or to "let go". Furthermore, it is also a very private issue, so confidentiality is paramount. The complexity and uncertainty surrounding the idea of selling often lead agency owners to ignore or postpone it. The good news for agency owners is that an M&A advisor can add value well before they are ready to sell their agency, or if they are not considering a sale at all. Here are some of those benefits an agency owner can get from engaging with an M&A advisor:
Valuation Guidance and Exit Planning:
There are three widely accepted valuation methodologies that every professional valuations firm will most likely employ to value businesses: 1) discounted cash flows (DCF), 2) comparable company analysis, and 3) precedent transactions. To truly understand home care, home health, and hospice agencies and their value, M&A firms need a specialized body of knowledge. When seeking valuation guidance for your agency, choose an advisory firm with experience in these topics. An even better selection would be a firm that has experience valuing agencies and has participated in prior transactions in the marketplace. Below are some questions an M&A firm can answer in this sense:
Which valuation methodology is most appropriate for my agency? How is my agency valued?
How much is my agency worth today?
What operational changes should I make today that will ultimately increase the value of my agency? Who can help us achieve these changes? Are there any operational changes I can make today to increase the value of my agency?
What are the high-risk elements that caution buyers the most?
Learning about what a well-run and professionally managed M&A process looks like and what it entails for every stakeholder. Some of the most frequently asked questions include:
How long will the process take from beginning to end?
How much additional work will be required from the owner and potentially from key employees brought into the circle of trust?
How can confidentiality be managed so thatkey stakeholders do not find out before you'd like them to?
What type of information do M&A firms need to build the necessary materials to manage an effective, competitive process?
M&A Marketplace Updates:
M&A advisors live and breathe transactions. Their wealth of information is invaluable to an agency owner seeking to learn about market dynamics such as:
What makes an agency an attractive target?
Who are the most acquisitive buyers in today's market?
Which geographies are attractive to which buyers?
What are "market terms" for negotiated areas of the purchase agreement?
An M&A advisor that specializes in home care, home health, and hospice has a vast body of knowledge on the industry and can provide insights on:
Operating margins, including gross profit and adj. EBITDA margins
Industry innovative ideas
Standard solutions to problems you are facing
Introductions to other industry advisors who could assist you
The above is a brief summary of some of the benefits an agency owner could get from engaging with a specialized and professional M&A advisory firm, regardless of their exit timeline.