How to Sell Pool Routes in South Florida

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Pool Routes In High Demand

Most homeowners in South Florida prefer to let a professional pool service company handle the cleaning and chemical maintenance of their pool. Such pool service companies often sell their routes to other pool service company owners or to entrepreneurs desiring to enter a lucrative service industry. The recurring revenue model of pool companies along with high-margin repair and replacement fees make pool routes a highly sought after business for many buyers. Let’s explore the best way to sell your pool route in South Florida.

Monthly Regular Billing of Pool Route Most Important Factor in Sale

  • The single most important factor when determining the value of a pool route is the monthly amount of the route’s regular service billing (with no extras and without repair or replacement charges).
  • This is the recurring nature of the route, and what the buyer of the route can expect (at minimum) to receive in revenue every month.
  • Most pool companies are owner-operated (with no employees other than the owner or perhaps a spouse) and the costs of chemicals to service the route is typically only 10-15 percent of the regular service billing.
  • A pool company that is owner-operated can thus expect to have net margins of at least 80 percent (minus their truck expenses and fuel).
  • Similar to landscaping routes, the seller’s tax returns or profit and loss reports often are not even asked for by the buyer.
  • As long as the monthly billing of the route is known and confirmed, the typical buyer is comfortable making an offer to purchase the route.
  • Equipment such as truck or trailer is usually not included in the sale, since buyers will be expected to use their own vehicle and equipment in order to service the route.
  • Pool routes typically sell for 10-12 times the regular monthly billing, where a lower or higher multiple may be affected by a number of different factors.

Factors Affecting Sales Multiple of Monthly Billing for South Florida Pool Routes

Ideally, buyers want stable, longstanding, and well paying customers that are primarily in just a few subdivisions. This ensures a steady stream of cash flow, a low cancellation rate, more lucrative pool repair and replacement charges, low fuel expenses, and more time to clean and service pools (rather than driving to different pools spread out over a large geographic area). As a part of their formal due diligence, buyers will analyze the quality of the route’s customers by examining the pool company’s bank statements which should reveal the route’s payment history and the actual route sheet which should reveal relevant customer data.

Importance of Confidentiality and Qualifying Buyers of Pool Routes

  • Unfortunately, some potential buyers of pool routes may use unsavory techniques to ‘steal’ customers from the seller of the pool route.
  • It is much easier to convince a customer to switch pool service if the customer feels abandoned because their pool man is selling his or her pool route.
  • A professional business broker will avoid this scenario by first having the buyer sign and complete a buyer’s Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before the buyer is told the actual name and identity of the pool route seller.
  • The NDA clearly states that the buyer may not contact the seller’s customers directly, nor in any way interfere with the seller’s business operations.
  • Additionally, the NDA qualifies the buyer by ensuring proper financial disclosures are made to determine if the buyer has the financial means to purchase the pool route.
  • This will avoid having to deal with many potential buyers of pool routes who simply do not have the funds to purchase the route.

Pool Route Buyers Will Want to do ‘Ride-Along’ Prior to Closing

Most buyers of pool routes will eventually want to do a ‘ride-along’ where the buyer and seller jointly service the customers’ pools for a few days or so. This is the best method for the buyer to ensure that the route actually exists and to determine the quality of the customers on the route. However, this is also the best way for the aforementioned unscrupulous buyer to try and ‘steal’ the customers since it gives them access and contact directly with the customers.

Funds Must be Placed in Escrow Before Actual Route Is Revealed to Buyer

Thus, prior to a ride-along and prior to the route’s sensitive customer information being disclosed, the buyer must put a significant amount of the route’s purchase price into escrow. When the buyer’s funds are in escrow, the purchase agreement must specify that the escrow money is only to be released back to the buyer if they have abided by NDA in all ways. In reality, a buyer that is serious enough to place money in escrow toward the pool route purchase is far less likely to employ unscrupulous means and steal the pool routes’ customers or interfere with its business operations.

Transitioning Pool Customers to Buyer Must Be Done in Cooperative Manner

Before the closing of the pool route transaction, it is essential for the buyer and seller of the route to agree on the best way to transition the pool customers over to the buyer’s new pool company. Typically a letter is sent to the pool customers explaining that the seller has taken on a partner that is able to give them even better service. Some customer attrition is unavoidable but should be kept to a minimum. If the buyer has reason to believe that customer defections will become a problem, then they are less likely to pay a high multiple for the route.

Give Martin at Five Star Business Brokers of Palm Beach County a call today for a FREE evaluation of your business.

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