I didnt read all the post but. most other industires can sell for 2.5 their gross per year. Lawncare - its a bit tuffer What I personally would pay would be the total of the following 1. the fair market value of the equiptment total 2. fair value for shop/land if owned 3. I would look closely at the accounts. this is why you buy a buisness. but its also why the guy is selling it. If it doesnt work with his methods of operations or numbers, it may not work with yours either. your only going to retain and keep his accounts if you charge a similar price, you service in a similar or better method, and you can do both of those and be happy with the profit left over. IF the buyer evaluates the accounts and finds that they will fit then I would pay: 50% of guestimated yearly profit on seasonal contract accounts. (so an account of 40k with 30k in expense, profits 10k, i would be willing to pay 5k for a 1 year contract, possibly more for a multi year. and / or 2 months of income on accounts that where under a service aggreement that was billed "per cut" and /or 1 month of income on non contracted (job leads) accounts figuring that I would be able to retain 50-75% of them if i can charge the same price. 4. Then there is a wild card - do you get to keep the name? marketing material? website? Even if you buy out a company, and have a website, these things are worth money if they are professional. even if you change the name and phone number, do you think the calls will stop rigning the old number ...nope it will ring for 2 years. so the marketing has a value. 5. last wild card, am i eliminating a major compeditor? that can have value. Its one thing to buy a business and expand into a different area that you previously where not it. But its a whole another to eliminate a compeditor. your not only buying his accounts, but your buying future work that is already in your area. heck you might have accounts already next door to his, and thus you can take his accounts, your accounts and become very profitable and gain a ton of efficency in some cases. In others, its just nice to know that when your placing bids, that is one less you have to worry about bidding against. I have a major compeditor that works tightly in a subdivision that I work tightly in. I would bet that I get 40% of the work, and he gets 40% of the work, and the other 20% goes with small guys. I would pay ALOT to buy that guy out and pretty much "own" and be exclusive to that subdivision. My marketing material would have better results, I could raise prices, i would have better efficencys. by eliminating him, I might even get to the point that the "smaller guys" taking the 20% couldnt even compete in that area.