My exboss is now begging for me to buy him out

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Kelly's Landscaping, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    I have so many mixed feelings on this I have no clue how I want to proceed. When I was around 18 I started landscaping part time on fall clean ups for 7 an hour this was around 88-89 I was asked to work by a then younger friend of mine named Dan. He worked for his boss Paul well we did this for a few years Dan worked many more hours then I so back then he was much more skilled. Then one day Paul decided to buy into a Maco auto body place and decided he wished to sell off his business. This must of been around 94 give or take a little. Now Dan was very stressed he was never meant to be a owner he had gotten 83k when he turned 18 which was from his father passing away and now at age 21 he was dead broke and the girlfriend no longer found him interesting and left as well. He had to sell his toy truck the only asset he had and bought the business from Paul.

    Back then he had around 30 accounts he and I built it up over the years but he was always greedy and always bouncing checks at one point the last year I was there he owed me 10,000 in back pay some 15 weeks of checks. One of the main reasons he and I didn't get along was he was a complete jerk much of the time and felt that’s what being a boss was he was a simple man who had no desires to grow the company for fear of what would happen when his employees quit and stuck him with all the jobs and no way to finish them. He was cheap never investing in the company the truck I had to drive was infact a 75 Chevy c30 which was older then all the guys that ever were on my crew. I use to bust their stones and point out the old truck still worked harder then they did. So here we had me growing all the time and eventually reaching a 20-dollar and hour 900 a week salary to run most of his business. He liked to just take huge amounts of time off (DFW would love this guy) and became increasingly lazy. I wanted to go off on my own but never seemed to have enough cash to do it the way I wanted to.

    In 2003 I finally left I took on a partner with 0 experience who is now very skilled thanks to me and we jumped into the trade feet first no holding anything back. We had 0 accounts when we bought our first Lazer our first month in business was by no means as good as we hoped but we still brought in 10 k and that’s been the worst month we ever had. Now here we our 18 months later we have 130 accounts Dan who laughed at us when we started and always wanted us to fail had 100 accounts for years, but seeing what we did he pushed this year and has 120 now. Just one problem he Hates cutting lawns and cannot stand having employees. He has basically brought himself to the verge of collapse he cannot continue and he calls me crying louder each day.

    Last year he wanted us to merge heheheh like hell that was going to happen now this year I am larger then he and he wants to quit. He now has asked me to buy him out this is a tough problem on the one hand we use to be friends but he has gone out of his way to mess with me these last 2 years. He even got told off by one of our suppliers for having the nerve to say why are you bugging me all the time why don't you ask Kelly for money to which the man told him I pay my bills in full he could take lessons. He also has a less then desirable company name and I would not want to inherit his tax or loan obligations. On the other hand about 90 of his accounts are in one town, which I happen to have a dozen in myself, talk about thickening up your list plus much of them would still know me as I cut many of them for the better part of a decade. He finally back off the idea that I would buy out everything as I am not great at fixing stuff and do not want his crap out side of maybe 100 accounts the only thing he has I want is his trailer which is custom like mine and the place no longer exist so I can not get another.

    Part of me would rather spend the money on our ad blitz this spring as I know with me and my partner doing estimates this spring adding 150 accounts is not going to be that difficult. But it would be nice not to have to do all that leg work and get an instant extra 3000 a week in lawn cuts. I was always loyal so I still find myself wanting to help but I question is it worth going for and more to the point does he deserve my mercy? I think Lou and I are going to wrestle with this for many weeks to come. One of the reasons for going on my own was to show Dan up and perhaps put him over the edge I just didn’t think that could be done in 18 months I had allotted 5 years for that goal.

    What would you guys do would you go into talks and start working on numbers or just let him twist in the breeze some more? Either way after talking to him this past day I know he’s done he is going to get out one way or another.

  2. Andyinchville2

    Andyinchville2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    Interesting story.....I think it almost sounds like a win win situation in my opinion....He wants out of business and you'd like to grow yours....I think it would be good to buy him out provided you all could arrive at satisfactory terms.
    Hope it all works out for the both of you.
  3. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 33

    from the sounds of it, I wouldnt bother doing business with him. you are running your business well, no need to add bad karma to the mix.
  4. Sam-Ohio

    Sam-Ohio LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 304

    Why in the world would you even think of spending good money to buy a company that has tax issues, poor credit history, poor customer relations, probably poor employee relations, and equipment that is mostly wrecked trash ?

    What part of this train wreck do you want to posess ?

    If you buy it as a going business , all his built up sins become YOUR responsibility to work out of. If he does have tax problems - they will be YOUR tax problems then.

    If he is in the financial shape that you describe - you don't need to pay him anything for his mess. Just wait a few more months for his final colapse, and walk in to the town where these customers are consentrated, and pick them up pretty much for free. If all these customers are left hi and dry, by his business colapse, it won't take much salesmanship by you, to pick up most of these accounts. Since you seem to know many of these people, and know where they are located from when you formerly did their lawns - you have the inside track to just sweep them up !

    If you and your new partner have some cash that is burning a hole in your pockets, don't buy a cripled, encumbrered sickly business with your capital ! Buy nice NEW equipment, and hire some good help, do more advertising in that town, and start out with all these new accounts and have no old issues [of his making] to appologize for, or even to pay for. Why damage your credit, by buying his bad credit history ???
  5. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Buy the leads, not the business.
  6. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    buy the accounts and any equipment you want. The rest can rot. Or if you want to be scumby, Just let him implode then flyer all his former clients.

    On a personal level, it is probably better to use the 10 ft pole theory. As in don't touch it with a ten foot pole. You buy it and keep being successful, he will just get mad. His money will run out and he will come around looking for more, or to sabotage you.

    If you do buy the accounts, I would insist on a no compete clause.
  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I would just wait and see if he goes out of buisness and pick up the accounts if he does. From what you have said I dont think he will be around much longer
  8. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,275

    I'm sure this will be the general consensus!

    Friends are friends and business is business. If he was such a great friend he wouldnt of screwed you around so much ($15k). Let him collapse and ride in like a savior and offer to take/buy some accounts off him. You'll be a hero! Dont buy the hole business just the choice accounts, and thats being generous when if you waited, you'd pick them up for free!
  9. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    why would you buy accounts???? After he goes out off business just go to the accounts and pick them up.( if he knows where they are).
  10. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    when if you waited, you'd pick them up for free![/QUOTE]

    That's what I'm thinking!!!! I would never buy a account payup

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