Succession Planning Part 3: What are purchasers looking for?
If you are looking to prepare your legal practice for sale, we have outlined below some common things that purchasers look for when purchasing an established legal practice:
Consistent or increasing revenue and profitability for the last three years.
Purchasers will favor those practices that have a history of increasing revenue and profitability.
If there are inconsistencies between each year, we recommend that you make sure you document the reason why, so you can explain it to a potential purchaser
A consistent or increasing number of new files opened in the last three years.
A breakdown of turnover between work types and clients over that period. A breakdown also shows a potential purchaser that a vendor is not reliant on one client.
A vendor with a personality that the purchaser believes they could work with. Our experience has been that personality is also an important aspect for the vendor as to who they choose to sell their firm to.
A vendor who is prepared to stick around after settlement, assist in transferring the goodwill of the business, introduce the purchaser to their clients and is prepared to share their knowledge and experience on matters and areas of law with the purchaser. Most purchasers are happy for the vendor to stay on part time or full time for as long as they like. Therefore, if you are looking to retire within the next 5 years you may want to consider selling within the next 2 years as your purchaser will most likely want you to stay on for a period of time. A vendor who wants to sell, hand over the keys to the office and say good-bye, I’m off to Europe! is not likely to get the best price for their legal practice.
The size and breakdown of the wills and titles in your Deeds register. Purchasers see value in this because it works effectively as a database, which they could market to for various legal services, and so keeping accurate and up to date records is recommended.
The reasons you are selling. Be open and honest about the reason and or issues that have brought about the decision to sell.
How your Work In Progress (WIP) will be dealt with post settlement. Our experience has been that vendors are happy to incorporate this into the sale price and some are wanting to be paid for the work they have billed on files post settlement as it is paid by the client to the purchaser.
If you would like more information about selling your legal practice please contact John Castello on 0407 112 612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.