Normalized Cash Flow: $230,000
What they do – the short version
- WireCo is located in a northern Alberta industrial centre
- Installs and repair fiber optic and Cat 5/6 cable.
- Works for the major oil companies with a one major customer
WireCo Installs and repairs fiber optic and Cat 5/6 communications cables and infrastructure used industrial settings and associated admin space.
The firm has been around for four years. There are three years current financials available for qualified buyers plus an up to date equipment list.
WireCo serves the oils sands operators, their suppliers and other commercial customers in the area. The firm works out of a home based office. A new buyer will have no issues relocating inside the local business area.
Their mission is fiber optic installation, termination and maintenance of ancillary parts. They also do structured cabling installation and maintenance.
They do have a concentration with a single supplier who applies the bulk of their needs. But there are other vendors. Most of their supplies come via courier.
They advertise they are available 24 hours 7 days a week and their cells are always on.
Their inventory needs are small other than consumables, fiber patches and bulk Cat cable. Inventory seldom exceeds $50,000 and that is enough for just over half of their jobs.
The seller estimates that about 80% of their supplies arrive inside of a week with much arriving inside of two days.
His best guess is that 80% of the work they do is new installations won through bidding while 20 percent is for maintenance and repairs.
The seller believes the new management should be field trained to supply the same level of service to the customer. And especially the person who will quote the jobs should be fully trained by the seller.
The firm consists of the seller and two full time techs. They have not had any issues with staff turnover. The seller’s wife does the administration. They also use an outside bookkeeper / accountant. Most internal data is on spreadsheets.
Everyone is first aid certified. There has never been a WCB incident.
No licences are needed for this business.
Their techs need one week of training at NAIT followed by four days with one industry supplier and it is helpful if they take a couple of days with a second supplier. Remainder is hands on with employer.
It is best if the techs are technical already with experience in IT support or are computer savvy.
The firm’s workload is busier in the winter than in the summer. This can change when there’s a large project needing new initial wiring.
WireCo is PICS certified.
All their equipment is in place and in good working order. It needs to be lab certified every year.
The Seller’s Role
These are the shoes that need to filled as explained by the seller using a recent customer request as an example . . .
Based on field experience (that I will teach to the new owner), I know how long the actual work, permitting, drive time to site, pass requirements, etc will take.
4 to 6 hours work
2 to 3 hours permitting and pass
2 hours driving
1 hour quote
1 hour result processing
Materials will be 4 cables, 4 jacks, 1 plate and 1 drywall adapter. Misc. material, Velcro, and labels.
Optional materials will be J-hooks for hanging.
At this point I can price it and submit my quote.
If it is a rush, I normally I will receive a PO via email two days later.
If no rush it might be a week to 3 months before I see the PO.
Sometimes the customer may call with questions (and, sometimes we are unsuccessful in our bid or the job is cancelled).
But if we are successful, I would then schedule the work with customer / end user.
Once it is completed, I confirm with customer that all is ok.
With his OK, I’ll submit test results or paperwork to their quality assurance group.
And finally I send an invoice.
Payment typically arrives 2 weeks to 1 month later directly into our bank.
A copy of their payment record is emailed to me.
New customers have come entirely from introductions and referrals. Almost all their work comes from existing repeat customers. They do have a concentration in that one customer is responsible for over 90 percent of their business.
The seller reports that with a bit of work, the customer base could be easily increased. He is selling for health reasons and is at capacity for his current health conditions.
Three years of financial statements and a complete equipment list is available for qualified buyers.
Q Why you are selling?
A – Health reasons. Slowing down to much and cannot handle the stress and workload any longer
Q In your words, what does the firm do?
A – We provide fast reliable service to the customer. That is our main advantage. We answer the phone! We show up when we promise! When we are done the job is complete! We put the customer first! We pull Cat6 and terminate cable, we patch existing fiber, we repair existing links, we install and splice new fiber in new enclosures, we mount and pipe new cabinets. The list goes on but it is all mainly fiber and copper work with a small amount of wireless work. If you come from an IT background and can work with tools you will find this an easy transition. It’s 90% attitude and 10% skill. The skill builds with time.
Q What functions does the owner perform? What talents will the new owner have to replace when you leave?
A – As owners we do it all. You will need to learn the field work with us and then choose key people to continue to do the field work or do it yourself. If you have the motivation to expand the key will be knowing the business and being in the field to inspect your employees work. This is critical and one of the major failings of the competition! The second one being personality and staying in contact with the customers – ie answer the phone. This is another area that the we consistently beat the competition on.
Q Can you estimate what it would cost for a competitor to start up?
A – Very difficult to do. It is not all about cost, part of it is limitations placed by the contracts.
Q Have the accounts receivable been purged of bad debts? (This will is really a lawyer question).
A – We have never had a single bad debt.
Q How long will you stay after the sale to help in the transition?
A – 6 months mostly full time, 6 more months if needed part time tapering off toward the end.
Q Will you agree to a non-competition clause?
A – Of course!
Interested? Next steps:
1. Fax / scan the non-disclosure document
2. Phone discussion
3. Release of financial information
4. Meeting with seller and tour of premises
5. Discussions that may lead to a deal
The information on contained in this document has been provided from sources believed to be reliable. You must seek independent verification of these facts through due diligence before taking any action based on this information.