Over the past week or so, I have read two articles with intriguing headlines. One proclaimed “It’s a buyer’s market” while the other suggested that it’s a sellers’ market. The difference between those two headlines really struck me.
The two articles were actually on seemingly completely different topics. The article proclaiming a buyer’s market was reporting on developments in the housing market while the other article was attempting to analyze the business for sale market.
I do not claim to be an expert on the housing market. I do, however, closely follow the business for sale marketplace. My experience has been that there are always more “buyers” than “sellers”. I decided to put quotation marks around both buyers and sellers in the preceding sentence because there is a big difference between a real likely business buyer and a typical person who surfs the internet looking for business opportunities. Likewise, there is a big difference between a potential business seller who dips a toe into the marketplace to better understand the value of his or her business or find out if there may be an easy opportunity to cash out and a business owner who approaches the sale if his or her business as part of a well-thought out and planned exit strategy.
So are we experiencing a sellers’ market or a buyers’ market in the green industry right now? That is very hard to say. It is clear that there are more buyers examining opportunities now than over the past three years. However, for the most part, buyers remain cautious and disciplined in their approach to analyzing opportunities. I suspect that situation will continue for some time to come. On the other side of the equation, we are seeing greater interest among business sellers as well. We suspect that is more a factor of the low number of transactions completed during the recession than a significant increase in sell-side interest.
So where does that leave us? There is demand among buyers for high quality lawn, landscape and related businesses now. There are also quality companies actively considering the sale of their businesses. Is it a “buyers’ market” or a “sellers’ market”? I wouldn’t call it either one. But I would tell you there are good opportunities for both buyers and sellers in this market.