You can now buy a subscription for everything from dog treats to razor blades. Music subscription services are booming as our appetite to buy tracks is replaced by our willingness to rent access to them. Starbucks now even offers coffee on subscription.

Why are so many companies leveraging the subscription business model? The obvious reason is that recurring revenue boosts your company’s value, but there are some hidden benefits to augmenting your business with a subscription offering.

Free Market Research


Finding out what your customers want is expensive. By the time you pay attendees, rent a room with a one-way mirror and buy the little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a focus group can cost you upwards of $6,000. A statistically significant piece of quantitative research, done by a reputable polling company, might approach six figures.

With a subscription company, you get instant market research for free. Netflix knows which shows to produce based on the viewing behaviour of its subscribers. No need to ask viewers what they like, Netflix can see what they watch and rate.

For you, a subscription offering can allow you to test new ideas and gives you a direct relationship with your customers so you can see what they like first hand.

Cash Flow

Subscription companies are often criticized for being hungry for cash. Many charge by the month and then have to wait months—sometimes years—to recover the costs of winning a subscriber.

That assumes, however,

that you’re charging for your subscription by the month. If you’re selling your subscription to businesses, you may get away with charging for a year’s worth of your subscription up front. That’s what the analyst firm Gartner does, and it means they get an entire year’s worth of cash from their subscriber on day one. Costco charges its annual membership up front, which means it has billions of dollars of subscription revenue to float its retail operations.


Sitting doberman dog isolated on white

Customers can be promiscuous. You may have a perfectly satisfied customer but if they see an offer from one of your competitors, they might jump ship to save a few bucks. However, if you lock your customers into a subscription, they may be less tempted to try a competitor since they have already made an investment with you.

One of the reasons Amazon Prime is so profitable is that Prime subscribers buy more and are stickier than non-Prime subscribers. Prime subscribers want to get their money’s worth, so they buy a wider swath of products from Amazon and are less tempted by competitive offers.

The obvious reason to launch a subscription offering of your own is that the predictable recurring revenue will boost the value of your company. And while that’s certainly true, the hidden benefits may even be more important.

The post Three Surprising Reasons to Offer a Subscription appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

Juniper Landscaping of Fort Meyers, Florida, has been recapitalized by ZS Fund.

Juniper Landscaping is a major provider of landscaping services to commercial customers in the single-family and multi-family real estate markets in Southwest Florida. The Company operates out of four locations and serves residential developers, homeowners associations and property management companies. Juniper Landscaping was founded in 2003. The Company offers a full-suite of landscaping services including design, installation, and maintenance and is recognized as a market leader and trusted partner in the Southwest Florida building market. Juniper Landscaping has approximately 350 employees and is headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida.  Juniper ranked 42 on both the the LM150 and Lawn & Landscape 100 in 2016.

The post Juniper Landscaping Recapitalized by ZS Fund appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

Blondie’s Treehouse, Inc. is proud to announce a new partnership with Opiary, a Brooklyn-based green design and high-end landscape company founded in 2012 by Robert Remer, an architect, sculptor, and garden designer.

Robert Remer’s visionary products remind us that good design has soul AND an irreverent sense of humor.The Opiary line of unique custom plantersaresculptural, organic, sensuousshapes informed by a completely modern take on nature and abstract art, made with ancient and cutting edge materials. Lines include containers forrooftops, terraces, and gardens, fountains, green walls, indoor outdoor furniture, and sculpture, as well as bespoke pieces employing innovative GFRC fabrication.

Robert Remer describes the partnership: ‘Opiary is very pleased with theopportunity topartner with such a large, capable, and respected green design firm as BTH.

Thepartnershipwill give Blondie’s Treehouse its first fabrication studio dedicated to designing and producing planters, containers, and furniture, allowing Blondie’s Treehouse to offer clients unprecedented levels ofeditorialdesign.

Opiary maintains offices and workspace in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, a world renowned design hub and home to Robert Remer’s ancestral roots. Opiary’s team of artisans joins the BTH family, effective immediately.

‘To preserve our place as the leading full-service landscape design/build firm in New York City, we must remain a source for cutting edge products, and Robert Remer’s one-of-a-kind sculptural creations are just that- gorgeous, functional and completely unique. They really are the perfect fit for our designs and our clients, says Howard K. Freilich, President and CEO of Blondie’s Treehouse. ‘Together Blondie’s Treehouse and Opiary will better provide our clients with a blend of smart, custom design and the expertise of a busy, productive team of landscape construction professionals.

 Blondie’s Treehouse is a leading full services landscape design/build/maintain firm serving clients in the Tri-State area and nationally. Since being founded in 1979, BTH has grown from a local interior plant care company to a national vendor with hundreds of clients representing projects of all sizes, and over 100 full time employees. The brainchild of President and CEO Howard K. Freilich, Blondie’s Treehouse continues to grow, accruing top industry talent and serving clients by creating distinctive green spaces for people to enjoy.

Opiary is a respected green design and landscape company based in Brooklyn, NY. It’s unique, innovative made-to-order planters and furniture are truly one of a kind, and reflect the cohesion of high design and modern fabrication techniques.

The post New York’s Blondie’s Treehouse Merges with Brooklyn’s Opiary appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

blue exit sign (isolated on white background)

Stephanie Breedlove started Breedlove & Associates in 1992 as a way to pay her nanny. The big payroll processors weren’t interested in dealing with one person’s wages and doing it themselves was complicated and time-consuming, too much for the then overwhelmed Breedloves.

Breedlove saw a business opportunity and started a payroll company for parents who needed to pay their nannies. By 2012, Breedlove & Associates had grown to $9MM in revenue and then she received a $54MM acquisition offer.

To give you some context of how incredible it is to sell a $9MM business for $54MM let’s look at the numbers. At The Value Builder System™, more than 25,000 business owners have completed the Value Builder Score questionnaire, part of which asks about any acquisition offers they may have received. The average multiple offered is 3.76 times pre-tax profit. Even the best-performing businesses, those with a Value Builder Score of 80+, only get offers of 6.27 times pre-tax profit on average. Breedlove got close to six times revenue.

What did Breedlove do right? We’re going to look at the five things Breedlove did—and that you can do—to drive up the value of a business.

  1. Sell Less Stuff to More People

When Breedlove hit $30K per month in revenue, she quit her job at Accenture (formerly Anderson Consulting) and devoted herself to Breedlove & Associates full-time. To grow, she had a choice: sell more to her existing customers (e.g. busy couples often need lawn-care, house-cleaning, or grocery-delivery services) or stick with her niche of paying nannies. Most consultants and experts would say it’s easier to sell more to existing customers (and they’re right), but it doesn’t make your business more valuable. Breedlove decided to stick to her niche and find more parents who needed to pay their nannies, and that decision laid the foundation for a more valuable business.

Investors from Warren Buffet look for companies with a deep and wide competitive moat that gives the owner pricing authority. When you have a differentiated product or service, we call it having The Monopoly Control and companies with a monopoly get significantly higher acquisition offers.

Rather than selling existing customers generic services in commoditized markets, Breedlove focused on selling one thing to as many customers as she could find.

  1. Strive for 50%+ Net Promoter Score

One feature that interested acquirers look for is your customer satisfaction levels. Increasingly, they are turning to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a measure of this. NPS was developed by Fred Reichheld and his team at Satmetrix, who discovered that your customers’ willingness to refer you to their friends or colleagues is highly predictive of your company’s future growth rate.

The NPS approach is to ask your customers how willing they would be to refer your company to a friend or colleague, on a scale of 0 to 10. They are then categorized into Promoters (9s and 10s), Passives (7s and 8s) or Detractors (0–6s). The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Promoters from the percentage of Detractors. Most businesses achieve an NPS of 10% to 15%, while the very best companies (think Apple and Amazon) get scores of 50% or more.

Breedlove obsessed over her company’s NPS and realized the key to driving it up was perfecting the first few interactions with a new customer. When you call a big payroll company looking for a service to pay your nanny, the response can be underwhelming. With only one person to pay, you are often relegated to the most junior staff member and even they would rather be dealing with a larger client.

When you call Breedlove, by contrast, you get a team of professionals totally focused on setting you up. You’re not an afterthought. You’re not passed on. Instead, you get the best onboarding talent the company has to offer.

This set-up team was a big part of how Breedlove achieved an astonishing 78% NPS.

  1. Create Recurring Revenue Streams

The third thing that made Breedlove’s company attractive was recurring revenue.

Regardless of what industry you’re in, recurring revenue models give acquirers more confidence that the business will keep going strong after you leave.

By 2012, Breedlove & Associates had grown to $9MM and, given the nature of the payroll business, 100% of their revenue was recurring.

  1. Reduce Reliance on Customers, Employees and Suppliers

Breedlove’s company was also attractive to buyers because she had a highly diversified customer base with no single customer representing even close to 1% of her revenue. If more than 10% to 15% of your revenue comes from one buyer, you can expect prospective acquirers to ask a lot more questions.

Customer concentration is one of three factors that make up The Switzerland Structure Module. The Switzerland Structure measures your business’ dependence on a single customer, employee or supplier.

  1. Find an Acquirer You Can Help Grow

By 2012, Breedlove & Associates was growing 17% per year, which is good but not blow-your-mind good. So how did she attract such an incredible acquisition offer? The trick was showing her acquirer how they could grow.

In Breedlove’s case, she sold her company to Think of as the Angie’s List of care providers (e.g. child care, senior care, etc.). If you need someone to care for your kids or an elderly relative, you enter your address into their website and will give you a list of vetted caregivers in your area.

At the time of the acquisition, Breedlove had 10,000 customers and had seven million members. Breedlove argued that if just 1% of’s members used Breedlove’s payroll service, it would equate to 7X growth in Breedlove & Associates almost overnight.

In 2012, acquired Breedlove & Associates for $54MM—an outstanding exit made possible by Breedlove’s focus on what drove her company’s value, not just their top-line revenue.

The post The Anatomy of a Successful Exit appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

Magnolia Landscaping Corporation (“MLC”) has been acquired by Borst Landscape & Design (“BLD”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 1975, MLC provides landscape design & build and property maintenance services for its customers in the Old Tappan, River Vale, Hillsdale, Washington Township, Woodcliff Lake and surrounding areas in New Jersey. MLC is fully certified by the State of New Jersey and is headquartered in Old Tappan, NJ. For more information on MLC, please visit their website at Founded 1989, BLD offers various landscaping services in Northern New Jersey. BLD is headquartered in Allendale, NJ. For more information on BLD, please visit their website at

The post Borst Landscape Acquires Magnolia Landscaping Corporation in New Jersey appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.


Mountain Top Landscaping and Kevin’s Lawn Service have merged and will be operating under J&M Outdoor Enterprises and trading as Kevin’s Lawn Service and Mountain Top Landscaping.

After over 25 years of running Mountain Top Landscaping, Carl Peterson has always urged his clients to educate themselves on the work they want done to their homes, to ensure the contractor they choose will do the job right the first time. With this mindset, Carl has been teaching ICPI and NCMA courses for the past five years and has held certifications in both organizations for over 15 years. This past year, Carl made the decision to focus more on educating the contractors and landscapers but who could he trust to run his business? Only one person came to mind, Kevin Ebner.

Working side by side for nearly 10 years, Carl and Kevin have established a genuine friendship. Both Carl and Kevin started their companies while in high school, and both have always focused on providing superior service to their customers. Kevin’s Lawn Service has been a family run company since the beginning, and Kevin has always considered his own clients as part of his extended family. Founded in 2000, Kevin’s Lawn Service LLC., has now grown into a successful mid-sized company;big enough to do large-scale jobs, but dedicated to continuing to focus on providing detailed and personalized service. Kevin has come a long way from working with a $140 push mower, trimmer and a blower.
“We are focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction – we will do everything we can to meet and exceed your expectations,” stated Kevin Ebner.

Combining two of the best landscaping teams in the area would mean better service for both companies’ customers, while allowing for future potential growth. Mountain Top primarily focused more on the commercial market and hardscapes, while Kevin’s Lawn Service primarily worked on lawn maintenance. By merging these companies together, J&M OutdoorEnterprises will now offer the complete package.

“I’m excited to be able to continue to pursue my passion and trust Kevin to oversee the day-to-day operations, while still being a part of the company. I am confident that this merger will be beneficial for our customers, and am excited to start this new chapter with Kevin leading the team,” Carl declared.

The post Mountain Top Landscaping and Kevin’s Lawn Service Merge in New Jersey appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

Landscape Workshop recently completed the acquisition of Gro’s landscape maintenance contracts. Landscape Workshop is fully committed to providing high quality service and proactive management to all existing and new customers while exceeding expectations and creating “uncommon outdoor spaces” for additional customers throughout its footprint. Landscape Workshop is looking forward to expanding its presence in Birmingham and throughout the Southeast by its acquisition of Gro’s landscape business.

The sale of Gro’s landscaping business was a part of a strategic re-alignment of the business of StoneRiver Company, Gro’s ultimate parent company, and StoneRiver’s increased focus on its real estate acquisition, development and management activities. StoneRiver currently owns and/or manages real estate assets in 11 different states.

Gro was initially formed by StoneRiver to perform landscape services predominantly on StoneRiver properties. However, over the last 5 years, Gro significantly increased its presence in the Birmingham market and performed quality landscape maintenance and installation services for numerous apartment complexes, retailers, office complexes and property management firms in the metro area. According to Joseph Welden, StoneRiver’s President, “a primary goal of StoneRiver in the divestiture of Gro’s landscape business was finding a company that shares its focus on delivering high quality landscape services for its customers.” As such, Landscape Workshop was selected, in large part, for its outstanding reputation and its over 30-year record of professionalism and client satisfaction.

Landscape Workshop[ is a [portfolio company of McKinney Capital.

The post Landscape Workshop Acquires Gro’s Landscape Maintenance Accounts appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

Are you tempted to re-sell someone else’s product to boost your topline revenue?

On the surface, becoming a distributor for a popular product can appear to be a simple way to grow your sales—simply find something that is already proven to be successful elsewhere and negotiate the rights to sell it in your local market.

While distributing someone else’s product may be a relatively easy way to grow your topline, all that revenue growth may do little for your company’s value. A typical distribution company will be lucky to sell for 50% of one year’s revenue, whereas if you control your product or service—and the brand that embodies them—you may be able to do much better.

How Nike Became One of the World’s Most Valuable Companies

For an example of the dangers of not owning your own products, take a look at the evolution of Blue Ribbon Sports into Nike Inc. As Nike co-founder Phil Knight describes in his recent autobiography Shoe Dog, the company started off by negotiating the exclusive rights to sell Tiger running shoes in the United States. Knight’s company was called Blue Ribbon Sports and he imported the shoes from Onitsuka, a Japanese company.

Despite their exclusive agreement with Blue Ribbon, Onitsuka started to court other American dealers. When Knight protested the obvious breach of their contract, Onitsuka threatened a hostile takeover of Knight’s business or to shut him down outright. Knight’s company was tiny at the time and so deeply reliant on Onitsuka for supply, he could do virtually nothing to enforce their agreement.

Given its dependence on Onitsuka, Knight’s company would have scored close to zero out of a possible 100 on what we call The Switzerland Structure, a measure of your company’s reliance on a supplier, employee or customer. The Switzerland Structure is only one of eight value drivers we measure, but abysmal performance on any one factor can be a significant drag on the value of your business.

Onitsuka’s snub became Knight’s impetus to start Nike, which gave him control of his marketing, supply and product development. Instead of simply re-selling someone else’s shoes, Nike developed their own designs and contracted the manufacturing of their products to other factories. By owning its own products and brands, Nike has become one of the world’s most valuable companies and regularly trades north of 20 times earnings.

To see how your business performs on The Switzerland Structure and the other seven factors that drive your company’s value, take 13 minutes and complete the Value Builder questionnaire now.

Click here to get started.

The post The Downside of Selling Someone Else’s Product appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

NALP Leaders ForumThe keynote speaker for the National Association of Landscape Professionals Leaders Forum this week, Daniel Levine, outlined four key trends that should shape industry offerings:

  1. Green is getting greener.
  2. Living spaces are getting smarter.
  3. Simplicity is paramount.
  4. Corporate social leadership is next.

Levine, director of The Avant-Guide Institute, is a well-known expert on consumer trends.  He led participants through a series of exercises illustrating the power of addressing trends.

The post NALP Leaders Forum Keynoter Outlines the Power of Key Trends appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

BrightView has acquired Marina Landscape Maintenance a large California landscape company with operations in both northern and Southern California. This marks BrightView’s first announced acquisition since the merger of The Brickman Group and The ValleyCrest Companies in mid-2014.

Here is the text of the press release announcing the acquisition.

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — BrightView Landscapes, LLC, the nation’s leading landscape services and snow removal company, today announced the acquisition of Marina Landscape Maintenance, Inc. Marina Landscape Maintenance employs nearly 400 people and services 200 client sites in Orange County, and the greater Los Angeles, Inland Empire and Northern California markets.

Marina LandscapeTerms of the deal, which closed January 1, 2017, will not be disclosed.

“This is a great addition to the BrightView family and one that will help us strengthen our presence in the key Southern California market,” said BrightView Chief Executive Officer Andrew Masterman. “Like BrightView, Marina has a long tradition of innovation and client service and we are delighted to welcome them into our company. We are continuing to seek out acquisition opportunities with landscape maintenance companies that share our dedication to clients and team members.”

“We have worked for decades to build up our maintenance business and we are gratified that a company like BrightView recognizes and values the commitment to our clients, employees and the industry,” said Marina Landscape Maintenance, Inc. Vice President Marty Stowell. “BrightView and Marina share many of the same values, including an unwavering commitment to our clients and to the safety, well-being and career advancement of team members.”

Stowell will remain as Vice President and General Manager.

The post BrightView Acquires Marina Landscape in California appeared first on Principium Group: Mergers & Acquisitions.

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