Canopy LawncareAccording to a report in Landscape Management, Greenscape, Inc. of North Carolina has sold 120 residential accounts to Canopy.

Canopy is a technology-based residential home services business headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. Canopy describes itself as follows:  “Canopy is revolutionizing the landscape maintenance industry by offering customers a better, more transparent service experience, as well as a more supportive, rewarding environment for their landscape maintenance crews. Their technology helps them create efficiencies, while their company values are helping them stand out in what has become an unfortunately status quo industry. Currently headquartered in Raleigh, NC, the company has expansion plans in Charlotte, NC, throughout the Southern United States and beyond.”

It is backed by Great Oaks Venture Capital, Lowe’s, Idea Fund Partners, Sovreign Capital and Cofounders Capital.

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Private equity firm Great Range Capital of Mission Woods, Kansas has invested in HeartLand Turf and Landscape of Olathe, Kansas.  No announcement of the deal or the terms has been made.  Great Range has confirmed the investment and  it does appear in their portfolio on the website.

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pits-logoELIOT, Maine – Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service, Inc. of Eliot, Maine announced Monday that it has been sold to Chenmark Capital Management, LLC., a family investment firm from Portland, Maine.  Chenmark also owns Seabreaze Property  Services in Portland, Maine in late 2015.

Company founder and CEO, Booth Hemingway, started Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service in 1979. What began as a one person, one lawnmower and one truck operation, has grown into the seacoast’s largest full-service landscape company. Booth is extremely grateful for his 37 years of working with both clients and employees. The sale of the company to Chenmark Capital Management will allow his very strong team of employees to remain intact while also allowing new growth opportunities for the company.

About Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service: We are a full-service landscaping and tree company working in the greater Maine, New Hampshire seacoast area. We work on projects large and small, commercial and residential, from installations and plantings, to irrigation, night lighting, and just about everything in between. Whether it’s maintaining an existing landscape or starting from scratch, our goal is always the same: to help our clients achieve their perfect landscape. For more information, please visit

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SiteOne LogoSiteOne™ Landscape Supply, LLC  has acquired East Haven Landscape Products (“EHLP”). Started in East Haven, Connecticut in 1978, EHLP is a leader in the distribution of nursery, hardscapes and landscape supplies in the coastal Connecticut market. The acquisition of EHLP adds a full-service landscape supply location along the southeastern Connecticut coast, extending SiteOne’s network of existing full-service locations in Greenwich, CT, Bedford Hills, NY and Windsor, CT.

“We are excited to welcome East Haven Landscape Products to SiteOne. The addition of EHLP increases our ability to service customers of nursery, hardscape and landscape supplies eastward along the Connecticut coast and complements our existing irrigation and agronomic stores in that market. EHLP has a great history and an experienced team who are committed to the success of their customers, which is a perfect fit with our customer-focused culture at SiteOne,” said Doug Black, CEO of SiteOne Landscape Supply.

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Merit Service Solutions
Eureka Growth Capital has acquired  the assets of Merit Service Solutions Holdings LLC, a provider of facility maintenance services with seven company locations and a nationwide network of contracted service providers.  Merit provides a variety of facilities services including snow removal, parking lot maintenance, and landscape services.


PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 30, 2016 – Eureka Growth Capital (“Eureka”) today announced the acquisition of the assets of Merit Service Solutions Holdings, LLC through its newly-formed affiliate, Exterior Maintenance Resources, Inc. (“Merit” or the “Company”). Eureka recruited a new CEO and partnered with operating management to establish a platform that is a leading Eureka Grothnational provider of outsourced exterior facilities management services.
Headquartered in Malvern, PA, Merit leverages seven Company locations and a nationwide network of thousands of service providers to provide essential facility maintenance services to a diverse customer base including national retailers, commercial property managers, multi-family housing developers, government-owned properties and other institutional customers.

“We are very excited to work with new CEO Joe Giandonato and the talented members of existing operating management, including COO Joe Hoey and CFO Steve Rudd,” stated Chris Hanssens, Managing Partner of Eureka who, along with Eureka Vice President Lisa Harris Millhauser, joined the Board of the Company at the close of the transaction. “We look forward to the opportunity to help Merit realize the growth potential that exists within Merit’s national network of quality service providers, its dedicated team supporting its service provider network through Company locations in several key regions throughout the United States, and its longstanding commitment to be an ideal outsourced services partner to its customers that put tremendous importance on maintaining the facilities that are the most tangible representation of the value they endeavor to bring to their customers.”

“Eureka is the perfect partner for Merit Service Solutions given their operational focus and commitment demonstrated throughout the diligence process to bring the resources and leadership to support our vision, team and future growth,” stated Merit CEO Joe Giandonato. “Eureka brings significant experience and a track record of success within our outsourced business services vertical and shares our team’s strategic vision of becoming the leading provider of highest-quality exterior facility maintenance services to valued customers nationwide. I look forward to working with Eureka and our team at Merit in executing on this vision.”

M&T Bank provided debt financing to support the acquisition.

About Eureka Growth Capital
Eureka Growth Capital is a private equity firm targeting niche market leaders with up to $75 million in revenue. Eureka focuses on partnering with proven managers to drive the growth of promising companies into outstanding enterprises. Eureka leads buyouts that bring significant ownership to the operators driving the success of the business and minority recapitalizations with flexible investment structures designed to uniquely meet the needs of the company, its management team and other shareholders. More information about Eureka Growth Capital can be found by visiting

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pie-chart_g1ttvilo_lMarket share is usually a worthy goal, but sometimes the markets you haven’t penetrated may be a a major driver in the value of your business.  This because the outlook for growth is major factor business buyers are typically looking for in an acquisition.  In a landscape business, for example, expanding yourb tqarget markets geographically nor demographically may help make the case for growth potential.

Imagine you’re a farmer and you’ve been tending to your crops all year. It’s harvest season and finally time to collect the spoils of your labor.

You start harvesting your crops only to find out that pesky rodents have been quietly eating away at your fields. You’re devastated as you come to the realization that much of what you have been working so hard to cultivate has already been taken.

Feeling like there is not much field left to harvest is what acquirers and investors are trying to avoid as they evaluate buying your business. Metaphorically speaking, acquirers want to know that if they buy your business, there will be plenty of fresh farmland left for them to till.

Addressable Market

Investors call it your company’s “addressable market” and it is one of the main factors buyers will look at when they evaluate the potential of acquiring your company.

Business 101 tells us we should strive for market share so we can control pricing. Market share is a worthy goal if your objective is to maximize your profits. However, if your primary objective is to increase the value of your company, you want to be able to communicate that you have relatively low market share across the entire addressable market. In other words, there is plenty of field left to plough.

Consider the following ways you might expand the way you are currently thinking about the addressable market for what you sell:


Demographics involve segmenting a market by objective measures like gender, income, age and education level. Marriott is a hotel chain but they have created a variety of brands to address the various demographic segments they want to serve. Ritz Carlton is a Marriott brand that appeals to well-heeled travellers, but if all you want is a basic room, you could opt for a Courtyard Marriott. It’s the same company, but they have expanded their addressable market by focusing on different demographic segments.


Psychographics involve segmenting your market according to the way people think. Toyota produces the Prius, which gets 50 miles per gallon and is a favourite among environmentalists. Toyota also produces the thirsty Tundra pickup truck and, at just 15 miles per gallon, attracts a different psychographic segment.


Success in your local market is good but if you want to really boost the value of your company in the eyes of an acquirer, you need to demonstrate that your concept crosses geographic lines. McDonald’s has more than fourteen thousand locations in the United States but they have also demonstrated that the golden arches can draw a crowd in other markets. McDonald’s has nearly three thousand stores in Japan, two thousand in China and more than a thousand locations in each of the European countries of Germany, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

You don’t actually have to become a global giant like Marriott, Toyota or McDonald’s to increase your company’s value but you do need to be able to communicate that your concept could work in other markets and that there is still good land left to plough.

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Can you imagine your landscape business running without you?  If you can’t, it’s likely no one else can either, including a potential business buyer.

Business Works Without YouIt really can be done.  Jeffrey Scott, the landscape industry consultant, coach and peer group facilitator, tells of a client who spends most of the year in Europe and checks on his business only occasionally.  Can you imagine your business working like that?:

Some owners focus on growing their profits, while others are obsessed with sales goals. Have you ever considered making it your primary goal to set up your business so that it can thrive and grow without you?

A business not dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset to own. It allows you complete control over your time so that you can choose the projects you get involved in and the vacations you take. When it comes to getting out, a business independent of its owner is worth a lot more than an owner-dependent company.

Here are five ways to set up your business so that it can succeed without you.

1. Give Them A Stake In The Outcome

Jack Stack, the author of The Great Game of Business and A Stake In The Outcome wrote the book on creating an ownership culture inside your company: you are transparent about your financial results and you allow employees to participate in your financial success. This results in employees who act like owners when you’re not around.

2. Get Them To Walk In Your Shoes

If you’re not quite comfortable opening up the books to your employees, consider a simple management technique where you respond to every question your staff bring you with the same answer, “If you owned the company, what would you do?” By forcing your employees to walk in your shoes, you get them thinking about their question as you would and it builds the habit of starting to think like an owner. Pretty soon, employees are able to solve their own problems.

3. Vet Your Offerings

Identify the products and services which require your personal involvement in either making, delivering or selling them. Make a list of everything you sell and score each on a scale of 0 to 10 on how easy they are to teach an employee to handle. Assign a 10 to offerings that are easy to teach employees and give a lower score to anything that requires your personal attention. Commit to stopping to sell the lowest scoring product or service on your list. Repeat this exercise every quarter.

4. Create Automatic Customers

Are you the company’s best salesperson? If so, you’ll need to fire yourself as your company’s rainmaker in order to get it to run without you. One way to do this is to create a recurring revenue business model where customers buy from you automatically. Consider creating a service contract with your customers that offers to fulfill one of their ongoing needs on a regular basis.

5. Write An Instruction Manual For Your Business

Finally, make sure your company comes with instructions included. Write an employee manual or what MBA-types called Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These are a set of rules employees can follow for repetitive tasks in your company. This will ensure employees have a rulebook they can follow when you’re not around, and, when an employee leaves, you can quickly swap them out with a replacement to take on duties of the job.

You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a company and have a life. Your business will be free to scale up because it is no longer dependent on you, its bottleneck. Best of all, it will be worth a lot more to a buyer whenever you are ready to sell.

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Columbua LandcareColumbia Landcare, a commercial landscape services company located in Columbia, Missouri, has acquired Creative Surroundings, Inc., another Columbia Landscape services company.

Columbia Landcare was formed n 2009 as a result of the merger of Missouri Mowing and Columbia Turf.  It is owned by Jed Taylor who serves as CEO.  With the new acquisition, Columbia Landcare expects to approach $6 million in revenues in 2017.  In addition to commercial grounds maintenance, the company provides irrigation installation and service and snow removal.

10612856_902860539778442_7243986444617913524_nCreative Surroundings was founded in 1982 by Gloria Gaus.  Gaus will be a part of the Columbia Landcare team for the next twelve months during the transition.

Read more in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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How much goodwill do you have in your business?

The term “goodwill” is often thrown around in conversation as though it is a subjective description of how much your customers like your business.

In fact, when it comes to valuing your business, there is nothing subjective about the definition of goodwill. It is defined as the difference between what someone is willing to pay for your company minus the value of your hard assets.

Let’s imagine you own a plumbing company and the main physical assets in your company are the five vans you own and some tools with a total value of around $100,000. If you sold your plumbing company for $1,000,000, the acquirer would have paid $900,000 in goodwill ($1,000,000 – $100,000).

When a company sells for the value of its fixed assets, it is often a distressed business one step away from closing down. One way to think about your job description as an owner is to maximize the difference between what your business is worth to a buyer and the value of your fixed assets.

Marriott buys more than bricks and mortar

For an example of the difference between valuing a business for its hard assets vs. its goodwill, take a look at the recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide by Marriott. Neither Starwood nor Marriott own many of the hotels that bear their name. Instead, they license the name to operators, franchisees and the owners of the bricks and mortar.

So why would Marriott cough up $13 billion for Starwood if they don’t even own the hotels they run? In part, Marriott wanted to get its hands on the Starwood Preferred Guest program, a loyalty scheme which has proven more popular than Marriott’s program for frequent travellers.

Similarly, Uber is worth something north of $50 billion because more than one million people per day hail a ride using Uber, not because they own a whole bunch of cars.

Chasing hard assets at the expense of goodwill

Many owners focus on building their stockpile of hard assets, not understanding the concept of goodwill.

Accumulating hard assets like land and machines and equipment is fine, but the savvy owner, looking to maximize her value, focuses less on the tangible assets and more on what those assets allow her to create for customers. There is nothing wrong with owning hard assets unless they take away from capital you could be investing in creating goodwill. Then the opportunity cost may exceed the value of owning the stuff.

Arguably both Uber and Starwood would be a shadow of the companies they are today had they pursued a strategy of accumulating hard assets. Would Uber ever have made it out of San Francisco if they had to buy a Lincoln Town Car every time they wanted to add a driver to their network?

In your case, focus on what creates value for customers and you will maximize the value of your business far beyond the value of your hard assets.

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