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The Global Authority on the Automotive Aftermarket
Supplement Advisory is the financial authority on the auto aftermarket. With nearly three decades experience in the aftermarket, founder and principal advisor Brad Mewes provides unique and proprietary "industry insider" advisory services to private equity, boards of directors, investors and and private business owners. Brad provides insights into your “blind spots” that you may be missing on your deal to reduce your risk that it doesn’t succeed to the level that you expect.
Our dominate area of expertise is the $40B collision repair industry, and associated multi-billion dollar verticals in the auto aftermarket including aftermarket parts distribution, auto paint distribution, equipment, software and technology and virtually any other area of the auto aftermarket.
Our ability to identify your blind spots comes from working one-on-one with scores of businesses representing hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue annually in the collision and auto aftermarket. Our clients include privately held businesses, private equity backed businesses, and public entities. We leverage these insights with Brad's experience in equity research and as an Instructor of Financial Statement Analysis at the University of California, Irvine to reduce the risk that your investment under-performs.
Brad has been retained globally as a subject matter expert by:
You want to increase the value of your business?
If you own a collision repair facility, you likely do some repair work in your home garage; perhaps, you even use your garage as a home office. Great news – you may be able to claim a home office deduction on your taxes, but there are a lot of variables. First, the extent to which Read more about Can You Write Off Your Home Garage as a Body Shop Owner?[…]
Purchasing a company car allows you to claim a variety of tax benefits, such as deductions for gas mileage and insurance, but before you commit yourself to such a major investment, these important considerations can help you avoid some common mistakes business owners make when buying a company car. Forgetting to Look Before You Leap Read more about Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes When Buying a Company Car[…]
Social security taxes are among the biggest tax burdens faced by employers and employees alike, with both of you paying the IRS 6.2%, for a total tax rate of 12.4%. Since March 27th, under the CARES Act, employers have been able to defer the employer portion of the SS tax, and a more recent Read more about Considering Deferring Your Share of Your Employees’ Social Security Tax?[…]
In independently owned collision repair shops, it’s common for the owner’s spouse to play a role in the business, but if your spouse is working full-time in your business and hasn’t been hired as an employee, you could be missing out on a ton of tax benefits – even the IRS says this is one Read more about For Better or Worse, In Sickness and… In the Shop?[…]
The Payroll Protection Program (PPP), created by the CARES Act, has helped many businesses survive this year’s chaotic twists and turns. Even better, according to the government, it’s forgivable and not taxable – but are there really any tax benefits associated with the PPP? Although forgiven loans (which now become grants) are typically counted as Read more about Did the Government Lie about PPP Tax Benefits?[…]
This year is shaping up to be a record year of private equity in collision repair. Beginning late last year with the Caliber ABRA merger and recapitalization, the industry has renewed interest by private equity investors. These are the trends that are increasing private equity in collision repair. Successful Caliber ABRA merger and recap Success Read more about Private Equity in Collision Repair 2019[…]
The long-awaited deal between Caliber Collision and ABRA Auto Body has finally been announced. The combined company now boasts over 1,000 stores with combined estimated revenues near $3.5 billion. This should come as little surprise to long term readers of my insights, and I suggested as much here and here, and here. It was only Read more about Caliber Collision Acquires ABRA Auto Body[…]
Access to capital remains one of the more difficult challenges that face the business owners I work with. Most businesses I work with see more opportunity than they have capital. We are in one of the longest and strongest periods of economic expansion in North America, yet banks still continue to be conservative with providing Read more about Acquisition Finance[…]
Bottom line up front: I’ve partnered with Raymond James Capital Markets to create a unique survey, the first of its kind, that leverages the unique research capabilities of Raymond James Capital Markets equity analysts and Supplement Advisory’s unique insight into the North American collision repair industry. You can participate and access the results at https:/supp-co.com/survey Read more about ADAS hype or conjecture?[…]
On Thursday, August 9th I will be hosting a panel discussion at the MSO Symposium at NACE. It will be a great event (as always) with some of the top thought leaders in the collision repair segment of the automotive aftermarket. I’ll be hosting a panel discussion on the growing pains of building a multi – Read more about Growing Pains of Building an MSO[…]
This week I’m teaching a course on Financial Analysis at my alma mater, University of California, Irvine. It got me thinking about the fundamentals of financial analysis and how we use financial statements in business. Preparing to teach a course like this is humbling. I spend a lot of my day thinking in terms of Read more about Professor for a Week[…]
I spend a lot of time with business owners across North America. There are a few traits that I notice that differentiate average owners from exceptional owners. Generally, the more engaged the business owner in their business, the more successful. This is obvious – engagement is a critical part of success in any role. But Read more about Mastermind Your Business[…]
If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you probably assume the value of your company will be determined by its size, and to a lesser extent, your industry. While size matters, there are actually seven other factors that impact the value of your company more than your industry. In fact, after analyzing more than 30,000 Read more about Do you know the value of your company?[…]
It’s been a busy start to 2018 for me. I’ve been all over North America, doing what I love – working directly with business owners to increase the value of their business. It has been an extraordinary few weeks. This is what I’m excited about right now MASTERMIND GROUPS Earlier in January, I was in Read more about What I’m Excited About Right Now[…]
I was in Miami last week working with one of my mastermind “20-Groups”. The particular group I was working with is a group of paint distributors, representing over $100 million in annual revenue in North America. As it was the first meeting of the year, the focus of the meeting was on budgeting and goal Read more about Mastermind Groups, Budgeting and Goal Setting[…]
Real estate plays an important role in any business. As a significant long term asset, real estate represents a major financial investment. Whether it is owned or leased, real estate is one of the largest fixed expenses for many businesses. But is investing in real estate worth it? Unfortunately many owners do not give enough Read more about Is the real estate worth it?[…]
Many business owners that I speak with are oftentimes surprised when a buyer of their business is not interested in the accompanied real estate the business sits on. For many business owners who own the both property and business, the relationship between the operating business and the real estate has been profitable and mutually beneficial. Read more about Real Estate and Business Acquisitions[…]
This is what I discovered about OEM Certification when I attended the Assured Performance’s Certified Collision Care Provider Conference – OEM Certification 2.0
Recently I was asked to fly out to Phoenix to present at the Assured Performance Annual meeting. Each year Assured Performance hosts meeting for its members to discuss industry trends and OEM certification. It was a great meeting that brought together OEMs, property and casualty insurers, dealership groups, and certified collision repairers. Note: Will you Read more about This is what I discovered about OEM Certification when I attended the Assured Performance’s Certified Collision Care Provider Conference – OEM Certification 2.0[…]
Recently, I was working with a client. The purpose of the project was to evaluate the business, and some recent investments the client made. On the surface, the investments appeared to be highly profitable. They were yielding very strong EBITDA margins. So strong in fact, the analysis seemed almost after the fact. With such strong Read more about What’s Your ROIC?[…]
Last week I was invited the CARSTAR North American Conference. While CARSTAR has been active in both the US and Canada for decades, this is the first time that CARSTAR organized a unified North America conference. I was invited to the conference to work with some of CARSTAR’s top MSOs to review growth opportunities in Read more about I Was Invited to the CARSTAR North American Conference. Here Is What I Learned.[…]
Recently, I have had multiple conversations with a number of very intelligent people about ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and the impact the automotive aftermarket industry. Each of these conversations have been interesting, and while opinions have varied, one thing is certain – the role of technology in the automotive aftermarket is only increasing. Some are very concerned about the impact of ADAS on the automotive aftermarket, and others appear ambivalent about the technology. The more conversations I have, the more I realize that there is much uncertainty on ADAS impact on the automotive aftermarket.
Last week I was in Chicago for NACE Automechanika. NACE is one of the largest trade shows dedicated to the collision, mechanical and automotive service industries in North America. It is a great show to connect with leaders in the industry, and as is normally the case, my day was filled to the brim with Read more about I attended the MSO Symposium at NACE Automechanika and this is what I learned[…]
PRESS RELEASE Supplement Announces New Retained Agreement with APEX Automotive Paint Exchange Irvine, CA – August 14, 2017 – Supplement, a strategic and financial advisory firm, announced a new retained engagement with the APEX Automotive Paint Exchange (“APEX”). APEX is a business performance group (i.e. “20 Group”) comprised exclusively of independent multi-location automotive paint distributors. Read more about Supplement Announces New Retained Agreement with APEX Automotive Paint Exchange[…]
Acquisitions get a bad rap. Acquisitions are described as risky. Acquiring companies are portrayed as evil raiders and titans. Tales of high stake chest thumping negotiations between power brokers fill our conversations. Stories of lay-offs, firings, law suits and forced relocations ensue. But even with all of the negative, I know that acquisitions are good for business.
With two well-funded private equity backed companies, in addition to the existing large strategic players in the industry, the number and pace of transactions will increase. So too will the competitive dynamics of the industry. Paint distribution is a much smaller in industry than collision repair and will likely consolidate at a pace measured in months, rather than years.
Last week was a busy week for acquisitions in the aftermarket. The Boyd Group acquired the largest collision repairer in Canada, Uni-Select (parent company of FinishMaster) expanded into the UK with the acquisition of The Parts Alliance, and Carl Icahn announced the acquisition of Precision Auto, adding 250 service, lube and carwash locations to his Read more about Boyd Acquires Assured and Other Acquisitions in the Automotive Aftermarket[…]
A common retort to the question of EBITDA multiples is often “multiple of what”. Sometimes people interpret that to infer “multiple of sales, multiple of net, multiple of EBITDA, etc.” But what the question really driving at is “How was EBITDA calculated?” or “What is and is not included in these EBITDA multiples?” Here are a few items that are often missing from EBITDA multiples.
The challenge with EBITDA multiples is they are general in nature, and almost always contain a myriad of assumptions. Furthermore, they can be easily manipulated to suit the party using the multiple. I think Warren Buffett says it best, “People who use EBITDA are either trying to…
Most acquisitions fail. The stark truth is that 70% to 90% of acquisitions fail to deliver the value the buyer anticipated. Yet, the data shows it is nearly impossible to build a world class company on organic growth alone. And most of the largest companies in the world were built on at least one, if not multiple deals.
When operating a business, there are effectively four simple ways to grow a business. Beware, while these approaches may be simple, that does not mean they are easy. But the most successful companies…
If your business does something better than most of its competitors, perhaps it is time to “Buy the Firm!” and implement a buy-side M&A strategy. When I was in business school I had a professor that was fond of exclaiming “Buy the Firm!”. In fact, his solution to many business problems or questions that arose Read more about Buy the Firm! – Buy-Side M&A Strategy Success[…]
Mergers and acquisitions in automotive paint distribution are heating up. After years of aggressive consolidation in the collision repair customer base of paint distributors, it is logical to see consolidation take hold downstream. Paint is a small but critical component of the $30 billion North American collision repair market. A year and a half ago Read more about Mergers and Acquisitions in Automotive Paint Distribution: Will 2017 be the year of FinishMaster?[…]
Service King is for sale, Caliber takes on a new equity partner, CCC looks for a buyer – Private Equity in Collision Repair
After a relatively quiet 2016 where few equity transactions were announced, 2017 is off to a rapid start. Just weeks ago I predicted exactly this – that we would see additional consolidation at the highest levels, additional investors (i.e. private equity) doing deals, and a focus on large deals in 2017. Here are three…
As I’ve been preparing for my meetings this week, I have found myself contemplating my role in the process, and specifically the value-add an M&A advisor brings to a business. More specifically, for whom and when does it make sense to bring on an outside advisor. Because to be frank, an M&A advisor is not right for everyone.
Economies of scale is a term that is thrown out quite a bit in the business world. On the west coast where I’m from, scale is a favorite term of tech entrepreneurs. Management and executives talk about leveraging scale. Investors seek out scalable companies. Every first-year business school student is familiar with the term. What Read more about Building Economies of Scale[…]
This is the time of year that everyone makes predictions for the coming year. So I’ll join in. My prediction for 2017: nothing will change. Last year I made three predictions for 2016. Consolidation would continue. Technology will continue to impact the industry. Interest rates will rise. My predictions for 2017? Consolidation would continue. Technology Read more about My Predictions for 2017: Nothing Will Change[…]
The foundation of my business is to increase the value your business. It is the reason I write a weekly note about using strategy and finance to increase the value of your business. The reason I speak at so many industry events. The reason I spend time helping you understand finance as a driver to Read more about How Will You Increase the Value of Your Business in 2017[…]
The story of industry consolidation is generally one of larger companies acquiring smaller companies, especially in the earlier stages of industry consolidation. But I’ve found that some business owners are surprised when …
Throughout all these meetings a common question I received was “Brad, how can we work together.” After answering that question about 30 different times, I thought it may be useful to tell you here.
Supplement is an advisory firm focused on increasing the value of your business. We do that through three main pillars:
Sell-Side M&A Advisory
Buy-Side M&A Advisory
Strategic, CFO and Capital Advisory
I’m back from SEMA AAPEX and wow, what a show. Las Vegas never disappoints, and this year was no different. I had back to back meetings the entire time with large multi-national companies, individual business owners, and numerous of investors. My presentation Tuesday afternoon on growing in a consolidating industry was received with much fanfare. Read more about Is a Private Equity Investment Right for You?[…]
I’m on my way to Las Vegas for SEMA AAPEX 2016 right now. Super excited as always for these industry events. Are you in town? If so, please join me and scores of other industry insiders Thursday afternoon at the Westgate for Happy Hour. It’s all very casual, but a great opportunity to gather around, Read more about SEMA AAPEX Synergy in the Automotive Aftermarket[…]
I’m busy prepping for my presentation next week in Las Vegas at SEMA AAPEX titled “Competing with Consolidation: 5 ways to make more money and outmaneuver your biggest competitors in 2017”. How successful companies grow is on my mind at present. What is the best way to grow? How fast is too fast to grow? Read more about How Successful Companies Grow[…]
One of the most common questions I receive is what is the average auto body shop selling multiple? Multiples are on everyone’s mind. Sellers want a quick an easy way to understand what their business is worth. Buyers want a way to know they are not over paying for a business. Even banks and financing Read more about Auto Body Shop Selling Multiple – what you need to know to maximize your multiple[…]
I’m writing this on my way back from Vancouver, Canada. I spent the past few days on site with a client focused on developing administrative SOPs to drive consistency in financial reporting. Then a quick meeting with an investment bank involved in the industry. I even took a sea plane over the harbor and got Read more about Collision M&A Consolidation Trends Update[…]
I’m on a plane back from Atlanta to Orange County, California as I write this. I spent the past few days in Atlanta with AkzoNobel talking to distributors, jobbers, shop owners, and senior execs across North America about business growth, strategy and finance. We talked about ways to grow your business in a consolidating industry. Read more about I’ve never been more optimistic about business growth in the industry than now.[…]
I Can’t Buy Fenders by the Trainload – One Reason Consolidation in the Automotive Aftermarket Will Continue
I speak at a fair number of events across the world. It is one of the more enjoyable parts of my job. I speak about the intersection of finance and strategy and how that influences consolidation in the automotive aftermarket. Because both finance and strategy are so future focused, I’m often asked my views of Read more about I Can’t Buy Fenders by the Trainload – One Reason Consolidation in the Automotive Aftermarket Will Continue[…]
I spent last week at NACE in Anaheim California. For those of you unfamiliar with NACE, it is the only US industry trade show dedicated to the collision repair industry. In the past I have done video updates from the floor during the week, but this year I was so busy that I just couldn’t find Read more about I attended NACE 2016 and this is what I learned[…]
There is a trend I have begun to notice recently. The Canadians dominate the collision repair world. Dominate may be a bit of an overstretch, but Canadian firms own, operate or control some of the biggest names in the industry. Canadians also have more analysts covering the collision repair sector than any other country. Quick personal Read more about What’s up with Canada?[…]
Recently Caliber made a big acquisition in Philadelphia of a multi-store location. Seven locations to be exact. It was described as a major platform acquisition. But what is a platform acquisition and how is it different from a regular acquisition? Note: Are you headed to NACE this year? It’s only a few weeks away and Read more about What is a Platform Acquisition?[…]
An interesting thing happened in the North American collision repair market. While the four largest collision repairers have for some time stopped announcing even the largest recent acquisitions, the pace of consolidation has continued at a rabid pace. Since the beginning of 2012, the four largest operators have more than tripled the number of locations Read more about Consolidation Trends Update: Q2 2016 – What Happened?[…]
One of the great parts about my job is that I get to work with really intelligent people in really interesting places. I just got back from 5 days of client meetings in New York. It really fires me up to work with such motivated passionate people in the industry. During our meetings, one of Read more about Is it really just the cost of doing business?[…]
I talk with a lot of business owners every day. A common question I’m asked is “What do I need to do now to be ready to sell my business?” Here are 4 things to do now to increase business value in a sale, whether that is in 6 months or 6 years. But first Read more about Are You Stuck? 4 simple things you can do right now to increase business value in a sale.[…]
One of my favorite management truisms is “what is measured gets managed”. In our industry, it seems that daily there is a new metric to be managed. Whether it is cycle time, rental days, repair vs replace, severity, or refinish hours, this is an industry dominated by operational metrics. But for all of our focus Read more about Let’s Geek Out! What’s your ROIC and ROA?[…]
I’m back from Barcelona, having presented at IBIS (International Bodyshop Industry Symposium) on consolidation trends. IBIS is one of the marquee organizations, the only I know of that looks at the collision industry globally. It was a true honor to get in front of this group. So many fascinating presentations – email me to discuss Read more about $6 Billion by 2020. Is that even possible???[…]
Next week I’ll get back to my review if the Boyd Group’s financial statements. But I wanted to discuss something that has been on my mind lately. I’ll be travelling quite a bit in the coming weeks so if you are in the area shoot me an email and let’s meet up! This Saturday May Read more about Are You Lying to Me?[…]
Warning: there are some serious accounting terms in this post! But they are terms that every business owner needs to know. When I work with clients as an outsourced CFO, I tend to spend a bit of time working through the balance sheet. A poorly managed balance sheet has the tendency to burn up cash, Read more about Boyd’s Balance Sheet: What you need to know now.[…]
This is how The Boyd Group generates millions of dollars of cash every year in Collision Repair in North America. It may not be what you think.
While earning my MBA and while working as an equity analyst, I learned that to better understand the strength of a company, as well as the motivations of management, it is always best to look directly at the statement of cash flows. The cash flow statement tells the reader exactly how much money the business generates and exactly how management is investing and spending the money they make.
At present, Boyd is the only publicly traded company collision repair company in North America. The other three major consolidators are privately held, owned by various private equity groups. The company trades as a unit trust on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of well over a $1 billion – $1.33 billion Read more about What I discovered when I read Boyd’s 2015 Income Statement[…]
In the past I have discussed the importance of developing a strategy and the implications consolidation has on your business. A big part of strategy, whether it is stand pat, buy or sell to understand what your competitors are up to. For this reason I am also often asked to present to industry groups about Read more about How Do You Stack Up? Comparing your business to the majors.[…]
Consolidation in the collision industry continues to march forward at an astounding pace. The largest companies in the industry continue to aggressively grow through acquisitions, or by buying existing collision repair operators. And as these companies continue to aggressively expand we see continued consolidation in adjacent segments that sell into the industry, especially in paint Read more about Collision Industry Consolidation Trends: Q1 2016[…]
Previously I discussed the 2 questions I ask clients when helping them grow or sell –what is your timeline and what is your walk away price. Then I discussed 3 surprising things that you have little control over that can influence when to grow or when to sell. At the end of the note I Read more about My Take – Upside vs Risk[…]
I’m in Florida this week presenting to a performance group on how to compete in a consolidating market. I’m curious – do you attend 20 groups? Why or why not? Simply reply to the email to tell me. Tell me about the industry groups you’re involved with and why you choose to associate with them. Read more about 3 trends that can change your price and timeline.[…]
The past four years have seen an unprecedented level of buy/sell activity in the industry. Mergers and acquisitions have dominated the industry. Private equity groups have invested heavily in the largest companies in the industry, further increasing consolidation. Consolidation will continue, but it will be different than it has been in the past. As a Read more about 2 Ways to Know When to Sell and When to Grow[…]
That is right, I am headed to Spain. I’ll be presenting at the IBIS 2016 conference May 23rd to the 25th in Barcelona, Spain. I will be talking about consolidation trends in the industry – not just collision, but the entire automotive aftermarket. Across the entire industry every segment is facing pressure from consolidation. Parts Read more about I’m Headed to Spain IBIS 2016[…]
There are many other important factors to consider when negotiating a business purchase or sale. Price is just one. These are four of the more common ones we see when helping clients manage transactions in the collision repair industry.
When using comps to determine your valuation there are two pieces of data needed – your financials (i.e. profitability) and the multiple, or comp. Discover 5 simple ways to maximize your financials and increase your valuation.
Discover a simple way to determine the value of your business. Recognize common pitfalls. Avoid costly and risky mistakes when valuing your business.
Increasing vehicle complexity and OEM involvement are increasing the cost of doing business in the collision industry. Capital requirements are increasing. More training, more tooling, and more equipment is needed to compete in today’s environment. The result is lower margins. Decreasing profitability is a trend that has been taking place for some time in the Read more about Lean Will Save the Industry…Or Will It?[…]
Increasing vehicle complexity creates additional capital costs. Margins will continue to be compressed. Discover what your business needs to do to compete.
When helping clients with mergers and acquisitions, we spend a lot of time identifying and quantifying synergies. Synergies are advantages that come about through the integration of two companies that, individually, the two companies would be unable to achieve. If you are considering growth by acquisitions or evaluating a sale, understanding the role synergies play Read more about 3 Synergies that Maximize Value in the Automotive Aftermarket[…]
What will happen in the collision industry in 2016? Is now the right time to sell or to grow? Here are 3 predictions that may influence your decision.
The industry is consolidating. That statement probably comes as little surprise. The entire automotive aftermarket is consolidating. New car dealers, tire vendors, parts distributors, paint distributors, software providers, and collision repair shops are all consolidating. But were you aware that industries tend to follow a predictable path of consolidation, referred to as the consolidation curve? Read more about The Consolidation Curve in the Automotive Aftermarket in Paint, Parts, and Distribution Segments[…]
There is common phrase thrown around in business: If you aren’t growing you’re dying. In business there are two types of growth, organic and inorganic. Organic growth refers to increasing sales internally, generating more revenues with your existing business assets. Inorganic growth refers to growing sales by expanding to new locations, acquiring other businesses in the industry, and sometimes even expanding outside of your industry.
A common misconception is that organic growth is less risky and less costly than inorganic growth. But as humans we are actually inherently bad at assessing risk. Referred to as probability neglect, we assume that common activities we engage in are inherently safer and less risky than less uncommon activities. Read more about Are You a Victim of Probability Neglect?
Last week we spoke about the impact of interest rates on consolidation. While a low rate environment certainly provides incentive to companies to grow through mergers and acquisitions, good deals are good deals in both high and low interest rate environments. There is a financial component that drives consolidation but there is a strategic component Read more about Revenue Synergies, Cost Synergies and Consolidation[…]
It seems to be a forgone conclusion that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates at their upcoming meeting. For years the Fed has repeatedly stated that they will likely raise rates in 2015. Now that December is upon us it appears the day of reckoning has arrived.
There is always a lot of consternation around rate changes, and this time around is no different. Effectively the Fed controls the price of money (interest rates) in an attempt to influence economic activity. The Fed lowers rates to spur economic activity and raises rates to slow it down. So a rate increase should be perceived as a generally positive event, an indication that economic activity is increasing. Read more about Will the Fed Raising Interest Rates Stop Industry Consolidation?
I just wrapped up a week in Detroit where I presented at an industry event organized by a major paint manufacturer. I discussed growth strategies in a consolidating industry. We talked about industry evolution and ways to increase the value of your business by taking advantage of the same trends and using the same corporate Read more about 6 Non-Financial Ways to Increase the Value of your Business[…]
The last four full weeks of the year are upon us. Only 33 days full working days left this year (or less depending on your holiday schedule). I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you have not already started to set your business plans in place for 2016 you are behind Read more about 2015 Acquisition Trends Update: The Floodgates Open[…]
I’m at SEMA AAPEX this week. I have had the fantastic opportunity to meet with a huge diversity of businesses, ranging from the single location operator to multi billion dollar international organizations. Throughout the course of the entire week a common question I receive is “Brad, how can you you help increase the value of Read more about SEMA AAPEX 2015 [VIDEO][…]
Pursuing acquisitions to fuel growth is an attractive way to grow a company. But business acquisitions can appear risky, especially if you have never completed one before. Acquisitions often require a business owner to take on substantial debt. An acquisition-based business strategy also requires a higher level of financial discipline. For unaccustomed businesses this can Read more about Avoid These Four Common Business Acquisition Mistakes[…]
You want to grow your company. Often the best way to grow is by acquiring another business in your industry. This is often referred to as inorganic growth or an acquisition strategy. An acquisition based growth strategy is an effective way to significantly grow your business. It also is a generally low risk strategy because you are investing in an industry that you have intimate knowledge. It also presents opportunities to build economies of scale leverage cost synergies. Here are five strategies for successful acquisitions. Read more about 5 Strategies for Successful Acquisitions
Imagine this scenario. You receive a call on your cell phone from someone who says he works for one of the big consolidators. He has heard a lot of good things about your shop and he wants to talk. His company is very interested in expanding in your area, and his company only partners with Read more about Help I’ve Just Been Anchored! Avoid the Anchor Bias in Business Transactions[…]
The end of the year is almost upon us. Only 9 full weeks left in 2015. The last quarter of the year always goes fast. There are simply more holidays and outside demands in the last three months of the year.
I wanted to take a break from big, high-level industry analysis for a moment and drill down into the nuts and bolts of financial management. As the year begins to draw to a close it is a good time to take stock of the current state of business. Here are six simple financial KPIs to look at every month to increase the value of your business.
Many of these financial KPIs are similar to metrics that the large consolidators use to evaluate individual locations across their networks. While there are many more complex metrics that are important to evaluate regularly, this is a list of what I consider to be simple financial KPIs that a business owner ought to be looking at on a monthly basis, if not more frequently. Read more about Six simple financial KPIs that increase the value of your business
Stuck behind the consolidation curve? Discover why industry consolidation impacts the price of your business.
Consolidation has been going on in the industry in the U.S. since the 90s. There have been some major successes as well as some spectacular failures. The collision industry, and the entire automotive industry in general, is not the first industry to ever undergo consolidation. And it certainly will not be the last.
Consolidation has taken place for nearly two decades now. Nearly every current business owner in the collision industry “lived through” the first round of consolidation. Because of this “survivor bias” some feel that the current round of consolidation is destined to fail the way they believe the prior round did. Read more about Stuck behind the consolidation curve? Discover why industry consolidation impacts the price of your business.
The industry is consolidating. That statement probably comes as little surprise. The entire automotive aftermarket is consolidating. Dealers, tire vendors, parts distributors, paint distributors, software providers are all consolidating. But were you aware that industries tend to follow a predictable path of consolidation, referred to as the consolidation curve?
Big companies are acquiring smaller companies using affordable capital to grow. This growth creates economies of scale. And economies of scale allow larger companies to provide goods and services relatively more efficiently and at a lower cost than their smaller competitors.
Consolidation will continue because it is a virtuous cycle where success attracts additional investment that generates further business advantage. A growing consolidator will continue to acquire for two main reasons. Read more about The Consolidation Curve
According to some, 2015 has been a slow year for collision industry consolidation. Of course, 2014 was a landmark year for consolidation. So far in 2015 consolidation has continued, but at a slightly slower pace. With only 12 full weeks left until the end of the year, Read more about Collision Industry Consolidation Trends 2015
Talk of large consolidators buying collision repair businesses continues to dominate the press. But even as large consolidators continue to gobble up smaller regional MSOs many potential sellers face difficulties in completing a sale transaction. In fact, by some estimates, only 10%-20% of private companies that are listed for sale will successfully sell (and some experts predict even numbers as low as 5%).[i] To ensure that your business does not become one of these unsellable companies, Read more about Three Ways to Sell a Collision Repair Business
Growth to multiple locations is one of the most effective ways to substantially increase the value of your business. A business with multiple locations improves your value proposition to referral partners, improves your ability to increase discounts with key vendors, makes you more attractive to other companies looking to grow via acquisition and when you reach an appropriate size, makes your business more attractive to private equity groups investing in the industry. But it is also risky and can be financially disastrous when done haphazardly (M2 is often cited as an example of a growth plan that failed spectacularly).
In order to create a business that builds generational wealth Read more about Five Ways to Finance Growth
Consolidation is significantly changing the landscape of the collision industry. But it is not just the collision industry that is consolidating rapidly. Throughout the entire automotive aftermarket there are examples of consolidating industries. Paint distribution, first consolidated in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s is undergoing a second round of consolidation. LKQ and aftermarket parts distribution, consolidated once already by LKQ is in the very early stages of a second round of significant consolidation. Aftermarket mechanical parts distribution already dominated by behemoths such as NAPA (Genuine Parts Co.), O’Reilly and AutoZone, and are seeing continued consolidation activity. Even automotive retail and new car dealership industry, once a paragon of the family-held small business, is undergoing consolidation at the hands of AutoNation, Sonic, and Warrant Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Automotive Group. It begs the question, why is consolidation such a popular business strategy? Read more about Four Reasons Acquisitions Make Good Business Sense
Previously we spoke about how the CFO drives growth, and three main areas the CFO adds value: historical financial and vendor analysis, current working capital and cash management, and future budgeting and investment analysis, including acquisitions. One area in particular that we did not discuss, however, was the benefit the CFO brings to the table as an outside strategist and leader responsible for setting and implementing strategy in conjunction with other senior managers within the company. As the primary individual responsible analyzing past and current financial data, as well as budgeting for future growth, the CFO has a unique perspective on the operations of the company. Read more about The CFO as a Strategist – Four Alternatives to a Full Time CFO
Recently I was at NACE in Detroit. NACE brings together leaders in collision repair, automotive service, and the multitude of stakeholders in insurance, parts, paint, and technology industries. It was a fantastic event full of great networking and educational seminars.
I had the opportunity to sit down with a lot of business owners in the industry who were incredibly optimistic about their future. They clearly recognize the challenges facing their business but are actively engaging in strategies to mitigate their risk while growing and thriving.
Consistent throughout many of my discussions, however, was the concern of managing the financial risks that often accompany growth. The lessons of M2 and other failed bids at rapid growth are still fresh in the minds of many in the industry. While these business owners are excited about the growth opportunities available to them they recognize that growth will bring additional financial pressures and challenges. In light of these concerns, our conversations naturally shifted to the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and how a company manages the financial risks growth entails. Read more about The Role of the CFO in Driving Growth
Private equity firms are very active in the collision repair market, and the automotive aftermarket in general. The rapid growth of the large consolidators has resulted in very attractive investment returns for these groups, further increasing the interest of other private equity investors hoping to invest in the industry. Of the “Big Four” consolidators, ABRA, Caliber, and Service King are all majority owned by global private equity groups. Boyd is publicly traded and not private equity backed, but the President of a Canadian private equity firm sits on Boyd’s board of trustees. CARSTAR also is backed by private equity, as is MAACO. Fix Auto recently received debt funding from a large Canadian investment fund that is active in private company investments. Kadel’s, the Pacific Northwest MSO recently acquired by ABRA, was backed by a smaller private equity group. Joe Hudson’s in the Southeast recently brought on a private equity partner as well. Yet for as active as private equity groups are in the industry, these groups are not well understood. Read more about Private Equity in the Automotive Aftermarket
Editor’s Note: Brad is at NACE this week. This is an excerpt of his article originally published in Aftermarket Business World. Next week Brad will return to discuss the role of private equity in the collision industry.
The paint jobber industry is undergoing significant change. Increasing customer concentration in the collision industry is putting pricing pressure on the entire refinish materials supply chain.
A second round of jobber consolidation is now underway adding competitive pressure within the industry. Adding to these pressures, paint manufacturers are placing ever more start up, technical and back office requirements on jobbers in an attempt to drive efficiency and lower costs. Combined, the result is a jobber industry that is undergoing and will continue to undergo significant change.
In conversations I have with business owners throughout the industry I often notice a negative view expressed toward the large consolidators, specifically that the large consolidators could never produce the same quality of product or service as a smaller privately held business. While there may be some truth to this (studies looking at franchises have shown that owner operated franchises tend to perform at a higher level relative to corporate owned stores), there is much to be learned from the success of these larger organizations.
In the past few years, these large MSOs have grown at a rate that have left even the most well-informed and well-connected individuals shocked at the pace of industry consolidation. Read more about The State of the Industry: Understanding Consolidation Risks
For the past few weeks we have been analyzing the results of the Boyd Group Income Fund (Boyd). Boyd is the largest operator of collision repair facilities in the world by number of locations, and one of the top four in terms of revenues. Boyd is also a serial acquirer of other collision and glass services businesses. Founded in 1990 as a single location in Winnipeg, Canada, Boyd has grown to be the largest provider of collision repair services almost exclusively via acquisition, or buying other collision repair businesses.
Previously I spoke about the importance of developing new core competencies to compete in the new era of collision repair. We also discussed at length how a business owner can leverage the tools of corporate finance to drive systematic growth. Boyd is an example of a company that has effectively done both to become a world leader in collision repair and glass repair services.
The price and terms of acquisitions are always a hotly discussed topic in any industry, collision repair is no exception. Read more about Collision Repair Acquisition Pricing and Trends: The Boyd Group
Over the past few weeks we have taken an in-depth look at the Boyd Group Income Fund (Boyd) income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet. The purpose of this was to understand how a large MSO uses corporate finance to drive growth and to also explain how a company that reports a net loss in the millions of dollars actually generates millions of dollars of cash for shareholders (or, in Boyd’s case, the “unitholders”). We also discussed how Boyd is leveraging scale to drive increased profitability and sales growth.
This week, rather than just reviewing the financial statements as they are, we are going to complete a bit of financial analysis to derive certain KPIs that tell us more about how Boyd operates. I will keep the analysis straightforward – no derivative equations I promise! Read more about Advanced KPIs: The Boyd Group
[Editor’s Note: Sign up link follows at the end of this article.] I want to take a brief break from discussing the finances of The Boyd Group to ask all of you a serious question. Are you attending NACE this year? If you are not, you should be. The success of your business and investments Read more about NACE 2015[…]
For the past few weeks we have been talking about The Boyd Group (“Boyd”), one of the largest collision and glass repair business in the world. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada, Boyd operates under three main trademarks; Boyd Auto Body and Glass in Canada, Gerber Collision and Glass in the U.S. and Gerber National Glass Services, a network of over 3,000 independently owned glass repair and replacement businesses across the U.S. Boyd is the largest pure-play collision repair business in the world by number of locations, and one of the largest in terms of sales.
This week we are going to look at Boyd’s fiscal year 2014 Balance Sheet, or more formally the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The balance sheet, unfortunately, is one of the more overlooked financial statements in the industry. For many, it is a statement relegated to year-end tax planning and rarely, if ever, analyzed throughout the year. But understanding and managing a balance sheet is one of the core tenets of corporate finance.
Regardless if your goal is to grow, sell, or stand pat, balance sheet management is critical to your business. Read more about The Boyd Group: Understanding the Balance Sheet
Last week we discussed the Boyd Group Income Fund (“Boyd”), specifically the Fiscal Year 2014 Income Statement, and how it is both similar and different to the income statements of other operators in the industry. In 2014 Boyd generated an impressive $844 million in sales but reported a net loss of over $15 million. Many in the industry mistakenly assume that because the company operates at a net loss it is only able to remain in business through the benevolence of Wall Street banks. The reality is that Boyd, while operating at a net loss, generates substantial cash for shareholders. And when adjusting for certain accounting idiosyncrasies unique to the legal structure and location of the firm, the company generates a respectable profit. To understand how this is possible is to understand the difference between cash and accrual accounting*, and more generally, how to use corporate finance to drive systemic growth.
*See the footnote at the end of this article for a further explanation of cash vs. accrual accounting.
While Boyd generated a significant net loss on an annual basis, it also generated substantial cash from collision and glass operations. Read more about The Boyd Group: Understanding the Cash Flow Statement
Over the next few weeks we will be discussing the Boyd Group Income Fund (“Boyd”), one of the world’s largest collision repair operators. As of the date I’m writing this, Boyd owns and operates 340 collision repair facilities in North America under the names Boyd Autobody & Glass in Canada and Gerber Collision & Glass in the U.S. (amongst other co-branded names such as Champ’s Collision Centers and Craftmaster Auto Body). Boyd also has a significant retail auto glass operation in the U.S. The company trades as a unit trust on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has an enterprise value of over a $1 billion (all values are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated). Enterprise value is the total value of the company, including net debt (total debt – cash) and equity.
Because Boyd is publicly traded, it is required to file quarterly and annual reports outlining the financial performance of the company. Every three months the company files a report that includes an income statement (also called a Statement of Profit/Loss or a profit and loss statement), a balance sheet (also called a Statement of Financial Position), and a statement of cash flows. It also includes a rather lengthy section of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements where management discusses the results along with numerous footnotes further explaining the results from operations. You can access Boyd’s recent financial reports on their investor relations website.
This week we are going to review the first of the three key three financial statements from the 2014 annual report and compare the results to some industry averages. Read more about The Boyd Group: Understanding the Income Statement
Recently we discussed the importance of developing a strategy and the implications consolidation has on your business. A big part of developing a strategy, whether it is stand pat, buy or sell is understanding what your competitors are up to in the marketplace. I am often asked about the goings on of other large players in the industry. It is good business to be aware of the goings on of key competitors in your marketplace. But many owners do not realize that much of this competitive intelligence they seek out is at their fingertips if they know where to look. For the next few weeks I will share one of my favorite sources of publicly available competitive intelligence with you.
Acquisitions, who acquired whom and the price paid for such acquisitions is always a topic of much speculation. Read more about The Boyd Group: How does your business compare?