We Are Transforming Professional Utility Services
And Making Things Brighter.
Why Utility Service Companies?
Complexity Competitive Advantage
We love the a built-in “moat” in the plumbing and HVAC sectors. These services are less crowded than most (ex. landscaping) because these licensed trades are more technically complex, and have a higher barrier to entry because of licensing. Plumbing and HVAC businesses must endure a rigorous licensing process simply to legally operate in a given state. Then, to perform optimally and provide customers superior quality at competitive pricing, a plumbing or HVAC company needs to have sufficient purchasing power in order to (a) buy materials at the most competitive rates, and (b) secure the best technicians via providing top tier benefits package.
Low P/E Ratio & Less Competition from Investors
Relative to the large supply of baby boomers looking to exit, there are few entities on the demand side of the M&A equation. This leaves us with an opportunity. We know this is the case because smaller private equity firms have just started to invest in utility service companies. We understand the importance of price when deciding to invest. Warren Buffett has long said, “This is the cornerstone of our investment philosophy: Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.” No one can argue with that. Even the best acquisition target, if vastly overpaid for, loses its investment zest.
High Returns on
Utility service companies generally have high returns on capital invested in the business. Plumbing and HVAC only require an office, a modest shop to store tools and equipment (very minimal), and outfitted work vans. Our acquisitions prioritize efficient spending on new assets versus our peers. There is a lot less capital required to run a utility service company versus, say, a car manufacturer. The less capital we have to invest on large machinery and equipment, the easier it is for us to profitably grow revenues. This is another reason we love this sector. This offers our investors a great opportunity to receive a high return on invested capital.
Plumbing and HVAC are historically recession resistant. Plumbing, heating, and cooling will be the last thing Americans will give up before food in a deep recession. Moreover, part of our strategy is to diversify our revenue as much as possible to prepare for recessions (for ex., with ongoing commercial maintenance and residential contracts that are less elastic than new commercial projects).
Did you know an estimated 10,000 baby boomers are retiring each day? With baby boomer business owners now reaching retirement age, there’s a plethora motivated sellers – some of whom we’re most likely negotiating with right now. Our strategy is to cherrypick the utility service companies with great track records and sound growth prospects (if the price is right).
We can use the SBA or commercial debt to prudently leverage transactions and increase investor ROI (today, the cost of debt is much cheaper than equity). Our access to low-cost debt financing is growing as we continue to prove ourselves as operators. Banks are looking, more now than ever before, for good operators to entrust with low-cost debt.