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Paul Snowden | Conditioned Air Solutions

Life After Selling My HVAC Company

To sell or not to sell is something many HVAC company owners are pondering more and more these days as they are approached by companies interested in purchasing their businesses. It can be a scary thought to sell and risk losing the freedom of being your own boss, and I often get asked what it is like to work for someone else again now that I’ve sold my company to Leap Partners and have taken on a leadership role.

One thing many people don’t realize is that even entrepreneurs have numerous people to answer to and things that keep them up at night. The idea of being an entrepreneur sometimes doesn’t match reality.

Since selling my HVAC company and becoming a regional vice president, I’ve found support and relief, and my advice to other HVAC company owners who are being approached by companies wanting to purchase is to take the time to consider your exit strategy and determine whether the acquiring company’s owners share your vision. Not every owner has the same exit strategy, so the acquiring company should be flexible to you. Some owners are ready to retire and want someone to take over their company instead of closing the doors. Other owners, like me, want to see the business grow and could use a partner to help them do that. Some owners are unsure of what the future holds for them, but they do know that they want stability, safety, and security for their employees. If any of these scenarios are the case for you, consider partnering with a company that is employee-focused and will help your team grow and unlock new opportunities to better serve your customers and communities.

I like to say I did a lot of research and soul-searching before making my decision to join Leap Partners, and I am so grateful I did. It ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made for my company and my employees, and here’s some insight into how life’s been since I made the decision to sell.

1) My company continues to grow and staff morale is great

No HVAC company owner starts off with the idea of having one or two service trucks for the rest of their lives. Everyone wants to see their company grow, and my business was doing well and growing. The growth was exactly what we wanted, but there were growing pains and extra responsibilities that came with it. Now that we’re a part of a larger company, we have support to manage the growth.

We can focus on fine-tuning the operations of our business while outsourcing the distracting growing pains. With the added support and investment, we can also offer our employees a better-defined career path of growth and opportunities.

2) I’ve gained a network of industry peers who I can turn to for advice and support.

Leap Partners currently has five HVAC and plumbing businesses located in the Southeast, and the other companies’ leaders and I share advice and best practices with each other. We have a good company culture and it’s been nice having a network of peers with whom I can collaborate and problem-solve. As a business owner, I joined networking groups and belonged to trade organizations; but I wasn’t ever able to find this level of connection and support.

3) I’m enjoying spending more time with my family.

Lastly, not many owners enjoy the back-end office operations aspect of owning a business and I was one of them. From my perspective, I felt that at times I was getting distracted with office tasks like accounting, taxes, payroll, and marketing. I found that my employees were looking at me for my thought leadership and mentoring, but I was unable to provide that due to lack of time. Now that I can offer that, I am focused on running the day-to-day operations and doing the work that is the heartbeat and soul of the business.

I’m enjoying more free time and coming home less burdened, and my wife and kids notice it, too. My children are very active with sports, and being able to be there for them on the nights and weekends has been really encouraging. They’re only kids for so long and it’s been a joy to be at their practices during the week.

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