For trades business owners, planning an exit strategy is a crucial aspect of creating long-term success. Understanding and implementing the right exit strategy can ensure a smooth transition while ensuring you are getting the reward you deserve for your life’s work.

If you are considering an exit strategy for your business it’s important you seek assistance from experienced advisors to help you achieve the best outcome.

Here are three of the more common exit strategies to consider for your business:

Selling Your Business

An common exit strategy is to sell your business to a third party. Selling your business can be a complex process, requiring careful planning and preparation. Here are some key steps to consider:

  • Valuation: Determine the worth of your business by assessing its assets, liabilities, financial performance, market conditions and goodwill. Seek the assistance of a financial advisor to ensure a fair valuation.
  • Preparation: Get your business in order by organising financial records, streamlining operations, and improving profitability. Presenting a well-structured and consistently profitable business increases its appeal to potential buyers.
  • Finding Buyers: Engage a business broker, explore industry networks, or leverage online marketplaces to identify potential buyers. Of course, don’t overlook any local competitors that might be willing to expand via acquisition. 
  • Transition Planning: Develop a transition plan to ensure a smooth handover. Consider staying on as a consultant or mentor for a specified period to facilitate knowledge transfer and maintain key client relationships.
Succession Planning

Another exit strategy option is succession planning, which involves transferring ownership and leadership to a family member, trusted employee, or partner. This approach allows for continuity while providing an opportunity for those within the business to level up and take the reins. Here are some key considerations for successful succession planning:

  • Identifying Successors: Assess potential successors based on their skills, experience, commitment to the business and their financial position. Consider their ability to manage daily operations, lead and inspire the team, uphold the business's values and their willingness to take on risk.
  • Training and Development: Invest in training and mentoring programs to groom successors for their future roles. Transfer your knowledge, share industry insights, and delegate responsibilities over time in order to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Legal and Financial Considerations: Consult legal and financial professionals to navigate the steps involved in transferring ownership. Establish clear agreements, such as buy-sell agreements to protect the interests of all parties involved. Keep an open mind and consider a vendor finance option to increase the pool of candidates you can prospect.
  • Gradual Handover: Consider planning a phased approach to handover, allowing the successor to gradually assume greater responsibilities. This approach helps maintain stability, minimises disruption, and ensures a seamless transition for clients and employees.
Merging or Acquiring Another Business

Consider merging your trades business with another company or acquiring a complimentary business with a pathway to a future business sale as an exit strategy. This approach can offer several benefits, such as expanding market reach, diversifying services, and increasing overall value. Here's what to consider when pursuing this option:

  • Strategic Fit: Identify businesses with a service portfolio, customer base, or geographical presence that can complement your existing operations. Seek alignment in terms of culture, values, and growth aspirations.
  • Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence to assess the financial health, reputation, and compatibility of the target business. Engage professionals experienced in mergers and acquisitions to guide you through the process.
  • Negotiations and Integration: Determine the terms of the merger or acquisition, considering valuation, ownership structure, and integration plans. Define roles, responsibilities, and post-transition strategies to ensure a successful combination of resources,operations and pathways for growth.

With any of these strategies you will be sharing confidential information about your business, so it’s important to prepare and sign legally binding Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) with any party you will be sharing information to.


Trades business owners have several exit strategy options to consider. Evaluate each option based on your goals, current context, and long-term vision. Remember to plan well in advance and seek professional guidance to ensure a successful exit strategy implementation.

The team at Level Group has seen successful business sales and facilitated succession planning with a number of businesses over the years. So, if you run a plumbing or electrical business and would like to discuss exit strategies, contact us today.

About Level Group Australia.

Level Group Australia is a national trade network created by industry experts and experienced tradies. Level helps independent plumbing and electrical businesses thrive, by providing the support they need to succeed.

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