Pet owners are willing to spend more money on a better level of care for animals, helping the pet boarding business to continue to thrive. This could be the ideal time to capitalise on years of hard work and sell your cattery business while the market is expanding.
It’s important to make sure your cattery and premises are looking its best; first impressions are very important when you’re selling a business. Repaint signs, the building’s exterior and the reception area to make your facilities look fresh and clean to prospective buyers.
You should also fix any broken equipment, fencing and animal shelters; this will give the buyer more confidence to make an offer. Write an inventory of the equipment you plan to include within the sale and write down an approximate value of these assets.
Make sure the land is also in good physical condition; trim any hedges, cut the grass and landscape the entry of your reception with potted plants and flowers. Small, simple measures can go a long way and make your pet care business leave a lasting impression.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and consider what type of information and financial records they will want to review. Do you have the relevant planning approval for all areas of the cattery? Are there any environmental issues that need to be addressed?
Make sure all your bookkeeping and financial documents are in order and readily available for interested parties to scrutinise. Buyers will usually examine accounts for the last three years. The more information you can provide, the better; show you have nothing to hide.
You should also have records about your customer base; how much of your income is repeat business and what rate is new clients and referrals? Do you have marketing and advertising contracts in place; show buyers how you attract new business for your cattery.
Will you include intangible assets – such as goodwill, branding and any patents, trademarks and copyrights – within the sale price? If your company is successful and turning over a healthy profit, selling these intangible assets can greatly increase the value of your cattery.
Other information that potential buyers may want to review could also include any insurance policy documents, health and safety certificates, employee training instructions, supplier contracts, etc. Also, include any future forecasts and expansion proposals for the business.
During the sale discussions, you should establish whether the new owner plans to keep on existing staff. Keep the sale of your business discrete so you can continue to operate without the risk of losing staff and customers; however, you must give your team adequate notice.
You don’t want your employees to feel undervalued or anxious about their job security; try to be honest and open with your team. If you have plans to open another cattery business in a different location, you may want to discuss your new venture with the staff you’re keen to keep.
You will be responsible for paying your employees’ wages and salaries, PAYE, and arranging holiday and other leave entitlements up until the settlement date, unless you have agreed upon other arrangements with the buyer. Ensure all agreements are legally sound.
You should have well-drafted employment contracts in place; it will make the sale process go smoothly. The buyer can outline new employment terms and conditions with any existing staff; it’s at the employee’s discretion if they want to continue working under new ownership.
Finding a buyer for a cattery can be tricky; it’s a 24/7 lifestyle business and the owner will need to relocate to be able to work from home. The busiest trading times will be weekends and public holidays which can be problematic for entrepreneurs with family commitments.
Consider hiring a broker to manage the sale; try to find someone who has experience selling pet boarding businesses as they may come with a list of potential buyers. You should also consider placing an ad for your business online, in a local newspaper or a trade magazine.
Any potential buyers will also need to have a genuine passion for caring for animals; this can also limit the amount of interest you will receive for your business. Try to target the marketing of your cattery in pet-based publications to attract a more suitable demographic.
Are you selling a boutique cattery with luxury accommodation? Or do you have unique facilities and services at your pet care business that clients won’t find at your competitors? Feature these USPs when you’re advertising your business to make your listing stand out.