Just 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh is the town of Monaca, Pennsylvania. It's where Michael Sklack and his wife, Donna operated their UPS franchise location for nearly 15 years. It's a small town of about 6000 people, but the close proximity to some major metropolitan areas meant they had a steady stream of customers.
It took a while for the business to gain some traction, and Sklack had a rough year or two. However, once the community embraced them, business was good. So good in fact, the UPS franchisor chose them to be a training store for the last 10 years. It felt good to know they were doing things the right way and contributed to the overall success of The UPS Stores everywhere.
Somewhere along the way though, things started to change. UPS was making needed changes to stay competitive in the market. But Sklack was in the back end of careers and didn’t have the interest or energy to see this next chapter through. Retirement sounded much better.
He was 66 years old and would daydream about driving his RV to explore new parts of America. There was a problem though. Donna wasn't so sure if selling the business was the right move. Can they afford retirement? What would they do next? How much is the business worth? Mike didn't know either but understood that he needed to find out what the market value was for a UPS franchise. That answer would largely determine their quality of life moving forward and how much travel freedom they would really have.
It was about that time that he started clicking some links on the UPS owner's online forum. He read about the horror stories from other owners trying to sell their business. Some were successful, and some weren't. There was an owner in the midwest that he struck up a relationship with that happened to be at the same decision point as Mike and his wife. However, they would go on to take very different next steps.
About four years earlier, he was mailed a postcard from Franchise Clearly, a firm dedicated to franchise resales. Tacked to the corkboard in his office, it would stare at him every day. Then, eventually, he took action. A simple phone call started things in motion. Jon Franz, company founder and president of Franchise Clearly took him through a defined series of steps that would help Sklack sell for the maximum sales price. It was clear to Sklack that Franz had done this before - many times.
Sklack says, “I liked that Jon understood our unique company culture and the challenges in our industry. However, at the same time, he was an impartial third party not connected with UPS corporate. I knew he only had my best interests in mind.”
The next week moved fast. He had to pull financial reports, supply a copy of his lease, and other documents that would become a package presented to prospective buyers. Franchise Clearly's proprietary software tool streamlined communication so the process moved quickly. It made things easy. Every day, Scklack would log into his secure portal and see communication with buyers and how they were being qualified. The transparency kept his mind at ease.
Behind the scenes, Franz and his team were working furiously cranking out the marketing, and burning the phone lines to gather interest. It's a process unlike others use in the business brokerage industry. Each team member is assigned tasks that contribute to closing deals. Charles finds and pre-screens buyers, Blair inputs all the numbers and feeds the marketing engine, Jim handles the underwriting, and Brant is the follow-up specialist to get deals to the closing table as soon as possible.
In short order, the business was pre-approved for SBA lending, documents were gathered to answer any buyer questions, the landlord was ready to re-assign the lease, and the franchisor was put on notice.
In just 10 business days Sklack got the call that would change his family's life forever. Franz had multiple buyers ready to write a check. However, Franz recommended one particular buyer that was more qualified and motivated than the others.
Listing Agreement signed: 2020-09-19
Business Listed: 2020-10-01
Initial Offer From Buyer: 2020-10-15
Fully Executed Letter of Intent (LOI): 2020-10-18
Fully Executed Asset Purchase Agreement (APA): 2020-11-16
Sold Date: 2021-04-26
"It was a lot easier than I thought. My peer in the midwest couldn't believe how quickly it came together. He had his business on the market for 2 more years before he had a buyer. It happened to be a customer too. The representing broker didn't even find them. I'm happy I decided to work with Franchise Clearly. I couldn't imagine a better result, says Sklack ."
Life looks a lot different for the Sklack's these days. They used some of the proceeds to buy a new Coachman RV. Currently, doing some short vacations in the local area and will be heading down to the warm blue waters of the Florida Keys soon. It feels good, says Mike. He's caught the RV bug now and likes sharing the lifestyle with others. He plans to buy another RV and rent them out. "I've worked since I was 15 years old, so I guess I can't stop. For now, you can call me semi-retired," he jokes.