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The Logistics of Logistics Podcast

Oct 19, 2018

Buying and Selling Transportation/Logistics Companies with Peter Stefanovich

Peter Stefanovich and Joe Lynch discuss buying and selling transportation/logistics companies.

Today’s guest is Peter Stefanovich, co-founder of Left Lane Associates, a business brokerage specializing in the transportation and logistics business.

Peter shares his insight that he has gained from working with both buyers and sellers in the logistics industry. He tells us such things as why now the best time is to sell a logistics company, things to do when preparing to sell, how long the selling process takes, and why sellers choose to use a broker.

  • [1:02] Peter’s introduction and bio.
    • Born and raised in Toronto, Canada to immigrant parents. He has one sister and a 2-year-old nephew.
    • Started his first company, Saxcom, at age 16, providing custom computer and networking solutions for small and medium-sized business
    • Graduated from Western University with degrees in Business and Political Science.
    • Peter started in the transportation/logistics world in 2008 while working in Chicago for an international retail construction company
    • Focused on retail fixtures when working for Wheels Group, now owned by Radiant (a 3PL company). upon returning from the USA in 2013.
    • Peter Stefanovich started Left Lane Associates with Mike McCarron in 2015


  • [2:20] How did you end up starting a business brokerage specializing in transportation and logistics companies?
    • Peter is a lifelong entrepreneur
    • Started a computer networking company and sold the business at age 19
    • Doing the logistics for fixtures at a retail construction company.


  • [3:54] Why not start a 3PL or a trucking company? Why a business brokerage?
    • Helping entrepreneurs find a solution to get out of the business that they’re in.
    • Entered business brokerage to fill the void by providing transportation and logistics experience.


  • [6:07] Why do owners of transportation and logistics companies come to you? Or any other broker for that matter? Why not go it alone?
    • Owners in this industry have likely never sold a company before, so they want to trust the process with someone more experienced in the process.
    • You only get one chance to sell your business - once it’s done, you can’t go back
    • Brokers specialize which let owners focus on their business, while preparing to sell


  • [8:23] What are the reasons that owners want to sell their transportation or logistics company?
    • They might want to or need to due to the economy.
    • The four dreaded Ds: divorce, death, delinquent partner, and disease.
    • Owners have many reasons for wanting to sell – personal, economy, retirement, industry, change of pace, etc.


  • [9:48] Explain why it’s a great time to sell, and maybe a great time for buyers too.
    • We’ve had a bull market for the past nine years, and there’s been extreme growth in the transportation industry for the past year.
    • People haven’t seen rates like this in the industry, ever
    • There has never been a better time to sell
    • For buyers, money is currently cheap to get a hold of from a banking standpoint
    • Transportation companies are looking to buy other transportation companies because of driver shortages
    • Rates to borrow money are some of the lowest they’ve ever been
    • Private equity is very interested in the transportation industry


  • [14:18] What is the partnership and genesis of working with Mike McCarron like?
    • Mike and Peter met at Wheels Group, a 3PL out of Washington state
    • Mike started with Yellow Freight right out of college and was eventually one of the top salespeople
    • He outgrew the role and wanted to start his own firm
    • He started MSM Transport and eventually sold it in 2012 to Wheels Group


  • [17:27] Owners of transportation and logistics businesses should prepare years in advance before selling – what should that preparation look like? What should they be doing to make their business more attractive to prospective buyers?
    • Companies often come to Left Lane Associates ready to sell, but typically there is preparation required to have the company sell for top dollar
    • Legal issues must be resolved – internal and external
    • Get authorizations and certifications in order
    • Get rid of underutilized assets
    • Release underperforming employees
    • Lean out the organization
    • Maximize EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization).
    • Develop a specialization
    • Technology (CRM, TMS, website, and social media)
    • What people perceive about your company is often based on your web presence.
    • Any dollar you save could be worth 3x-4x more when you sell.


  • [29:02] What is the one thing owners looking to sell their business should know about the process?
    • It takes a lot longer than you think to sell a business
    • On average, it takes 18 months to sell a transportation or logistics company
    • It’s not just your schedule, it’s the schedule of the buyer
    • Peter wears many hats during the selling process


  • [31:38] Why do prospective buyers call a broker when they want to buy a transportation or logistics company? Those guys surely must know the market and players who might be a nice acquisition target?
    • They might be too busy growing their company, so they want somebody who has M&A expertise to manage the process
    • Sellers are often hesitant to give any information to competitors, so a broker can act as a buffer
    • There are lots of buyers right now, but not enough quality companies for sale
    • There is at least a 4:1 ratio of buyers to sellers.


Learn More About Buying and Selling Transportation/Logistics Companies

Peter Stefanovich

Twitter: @monetizeyourco

The Logistics of Logistics Podcast