Pop quiz: If you buy a home services business, what exactly are you buying?

You might answer that you’re buying the $1M in revenue/$300K in seller discretionary earnings. You might say you’re buying the team – two to three technicians and an office administrator. You might say you’re buying the business’ existing reputation, client list, and institutional knowledge.

All of these are wrong.

In sub-scale home services businesses, none of the “assets” listed above are actually assets. The $1M in revenue and $300K in SDE is entirely dependent on a general manager (probably you!) running the show. “Buying” the team is dependent on them sticking around, which isn’t guaranteed. Reputation, client list, and institutional knowledge are nice, but none of them make the phone ring.

So, what are you buying? What is the “there”, there?

The “there” of businesses like these are the digital marketing assets associated with the business. The website and how it ranks in Google organic SERPs. The Google-My-Business page and how it ranks in the Google map-pack. Customer reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp. Paid advertising creative assets for Google or Facebook that drive customer acquisition profitably. These are the assets that make sure the phone continues to ring, and your technicians stay busy.

In home services more than any other type of sub-scale SMB, the name of the game is digital marketing. And if you’re playing a digital marketing game, why be in a business that requires all the painstaking labor involved with home services? If that’s the game you’ve chosen to play, at least make it a bit easier for yourself.

Play the game, but monetize your digital marketing assets by selling leads, selling others products as an affiliate, displaying ads, or selling digital products. Basically, build an online business. Forget plumbing toilets or killing pests. Online business is the same digital marketing game, with fulfillment that’s one million times easier.

And if you’re looking to acquire a home services business rather than an online business, you may want to ask yourself if you know the game you are playing.

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