Why the Summer of 2023 is the Time to Sell or Buy an Education Business

May 23, 2023

“No more classes, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks…” is the start of a song that children have sung in America for approximately 100 years (The earliest published version of the song occurred in the 1930’s) on the last day of school and the start of summer vacation. For those unfamiliar, the following is Bugs Bunny’s version (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHUWiJ6i5tA).

The fact that school’s out for summer creates a unique window of opportunity for facilitation of the sale or purchase of an education business.  The reasons that May to September is the best time window to sell or buy a school include the following:

  1. As any parent attempting to find a place for their three-year-old to attend preschool in the autumn will tell you, registration for the next year occurs in the spring and if you are not proactive in your efforts, the best programs will be at capacity before tulips and daffodils have reached full bloom.  From a business perspective, this enrollment results in deposits, which can be used for working capital, and the ability to predict revenue and profitability for the next academic year.  Projections built on data with a high probability of accuracy are beneficial for business valuation, buyer assessment, and securing acquisition financing.  Pre-enrollment in educational programs before the start of summer is not limited to preschools, it also occurs for supplemental academic programs that prepare students to take the SAT or ACT for college and for vocational training programs.
  2. The sale of a business takes a significant amount of time and energy.  School administrators, directors and teachers, who are also owners, often do not have time to meet with potential buyers, negotiate transactions with a clear mind, and facilitate due diligence and legal documentation when they are running an academic program.  The summer break offers an opportunity to work collaboratively with professional advisors during a period of lower-level activity.
  3. Many buyers of education businesses already work in the field. Their ability to evaluate opportunities, seek financing, and complete an acquisition is enhanced when they are not working during the school day.
  4. The optimum scenario for a transition of ownership of a school is one where the old owner can mentor the new owner during the start of the new academic year sharing knowledge and best practices based on years of experience. Student & teacher concerns are mitigated when a retiring owner provides a quality transition period for the transfer of ownership and endorses their successor publicly with a smile and confidence.
  5. Summer offers the ability to do a thorough cleaning and what is necessary to obtain a great first impression on potential buyers through addressing repair & maintenance issues. Homes and schools sell better with clean carpets & floors, fresh paint, and attractive landscaping.

IBA has sold more education businesses than any other business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest since 1975.  We have successfully sold daycares, preschools, foreign language immersion programs, motor coordination and athletic training curriculums, tutoring programs, and vocational schools (https://ibainc.com/industries-served/education/).  The knowledgeable, experienced, highly skilled professionals on our education industry transaction team would welcome the opportunity to learn about your business, exit strategy objectives, and provide an overview of our client services.  All conversations with IBA are held in strict confidence.   Every business broker on IBA’s education industry transaction team holds one or more real estate licenses for states in the Pacific Northwest.  This uniquely allows the members of our team to comprehensively represent entrepreneurs in this economic sector in the sale of both their business and real estate, when applicable.  It also allows our brokers to professionally represent business owners in the assignment of their facility leases when they are a tenant and not an owner of the property, a common occurrence in the Seattle & Portland metropolitan areas.

IBA also has the ability to sell new franchises in the education space through its franchise brokerage division (https://ibainc.com/what-we-do/franchise-sales/), so entrepreneurs can place businesses in the communities they call home. The following are a few of the franchises that have been recently highlighted as some of the best opportunities available in the United States for education franchise buyers, https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/10/education-franchise.html.

President John F. Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  If you are an entrepreneur or college student looking for the right path forward plus possess a desire to contribute and fill a need of the nation, I ask you to consider a career in education.   The youth of America were detrimentally impacted academically by COVID-19 (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/test-scores-show-how-covid-set-kids-back-across-the-u-s). A group of quality educators is needed in the nation.  This request comes personally from a person born into a family of educators.  I have taught in community colleges, my mother was a Master’s degreed Special Education teacher with a specialty in dyslexia, her sister, my aunt, was a high school principal, English teacher, and leadership program developer, and my uncle worked as an educator for deaf children and as an elementary school principal at both public & private schools.

Whitney Houston conveyed an important message when she sang (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUSaSfsHM-k), “I believe our children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.”  The children of today are our leaders of and contributors to society tomorrow.  Many are needed working together in the public & private sector contributing to fulfillment of the enormous, important task of educating America’s youth.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, legal, and accounting communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.