Justin Cooke

March 3, 2014

We’re selling our outsourcing company and want to invite you along for the ride.

We regularly sell businesses and websites in our marketplace, but this is the largest listing we’ve ever had and a business we’ve built from the ground up.

We know this is a bit different. Deals like these are usually done behind closed doors, not out in the open.

We’re doing this for a few reasons:

  1. We’ll be sharing the entire process to help other buyers and sellers see what really happens on deals like this.
  2. We’re hoping the additional interest and traffic will help promote some of the other websites and businesses we have for sale.
  3. We believe in the value of transparency and know that this will provide a ton of value for us and others.

Want to get involved? Here’s your opportunity to earn some cash right along with us.

We’re offering 5% of the sale price (up to $8,000) to anyone who refers the buyer to us.

How can you refer buyers? Two ways:

  1. Join our Partner Program and use the links provided (FAQ’s Here)
  2. Share this post on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else you hang out online

We’ll be tracking all referrals and asking buyers who referred them to us. If it’s you, you’ll get 5% – up to $8,000 just for sharing!

Note: You can’t refer yourself, you’ll need to show proof that you shared this, and the buyer can’t already be on our email list before your referral.

Alright, let’s dig into the details.

Business Overview

Outsourcing Office Pictures

Joe and I started an outsourcing company based out of Davao City in the Philippines in 2008, and set up the corporation in 2009. We’ve had four established clients 2012-2013 bringing in just over $321K in 2013 with just over $88K in Seller Discretionary Earnings (SDE) left over.

Our clients range from a Fortune 500 educational services company to a mid-sized travel company in the US. Here’s a quick look at the business today:

Biz Snapshot

How We Got Started

Joe and I started working with Virtual Assistants back in 2006 when we realized the value in leveraging offshore workers for small and medium-sized businesses.

A few years later we found ourselves working as mid-level managers with a unique opportunity. The company was growing quickly and there was a need for talented staff to help with the workload. We put together a proposal to the CEO/CFO that would include “outsourcing ourselves” to the Philippines, creating our own company, and running the team locally.

After some back and forth we inked a deal and began the process of scaling up our offshore team.

We ultimately quit our jobs and moved halfway around the world to Davao City, Philippines in 2009. We set up our corporation, TRYBPO.COM INCORPORATED in the Philippines in 2009.

We started out with only one client, but soon began the process of reaching out and adding new clients through connections, direct sales, and the few leads we had coming in through our initial blog at TryBPO.

Our customer churn was high through 2009/2010 as we took on most of the projects we came across. In 2011 and through early 2012 we became much more selective about the projects we accepted, preferring longer-term engagements and opportunities to project-based contracts.

From late 2012 until today, most of our focus has been on growing the Empire Flippers side of the business and very little of our time has been devoted to the outsourcing company.

What’s Included?

  • TryBPO Inc. – Our Philippines corporation (domain not included)
  • Office & Improvements in Davao City, Philippines (10 staff, expandable to 20)
  • Computers & Equipment
  • Managers, Supervisors, and Employees
  • Administrative Staff
  • Accountant/Bookkeeper (Philippines Contractor)
  • Local And Expat Contacts/Connections
  • 4 Month Turn-Over with plenty of guidance

Note: Website is not included with the sale as the domain was hit with a Google penalty in 2011. We will, however, help with setting up a new website for the buyer, if needed.

Asset Or Stock Purchase?

You can read about the difference between an Asset Vs. Stock purchase here and we’re open to either.

We have a fully functional Philippines corporation, registered with the SEC, and licensed out of Davao City. This corporation allows you to sign local contracts, setup services, purchase property, lease equipment, etc.

We also have a US corporation (CMS United, Inc. – dba Empire Flippers – not included in the sale) that owns 95% of the Philippines corporation.

Company Chart

An Asset Purchase may be better for you if:

– You already have a corporation setup in the Philippines

– You’d rather create your own corporation here from scratch

Note: If starting a new company here it may take 6 – 12 months. We’re willing to maintain current contracts and leases until those can be transferred to your corporation.

A Stock Purchase may be better for you if:

– You’d rather start with a pre-built corporation

– You want to avoid the hassle of starting a new corporation

– You need to engage in new contracts ASAP and don’t currently own a Philippines corporation

Business Financials

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff!

Here’s a look at our top-line revenue for 2012, 2013, and 2014 (estimated):

Business Revenue

For anyone reading this on a mobile:

2012: 4 Clients – $250K

2013: 4 Clients – $321K

2014: 4 Clients – $356K (projected)

The majority of revenue in 2013 came from Client #1 at 74.6%, but the lower margins with this client only accounted for approx. 60% of net profit. I estimated growth based on a continuation of 2012-2013 growth percentages, discussions with Client #2, and planned discontinuation of Client #6.

Here’s a detailed look at expenses for 2012, 2013, and 2014 (estimated):

Outsourcing Company Expenses

2012

Revenue: $250,371.39

Expenses: $198,101.72

SDE: $52,269.67

2013

Revenue: $321,270.39

Expenses: $233,028.54

SDE: $88,241.85

2014 (Estimated)

Revenue: $356,000.00

Expenses: $250,800.00

SDE: $105,200.00

Note:

– 2013 Personnel costs are 67% of total revenue.

– Officer’s time split between multiple businesses – calculated at $30/hour with 50 hours/month in 2012, $40/hour with 25 hours/month in 2013 and 2014.

– 2014 estimates do not include the addition of any new clients/projects.

Business Valuation

Business Valuation

We’ve calculated the valuation for this site using the following:

20 X Monthly SDE + Depreciated/Discounted Assets

With a monthly SDE of $7,353.49 in 2013 and (estimated) discounted/depreciated assets at $10K, this leaves us with $157,069.76.

We’re listing the business for sale at $160,000 which is at an annual multiple of 1.78X and a monthly net multiple of 21.4X.

Personnel

We have a total of 22 staff working on all projects associated with the business. Here’s the breakdown:

Outsourcing Personnel

All of the staff positions mentioned above will be included in the sale. Our thought is that you’ll need strong management, supervisors, and well-trained employees through the transition.

We do have a need for HR/Payroll ourselves, though, and are open to either of the following:

  1. We keep the Admin/HR staff and retain you as a client. We’ll give you a reasonable rate and this will ensure you have a team here on the ground to turn to for signing checks, dispute resolution, etc.
  2. You keep the Admin/HR staff and we become your client. You give us a reasonable rate, gain a new client, and keep us from having to find/hire new HR/Admin staff.

We’ll be happy to discuss this with the potential buyers further.

Staff Island Hopping

Work Required

We put very little effort into growth from mid-2012 through today. All projects and clients have established processes and supervisors/managers in place.

We have an administrative role only with Client #1 and #5 – all management and supervision is handled directly by the client.

For Client #2, the supervisor sends a weekly report, giving a snapshot of the week’s activities and important metrics. All interviews and hires are done in coordination between the supervisors and our administrative staff.

The hours listed below are the current hours we’re putting in to maintain the business. If the buyer is looking to grow the business, additional hours and time can be applying those strategies.

  • Reviewing Weekly Reports: 4 Hours – Reviewing emails and replying with any questions, suggestions, etc.
  • Administrative/Accounting Tasks: 4 Hours – Signing checks, reviewing contracts, approving payments, etc.
  • Client Management: 4 Hours – Updating clients monthly, responding to requests, etc.
  • Local Connections: 4-6 Hours – Lunch meetings with peers or potential partners, visiting with clients every 3-4 months, etc.
  • Other: 6-8 Hours – Putting out small fires, team dinners/events, etc.

Total hours per month: 22 – 26 hours

Additional staff were added to handle almost all day-to-day tasks and supervision, which is reflected in the higher personnel costs listed above. This was done so that the majority of our time could be spent focusing on the other side of our business, Empire Flippers.

Why We’re Selling

We spend a majority of our time working on our new company and brand here at Empire Flippers. While not much time is needed to maintain the outsourcing business, any time spent growing this asset would take away from our core focus in buying/selling websites here at EF.

Since we won’t be building out the outsourcing side of our company, we feel it’s better to hand it off to someone who can put the time and focus we don’t have into growing the business.

It’s not just that – we’re also looking to add to our war chest so that we can heavily expand Empire Flippers in the next 6-12 months. We have a host of other projects we’re working on and we’re looking to free up time, money, and resources to do just that.

We’re in no rush to sell and understand there will be some amount of time in turnover with the sale of this company, but we’d like to have it off the books and fully transitioned to the new owner sometime in 2014. We’re offering a 4-month transition period with plenty of support along the way. (See below)

Opportunities To Grow The Business

“We should have taken the same approach with TryBPO that we’ve taken with Empire Flippers”

Expand relationships with current clients. This is probably the easiest and quickest win. Spend the first 30-90 days learning more about our clients and looking for opportunities to provide additional value and ROI in their businesses.

Multi-channel content marketing. If we were starting over or looking to expand, we’d get started on this immediately. We’ve talked about this in a few of our podcasts, but we should have taken the same approach we took with Empire Flippers years ago with TryBPO. We’d start a new podcast specifically around outsourcing in the Philippines and go after long-tail keywords with written content on our blog. There are very few doing this well in the Philippines (Chris Ducker is a notable exception) and nobody doing it in Davao, specifically.

Productized services. There’s a ton of demand for outsourcing services at the lower end of the market, but we never found it worthwhile to take on clients only looking for 1-2 Virtual Assistants. Instead of catering to their needs with VA’s, offer a suite of productized service they can order a la carte. Your profit margins are much higher and improve as your team becomes more efficient and this always allows for you to take a very niched-down approach to specific markets. You can either offer these products under one banner or create niche product sites for each product you offer.

Paid social media advertising. We’ve had quite a bit of success with EF through remarketing/retargeting. While waiting for your content marketing to build up, you can hack the FB/Twitter followers of your competitors and market to them directly. (Read these articles on QuickSprout or Digital Marketer) There are plenty of pages to target on topics like outsourcing, Virtual Assistants, etc. You can also drive these leads to your productized services and target your competitors in individual niches as well.

Work with us. Because we won’t be actively pursuing outsourcing clients (5-year Non-Compete), we’d be happy to work with you in sending potential outsourcing clients your way. We have a large network of entrepreneurs who run businesses that could use someone reliable that’s looking to grow their outsourcing client base.

Risks

Outsourcing EquipmentMost of the revenue comes from a single client. While this is true, they’re also a Fortune 500 company and we have a strong, long-standing relationship with them. They’ve continued to expand their team since they started with us.

No website included. The original website for our outsourcing company (TryBPO.com) was negatively affected in 2012 via Google Penguin due to a bad link profile. It’s too bad because the site was aged and had some authority – ranking for all kinds of terms around Philippines/Davao outsourcing. We’re willing to assist the new owner in setting up a site and a content marketing strategy moving forward.

Not a fully location independent company. While there’s no requirement that you live in Davao and there are a few agents that live/work out of Cebu, we do have a physical office in the city and most of our staff is located here. This company can be run remotely, but some changes will have to be made (signing checks, new hire documents, etc.) to have it running smoothly.

Post-Sale Transition

The amount of turnover required is going to vary based on the buyer and whether this is an asset or stock purchase. We’re offering 4 months of turnover that will include:

  • 10 man-hour phone calls or in-person meetings
  • 40 man-hours of billable work done locally in Davao
  • Monthly strategy call with both Joe and I (4 months)
  • 10 page website including all design, graphics, and content created (if applicable)
  • 10 episode podcast on outsourcing in the Philippines (if applicable, with your involvement as a co-host)

We’re also offering (Up to 4 months):

  • 10 additional man-hours of calls @ $50/hour
  • 40 man-hours of billable work done locally @ $40/hour

This has been our baby for several years and we’re definitely looking for a good home.

We’ll be sharing all our our contacts and connections in the industry, experiences in building and running the company, and our best strategies to drive the business forward. Our goal is to go above and beyond to make sure you hit the ground running with this business.

Cubicles

Get Paid To Help Us Sell Our Business

Want to help us and make some cash while you’re at it?

We’re offering 5% of the sale price after the deal closes to the person who refers the buyer to us.

Note: You can’t refer yourself, you’ll need to show proof that you shared this, and the buyer can’t already be on our email list before your referral.

You can do this one of two ways:

Option #1: Sign up for our Partner Program and use the link provided to refer interested parties to us

Option #2: Like, Tweet, Link, Email, or Share this post with others and we’ll ask the buyer who referred them

It’s that easy – help us sell our business and you’ll earn 5% – Up to $8,000 when the deal closes.

If you found this interesting, we’d love it if you share and help us get the word out.

“Check this out – $30K/month outsourcing company for sale in the Philippines from the @empireflippers (W/ Financials)” – Tweet This!

What’s The Next Step?

We are happy to discuss any details you might have about this business for sale privately if you’d prefer.

Have any questions or thoughts? Please leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to get back to you. We’ll update this post with relevant FAQ’s as they come in.


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Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. Best of luck, guys! I’m sure this is on your radar, but Andrew from eCommerce Fuel just sold one of his stores for right around the same price point and multiple….things got pretty hairy and he has some good advice for anyone looking to sell: http://www.ecommercefuel.com/mistakes-selling-a-business/

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Josh!

      We’re huge fans of Andrews. His public approach was inspiring and provided more than a little inspiration for my write-up here! (Without the reverse-auction approach, of course) I’ve definitely been following the sale of his site recently – great content there…

      • Great! yeah, it’s amazing what that degree of transparency can do for your business endeavors. Again, best of luck – focus is a beautiful thing, and it sounds like it’s the right move for where you guys are headed.

  2. Herbert Camey says:

    Good luck guys… moving on to bigger and greater things.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Herbert! We’re really excited about what we have going on here at EF and want that to take a more singular focus.

  3. good luck guys . wishing you a high multiple !

  4. Dan says:

    HELLS YEAH GUYS! This is so cool… walkin’ the walk :D

  5. Practicing what you preach LIKE A BOSS! Good luck guys, I have faith you the new owners will crush it. So much opportunity for the right person(s).

  6. All I can say is “All the best” with sale. :)

  7. Rob Hagman says:

    When it is all said and done, I’ll be interested to hear what the differences are between selling a brick-and-mortar business with employees vs. a web-based business with few or no employees and how the sale was or was not affected with the full transparency type of sale rather than the traditional type of brokered sale. Best of luck!

    • Thanks Rob, I’m curious to see how it goes as well. It could be a great springboard for getting larger businesses on our marketplace or at least a good lesson in what we can do better to sell these type of businesses.

  8. civillibros says:

    the price is too high, you only have projections, if you would have orders that would add some value, and bye the way the x20 value is not relevant here, any angel can tell you the max x12 PROFIT

    • Not sure I agree, but I am a bit biased. I see a potential buyer being:

      1) An older executive looking to get out of the corporate rat race. He knows his current company needs to outsource and this purchase gives him the infrastructure to provide those services, plus a profitable income stream while building out the business.

      2) A retiree or recent corporate exit (i.e. has cash) looking for the next challenge. Income from the company will more than support a great lifestyle in the Philippines while still providing the platform to build something bigger.

      3) The broker middle man. There are surprisingly a lot of these — guys who sell outsourcing services but subcontract to a Philippines provider for the actual work. Perhaps they are looking for a larger share of the pie and this purchase gives them the operational infrastructure to do it.

      4) A small to mid size outsourcing company without the sales infrastructure to grow their services but still looking to expand. They could focus their account management efforts on our clients to expand revenues (something I have not done well).

      Any of those would be more than willing to pay 20x IMHO.

    • LOL you know NOTHING about finance. Angels pay on proposed future value, not profit. Early seed stage financing is 95%+ for UNPROFITABLE businesses. Pre money & Post money financing is based on GUESSES. Mature physical businesses pay out at 36-60 months profit. 20x falls in line with the other Empire Flippers online business sales. But good story bro, keep on hatin’

  9. Tom says:

    Wow this would be my dream job. I would love to buy it but not enough cash
    right now. If you guys offered financing
    I would be first in line. Anyway good
    luck with the sale, I will be eagerly following.

  10. vic says:

    We are fairly interested but have some obvious concerns, particularly with the valuation. Sorry if I missed it but a couple questions: Are your clients under any type of contract or commitment? Are they aware of your intention to sell? YOUR longstanding relationship with them will only do so much for me.

    • All clients are under contract and have different periods of commitment. The length of time varies, but it’s less than 20 months on all contracts or we would be selling for more.

      One client is aware of our intentions and I will be informing the others during our talks next week. As we said in the post, we’re willing to stay on and make sure the transition goes smoothly. I’m confident our customers will continue with us as we provide good value for them in a critical service.

  11. Miki Vicioso says:

    All the best guys! I’m guessing you will be moving back to the US after the sale :P

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Miki!

      Actually, no intention to move back to the US within the next few years. We see a ton of opportunity in Asia – the Philippines specifically – and will likely be hanging around here for quite a while still.

  12. Drew Poland says:

    Disavow the poor backlinks and the site will bounce back, no sense trying to rebuild page authority with a new site when you have an established base ready. But it looks like you may have a landing page there now? Hope you didn’t pull all the content…?

    • We’ve used the disavow tool, but we took down the content because it was not indicative of the high quality content our audience has come to expect. We can always build out on it at a later date.

  13. LC says:

    So whatever happened? Did you end up selling?

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