Forbes: What attracted Brickman to D. Foley Landscape

December 1, 2016 -  By

Brickman Group

It’s hard to look ahead when you’re speeding at 100 mph, but at some point, you have to set your sights on a finish line. When the time comes to sell your company, will you have built something that’s attractive to buyers?

A recent Forbes article dissects the 2009 Brickman Group acquisition of D. Foley Landscape, a full-service commercial firm in Walpole, Mass. Brickman has since merged with ValleyCrest to BrightView.

Dan Foley, founder of D. Foley Landscape, wasn’t planning on selling his business when Brickman’s people first inquired in 2004, so he turned them down. When they came knocking again in 2008, he agreed to sell, even though he wasn’t seeking buyers then, either.

So, what was it about D. Foley Landscape that made Brickman keep coming back, even when Foley said the company wasn’t for sale?

According to the Forbes article, Brickman was so persistent because it saw the following characteristics in D. Foley Landscape:

  • A company with pristine, up-to-the-minute financial statements, wholly transparent, with the key numbers understood and tracked by the entire management team as well as by many of the production team members;
  • A company that had developed proven and repeatable systems for tasks such as estimating and scheduling the work;
  • A company that operated with little wasted motion or resources, thanks to lean management, and that practiced continuous improvement;
  • A company that could extend its best practices into the acquirer’s existing operations; and
  • A company of people who had learned to think and work like business owners, taking responsibility for the company’s performance and sharing in the rewards. Unlike a lot of entrepreneurial companies, D. Foley Landscape’s operations and success didn’t all depend on the founder.

While you might not be planning to sell your company anytime soon, any company can benefit from embodying these characteristics. And if the itch to sell does come one day, you’ll be ready.

Visit Forbes to read more about D. Foley Landscape’s acquisition, find out how Foley helped with the transition and eventually became a Brickman vice president, and learn more about Foley’s open-book management style.



About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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