Episode 253: Preparation & Strategy for Selling Your Pool Business with Corporate Attorney Garth Stevens & Buzz Ghiz


Garth Stevens is an attorney for Snell & Wilmer that specializes in mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, complex joint ventures, venture capital, securities regulatory compliance, licensing transactions, and commercial agreements. His experience includes representation of clients in a variety of industries including high technology products and services, education services, software, business process outsourcing, biotechnology and genome sciences, industrial products, food products, real estate development, and waste management services. Garth's practice includes providing advice to U.S. clients on Canadian corporate and business law matters and advice to Canadian clients on U.S. corporate, business and securities law matters.

In this episode, Garth Stevens and Buzz Ghiz emphasize on the importance of being prepared and having your house in order before selling a business. This means taking the necessary steps to ensure that all aspects of the business are properly documented and organized. One of the first things mentioned is the need to get oral agreements down on paper. This helps to avoid any confusion or disputes later on in the selling process.

We are also joined by returning guest Buzz Ghiz. When Buzz decided to sell Padock Pools in 2004 he hired Snell & Wilmer where he worked closely with Garth. After having success they went on to work on other deals including Paramount Pool & Spa Systems.



  • [00:04:03] Common deal structures
  • [00:06:02] Chips off the table
  • [00:07:45] What are some things you can or should ask for?
  • [00:08:53] How do you measure what your marketing is worth
  • [00:09:58] What is EBITDA.
  • [00:12:23] How do you demonstrate that your key employees can run the company without you?
  • [00:12:59] What Buzz learned about his team during the sale of Paddock Pools
  • [00:14:02] Asset purchase explained
  • [00:14:54] Stock sale or equity sale explained
  • [00:16:34] Choosing asset sale or stock sale
  • [00:19:52] Changing the business structure
  • [00:21:54] How long does it usually take from negotiation to close on a deal?
  • [00:24:04] Surround yourself by professionals
  • [00:27:41] Lyon Financial
  • [00:28:28] When should you engage an attorney to help prepare for sale?
  • [00:31:51] Is there a good time of year to start this process
  • [00:34:40] What financials does the buyer want to see?
  • [00:36:39] What makes a business worth less?
  • [00:42:18] Private equity buyers is most common
  • [00:44:27] Jandy Speedset Smart Controller
  • [00:45:29] What undermines your business value?
  • [00:49:50] What are some of the main things a buyer will hone in on?
  • [00:53:32] Getting the team on board for sale
  • [00:55:35] Operating agreements
  • [00:58:08] What are some terms you can put into the deal to kind of incentivize the key employees to stay?
  • [01:02:35] Types of buyers
  • [01:04:05] Which buyer pays more
  • [01:06:21] Buying trades business
  • [01:08:35] Minimum revenue before selling
  • [01:09:50] Is there a specific metric buyers are looking for when deciding to buy a business?
  • [01:10:50] Letter of intent
  • [01:12:46] How much does it cost to sell a business?
  • [01:19:51] Acquisition agreement
  • [01:23:33] What to expect when selling your business
  • [01:27:17] Where do you go to try and find a buyer?
  • [01:29:32] Favorite lawyer movie of all time?
  • [01:30:31] Buzz ending advice



  • Be prepared! It's a marathon. It's stressful, time consuming and a ton of work. Be prepared for emotional wrangling. It's going to happen. Just keep your eye on the prize. - Garth Stevens
  • Surround yourself by the right peopleIt'll save you time and effort. It will maximize your value to the business. Too many people try to do it themselves or using people that aren't qualified to do it. - Buzz Ghiz
  • Get things as clean as you possibly can before you go to market. So if they they turn up a stone, there's nothing there because they're going to look for ways to reduce it in the story. - Buzz Ghiz