Melissa and Tom Muntz

Electrician’s spark rekindled, fires up owners to sell

Tom and Melissa Muntz owned and ran a successful electrical contracting business for 30 years.

In a typical business-couple style, Tom was customer-facing on the tools whilst Melissa kept the bookkeeping and payroll running smoothly in the office.

Their business operated in an industrial niche market which proved to be lucrative and provided Tom and Melissa with a good standard of living.

Even when things got tough during the global financial crisis and they lost two-thirds of staff when customers hunkered down, they found themselves presented with an opportunity to carry out high voltage work.

Tom got certified for L1 electrical work, picked himself up, dusted himself off and did what he was good at – developing another niche in town and around the region.

That worked well before a new outfit decided Albury could do with a price war. Tom and Melissa were sucked into it – their business didn’t get a job for 18 months and they lost customers. As far as they were concerned, things weren’t looking rosy and they didn’t want to rely on their personal savings to get them out of this jam.

“At that time I seriously wanted to get out of my business so we went to see the accountants,” says Tom. “I told them I was done and asked how we could finish things and walk away.”

Tom and Melissa were introduced to Ben Gay who looked over their figures and convinced them that things weren’t that bad.

“When we met Ben and Sally they reassured us that we had a good business and that with their assistance we could work our way out of this situation and achieve a better outcome.”

“When we got home at the end of that week there was a bottle of red on the doorstep with a note from the Salisbury Team saying ‘keep your chins up – we are here to help’.”

They heeded Salisbury’s advice and decided to put Ben in the driving seat to turn their business around and get things going again.

“Ben was primarily the driver to keep our chins up, so we decided to keep rolling and took up business coaching with Sally and Ben,” says Tom.

“Coaching a trade business can be hard – either you’re busy or not – and sometimes the dice roll in your favour. Salisburys were helpful in getting us back on track and bringing our business (and us) back from the brink.”

Salisbury’s business advice was hands-on and focused on improving the business and Tom and Melissa’s mindset from the beginning.

Ben and Sally structured a program that began with setting goals and followed up with monthly meetings on project accountability, management targets and actions, profitability improvement, customer analysis and service mix.

“We’d had business coaches before but found ourselves scurrying to prepare before each meeting, so this was much better than any others we’d had,” says Tom.

When a potential buyer expressed an interest, Ben and Sally were on hand to help structure the sale of their business.

“By the time a deal came along our business was in great shape,” says Tom. “Without Salisburys it probably wouldn’t have happened at all. If we were left to our own devices, we would’ve walked away and left a lot of money on the table.”

Tom and Melissa signed the dotted line on 1 March this year. Helping them to move to a successful exit and back on track has been thoroughly worthwhile for the team at Salisburys.

“It’s been tough over the years and we’ve probably been luckier than others,” says Tom. “Working as employees now suits us as the workload hasn’t slowed down and the marriage between our old business and the new owner is a good fit.”

While the sale of the business is the closing of a chapter in Tom and Melissa’s life, they are confident and happy that they will continue to have the support and guidance of the Salisbury Team as they move forward in the next stage of their journey.

“Once that’s done, then we are planning to head out for a few beers with Ben and Sally to celebrate,” Tom added.

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