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Brian Elias Discusses the Strategy for Selling His Business

A look at the strategies that went into the sale of 1-800-Hansons

December 04, 2017
Brian Elias, who sold his business 1-800-Hansons

Brian Elias is to an entrepreneur as water is to wet. Like all great business owners, he has that quality of being absolutely sure of his own vision, and is happy, thrilled even, to share his ideas with you. You might be well served to listen.

Elias is the former owner of 1-800-Hansons, a home improvement jugger-naut headquartered in Troy, Mich. Known in the region for his ubiquitous TV commercials and catchy jingle, Elias grew Hansons from a one-man outfit in 1988 to eight locations and nearly $80 million in revenue in 2017. Today, it’s one of the top 10 home improvement companies nationwide. 

So it’s not surprising that when Elias put Hansons on the market, he was soon courted by other players in the home improvement space that wanted to make a strategic buy, as well as private equity companies that saw Hansons as a strong entrée into the field. 

The latter won out, and in October, Detroit-based Huron Capital purchased Hansons for an undisclosed amount. For Elias, this is another step on a road he’s been walking for a long time. “The only reason to build a business is to sell it,” he says. “We started preparing for [a sale] three or four years ago, and we said, ‘Let’s get our profits up, and our expenses down. Let’s run more lean.’”

Historically, private equity hasn’t mixed well with the remodeling industry, and what little acquisition activity there was went into a deep freeze during the recession. But that freeze may be thawing. “There’s a whole lot of money out there right now and a whole lot of people who want to place it somewhere where they can make more money,” Elias says.

Huron generally buys into companies with revenue of between $20 million and $200 million, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Officials with the private equity company say the immediate plan is to grow Hansons by opening more locations in Michigan and Ohio, and by expanding into Indiana. 

And Elias is still very much involved. “I am the face of the company, and they bought that as part of the deal,” he says. “I’m actually not allowed to sell any other products on television for the next five years.” Elias will retain an active role with Hansons, although Huron is bringing on a CEO, to be chosen by the board. 

As with most private equity business models, the strategy is for Huron to aggressively grow Hansons-—organically and through acquisition—and then sell the company in about five years. Elias’ contract extends to that time.

His advice to business owners wanting to grow? Keep adapting to the times. “Companies that don’t change become stodgy and die,” Elias says. “The nice thing about [the home improvement industry] is that people need our services. But if you don’t think Amazon and Google are coming, watch out. They’re the real deal. They’re going to compete in the marketing costs arena, so we have to think differently and keep ourselves relevant.” 

Judging by Elias’ track record, he’s done a pretty good job so far. 

About the Author

About the Author

Erika Mosse is the director of content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at emosse@sgcmail.com or 972.803.4014.



If you look at his actual track record re: customer satisfaction and fulfillment of quality work, you would see he has not done a pretty good job. He's racked up millions using the art of broken promise selling, not quality fulfillment. Customer after customer faces correcting the many and varied installation errors in all aspects of his home improvement business. Customer service is not even a joke, it's an insult to the hard working families that have been and continue to be screwed for months on end by this company. And it's sure to continue since he's got his payoff (which he clearly states is the goal of building any business) and has sold his customers to a high-end investment firm.
As a professional remodeler, shouldn't you be lauding a company (and individual) that actually provides professional and not substandard remodeling?

Hanson out so many of these lame mom and pop home improvement companies out of business your bound to have haters like this other poster. Lifetime guarantee on products with no fine print. Haters need to work hard on improving THEIR business instead of hating on a successful business.

“The only reason to build a business is to sell it,” he says. “We started preparing for [a sale] three or four years ago, and we said, ‘Let’s get our profits up, and our expenses down. Let’s run more lean.’”
This is a quote from the article above. He didn't build a company for self worth or legacy. He built it to sell it.
He built it. Built a reputation. Gutted it from the inside to "run more lean" then sold a shell of a company to a finance group who doesn't care one lick about the operation as long as their is a certain profit. And if they can't do it by finding more suckers like me, they gut it again and unload it. This isn't sour grapes. These are his own words.

I am still waiting on installation of a window. The order was placed with deposit nearly one year ago.
What is wrong with this picture?

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