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Service Company EBITDA & Valuation Multiples: 2024 Report

Service Company Multiples 1

Last Updated: April 24, 2024

Our analysts compiled data on various private service company M&A transactions ranging from Q3 2022 to Q2 2024 to determine average valuation multiples. They drew from 4 private M&A databases as well as publicly-available data. (See Sources.)

We present these findings in the tables below, which cover both EBITDA multiples and revenue multiples and subdivide the data by level of earnings. Additionally, we offer context on the current M&A market for private services companies after the tables. 

Private Service Company Valuation Multiples: EBITDA

Company Type EBITDA Range
$1-3M $3-5M $5-10M
Aviation 6.5x 8.6x 10.1x
Consulting 4.0x 6.3x 8.4x
Engineering 4.4x 6.9x 8.9x
Entertainment 4.4x 5.7x 8.7x
HVAC 5x 7.8x 9.7x
Insurance 4.8x 6.3x 9.5x
Legal 5.6x 6.9x 9.8x
Medical 5x 6.6x 8.7x
Pest Control 5x 6.5x 8.1x
Security 5.5x 7.1x 7.8x
Staffing/Recruiting 4.7x 6.3x 7.4x
Transportation 4.5x 5.8x 8x

Private Service Company Valuation Multiples: Revenue

Company Type Revenue Range
$1-5M $6-10M $10-75M
Aviation 3x 4.3x 6.1x
Consulting 1.4x 2.1x 2.5x
Engineering 2.7x 3.9x 5x
Entertainment 1.7x 2.7x 5x
HVAC 2.6x 3.7x 4.6x
Insurance 3.3x 3.9x 4.6x
Legal 2.1x 2.6x 3.4x
Medical 1.9x 3.1x 5.1x
Pest Control 1.7x 2.3x 3.2x
Security 2.1x 3.5x 4.8x
Staffing/Recruiting 2x 2.4x 3.2x
Transportation 2.4x 2.8x 3.6x

The sections that follow provide an executive-level summary of the current M&A environment for service companies in addition to considerations for selling a service company in these conditions. 

Understanding Service Company Valuations in 2024

Service companies saw volatile ups and downs between 2020 and 2024, with EBITDA multiples ranging from 4-13x during that time, depending on the sector and EBITDA level. Some industries have been relatively stable, and have even preserved their 2021 increases, particularly home services. 

For example, midsize HVAC companies are seeing EBITDA multiples in the range of 8.2x, up more than 23% from 2019, and haven’t seen much fluctuation when interest rates rose in 2022. In contrast, sectors that thrived during the pandemic, such as marketing, saw more fluctuation – from 4-6x in 2019 to 8-11.5x in 2021 to 4.5-7x in 2024.

M&A activity remains cautiously optimistic as of Q2 2024 across several industry sectors following news of a likely interest rate cut in mid-2024. Despite the variance in service company valuation multiples across industries, we can make the following observations for services as a whole by amalgamating M&A market reports from industries in which service companies make up the majority of the market (e.g., legal, medical, and transportation):

  • Valuation multiples depend on how the company is depicted during the sale process. We have seen service businesses get multiples closer to the range of SaaS businesses if they paint a picture of a more tech-enabled future. For example, an accounting firm that uses AI technology substantively to automate low-level tasks would see a higher valuation multiple.
  • Greater specialization results in higher valuation multiples. Businesses that focus on niche or uncommon audiences are less affected by upstart competitors and often accumulate first-mover advantages. In some cases, there is also greater demand for specialists rather than generalists.
  • The next year will be challenging, but opportunities exist. While the larger economy continues to experience turbulence, private companies seeking a transaction still have an eager audience of private equity and strategic acquirers seeking the right deal. Owners that partner with well-connected M&A advisors or I-banks to run their process are seeing the most interest.  

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In my experience, selling your company is an overwhelming process, even for veteran business owners who have been dealmaking their entire career. The unpredictability of the macroeconomic environment and the intricacies of dealmaking pile on to an already emotionally taxing event. 

I have sold companies to both private equity firms and strategic buyers and am happy to offer advice to business owners seeking a third-party opinion. I can be reached via the link below or through the main contact page on this website.

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.