How to Value a Construction Company

November 7, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

Understanding the worth of a construction company, be it a major commercial builder or a local residential contractor, blends both precise financial calculations and a grasp of the construction industry. For those considering a venture into buying or selling such a company, getting the right valuation is the foundation of a successful deal. In this guide, answer a few vital questions to set you on a solid path: 

What Are the Most Common Valuation Methods for Construction Companies

To accurately value a business, one must thoroughly examine both its financial and operational dimensions. For a comprehensive view, our guide, 'How to Determine the Value of a Business’, is worth a read.

Various methods exist to gauge a a construction company’s value, with the most suitable one often hinging on the its unique characteristics and industry:

1. Asset-Based Valuation

Rationale: This method emphasizes the tangible and intangible assets of a construction company to determine its value.


Tangible Assets: Physical elements such as construction equipment, vehicles, machinery, and owned properties.

Intangible Assets: Aspects like company reputation, client contracts, and brand standing.

Net Worth Determination: Calculated by deducting the company's liabilities from its total assets.

2. Income-Based Valuation

Rationale: By focusing on the financial profitability and future earning potential, this approach ascertains the value of a construction company.


Discounted Cash Flow (DCF): Forecasts the company's future revenue and adjusts it to present value, considering business-related risks.

Capitalization of Earnings: Assesses the company's consistent earnings and divides them by a rate that mirrors anticipated returns and inherent risks.

3. Market-Based Valuation

Rationale: This method evaluates the construction company against similar firms in the sector, deriving value based on current industry trends.


Comparative Ratios: Uses financial metrics from other construction companies to derive a probable valuation.

Recent Sale Analysis: Observes the sale prices of comparable construction firms to deduce the prevailing market value.

How to Calculate the Value of a Construction Company

Using a hypothetical business, MasterCraft Builders as our example, we aim to provide a clear and practical understanding of various valuation strategies: 

1. Asset-Based Valuation Step by Step Process:

Step 1: Identifying and Valuing Tangible Assets

MasterCraft Builders will likely have tangible assets such as construction equipment, vehicles, office equipment, and perhaps even some real estate:

  • Construction Equipment: $1,000,000
  • Vehicles: $400,000
  • Office Equipment: $50,000
  • Real Estate: $800,000

Step 2: Identifying and Valuing Intangible Assets

Intangible assets could consist of the company's client contracts, brand reputation, and proprietary construction methods:

  • Client Contracts: $600,000
  • Brand Reputation/Goodwill: $200,000

Step 3: Calculating Liabilities

These represent what the business owes:

  • Outstanding Loans: $900,000
  • Other Liabilities: $100,000

Step 4: Calculating the Net Asset Value

Total Assets (Tangible + Intangible) = ($1,000,000 + $400,000 + $50,000 + $800,000) + ($600,000 + $200,000) = $3,050,000

Total Liabilities = $900,000 + $100,000 = $1,000,000

Net Asset Value = $3,050,000 - $1,000,000 = $2,050,000

Using the Asset-Based Valuation, MasterCraft Builders is valued at approximately $2,050,000.

2. Income-Based Valuation Step by Step Process:

Step 1: Forecasting Future Cash Flows

Projected net cash flows for MasterCraft Builders:

  • Year 1: $1,200,000
  • Year 2: $1,250,000
  • Year 3: $1,300,000
  • Year 4: $1,350,000
  • Year 5: $1,400,000

Step 2: Identifying the Discount Rate

Assuming a discount rate of 10%.

Step 3: Calculating Discounted Cash Flows

Year 1 DCF = $1,200,000 / (1 + 0.10)^1 = $1,090,909

... and so on for each subsequent year.

Step 4: Estimating Terminal Value and Bringing It to Present Value

Assuming a perpetual growth rate of 4%:

Terminal Value = [$1,400,000 x (1 + 0.04)] / (0.10 - 0.04) = $25,666,667

Discounted to present value: $25,666,667 / (1 + 0.10)^5 = $15,809,700

Step 5: Summing Up All Values

Assuming total DCF for five years is $6,000,000:

MasterCraft Builders' value = $6,000,000 + $15,809,700 = $21,809,700

Using the Income-Based Valuation, MasterCraft Builders is valued at approximately $21,809,700.

3. Market-Based Valuation Step by Step Process:

Comparative Ratios:

Assuming construction companies similar to MasterCraft Builders trade at a P/E ratio of 8:

Given MasterCraft Builders' net earnings of $1,200,000:

  • P/E valuation: $1,200,000 x 8 = $9,600,000

Recent Transactions:

Recent sales of similar construction companies have been at about 5x their annual profits. For MasterCraft Builders with profits of $1,200,000:

  • The valuation would be $1,200,000 x 5 = $6,000,000.

Average Value Calculation:

  • P/E Ratio Valuation: $9,600,000
  • Recent Transactions Valuation: $6,000,000

Average Value: ($9,600,000 + $6,000,000) / 2 = $7,800,000.

Using the Market-Based Valuation, MasterCraft Builders' estimated value is approximately $7,800,000.

How to Buy a Construction Company

Construction companies play a pivotal role in shaping our infrastructure and landscapes. Considering an investment in one? This brief overview will guide your decision-making. For an expanded breakdown, be sure to refer to our detailed guide on How to Buy a Construction Company.

Construction Company Industry Overview

The construction industry in the US contributed to approximately 4% of the country's GDP. With a steady demand for residential, commercial, and infrastructure projects, the sector consistently witnesses billions in annual expenditures. Factors like urban expansion, technological incorporation, and sustainability drives keep the industry dynamic and evolving.

Construction Company Acquisition Costs

Entering the construction realm can involve diverse financial outlays based on company size and specialization. Typically, for a startup construction firm, investments might start from $250,000 and can go up to several million for well-established companies. Generally, acquisition prices hover around three to seven times the company's annual net profit.

Choosing the Ideal Construction Company

Start your search through industry-focused brokers, specialized online platforms, or direct inquiries. Key criteria to consider include the company's project portfolio, equipment condition, workforce quality, and market positioning. Recognize potential areas for business expansion or process enhancement.

Find Funding

There's a gamut of financing options, ranging from personal assets, bank financing to industry-focused investors. Creating a comprehensive construction business plan, highlighting financial projections and growth strategies, will be crucial when engaging potential lenders or backers.

Conducting Due Diligence

Deep-dive into the company's financial statements, client contracts, and project completion rates. Examine the lifespan and state of machinery, assess employee satisfaction, and be aware of any existing liabilities or legal issues. These evaluations will serve as a foundation for negotiation discussions.

Closing the Deal

Following your in-depth analysis, negotiate acquisition terms that align with your findings and aspirations. Before sealing the transaction, ensure clarity on all financial, operational, and legal intricacies, paving the way for a successful foray into the construction sector.

Thinking about acquiring a construction company? Start with a Quality of Earnings Report to build your financial understanding.

How to Fund the Acquisition of a Construction Company

Looking to buy a construction company? The Small Business Administration (SBA) loan is a common choice for many. Construction companies, given their business nature, are often eligible for such loans. For more insights, check out SBA Funding for Construction Company Acquisition.

When applying for the loan, it's essential to highlight your hands-on experience in the construction sector and any past managerial roles you've held. If you're eyeing an existing construction company, providing data on its past achievements and financial health can give you an edge. Lenders value applicants who can demonstrate a track record of success and a clear vision for the company's future.

A good credit history is also crucial, as it can heavily influence the loan's approval. Crafting a comprehensive business plan, detailing how you intend to manage projects, handle client relations, and drive revenue, can further strengthen your application.

Lastly, seeking guidance from financial experts or industry peers who've successfully acquired construction companies can be enlightening. Their insights can help you make informed decisions and ensure a smoother acquisition process.

Creating Financial Projections for a Construction Company Acquisition

Each construction company has its own operational dynamics, from the scale and type of projects undertaken to equipment inventory. When creating financial projections for buying or selling a construction company, focus on:

Gather Historical Data: Review past project contracts, billing records, expenses, and net profit.

Analyze Physical Assets: Assess the condition and value of machinery, vehicles, equipment, and the company's infrastructure.

Forecast Revenue: Consider factors such as the current project pipeline, potential for new bids, regional construction trends, and market demand.

Project Expenses: Estimate costs for materials, labor, equipment maintenance, permits, and other industry-specific expenses.

Determine Valuation: Combine all financial data, potentially using valuation methods like DCF or asset-based valuations.

Utilizing an acquisition or specialty subcontractor  financial template can optimize this process. This template integrates income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts. Armed with this in-depth financial analysis, you're set to negotiate the value of the construction company effectively with potential buyers or sellers.

I hope this has been informative. If you have questions about valuing your specific construction company, please feel free to contact us!

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

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