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Thread: Does anyone know anything about Centurica?

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    Does anyone know anything about Centurica?

    I'm looking for information on Centurica's reputation for quality of service. I already know about the debate regarding their relationship with Flippa but I'm looking at a business that isn't listed on Flippa so it isn't an issue for me if there is sufficient information about them as a company and their services.

    Please all accept my apology. I just submitted a very similar post but it wasn't directed to any particular general topic area. I'm new to the forum and not very experienced with forums in general. If i figure out how i'll delete the other post.

    Thanks in advance for any information anyone can share.

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    Both Justin and Bryan are members of this forum, so it would be breaking the rules to give unfounded opinions about them, although I personally have nothing to say anyway and I don't know anyone else who does.

    This forum was founded to propound the virtues of best practice in due diligence for site buyers. If you spend time reading it, you can do your own due diligence.
    Last edited by crabfoot; 25 July 2014 at 1:25 pm.

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    Chabrenas (25 July 2014), Clinton (25 July 2014), Kay (26 July 2014)

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    @hys, Welcome to Experienced-People

    I have never used Centurica services, but am familiar with two of the three founders. In my opinion and from what I've seen here on EP, Bryan O'Neil and Justin Gilchrist have impeccable credentials in terms of knowledge, background, and application for the field within which they are currently engaged. I have learned a lot from these Experienced-People.net members both here and in their published articles. I would suggest you read the education available on their websites, BryanOneil.com and FlipFilter.com and judge for yourself. I am not familiar with Kaspars Peksens, the third Centurica founder.

    It is also my opinion that your query on this forum could lead to attempts to denigrate their contributions to the specialty Centurica supports. In hopes of quelling any possible negativism, I think you should be aware EP does have (thankfully very few) members who believe they not only have the right, but the obligation to bully others for things these members (in my opinion) mistakenly believe is in the best interests of the uninformed. If you see negativity, either simply dismiss it unless complete documentation proves their point, or please report it as a Forum Rules 4 violation.

    I would suggest you help yourself by doing research on those you intend to do business with. Everyone online has a record and a history. The more active they are, the more you can learn about their activities. In addition to the above websites and this forum (of course), an excellent resource is David Gass' YouTube channel, another Experienced-People.net member Although I've never attended their seminars, the snippets on this channel contain a wealth of information.

    [Edit] Added after I read Crabfoot's post.

    Quote Originally Posted by crabfoot View Post
    This forum was founded to propound the virtues of best practice in due diligence for site buyers. If you spend time reading it, you can do your own due diligence.
    ...and two of the three founders of Centurica have contributed to the body of due diligence knowledge contained on this forum.
    Last edited by KenW3; 25 July 2014 at 1:36 pm.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    hys, as crabfoot and Ken state, Centurica founders are knowledgable and experienced people.

    However, as I understand it, you were not asking about their personal reputation but on the quality of DD service provided by this company they setup. Here's my take:

    - No company providing automated due diligence is going to spot even a small iota of the type of scams sellers can pull ...whether it's Flippa sellers or others.
    - Any company or person providing an additional service of manual inspection of the business will provide you a report only to the best of his ability (and the time you've paid for).You've got to decide on a) his competence and b) whether, within the quoted price, he has enough expertise (in the industry sector where your site operates) and incentive to examine the site in as much detail as if he were buying it with his own money
    - When any company does the due diligence, rather than an individual, you might not know who exactly is doing your work. It could be the big boss himself ...but is that likely?
    - Standard advice: With any such service read the small print carefully. Read all the disclaimers carefully. Then read them all again.

    I have no doubt that if you commission DD from Centurica you'll get a very professional looking report with lots of stats and facts and figures and, perhaps, some stuff you wouldn't have checked yourself (or stuff you would have found difficult to check manually). That applies whether you go for their basic package or a more expensive one.

    However, my advice on this is simple: If you aren't capable of doing ALL the due diligence yourself to your complete satisfaction .... don't purchase a business! (Unless you're looking at a business in the high six figure / seven figure bracket in which case you may need some specialist accounting and technical advisers). Using any service such as Centurica must be an add-on AFTER you have done your full DD, paid for with throwaway money, and commissioned only on the off-chance that you may have missed something that a second pair of eyes might spot.

    For too long this idea has been allowed to develop that DD is a commodity: Find a site for sale, commission someone to do the DD, if that's all clear ... it's a good investment. Not so. This misconception has been overtly and covertly promoted in different channels because it makes money for some and has the additional benefit to others of giving less confident buyers the (false) courage to hit the buy button. Fight the temptation to take the easy route to rely - wholly or partly - on a third party's investigations.
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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    Chabrenas (25 July 2014), crabfoot (25 July 2014), Kay (26 July 2014)

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    I echo Clinton's advice. Most, maybe all, deals you'll see on Flippa aren't going to be the type of deals that you should need a specialist to help you with due diligence. I'd like to add something to his advice though, and I'm not sure if anyone else would agree with me. And, I'll add a caveat, I don't have any issues with the people at Centurica, and have known and interacted with them and generally been impressed with their professionalism and knowledge. But, clearly there is a conflict of interest going on there with their partnership with Flippa. It is in Flippa's best interest that a sale is completed, no matter if it is a good deal for the buyer or not. Centurica is, by the nature of the arrangement between them and Flippa, aligned in interest with Flippa, not the buyer. I'm not implying that they would intentionally leave out information, or in any way shape or form would they try to pass off a fraud listing as good, but what I am saying is that there is a conflict of interest and anyone considering using their services should be aware of the conflict of interest.

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    Kay (26 July 2014)

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    Crabfoot. I'm aware that Centurica participates in this forum and I suppose that does make it difficult, for anyone who isn't really committed to undermining their reputation, to say anything too harshly negative. I didn't realize that my post could provoke a response that violates forum rules. Hopefully respondents will stay within forum rules.

    KenW3. Are you connected to the W3 brokerage firm?

    Crabefoot, KenW3 and Clinton. Thank you all for your input. I am new to the buying and operating of an e-commerce website. I have done a lot of research, although not on this forum which i bumped into only recently.
    I have researched, to what i believe to be the appropriate breadth and depth, the information available about the target company and still, before i make an offer, would like advice and review from a professional who is experienced in the field.

    If i were buying a "normal" business I'd certainly look to my accountant and lawyer for input and review of my analysis.
    Finding a reliable adviser for buying an e-commerce business has its challenges and i've turned to this forum for help with that. This makes sense no matter how much I’ve read about the process.

    I'm looking to buy an e-commerce business. I feel that i need advice on multiple aspects of the process. Centurica has come up as one of the very few resources for professional personal advice. What i really want is a professional who can offer review, advice and opinion tailored to my needs and the specifics of the target company. A packaged review, while very possibly of significant value to me, is not entirely what i need and Centurica may be able to customize for me what they offer. I would still be working on DD myself.

    I’m as well open to suggestions of other consultants who might be appropriate.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hys View Post
    I’m as well open to suggestions of other consultants who might be appropriate.
    There are one or two others but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for suggestions. Most people I know who are experts in the field are using their skills for their own acquisitions, not selling their time for $10 an hour (or even $100 an hour).

    Before I started this forum I used to occasionally provide DD services and charge a five figure sum for my involvement. That was the only kind of price at which it made sense for someone with my level of expertise to advise others rather than to work on my own sites. If the acquisition you're looking to make is in the high six figures or seven figure range drop me a PM and I'll put you in touch with one or two of them (I don't do this myself any more - to do it properly and comply with the law you need to have public liability insurance and there's no insurance company providing cover for this type of work).

    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis View Post
    IBut, clearly there is a conflict of interest going on there with their partnership with Flippa.
    The site the OP is looking to buy is not a Flippa listed site. However your point is valid in that if a DD company puts itself in this questionable position with respect to conflict of interest the message it's giving is that it's willing to lose trust in exchange for making a bit more money. A DD provider can afford to do that when dealing with a clientele that does not appreciate the utmost importance of trust in such a relationship - the type of user who has been conditioned into treating DD as a commodity.
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hys
    KenW3. Are you connected to the W3 brokerage firm?
    No, I am not associated with W3BusinessAdvisors.com in Chicago. I hadn't heard of them until your question. I do seem to have some common traits with the founders, however, as I am originally from Chicago, have similar financial services experience, and went to college in south Florida W3 is a common abbreviation for World Wide Web. I first saw (and adapted) the use from Sir TimBL's W3C.

    Quote Originally Posted by hys
    I didn't realize that my post could provoke a response that violates forum rules.
    Even if it did, it likely wouldn't last long on EP as management typically maintains a very high level of professionalism. The difference here, however, than most forums filled with n00bs, is you are dealing with old-school, strong-minded, opinionated business owner members that don't always agree and sometimes say what they think before thinking about what they say.

    Quote Originally Posted by hys
    I'm looking to buy an e-commerce business. I feel that i need advice on multiple aspects of the process.
    Although not personal advice, there are three resources that have not yet been mentioned: Clinton, the forum owner, has a resource on the parent Experienced-People.co.uk site for due diligence beyond what is in threads on this forum. Diomo has two products you may find useful, their Due Diligence Checklist Guide which can be purchased separate from their complete reference resource. The third resource is a soon-to-be-published book from one of the two administrators on this forum, Kay, which will be about the process followed to buy websites.

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Ken, thanks for mentioning my, as yet unpublished, book about buying websites. I'm still toying with when, where and how to publish it - also "if". I may decide not to sell it to the public at all, I merely reserved the right to do so. It's available in the Premium Lounge, as is The EP Guide to Due Diligence (exclusive to EP), which is another resource for people wanting to learn more about how to do DD for themselves.

    BTW, I too am an admirer of Richard Parker's work. However, most of what I've seen until now has focused on business in general rather than DD for online business. I found similar when writing my book about buying websites - the best books, written by professionals, tended to concentrate on business in general. Mostly those which took more of a focus on online business tended to be shorter books which skimmed over a lot of the important details. Just my opinion.

    FWIW, whilst I've never had any dealings with Centurica, I also know Bryan and Justin and have found them both to be professional and knowledgeable people. I have questioned Centurica's ability to do independent due diligence for various reasons - all of which I've raised publicly on this forum, in pretty much the same terms as Clinton and Peter have both done earlier in this thread.

    I don't know who the bullies are but I urge all EP members to hit the report button if they ever see any bullying going on here. Dunno about "negativity" - critical and questioning of many things, yes. I guess if people don't like that they'd perhaps be better off on one of these forums where everyone oohs and aahs about every new money-making product that's released and no one questions anything. Bullying is a very serious accusation and one which we would take very seriously.

    Getting back to DD, I agree with Clinton - it's something which people need to learn for themselves if they're getting into buying websites. There are checklists and various tools which can be used to aid the process but what's really needed is a questioning mind and a nose for sniffing out when something doesn't smell quite right. I don't know of any tools which can do that.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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    Does anyone know anything about Centurica?

    “clearly there is a conflict of interest going on there with their partnership with Flippa."
    peterdavis and clinton; thanks. point well taken I can't figure out the relationship. If Centurica is just advertising on Flippa and Centurica’s competitors could also do that then I don't see the conflict. If the relationship is more involved then it is a conflict and does speak, at the very least, to Centurica's awareness of when they are compromising themselves. Anyone know the details of this relationship?

    KenW3
    I would suggest you help yourself by doing research on those you intend to do business with

    Researching professionals is why i posted this thread. how else do i do it?
    Thanks for the references. They’ll be useful to me but they don't help me find a professional.

    Clinton,” If you aren't capable of doing ALL the due diligence yourself to your complete satisfaction .... don't purchase a business! (Unless you're looking at a business in the high six figure)”
    I did PM you but will state here some of what I told you so that others can comment. The acquisition target is selling in the low six figures and is expected to return six figures in net profit. I have confidence in my ability to understand everything necessary but on an executive level. I'm not necessarily able to do all the digging and would want a professional to offer his opinion on the purchase and the structure of the offer. I am doing a good deal of DD myself but I would want someone with greater experience and expertise to review what I’ve done and to dig deeper where i don't have the expertise. If I were buying a "conventional" business I would certainly spend real money having my accountant review and analyze financial information from the client. I understand financial reports but he understands them better and is more likely than i am to ferret out irregularities and misinformation. I think I’d be a fool not to spend some real money on his services.
    I'm trying to decide if i see my accountant's services as a commodity. I certainly spent time choosing the accountant and i review the work he does for me carefully but there are zillions of accountants out there. Some are better than others and some, while doing a fine job on my taxes, do not have the creativity to analyze a business acquisition.

    Kay, Thanks for your input and confirmation of things others have said, all of it very helpful. I do see what appears to be a contradiction in that you and others are advising me to educate myself and do it all by myself but, on the other hand, you point out that the specific information i need maybe isn't available in sufficient depth and detail.

    As far as personal qualities I think i do have a "questioning mind" and something of a nose for sniffing out trouble. The sniffing part however would come a lot from experience which there is no way i can have until after i take the plunge

    [[Edit by Kay: I have removed links to various image files to EP and other places. They were superfluous to the points made in the posts - even as supporting material. I don't know why they were there. All the poster's points have been left intact. I also removed colours as this is not usually done on EP except in rare circumstances or for moderators' edits. Using the quote function is more usual.]]
    Last edited by Kay; 27 July 2014 at 4:08 pm. Reason: Various

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