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Stepp Equipment
Ken Kozelka, Vice President
“Wipfli kept our best interests at heart. Because of their strong accounting/ corporate finance expertise, they were able to establish a solid sales price and hold the buyer to it. They simply did an outstanding job for us.”

Stepp Equipment services and sells refuse and scrap industry equipment including refuse parts and stationary refuse compactors. With one location in Illinois and another in Wisconsin, the organization specializes in fast and efficient parts delivery throughout the Midwest, offering 24-hour service for its refuse compactor customers. Stepp Equipment was founded in 1959 as a family-owned business and has grown to successfully sell to and service a large sector of the refuse industry in northern Illinois, northern Indiana, and Wisconsin.


Stepp Equipment was in the early stages of exploring the sale of its business to a one-time vendor-turned-buyer. Stepp Equipment believed the buyer had arrived at a low value when determining the value of the privately held business. The company turned to Wipfli for help in negotiating the sale price and in navigating the uncharted waters of selling the family business.


Wipfli provided Stepp Equipment with the necessary assistance to expertly guide the company through every aspect of the sale transaction. With accounting, tax, and corporate finance expertise, Wipfli:

  • Negotiated the financial, tax, and deal structure provisions with the prospective buyer.
  • Assisted in coordinating the buyer’s due diligence.
  • Addressed and resolved issues regarding inventory and working capital.
  • Negotiated a price more than 20% higher on behalf of Stepp Equipment.
  • Addressed tax and accounting matters in connection with the transaction.
  • Throughout the engagement, Wipfli coordinated its efforts with Stepp Equipment’s attorney and strived to make the process easier for all family members.


As for most family-owned businesses, the once-in-a-lifetime process of selling was an unfamiliar one for Stepp Equipment’s stakeholders. Wipfli worked to make the sometimes emotional transaction easier. Stepp Equipment received sound and trusted guidance throughout the process and as it strived to ensure the right future for its owners.

Wipfli’s skill and knowledge put the sellers in a stronger negotiating position, and Stepp Equipment benefitted by getting a better price outcome. Wipfli was able to successfully negotiate the sales price up more than 20% from where it had been previously and then helped close the deal.