There are so many options available for selling your business. How do you know which is right for you??
When I sold The Contract Shop®, I used a business brokerage, and the process was relatively simple and straightforward. Business brokerages are kind of like real estate agents.
They make it easier than selling on your own, and you have someone who can, in theory, advocate on your behalf to the buyer, and answer questions. They also know a good offer when they see one, meaning they can help you find the best deal possible.
Wondering if you should use a business brokerage service or DIY the sales process? Well, unless you can do all of the above and you understand the complexities of a business sale (you don’t), I’d recommended sticking with them!
Now, the question is which business brokerage should you use? I’m going to give you a rundown of my personal experience with a few different business brokerages, and give you some pros and cons of each to help you make your decision!
Empire Flippers* is a business brokerage service that connects buyers and sellers. They’ve been around for 10+ years, and are pretty well known in that industry. Because they are so well known, they have a large pool of qualified buyers.
Spoiler alert — I decided to go with Empire Flippers! And from my personal experience, I can give you an honest review of what it was like. (I’m also an affiliate, hence that little * above with their link.)
Again, Empire Flippers has a huge pool of qualified buyers, so I was able to get some pretty good offers on my business in just 30 days (when it usually takes up to 90). They had great attention to detail and gave a fair valuation.
I also liked that they kept my privacy intact. The Contract Shop® isn’t exactly off the map, and I didn’t want people to know all the ins and outs of the deal before it was time to talk about it. I didn’t want just any Joe Schmoe finding the sale online!
They were able to do this because their system is set up to find the highest quality pool of buyers in the shortest amount of time. And doing so allows them to keep listing information private, which only the top qualified buyers can see.
Every buyer is vetted before they vet your listing.
While this is the route I decided to take when I sold my business, that doesn’t mean it was perfect. Or had everything I was looking for in a brokerage.
For one, I really didn’t like the fact that I had no rep during the process. I would hop on calls with buyers, and they would have a representative, but I had only a brokerage channel backing me up — no 1:1 support. I felt very alone during the process, even while most of it was taken care of for me.
I also didn’t like how long it took them to respond to messages — it would take anywhere from 12-24 hours per message. And when you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s super frustrating.
I also didn’t feel like they listened to me and what I wanted as the seller. Initially, they messed up several details and put inaccurate information in the listing description. I wanted them to change it, but it took forever to do it because they were so slow to respond.
And finally, it gave me the ick that I did not see a single female working there. It had a very alpha-male-dominated type of energy. And while I know the men reading this are thinking, “what’s the big deal?” the girls that get it, get it. It was just off-putting.
Flippa is a bit older than Empire Flippers, but with less credibility. It runs kind of like a for-sale-by-owner model and only has 4% buyer fees. It’s a great option if you’re comfortable DIYing your sale.
If you want to just see what you can get for your biz without actually looking to make a sale, this is a great place to get your feet wet. It can help you see what goes into the process, and maybe even get a few feelers for how much you can sell for.
With it being a for-sale-by-owner model, you have a higher chance of getting scammed. You don’t have any hand-holding or someone to vet buyers for you, so if you’re new to the process, it can be hard to know who’s legit and who’s not.
Working with a private business brokerage is much like working with a real estate agent. You have a broker basically in your back pocket. However, this service is ideal for higher-valued businesses because their client pool tends to be valued in the millions range.
Each broker is different too, so they have different methods of selling, and each has their own unique buyer pool.
The biggest benefit here is that you have lots of hand-holding and communication. You can get your questions answered faster and hopefully move the sale along faster too.
That being said, the pool of buyers isn’t anywhere near what it is with Empire Flippers or Flippa. So while yes, if you do find the right person, the process could move fast, but it takes a long time to find them because the pool is so small.
Plus, they are expensive, which is another reason why they really only work for high-value businesses wanting to sell.
Ultimately, what’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for you, and there’s no one way to sell your business. It’s all about what matters more to you and how you want to handle it.
So, do your own research, talk to others who know a thing or two about selling a business, and definitely don’t go with the first schmoozy broker that approaches you!
If you want more tips like these, check out the playlist I made for you over on YouTube! I’m giving you an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at what it was really like selling my business!