The business has been sold, can I still contact the seller?
It is the responsibility of the seller to keep listing price and status up to date. If anything about the business should change, the expectation is that all changes will be reflected online right away. Businesses For Sale currently has no control over day-to-day listing changes, but we are always working with our brokers and sellers to ensure they keep their listings updated. Please contact us if you find an inaccurate listing.
What should I include in my inquiry?
A business inquiry is often a first point of contact, so you should put your best foot forward. This should be formatted as a formal letter — be sure to include date, their address, a brief summary of your request, and a standard closing. Always try to address the letter to an individual and match the tone of the company if possible.
Why didn't the seller get back to me?
Whether replies are taking longer than usual or the seller has gone completely radio silent, there are several reasons why correspondence might be slow. For example, sellers are likely receiving many inquiries, and it can take awhile to get to yours. Replies usually come through within a week, but these things take time. Business information is sometimes sent through the mail, which can add to delays.
In our experience, sellers are generally responsive, so we recommend a follow-up if you haven’t heard from the seller in over a week. Be descriptive and include as much information about yourself and your inquiry to help remind the seller.
We can act as a middle man for premium members. Contact customer service if sellers have not been responsive and we can help get you in touch with them.
Can I search by business reference number?
Businesses are searchable by keywords or through their unique listing ID number. Registered buyers can build a shortlist of businesses for convenient access to favorite listings.
Why doesn’t BusinessesForSale.com get back to me?
Buying a business is a complex, nuanced process, so we have developed this in-depth FAQ to help buyers handle common issues. If, however, your question isn’t addressed on this page, please feel free to contact us. It may take some time to receive a response due to a high volume of inquiries. Premium Buyer accounts receive priority customer service assistance.
How to find businesses for sale?
Find businesses for sale by browsing listings using intuitive filters specific to location, industry, price, listing age, and more. If you already have ideas, search by keywords in the search bar and receive results relevant to your needs. Contact sellers directly through our site interface to inquire about negotiations.
Many buyers choose to use a broker to help handle the day-to-day business search. We connect professional brokers with prospective buyers to help you find businesses, draft inquiries, and guide you through negotiations.
How to price a business for sale?
The value of the businesses you’re looking to buy will play a significant role in your ability to make a profit for years to come. Proven cash flow, established customer base, and the assets of the business and much more will all be major considerations for calculating the value of a business.
It’s best to double check the work of the seller. Put yourself in the shoes of the seller to better understand the valuation process so you know whether or not a business is correctly valued.
How do you buy a business with no money?
Raising finance for a purchase might be one of the greatest hurdles of buying a business, but luckily there are several avenues for bankrolling your dream. Banks loans, private investors, government grants, and more - check out our guide to raising finance for information on funding your business.
How do I start a small business?
Before starting a small business ask yourself these two, key questions:
Why are you starting it?
What do you want to achieve by starting a business?
This will be a long, difficult process, but keeping your goals in mind will help you keep focus when times are tough. Those with an inherent passion for their business tend to be more successful than those solely concerned about amounting wealth. Do you have a hobby that you can turn into a business?
Research is crucial in the early stages. Look into the demand that exists for your product or service. Come up with a thorough and detailed plan for your business. Your business plan can be altered as your business grows but it will act as a reference point or road map that you can keep referring back to.
Our FAQ offers more information on generating finance as a new entrepreneur.
How long does it take to buy a business?
It depends. Are there extenuating circumstances that would speed up, or delay, the seller? Are brokers quick to respond? Are there any hurdles that might complicate contract negotiations? All of this and more can play into the duration of the sales process. In general, you can expect to spend around 6 - 12 months buying a business.
How is a business valued?
Valuation is the process of determining the overall economic value of the business. While this process isn’t your responsibility as a buyer, you can conduct an independent valuation to double check the work of the seller. Objective metrics are used to determine value, such as market value of assets, capital structure, future earnings prospects, and more. This process is usually carried out by professional business evaluators.
What is Buyer Due Diligence?
Buyer due diligence is a consideration of the overall financial risk of a business and a process that should be followed to ensure a successful purchase. Usually conducted after an informal deal, but before signing paperwork, due diligence is a holistic view of a business before signing on the dotted line. Buyers should recruit an accountant and a lawyer to look into personnel, financial records, assets, and much more. Check out our guide to due diligence for more information on this process.
What is the difference between a business broker, business transfer agent, and a business sales and mergers & acquisitions consultant?
There are many professionals who can help throughout the buying process. Each role provides a specific service, and partnering with a broker, transfer agent, consultant, or some combination of the three, can help you find the deal that is best suited to your needs.
Brokers shop the marketplace to help you find unique businesses that may not have come your way otherwise. They offer a wide variety of business specialties, market research, and they can be a valuable source of information about the buying process.
Business transfer agent:
Similar to a broker, BTAs offer expert guidance about the buying process, but focus specifically on the details of contract negotiations. BTAs can advise on prices, negotiations, and generally guide you through the buying process.
Business mergers & acquisitions consultants:
M&A consultants guide buyers and sellers through the complexities of mergers and acquisitions. They are experts trained in the specifics of this type of sale, and they can act as a middleman for sales transactions.
Should I buy a business or start my own business?
There is no one-size-fit-all answer to this question, because there is no one-size-fits-all business. Professional aspirations and personal circumstances will guide you to either starting from scratch or buying an existing business. In general, buying an existing business is a great head start considering it has likely established itself in the community, so you can avoid the common pitfalls associated with a start up.
Many first-time buyers will set up a contingency plan that requires the seller to remain with the business for a set number of days to ensure a smooth owner transition. This is yet another advantage of buying an existing business since the previous owner can provide guidance in the early stages of your new business.
What portion of the sale will the Seller finance?
Our sellers are expected to meet the needs of our buyers, which means they can only list on our site if they are willing to provide a reasonable amount of seller financing to qualified buyers. Keep in mind that 100% seller financing is very rare and should not be expected in cases where the business is profitable. The exact amount of seller finance will depend on the terms of your contract.
When can I have copies of the financials and tax returns?
It’s best to see financial records early in the sales process. You will need to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in order to do so. Financial records offer concrete figures on how well the business has been doing over the years. Of course, these are only records of the past — no financial record can be a crystal ball to tell the future. Ask for documentation surrounding revenue, expenses, tax returns, etc. A professional broker can help you acquire and unpack the right financial records.
I do not have any representation - can you recommend legal and financial counsel?
We serve all buyers no matter what stage of the process they’re in. In fact, 82% of buyers start the process without legal representation. We connect users with a variety of professional services including brokers, transfer agents, accountants, and lawyers. See our professional services directory for more information.
Are there any tax benefits associated with buying a business?
Buying a business is a major financial investment, but the IRS does encourage business ownership through several tax deductions and write offs. For example, you can write off up to $5,000 for costs associated with buying a new business such as travel for research. After you have owned the business for a while, there are many other tax benefits such as write-offs and asset depreciation. See the IRS guide to starting a business for more information.
Can I talk with the owner(s) of the business prior to making an offer?
It depends on if owners are handling their own sale and are contactable through our website or if they are using a broker. For sellers who work through a third party consultant, you would have to confirm contact details with them first.
How complicated is making an offer to buy a business?
Making an offer is easy. As long as your questions have been answered, and you feel comfortable proceeding, it’s time to make an offer. The purpose of an unofficial offer is to ensure the seller accepts your terms, price, and structure of the sale before proceeding.
When you buy a company do you buy its debt?
Buying a company in debt can be approached from a couple different angles:
Buy the company and its debts and receive a lower asking price.
Buy the company but not the debts, in which case the seller may set a higher asking price.
Buy some of the debts and meet in the middle.
Buy the loans from the seller and step into ownership with the business "as is."
Lenders can sell debt to a third party, and when this happens the new debt owner can earn profit on interest. If you as the buyer buy the debt, you would be in control of it.
There are other debt transactions available that get a little more complicated including swapping assets, exchange of stocks, and more. Discuss debt with your broker to determine the best course of action.
What if a business listing contains insufficient/inaccurate information or the location is unclear?
We do not create listings — that is the responsibility of the individual sellers. While we do our best to ensure that businesses advertised on our site are genuine and up to date, all information comes from brokers acting on behalf of sellers or the sellers themselves. The expectation is that listings provide as much information as possible, so please contact us if listings are not up to standard.
What membership/upgrade packages are available
Our Standard Buyer tier is free to use and comes with all the features you need to start your search. Save searches, favorite businesses, track messages with sellers, and more — Standard Buyer accounts are a great starting point for buyers new to the process. Premium Buyer accounts come with the same features as Standard Buyer plus features specially designed for brokering deals such as access to locked businesses, prioritized inquiries in seller inboxes, access to seller contact information, and much more.
How do I register with BusinessesForSale.com?
After you have sent an inquiry on a business for sale, you have the option to enter password information to complete the registration process and create a free Standard Buyer account.
You can also use the "Register as a buyer" links around the site to create a buyer account.
How do I get more details about a business for sale?
The best way to obtain more information about a business for sale is to contact the seller or the seller’s representative (an agent, broker or intermediary) directly via BusinessesForSale.com. Please note that BusinessesForSale.com does not have any more information about a business for sale than what is posted on the site.
We are not a business broker or intermediary. We are an advertising medium where sellers list their businesses for sale. To contact a seller, please click the ‘Contact Seller’ button on the listing.
Please note that a seller may request information from you beyond what is provided in your initial inquiry. They may also ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement before disclosing any further information about the business.