How To Sweeten The Deal When You Need Seller Financing

If you are like most small business buyers you don’t have a ton of cash on hand to purchase a business outright, so you’re going to need some financing. While they are some more traditional lending options like bank loans or financing through the Small Business Administration (SBA) – the most common form of financing in the small business world is seller financing


Seller financing can be a great option for a buyer for a number of reasons. The most important reason? A seller who is offering to finance their business deal is so confident in the future of the business that they are willing to keep some skin in the game. It’s a win-win for a business buyer. 



This win-win scenario doesn’t come without a cost, so to speak. You as a buyer have to hold up your end of this sweetened deal. If you want a seller to be comfortable offering you seller financing – here’s a few things you need to do:


You need a hefty down payment.


No seller in their right mind is going to finance 80%, 90%, 100% of their deal. You are going to have to put a large percentage down payment on the table if you want a seller to help you with the rest. A large down payment shows a seller you are serious and gives them peace of mind that you can afford the business you are about to buy. The amount you’ll need as a down payment will vary from industry to industry and from business to business, so talk to your business broker about what you’ll need to bring to the table.


You need to be able to prove you can successfully run this business.


If you aren’t in love with sharing proof your financial means, providing a resume, telling a seller your credit score and the like – then seller financing might not be for you. A seller is going to want to know that you know how to run their business, either by past practical experience or by education/licensing. There’s already a steep learning curve when you first take over as a new owner – no one wants you to add learning a whole new industry to the mix. A seller is also going to want to see that you have more than $5 in the bank before they loan you money, as any business owner knows that you need some capital in the bank to be able to run a business successfully. A note here – even if you don’t end up getting seller financing a commercial landlord is absolutely going to want you to prove experience and financial means before they let you sign your lease. 


You might have to pay more.


If a seller is not only willing to wait to get paid and also taking the risk that they might never get paid, you might have to pay a bit more for your new business than if you were offering all cash up front. Remember that seller financing is an agreement where you benefit, so that benefit might come at a cost. How much it costs will be specific to each deal, so if you find a business you like where a seller is offering financing you can have a discussion with your broker about how taking that seller financing option will affect how much you should offer. In some cases, a seller is offering financing because they are very motivated to sell, and sell fast – and in those circumstances there might not be much difference in all cash offers and seller financed offers.


If you want a seller to trust you with their business and their money – you need to come to the table prepared. Have a decent down payment ready, be forthcoming with your information and be ready to make a fair deal.


Are you considering buying a business and want to know more about how seller financing works? Do you want to know how much of a down payment you might need for a particular type of business? Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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