If you’re new to the business buying marketplace you will probably notice something right out of the gate as you begin your search – listing prices seem like they’re all over the map.
How are you supposed to figure out if the listing price is fair?
While initially confusing, the listing prices of businesses can and do make sense in most cases – you just need to know how to look at the number the seller wants objectively.
Your best bet as a new buyer is to get some professional expertise on your side. Talk to a qualified business broker about some of the business prices you’ve seen and ask for their input. The listing price of a business can be a very nuanced thing. It’s often based on cash flow, but sometimes metrics like industry standard multiples, values of equipment and inventory, what comparable businesses have recently sold for, etc. can be part of the equation that leads to a listing price. Experienced eyes will be necessary to tease out the important details and help you decide if what a seller wants is fair – or well beyond the realm of reality.
Why would someone list a business for a crazy high price? Sometimes those sellers are more interested in being told what they want to hear than they are interested in selling. Sometimes they are listing just to see if someone will make them an offer. In some cases these sellers will negotiate with buyers who come up with a fair and justifiable offer, but if they won’t – it’s probably time to move on. An extreme price can be a red flag that it will be very difficult to put a deal together.
A realistic seller will be able to back up the number they’ve asked for. They will have the financial documentation that shows their request is legitimate. These sellers are willing to negotiate when presented with a fair offer, because ultimately a business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. This does not mean that you as a buyer should throw extreme low-ball offers to see if they stick. A small business is someone’s blood, sweat and tears. The personal attachment to all of that work means that it is relatively easy to offend a seller to the point that they will refuse to work with you. Just as you would like the listing process to be fair – you need to return the favor and offer a fair price.
The message here? Enlisting some professional guidance will be essential in helping you navigate the listing prices of the businesses on the market. Once you’ve determined that a business is what you want – put together a fair and justifiable offer.
Are you just starting your business search and want to know what’s out there? Click here to search for current listings! Would you like to know more about how businesses are priced? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.
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