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Selling your business yourself–although definitely doable–can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you’ve already got a lot on your plate.
When you’re ready to exit a business but would rather have most of the heavy lifting done for you, consider getting a business broker.
Here are five popular brokers for ecommerce businesses you should consider if you have a brand up for sale.
Essentially, Digital Exits has two service offerings: straight brokerage, which means you simply ask them to sell your business and they find you the best buyer for it. The other is its unique exit planning program, a 6- or 12-month process wherein they consult and assist you in preparing your business for selling in aspects such as increasing profits, extracting you as the owner, and identifying strategic buyers to pitch your business to.
Pricing: Digital Exits charges a 10% gross commission on the total contract price of your online business. So if you sell your business for $200,000, they take $20,000.
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If industry longevity is any indication, it might be safe to say that Quiet Light Brokerage has built quite the reputation. Quiet Light takes pride in its team of advisors, all of which have firsthand experience in buying, selling, and starting their own online business–some are even previous clients of Quiet Light.
Both Mike and Dave have sold through them in the past. Joe Valley, a company partner, guested on the podcast last year. If you want a formal introduction to a representative from Quiet Light, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be glad to put you in touch with someone Mike and Dave have worked with personally.
Pricing: To make an inquiry about their rates, send an email to email@example.com.
Whether you're a five- or seven-figure entity, Empire Flippers sells businesses in every price range. After all, an opportunity isn’t determined by the price tag attached to it. The company also takes time to sit down and conduct a proper interview (virtually or otherwise) with every seller to really get to know their business’ story and determine the best approach in pitching it with buyers. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re a buyer, you will need to commit a certain amount of money first before you can actually view the listings.
Pricing: Empire Flippers doesn’t have a listing fee, but they do charge commission, with the percentage depending on the selling price of your business. Use the commission calculator to get the exact amount you would be paying them.
As the pre-eminent global advisor in SaaS, e-commerce and content M&A, FE International’s approach is pragmatic and data-driven. Using real-time metrics and intensive research analysis, the company strives to provide each client with an exit strategy that guarantees the best value for the sale. With security in mind, FE International has a wide network of vetted investors to make sure that only the right people are able to view information about your business, of which has been curated beforehand.
Pricing: As with most brokerage companies on this list, FE International charges a flat commission rate. There is also an added charge for transactions done through an escrow service. For more information, fill out this contact form.
This company sells businesses based on either of these two variables: by size, which can go under 5 million to as high as 200 million; and by industry, ranging from ecommerce and Amazon to web and software development. Regardless, Website Closers treats every business for sale as a unique and singular case. With that said, each client is assigned to a deal intermediary who will assist you in formulating the best exit strategy based on your company’s and your particular needs.
Pricing: Website Closers does not disclose the particulars of its payment terms and commission rates, but you can schedule for a consultation here and learn more about the company’s services.
Although technically a marketplace and not a broker, this is still a good place to sell a business. With a profile on Flippa, your business can be viewed by the platform’s global pool of buyers, who can find your listing based on their preferences. When you match with potential buyers, you choose who can bid and communicate with them directly. Flippa also has a negotiation functionality and escrow service. Any information on the listing is required to be verified to assure the security of not only the seller, but also interested buyers.
Pricing: Flippa has several packages to choose from, starting at $29 for a basic listing. There’s even a VIP Program for businesses worth above $2 million. It’s also worth mentioning that Flippa charges a variable success fee that’s calculated as a percentage of your final sale price. Check out the full menu of options.
The platform prides itself on having the largest business-for-sale network. If you’re looking for maximum exposure, a listing here doesn't only appear on the BizBuySell website but also on partner websites such as BizQuest and LoopNet as well as local media partners.
Pricing: For a 6-month term, Basic listings are $59.95/month, Showcase listings are $79.95/month, and Diamond Listings are $129.95/month. The higher the listing level, the more exposure and features, which drives more buyer interest. Shorter 3-month terms are also available for a higher monthly rate.
Also known as acquirers, consolidators, or rollups, companies of this nature have quite the polarizing reputation. However, they are a good option to consider if you want to sell your business directly. Some of the more prominent ones in the US are Thrasio, Perch, and Unybrands. We have a comprehensive list of aggregators if you want more options. There are also cautionary tales of how some aggregators attempt to shortchange sellers, so make sure to look out for dirty tricks they might try to pull.
Pricing: It depends, really. However, this excerpt from an article on PickFu’s website might help: “In a 2021 survey of Amazon aggregators by the Fortia Group, 47% said they paid on average between $2 and $5 million for a single brand.”
Frequently Asked Questions About Business Brokers
What is a business broker?
A business broker is an intermediary, either a person or a company, that assists in the dealings between buyer and seller. He or she is a trained professional in charge of vetting the right buyers for a client, managing negotiations and properly closing deals.
Why do you need a business broker?
While you don’t exactly need a business broker, hiring one will save you a lot of time. A business broker weeds out unfit buyers and finds you the qualified ones. You did invest time, money, blood, and sweat on the business you’re selling–you want it to go to the right people at the right price.
How much does a business broker usually cost?
Fees typically vary, but it’s usually on a commission basis, roughly 10-15% of the selling price. You should factor in additional charges as well, such as listing and success fees.
It’s also important to be aware that some brokerages try to take a commission on your inventory, which should not be included in your fees. Luckily, you can have this negotiated away. If not, find a broker who won’t charge on this.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Broker
- Brokers already have a database of existing buyers.
- Potential buyers are already vetted when presented to you.
- They help determine the right price for your business.
- They take care of most of the paperwork, which is never fun.
- Negotiations are simpler and more clarified.
- Fees and additional charges can be pretty steep.
- This isn’t a con, per se, but it is important that you and the broker are on the same page from the get-go. That means setting the same goals and expectations. As with most things, communication is key.
How long does the selling process take?
It depends. If the deal goes smoothly, a deal can be closed in as fast as 4-6 weeks. In other cases, it can take up to 6 months. There are several factors in play when selling such as the type of buyers you attract and the conditions they require, so there’s no timeframe set in stone.
How do you find the right one?
There are obviously more brokers to choose from aside from the ones on this list. While research is the logical first step, it’s always great to have firsthand accounts from people you trust and know. Browse through your connections and ask around.
It’s a Done Deal
Exiting a business, especially when it’s your first, is an important milestone for any entrepreneur. While finding a buyer yourself is always an option, availing the services of a broker is also a good route to take if you want the process to be easier and expedited.
Have you sold an ecommerce business through the services of a broker? Tell us about your experience in the comments!