What Business Would a Business Broker Buy?

Many Business Owners will utilize a professional business broker to help sell their business.  Many prospective business buyers may hire a business broker to help them in their quest to find and buy the right business.  The perspective of a business broker will be different from the perspectives of both the buyer and seller.

The business broker has the perspective of being involved with reviewing many businesses and speaking with many prospective buyers and sellers.  A “normal” business buyer or business seller may only buy or sell a business one time in their business life.  But what sort of business would a business broker buy if he/she were buying a business?

  • What Business would a business broker buy?
  • Would  a business broker buy a franchise
  • Would  a business broker choose to start a business
  • Would a business broker  decide due to current market conditions to wait and defer the decision to buy a business until the economy improves

Just as every business buyer will have their own set of criteria for evaluating and making a business acquisition, every business broker will have their own criteria they deem as important.  As a business broker based in Florida,  and former business owner ,I always look at businesses for sale from the perspective as a prospective business buyer and ask myself “Would I buy this business at this price if I was buying it?”.   And if I ran across a terrific business opportunity that is a great value,  that met my lifestyle and financial requirements, I may be a business buyer again.

Business Broker`s Criteria For Buying A Business

What are the few basic conditions I would most look for in today`s business environment.

  1. Motivated Seller– I recognize the Seller really needs to want to sell.  Not that the Seller needs to sell, but rather WANTS to sell for what ever reason it may be.  Selling ones business is a process.  Many business owners have  been doing a certain thing for a long time, and continuing to run a business vs selling may be “ the path of least resistance’’,  Attempting to sell a business on a whim or buying a business from someone “kind of interested” in selling can be arduous .   For me, there needs to be a strong “want” when selling a business.
  2. Seller Financing– I want to buy a business that offers Seller Financing.   When Seller Owner holds a note on the business  he has a vested interest in your success.  To avoid not going thru a bank or other lender holds a high value to me and would be my first choice.
  3. A Good value relative to asking  price as a multiple of adjusted cash flow. A higher multiple may be ok but must be quantifiable.
  4. I  would be willing to buy a business that has poor financial  records yet feel numbers can be substantiated. I recognize different small businesses handle their “accounting” in so many different ways, and if I can find good value does exist within a  a company with poor records ,  I would have further interest. Some business buyers may be less comfortable  when records on the surface dont make sense.
  5. Recurring Income- Strong recurring revenue would be important to me.     Am I walking into ongoing sales or am I going to have to go out and get new sales each and every month.  And what is the cost to get that new business.
Acquiring A Business

Photo (c) tampabusinessbroker.com

“A Rising Tide Raises all Ships. ” Now is a good time to buy a business. As the economy improves, I feel  value will be realized.   The process of buying and selling a small business requires certain individual criteria to be met.  My criteria will be different than the next persons.   What is important to others may be similar to the above criteria.  But if you are looking to buy a business you need to outline what is important to you.



Florida Businesses For Sale-

Florida Business For Sale  Florida Businesses Sold Activity (June 6.8.2011)

I am a Florida Business broker working with business owners selling their Florida  business, and business owners looking for acquisitions.  Prospective business buyers I work with are located in Florida, US., and Business buyers in Europe and throughout the world.

As a  member of Business Brokers of Florida, which is the largest state Association of Business Brokers in the United States we have access to significant data regarding businesses being bought and sold .   Thousands of businesses for sale are represented by over 1000 business brokers that are members of this Association.  These business brokers list their respective businesses for sale and prospective business buyers on a centralized listing site and buyers and sellers of businesses are brought together.

Several thousand businesses for sale are listed, modified, and advertised thru this website.  Valuable information regarding Florida business for Sales and Florida Businesses Sold help me as a Business Broker Professional  keep track of the ebb and flow of the Florida Business Acquisition Market.  Understanding a business to assist in selling that business requires an understanding of the numbers behind  that business.  And understanding the marketplace in which this business may be sold is furthered by a review of the data surrounding businesses being bought and sold in Florida. The below are a few statistics, totals, and items of note surrounding the business acquisition and sales market in the State of Florida.


Recent Businesses Sold in Florida Activity

  • Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida  in last 30 days  – 48
  • Top 2 industries of  Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida in  last 30 days:  9 Florida Restaurants Sold in Florida     4 Lawn Service Business sold in Florida
  • Avg Days it took to sell Florida Businesses Sold in last 30 days  – 270 days-  (9 months)

Businesses Currently For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida – 3213

Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida over last year –  872

  1. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income Less than $100k – 1196
  2. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income More  than $100k –  1117
  3. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income More  than $200k  – 484
  4. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income More  than $300k –   223
  5. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income More  than $400k –   112
  6. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income More  than $500k –  66
  7. Businesses For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida with Net Income More  than $1M        -19

Highlighted Industry:     Automotive  Business For Sale in Florida                      Automotive businesses for sale include Auto Repair businesses for sale,Towing Businesses For Sale in Florida, Auto Car Washes for Sale in Florida, Auto Car Sales Businesses for Sale in Florida, Auto Body Shops for Sale in Florida, and other Auto related businesses .

  • Number of Automotive Businesses  Sold in Florida in last 2 years -54`
  • Average Days it took to sell –  282
  • Number of Automotive Businesses  Currently For Sale in Florida- 186

Currently I represent a Towing Business For Sale in Jacksonville Florida. This business for sale is available with or without Realestate and relizes revenue streams from towing, service, storage and resales. Looking to Buy a business in Florida?

All above info compiled from data available via the bbfmls website.

For more info or questions regarding the Florida Business Acquisition Market or Florida Businesses for sale please contact

Scott M Messinger




Negotiating from a Business Owner Business Broker Perspective

As a Small business owner or Entrepreneur, we find ourselves always negotiating.  We negotiate with our vendors for better prices/terms.  We negotiate with our spouses to spend just a few more hours at the office before we come home for dinner.   I believe everyone’s views and methods of  negotiation are as different as our taste in music.

Negotiating When Buying Or Selling A Business

My profession as a business broker certainly involves negotiations at most every step of the long process of buying and or selling a business.   Someone “needs” to sell their business, he “needs to sell at this price”,  according to all the other Business For Sale , his price is 3 x what other like businesses are asking, I find myself “negotiating or discussing” the merits of his target price.  My previous position as an owner of a small business with 25 employees and handling manufacturing, transportation, multiple office locations, and distribution required constant negotiation. I used to formally review my employees on an annual basis.

They generally expected a raise.  Before the meeting, I would calculate what the company could afford, set a range and meet with the employee.  I never viewed this process as a meeting that allowed negotiation on wages.  I viewed it as a means to allow di-directional feedback, but the wage increase was not an arbitrary number.  Very often employees would ask for more, I think just because they thought that is what they were supposed to do- which is fine with me.  They viewed this as a negotiation, I viewed it as something else.- This was just part of my personality or philosophy on negotiation.  I had fantastic long term employees and we would later negotiate days off, holiday pay and other items, but raises were not a point of negotiation.   Again, I think we all have our own unique views and ideas on negotiation.

Very often how ones negotiates may be a matter of his or hers personality.  Other time “someone told me or taught me” how to negotiate and that becomes the norm.  Currently as a business broker I do have to negotiate terms and conditions of me helping a business owner sell a business.  The line between negotiation and discussion does become blurred and for me I think it is fine to have business negotiations and business discussion become one and the same thing.

My Negotiation Tips For You

1.  I find I don`t get so caught up on the concept of negotiation and semantics.  I find that we have a business decision to resolve, we have 2 parties seeking to resolve it, and the 2 parties work together to seek resolution. Put yourself in the position of having options and the process has the potential for the best results.

2.  Its not always about price.  I have been through the process of negotiating  leases on a facilities, annual purchase orders with major suppliers, and larger purchases of capital equipment and many other “negotiable situation.  Very often the person that I am trying to reach agreement with is very strong and firm upon the price they believe is needed.  And in many situations I have been willing to accept the price desired by the other party, BUT I make absolute sure the other party hold true to every other term and condition within the agreement.

So my position is ok let us go with the price you desire, but it is mandated that delivery date, guarantees, support, followup and every other item involve with this matter is followed completely.  At times I feel that such value can be added thru the other terms that the actual price is really a value to both parties.  Or as it relates to my current profession as a business owner selling a business, I will give you a $50,000  price reduction, but I want a personal guarantee on the buyer, I want 8% interest instead of the 7% interest the buyer is offering for me to finance my business, and I want the owner to stay on as a free consultant for an extra 3 months.  SO the person buying the business gets the reduced price, and the seller gets some real added value.

Negotiation And Business Price

Photo (c) thesologuide.com

3.  One more point about price.  How many times have we been working thru a deal and felt the need to drive the price down to a level that the seller is willing to accept but not really happy with.  Then a week later when we want this little extra help or assistance or concession and we hear “We’re already losing money on this deal and we really cant help you with that”.

4.  Really a good deal is a deal that is good for both parties.  Sometimes one party can leave the “negotiating table ”  knowing that it is a great deal for him/her, and knowing that the other party is “taking a hit”.  How does that help sustain an ongoing relationship.  There are businesses that are ok with the “one and done” concept and have little regard to the effect on the other party.  I think our globe is fairly small, and getting smaller and I aspire, plan and count on all business relationship being perpetual.  Again the example about buying or selling a business.

If you are selling a business and you want a price that is higher than the actual business can justify, and if you provide some seller financing to the buyers, what is going to be the result of you getting this inflated price.  Very likely it results in the buyers of the business, not being able to make payments to you, going into default, and you having to deal again with the business that you originally sold because you had not longer wished to be dealing with it.

5.  Dont mistake negotiating with wishing or hoping.  If you know the terms that you need to attain to make the deal make sense to you,  be prepared to walk away from the deal. Are you making an offer and hoping /wishing the other party takes it because you know you want or “need” this product or service?  Be prepared to walk away form the deal, again try to put yourself in the position of having options.  If someone is wanting to buy a Towing Business and makes a bottom line offer to someone selling,  it helps the potential buyer knows that there are 3 other similar towing businesses for sale in the area and is fully prepared to pursue these other options.

I’m Looking to Buy a Business

“I’m Looking to Buy a Business“.  As a business broker based here in Florida  this is a statement that I hear often.  Within  the industry various statistics are stated regarding business buyers.  I have heard that 9 out of 10 of those that say they want to buy a business actually don’t buy a business.  Based on my experiences that statistic may hold true.  There are so many currently employed that during their 40- hour work week aspire to “be their own boss” by starting their own business or buying their own business.

Live Your Dream – Buy A Business

There are many unemployed out there that also think they may want to buy or start a business.  So while there are probably as many as millions of those both currently employed or unemployed that aspire to buy a business or start  a business, there is a much much smaller subset of those that even attempt to act on those aspirations.  Of that small percent that actually act on their dreams and or  goals a small percent may contact a business broker such as myself, and a small percentage of that group may find themselves at a closing table signing documents and actually buying a business.

Many business acquisitions are done with out the assistance of a business broker.  The numbers of how many entrepreneur types set off to buy a business and successful find a business without the professional assistance of a business broker are unknown to me.  I personally  had bought several businesses on my own without the assistance of a business broker.

These were strategic acquisitions within a certain industry.  I personally feel these types of acquisitions have a higher success rate.  Existing relationships, industry knowledge, focus,  and synergies provide for a higher success rate.   My views on this are based upon a fair amount of first hand experiences of myself and peers. This discussion is based primarily on non- strategic type acquisitions as referred to above.

Just one of the many steps in the process of buying a business that I assist in is how to apply some focus and some parameters to the basic statement of “I want to buy a Business”.  Being my company website is Sell a Business Florida I assume the person contacting me thru my website is looking to buy a business in Florida, but very often many of the other parameters have not been carefully considered.

When one is looking to buy a business criteria can range from looking at a certain specific company, to a certain “type” of business, to “I want to buy A business in the state of Florida”.  If you (or someone that you know) are currently employed and want to act on aspirations to buy their own business and gain the feeling of control of ones destiny, or are currently unemployed and view buying a business  to be the best means to a gainful career please consider the following.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Business

Below are a few parameters to consider when searching to buy a business.  The list can be long and extensive but the below is a starting point that allows the search to buy a business to maintain some focus.

  • Location-  For business purposes and family purposes does the business need to be in a certain State, County, City, or a certain side of town?  Or are you looking to buy a home based business that you can operate from most anywhere in the world?
  • Type of Business-  Are you looking to buy a certain type of business  like a Landscape Company For Sale or Towing Business For Sale , or are you looking to buy a business that has maintained certain performance levels such as “I want to buy a business that has at least 3 consecutive  years of  Net Income of $100,000+”.
  • Are you looking to buy a Hands on or Hands off business.
  • How much Available Capital to do you have? – This will set a range of businesses that you may consider.  Keep in mind that both Available capital for buying a business and Working Capital for running the business should both be considered.
  • Are you looking for a business that includes real estate
  • Are you looking for a business that provides Seller Financing?

Prospective Business Buyer ” Hi Scott I am looking to Buy a Business in Florida” Scott” Great,  What type of business are you looking to buy” Prospective Business Buyer“I really don’t know”

Why Buy A Towing Company

When Buying a business –  It has been said by others Pay for the Past, Consider the Present, Buy for the future.  So what is most important when looking to buy an existing business.  How much weight do you put on last years numbers?   How important are the current numbers?  How much are you buying the business for the future numbers?  Past, present,  and future all matter.

But buying a business is buying the future. I am currently working with a Florida based Towing company that is interested in selling his business.  We are selling his Towing company for $1,400,000.              Towing Business For Sale It is easy to imagine a towing company to be no more than the guy that hooks up your car at the side of the road and tows it in for repairs and that is the extent of the business.  This Towing business for sale is much more  that.  I attempt to view businesses for sale from the perspective- “would I buy this business, and why or why not?”.

Why Should Your Buy Towing Company Business:

This Towing business for sale will be a solid business investment for someone and I’d like to highlight reasons why someone will buy this business:

1.   Multiple Income Streams- Yes they do tow cars, but the business model is so much more than that.  They derive revenue from towing, also, vehicles towed in very often pay a daily storage fee, sometimes for vehicles in accidents vehicle require “sealing the car with stretch wrap” to eliminate additional damage from weather, some vehicle owners elect to get vehicle serviced at the towing companies service shop, so there are service fees, some vehicles get towed in and never get claimed.(more than you would think).  These vehicles get fixed and resold, sold for parts, or sold for scrap.   So Income comes from:  a.  Towing,  b. Storage,  c. Securing  d. Storage              e. Service work  f.resale  g. Disposal

2.   Significant Assets are included in purchase Price- Land, multiple buildings, multiple trucks, equipment collectively total over $1,000,000.   I have never been a fan of buying a business because of the assets- Usually cash flow is main area of interest.  But owning the property that your business operates on and paying “yourself the rent”, allows you both control and the ability to enjoy appreciation of this asset as you grow your business.  Also, securing money for your business is easier with assets on your balance sheet.

3.   Good Cash Flow–  This Towing  business generate about $160,000 a year in cash flow.  With Revenues of about $600,000 this is a respectable cash flow. Cash flow has been fairly steady and consistent over a several year period.

4.   A Towing Business is a Recession Resistant Business- There may be a business that is “Recession Proof”, but I am not so sure what that business may be. The economic downturn that began in 2008 has been both extended and far reaching.  Outside of insurance companies, most businessesIi know of have felt the effects of this downturn by significant reduction in revenues.  The towing business is a service that is neither a “luxury item” nor discretionary expense.   A towing company provides a service that is needed regardless of the economy.  This business did realize a 12% reduction in revenues, but compared to the 20%, 30%, and 40%+ reductions in revenues by many of the businesses that i have been working with, this dip in revenue is minimal.

5.   Future Prospects– Business has opportunity to add an onsite used car auto division.(both the land and building exist and the towing nature of the business results in vehicles potential for resale).  Service department has considerable room for growth, and unlike many auto service companies that may wonder where their next customer may come from, the towing operations bring customers in!  As with the auto resale operation, most of the infra structure is in place,  incremental revenue  could result in substantial incremental cash flow.

Towing Company

Photo (c) grandrapidsmilocksmith.com

Yes , I have a vested interest in the sale of this towing company.  I stand to gain financially as this business sells.  I also  attain personal satisfaction helping a long term business owner work thru this process of transition.  Finding the right buyer and getting the right price and terms for this business are the goals we set.

I believe this Towing business for sale will be of benefit to the right buyer.