Buying an online business
is an exciting. However, investors looking to purchase a business may need help from an online business broker to execute the transaction properly.

An ecommerce broker’s experience and resources are invaluable throughout the process. However, their services come with a fee.

Understanding these fees and the factors that go into determining the price are key to help to a prospective investor. Knowing this ensures you get the maximum value for your transaction. Let’s explore four factors that influence business broker fees.

Source: Freepik

1. Size and Complexity of the Transaction

If you’re considering enlisting the help of a business broker, it’s crucial to understand that the fees charged by these professionals are not one-size-fits-all. In fact, the larger and more complex the transaction, the higher the fee will likely be.

This is because larger business deals require more time, expertise, and resources from the broker. Therefore, business brokers may charge more for this service.

The size and complexity of a business influence the business broker’s fee in a couple of ways. Here are a few:

– Business brokers need to manage complex paperwork for larger businesses or industries.

– Certain industries will require specific expertise that may not be available to all brokers.

– Complex financing structures can add to the cost of legal fees because they require additional analysis and legal advice.

– Different countries have different regulatory requirements, so international transactions will require additional research.

For an investor looking to buy or merge with a large company, it’s important to choose a broker who has experience in handling these types of transactions. They’ll have the insights and skills necessary to help you navigate the complex process and emerge with a favorable outcome.

Source: Freepik

2. Level of Involvement Required

While most brokers may simply facilitate the deal-making process, others conduct in-depth research or negotiate complex contract terms.

The more work a business broker has to put in, the higher their fee is likely to be. That said, it’s important to balance the need for a competent and capable business broker against the potential cost of their services.

Let’s take a look at three factors that can determine the involvement of a business broker in the acquisition process:

1. If you already have a buyer in mind, the business broker may only need to review the paperwork and provide advice to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

2. If you are looking for buyers, the business broker may need to spend more time researching your industry, marketing your business, and cultivating potential buyers.

3. If negotiations become difficult, the business broker may need to step in and be more involved in finding an agreement for both parties.

It’s important to sign up with brokers who are part of the International Business Brokers Association. This will ensure your broker is professional, ethical, and trained to manage the sales process.

Source: Freepik

3. Industry and Market Conditions

Industry and market conditions have a profound impact on broker fees. Whether you’re buying or selling an online business, the following factors can impact the price of a business broker.

Industry Expertise: Business brokers who have experience and expertise in specific industries may charge higher fees than those who do not. For example, a business broker who specializes in technology startups may charge more than a generalist broker. This is because of their specialized knowledge and connections in that industry.

Competition: The level of competition among business brokers in a particular market can also impact the fees they charge. In a highly competitive market, brokers may lower their fees to attract more client.  While in a less competitive market, they may be able to charge higher fees.

Size of the Deal: The size of the business acquisition can also impact the fees charged by brokers. Brokers may charge a percentage of the final sale price, so larger deals will result in higher fees. However, brokers may also be willing to negotiate their fees for smaller deals in order to attract clients.

Market Conditions: Market conditions can also impact the fees charged by business brokers. In a strong seller’s market, where there are more buyers than sellers, brokers can charge higher fees due to increased demand. In a weak buyer’s market, where there are more sellers than buyers, brokers may negotiate their fees to attract buyers.

Source: Freepik

4. Fees Structures

There are a few types of fees that buy-side business brokers may charge.

Success Fees

A success fee is only paid if the broker completes the transaction. This means a business broker charge is only applied if they successfully find and acquire a suitable business for the buyer.

Success fee, also called percentage fee, is typically calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of the business. It can range from 2% to 5% or more. Most business brokers charge a success fee and close deals that are in the best interest of their clients.

Upfront Fees

Clients need to pay the upfront fee before business brokers start with the sales process. Most business brokers use this fee to cover the costs of the broker’s initial due diligence and research into potential acquisition targets.

Upfront fees are typically non-refundable. It can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the broker’s work. Upfront fees ensure that the buyer is serious about working with the broker and can cover the costs of the broker’s initial work in the sale process.

Retainer Fees

Buyers pay the retainer fee to secure their services. Retainer fees are typically paid upfront and they cover the broker’s initial costs. This fee ensures that the broker fulfils their commitment of working with the buyer. Retainer fees are often credited against the success fee once the deal finalizes.

Due Diligence Fees

In some cases, a business brokerage may charge a fee for conducting due diligence on potential acquisition targets. Due diligence fees cover the costs of legal and financial experts who review documents and provide advice on the deal when selling a business.

Consulting Fees

Some business brokers may offer consulting services in addition to their acquisition services. Some brokers may charge consulting fees based on an hourly or project basis. It may cover a range of services, including market research, strategic planning, and financial analysis.

Source: Freepik

What Factors do Business Brokers Consider?

Business brokers consider several factors when working with clients to buy or sell a business. These include the profitability of the business, its location and market niche, and the financial health of the company.

Some other considerations include:

  • The size of the business– is the business profitable?
  • Market demand – is there a large, established customer base, or is the business just getting started?
  • Competition – what other ecommerce businesses are in the same space?
  • Timing – when is the best time to buy an ecommerce business?
  • Industry trends – is the ecommerce industry on an upswing, or is it slowing down?
  • Legal and regulatory issues – are there any potential legal problems that could affect the business’s future success?
  • Tax implications – what tax liabilities exist when purchasing an ecommerce business?
  • Business culture – what kind of working environment exists within the business?
  • Scalability – is the business scalable to meet changing market demands?
  • Risk assessment – what are the risks associated with buying an ecommerce business, and how brokers can mitigate them?
  • Growth trajectory – what kind of growth is likely in the future? Will it grow into a large business or remain a small business
  • Supplier relationships – how established are the business’s relationships with its suppliers?
  • Customer base – who makes up the customer base, and how loyal are they to the business?
  • Competition analysis – what is the competitive landscape for this sector, and how does it affect the business?
  • Financials – what is the financial health of the business, including revenue and profit?
  • Online presence – what kind of online presence does the business have, such as a website or social media accounts?

Consult with Experienced Business Brokers

The fees a buy-side business broker charges for services will depend on several factors. These include their experience and unique skill set, the complexity of the project, local market conditions, and anticipated difficulty.

So, don’t hesitate to take advantage of a business broker’s skills as you make your way toward financial success. Contact eCommerce brokers today, and fulfil your dreams of buying a business.

Author Bio: George Moulos

Forbes 30 Under 30 2020, CEO of Ecommerce-Brokers.com

I own an online M&A firm called www.Ecommerce-Brokers.com and we have 11 years experience helping buyers and sellers acquire and sell millions of dollars worth of online businesses.

Looking To Buy? Visit our Elite Acquirers buy side broker service to learn more here

Looking To Sell? Visit our List With Us page to learn more here

Looking For Staff? Visit our Recruitment page to learn more here