Months into Patricia’s frustrating and fruitless job hunt, she decided to go to “Plan B”--using her savings and some borrowed money to purchase a business. But would a small business she could afford, be big enough to provide the cash flow she needed to maintain her lifestyle
That's a typical question posed by many people interested in purchasing a small California business for sale. And the solution involves thinking in terms of a range of values, because there rarely is a precise number that provides an exact “right” price for any business purchase.
It’s also important not to take too seriously the extreme examples that buyers hear about. You’re not likely to find a seller desperate to “let a great company go” at a figure well below its value. Nor is an informed buyer likely to be a “sucker,” paying twice what a small business is worth.
To be successful with a business purchase, the smart buyer should seek a good company at a fair price--a price arrived at following an approach consistent with real market experience.
That approach determines a small company’s value using a multiplier in a formula with the company’s adjusted earnings. The earnings figure used is adjusted by starting with net profit and adding back deductions for taxes, depreciation, interest and amortization expenses.
Business brokers and appraisers believe the right way to select the multiplier is to think in terms of a range of multipliers. And the range repeatedly found in the calculation of prices agreed on by buyers and sellers of small businesses, is two to four.
In other words, a business generating $100,000 in adjusted earnings will likely have a market value somewhere between $200,000 and $400,000. This rather large spread is then further refined depending on various pertinent factors. Some businesses--examples are gas stations and car washes--are in high demand for business purchases. They fetch a value close to the top multiplier. A restaurant with no distinguishing characteristics to make it particularly valuable will be worth closer to the bottom end of the range.
Other factors business buyers need to keep in mind when going to purchase a business include: length and cost of the premises lease, condition of equipment, consistency of earnings over time, and seller’s willingness to help finance.
What Buyers Can Expect When They Go To Purchase A Business
This brief summary of valuation approach is not intended to equip an inexperienced buyer with ability to determine what a business for sale is worth. The question about what to pay for a company should be asked in collaboration with a knowledgeable business broker or appraisal professional.
The buyer can benefit from these suggestions by considering them to be rough guidelines. They’re meant to help a prospective purchaser determine whether available resources are likely to be sufficient to purchase a business profitable enough to provide the income needed.
A buyer with a $20,000 down payment, for example, is probably wasting time trying to leverage that sum into purchase of a business generating a $60,000 annual income. Given these circumstances, it might be wise to adjust the purchase strategy, such as raising money from family members, if possible. Or decide to live on much less income. Or try and operate the business while also working at a job.
And by knowing how to approach the valuation when going to puchase a business, a buyer can ignore the exaggerated tales that circulate about great business bargains, and can work within market realities.
One of the best ways to find and buy a business in California is to join the BizBen Network's Buyers Success Program. Buyers who are signed up and a part of the Business Buyers Success Program are able to take advantage or many special features just for business buyers seeking business purchases in California.
About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder of BizBen.com and the Director of the BizBen Network. If you are searching to buy a business make sure you are a part of the BizBen Business Buyers Success Program and get the word out about your search criteria to all business brokers and agents in the area that your are looking to buy a business. If you have questions about buying a business or about the Business Buyers Success Program please feel free to phone Peter Siegel at: 866-270-6278.
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services
California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.
|Janet Carrera - Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - SF Bay Area
Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.
|Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services
Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.
|Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area
McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.
|Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses
Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.
|Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California
New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.
|Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers
I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.
|Joe Sandbank, Esq. - Legal Services
I have provided legal counsel to business buyers, sellers and brokers for over 17 years. With prior experience as a business broker and SBA loan officer, Joe brings both a practical and legal approach to all aspects of the business acquisition process.
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