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Should You Do Due Diligence Yourself When Buying A Business?


Due Diligence Strategies Explained By Willard Michlin, CPA

How many attorneys have you seen that have successfully represented themselves in court?

How many doctors have you seen successfully conduct an operation on themselves?

Just as with doctors and lawyers, doing a business review or audit by yourself, in order to save a buck, does not work.

There is an old saying that applies here, "There is nothing more expensive than cheap."

When doing due diligence alone, without any assistance, you're allowing emotions to play a big part, eventually leading to a bad decision. I have actually seen buyers not hire someone to help them entirely because they didn't want to have their dream killed by the truth. Of course, later they wished they had gotten help, because that dream business they imagined in their head turned out to be nothing like the business they purchased.

You can do a large portion of the due diligence yourself, depending on your background, but you should never try to do it solely on your own.  Let's go over a few of the reasons:
 
1. People hire a CPA or other qualified person because they need an expert opinion, and the more experience the expert has (not knowledge, but experience), the more valuable he is to you.

2. Everyone needs someone to bounce ideas off of. And everyone looks at the same information from a different perspective.  Life experiences and different educations give us multiple points of view. If you are in a partnership where you and your partners always agree, you have one partner too many.

3. You always end up with a better deal when the final approval is subject to a second person's approval. When I bought businesses for myself, and had my Vice President approve my actions, I always found things about the business that allowed me to make a better deal.

Due Diligence for a small business can cost between $350 to $5,000. If the purchase price is $500,000 that is just one percent of the purchase price. And you're using it to give you some assurance that you are getting what you think you are paying for.

Can you buy any type of business insurance for only 1% of the face on the policy?

Willard MichlinAbout The Author:  Willard Michlin, CPA, offers business buyers Due Diligence Services (Second Opinion, Offer Assistance, Final Due Diligence) throughout California when they are thinking of making an offer on a business or in the process of investigating a business purchase. He has written numerous articles on the due diligence process and can be reached direct at 805-428-2063 for more information and an appointment.


Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Buying A Business, Deal And Escrow Issues, Due Diligence Issues, How To Buy A Business


Comments Regarding This Blog Post


As a broker, my advice to any client that has a question in regards to lease or books and records is that they should consult a lawyer or an accountant, especially if they are questions that are outside my level of expertise. As a broker, I facilitate the introductions to bother buyer and seller, and guide them a little with regards to which documents may want to be seen, but I'm careful that I don't get too involved, because I don't want it to look like I am putting my thumb on the scale. I can only represent what I am being told to by the seller.

Contributor: Due Diligence, Valuations Advisor

Having been on both sides of the due diligence process I find myself in agreement with all that has been previously written here, but would like to add a few observations of my own.

1) The buyer must have a realistic approach to the process or they are wasting their money paying for due diligence. If you are "in love" with your target acquisition and plan to proceed regardless, you are likely to end up with the wrong end of the win/loose stick.

2) The due diligence process can change the shape of the deal , often the price and terms will change, depending on what is found in the process. Some have to be killed off, be emotionally equipped to deal with that event.

3) First time buyers must have somebody on their side as they move through this process as there are tax and legal considerations that they generally are not in tune with.

4) Don't buy "plaques on the wall". All accountants and attorney's have plaques on the wall but there is a distinct difference in outcomes depending on their experience .There is such a thing as a transaction accountant and transaction attorney. You don't want to be paying for their education.

5) If you are coming from corporate America you may have awesome management skills, but self employment is different.

6) Somebody once said it is a smart man who knows what he does not know.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
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.

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.

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.

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.

Jordan Green, JRG Communications - Marketing Services For Brokers, Agents

JRG Communications is a marketing communications company assisting business brokers & agents. Services include: social media management, custom website creation & design, content creation services, optimizing and posting listings on business-for-sale websites, custom articles & blog post creation.

Chris Seaman, Business Broker - San Diego County Area

Founded in 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has accelerated to become one of the most successful Business Sales Organizations in the world. Our team of agents have gone through extensive training to become experts in the field of business brokerage. Call Chris at 858-578-4111 for more info.

Ryan Clark, Business Broker, Southern California

The Veld Group provides a refreshing approach to Business Brokerage, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Consulting and Valuations. From Your Street to Wall Street, we cater to Main Street Businesses as well as more complex Strategic Firms and Start-Ups. Phone Ryan at 310-652-8353.

Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists

Laundry specialists - founded in 1968 by three laundry professionals, PWS is a family-owned corporation. Through the years it has grown to become the largest vended laundry equipment distributor in the United States. Call Brad Steinberg at 323-721-8832 to sell or buy a coin or card laundromat.


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Southern California Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers
Willard Michlin Due Diligence Services
Escrow Services From Helen Yoo New Century Escrow
Joe Ranieri Orange County Business Broker
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