How Do I Determine the Value Of My Business? Or, The One I Want To Buy?

Comments & Replies: 6     Views: 12006     Posted By: Timothy Cunha JD  Timothy Cunha JD: Business Broker, SF Bay Area

How do you determine the value of your business when you go to sell or even buy a business? There are so many factors and that is usually one of the first items serious buyers inquire about. When a business broker or agent goes to sell a business this should be one of the first tasks they perform.

Topics: Business Valuation, Buying A Business, Selling A Business     Tags: business valuation, buying a business, selling a business



Often, I'm asked, "Aren't all businesses worth the same multiple of profit or percentage of sales? Profit is profit, and a dollar is a dollar, right?"

To answer, I usually ask an absurd question: "Which is more valuable, the business that requires getting out of bed at 2 a.m. and driving through alleys of San Francisco collecting recyclable trash, that grosses $500,000, and nets $150,000; or, the business that rents out chairs and umbrellas on the beach in Santa Cruz on warm, sunny days, and also grosses $500,000 and nets $150,000?" Of course, the obvious answer is that the beach chair business is far more valuable. It's all about commitments of time and the lifestyle enjoyed by the owner.

And, that's what "rules of thumb" answer. How is this particular business or industry regarded by previous buyers? How did they value the gross and net revenue because of the type of business? With the right data, we can calculate the numbers and find the ROI, EBIT, EBITDA, "net cash flow", and "SDE"; but, only actual past human behavior indicates what those abstract numbers mean to real buyers.

Business brokers are very familiar with two typical ways of providing a quick value estimate for a small business, using comparable sales of similar businesses: (1) a percentage of gross revenues, and (2) a multiple of seller's discretionary earnings ("SDE"). These work fairly well at estimating a realistic fair market value range in the majority of cases, especially when the business is not all that unique and there are plenty of comps.

But, in those situations where the fair market value is more complex because the business is unusual or nonconforming and there are few comps, I use a variety of methods. One is to calculate the full replacement cost of the physical assets (adding 25% to cover sales tax, acquisition, freight, and installation costs), plus the cost to replicate the customer base, plus any cost to replicate intellectual property, plus a value on the time-to-market advantage of buying an existing company rather than starting from scratch. But, there are many other methods, with the ultimate purpose to determine the potential actual value of the business to the most likely buyer.

Contributor: Business Appraisals, Valuations Advisor

An ACCURATE business appraisal is much more difficult to create than most people realize. Rule of Thumbs and Comps are useless as they typically represent the average value of a specific type of business. In every class of businesses there are the well run and the poorly run examples. How do you know which end of the scale the business you are looking at ranks? Rule of Thumbs and Comps also do not address the asset value or the condition of the assets. Each business is unique and must be appraised as a unique entity.

ROI, EBIT, EBITDA and SDE based methods do not look at asset value and condition or market influences that affect value.

Percentage of gross revenues has little importance on a business s value. I once appraised a business doing $20,000,000 in sales with less than $200,000 in adjusted cash flow. Its appraised value was just over $300,000. Gross revenue is not a good indicator of business value. On the other hand, seller s discretionary spending is an important factor, but it doesn t present a full picture of the business s value.

Valuing equipment assets are never based on replacement value except possibly in an insurance claim. Fair Market Value based on the original purchase price is used by business appraisal professionals. This is 50 to 75% of the original purchase price depending on type, age and condition of the equipment. No other arbitrary additional cost can be associated with the equipment, customer base or business age.


Ultimately the "value" of a business depends on the benefit to be derived by the unique purchaser ... and that can vary from buyer to buyer. In broad terms, there are three kinds of buyers: the "career seeker", the "absentee (or semi-absentee) investor," and the "strategic player" (already in the business and seeking a marketing or operational advantage by acquisition). For each of these buyers, the "value" of the business may be significantly different.

Another factor to consider is how long the buyer intends to own the business. If it will be only a very few years, what the "market" says the business is worth is very important because it will face the market again in a relatively short time. If the buyer intends to hold on to the business for 5, 10, 15 years, and it serves the goals and purposes of that buyer, what the buyer considers its "worth" to be is far more relevant than the market's opinion.

Often, the prospective buyer needs to consider a "make or buy" decision--whether it is more economical to purchase a business than to start a business "from scratch." In my experience, it is almost always preferable to buy an existing (healthy) business. One of several criteria for making that determination is what it would cost to replace all the essential FF&E of the existing business; this is not for the purpose of valuation of those assets in an abstract or discrete sense, but rather for the comprehensive purpose of evaluating the relative merits of business acquisition versus business formation.

Contributor: Broker/Consultant: Elderly Care Services

I find it interesting that if I ask 3 different Appraisers to give me a value on a business, I will receive 3 completely different values. I agree with the Author that lifestyle, convenience, sustainability, and growth opportunities all play a role in value, but certainly make it hard to place a price tag on a business.


There are many factors that can affect a sales price, such as high rent, location, level of expertise that a new owner may need to properly run the business, etc. Working with enough buyers, I have found that most expect to receive a ROI with 2-3 years, and then want to make sure that they have enough time on the lease, so that they will be able to sell in the future.


Thank you for the great article. You are absolutely correct. In the end it comes down to What a Buyer is willing to Pay and a Seller is willing to accept. So, coming up with the comparable value is a basis. Most would pay more for the life on the beach, but both options need to be tested. The problem is of course beyond substantiating the numbers, which I see dominate most Buyers decisions. Unfortunately, this often leads to a rush of judgment. A business purchase, especially one with equipment or Lease dependent requires a great deal of Due Diligence in various areas, beyond the numbers. I also agree that unless a business is performing at Model Levels it should be looked at from all directions including, unit in place, sustainability testing, Lease conditions and competitive position and potential are all tests that should be conducted if one is diligent. Business Acquisitions absolutely fit the Message "Buyer Beware".


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - CA

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 Service - 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.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - San Francisco 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.

William F. Ziprick, Attorney: Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

Through creative problem solving, attention to detail, accessibility, & understanding that unnecessary delay is often a deal killer, I work closely with my clients and other professionals to consistently achieve a high rate of closings. Office: 909-255-8353, Cell: 509-951-7230.

Matt Weiler, Business Broker: Gas Station Specialist

Business Broker Specializing in primarily gas stations. Geographic area of focus: San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento and as far South as Monterey, California. To sell or buy a small or large gas station phone Matt (gas station business broker specialist) direct at 408-623-0920.

Mike Brewer: Liquor License Broker, ABC Consulting Service

Liquor license brokerage and consulting services. We provide: Alcohol License Transfers Application Consulting & Processing, Liquor License Purchases & Sales, City Zoning Permits & Land Use Entitlements, Public Convenience or Necessity Findings and Letters. Phone Mike Brewer direct at 800-437-1100.

Steve Zimmerman: Restaurant Broker Specialist, California

Steve founded Restaurant Realty in 1996. He has personally sold/leased over 1000 restaurants, bars & clubs, & completed over 3000 valuations. The author of "Restaurant Dealmaker- An Insider's Trade Secrets For Buying a Restaurant, Bar or Club" available on Amazon. Reach Steve direct at 415-945-9701.

Prabhjot Randhawa, Broker: SF Bay Area, Central Valley

I'm a Business Advisor at Liberty Business Advisors of San Francisco. I have over 20 years of experience in all phases of entrepreneurship. During the past 15 years my concentration has been in business of mergers and consulting. I have owned and operated over 10 businesses. 209-815-3842 Cell.


  Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews
6 Simple Things To Increase Business Value Before Offering It For Sale

How do you value a small business before putting it on the market? Tim Cunha, JD offers 6 items all business owners should consider. Other advisors and business brokers also weigh in on this very important topic especially when over 70% of small businesses never end up selling (due to pricing).

8 Tough Questions You Most Likely Will Be Asked When Selling Your Business

When selling your small business, you'll be bombarded with questions - from the brilliant to the ridiculous. You need to be prepared. Here are some of the key questions you can expect to be asked. Tim Cunha (SF Bay Area Business Broker at 650-600-3751) reviews many of these possible questions.

Purchase A Small Business With Limited Or No Cash: Financing Tips For Buyers

Purchasing a business with no money down can be difficult, but not impossible. Financing a business purchase or down payment can often be accomplished with these strategies offered from Peter Siegel, MBA (Business Purchase Financing Expert, ProBuy & ProSell Program Advisor with BizBen) in this post.

Getting An SBA Loan To Buy A Small Business: Dispelling Some Major Myths

When seeking SBA loan financing many potential business buyers have wrong information about the process of securing the best financing to buy a business. Peter Siegel, MBA (at 925-785-3118) a business purchase financing expert delves into the myths and facts regarding SBA loan financing.

Business Purchase Financing Help - Expert Tips For Faster SBA Loan Approvals

Business purchase financing advisor Peter Siegel, MBA shares his views on SBA loan financing. He explains the nuances of the SBA loan process when considering business purchase financing or getting pre-qualified. Reach Peter Siegel, MBA direct at 925-785-3118 regarding SBA & Non SBA Loan Financing.

Buying A Business: Why Is It Important To Look At Its Tax Filings?

Business tax filings are very important factor in determining the credibility of business financials. Just seeing those financials, you can't determine whether those values are overstated or not. Some business owners provide made up financials to buyers - so, that's where tax fillings come in.

Business Purchase Financing: SBA Loans & Non SBA Financing Solution Services

I provide niche business purchase financial advisory and loan placement services with SBA and Non-SBA Financing, Retirement Fund Rollover Solutions, Combo Financing Packages, etc. To get more information about getting Pre-Qualified & more info on the ProBuy/ProSell Programs: 925-785-3118 Direct.

Thinking About Selling A Small Business? Know These 8 Factors That Matter

The likelihood of selling a business is often determined by external factors in the marketplace. Here are eight influences on how easy, or difficult it might be when selling a small California business. Peter Siegel at 925-785-3118 (BizBen ProSell Program) explains these factors for owner/sellers.


Chuck Post Laundromat Industry Expert
Tim Cunha Business Brokerage
Redwood Escrow Bulk Sale Services
Escrow Services Diane Boudreau-Tschetter
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Vlogs and Podcasts
California Educational Events Buying And Selling Businesses
BizBen ProSell Program
Instant Email Alerts On BizBen
Advertise On BizBen
Business For Sale California Stats


BizBen - Where California Deals Get Done! 888-212-4747
7172 Regional Street #364 · Dublin, CA. 94568
BizBen · Copyright © 1994 - 2020, All Rights Reserved



Clost Login


Please confirm your registration by clicking the link we've sent to .

If you can't see it, please check your junk mail folder.

If you have any problems registering, or need assistance with your new BizBen User Account please phone BizBen Customer Support at 888-212-4747.



First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email Address:*
Confirm Email:*
Create Password:*
Confirm Password:*
Phone:
(   
 


You Are A:
Individual
 
Intermediary
 

Email Address:
Password:
 

500 New & Refreshed Detailed Postings Daily
Over 2500 Resources Available On BizBen
Since 1994. Where California Deals Get Done!
Purchase A Small Business With Limited Or No Cash: Financing Tips For Bu...
Read More News
Thinking About Selling A Small Business? Know These 8 Factors That Matte...
Read More News