30 Of The Best Places To List Your Business For Sale
How do you sell a small business and which multi-listing sites (MLS) or portals accept listings of companies for sale? We've assembled a comprehensive list of the main venues for both individual sellers and business brokers! Compare venue prices & coverage below.
Warning: Selling a company effectively involves a lot more than listing the firm online. From preparing the company for sale to putting together the right documentation to attracting the right buyers and negotiating the best deal - there is a lot that the unwary seller can get wrong. Get an expert to assist.
Now that that is out of the way, let's proceed to the list of top locations to list businesses for sale.
Top places to list businesses for sale
- Enterprise Europe Network
- Merger Network
- Other players
- M&A databases for larger businesses (restricted to subscribers - free subscription here)
- Numerous other options (restricted to subscribers - free subscription here)
BusinessesForSale.com is probably the biggest business listing site in the UK. With offices from the USA to Australia and covering 130 other countries in-between, it has an international feel and, though your listing will be on their UK site, it will be seen by more than the occasional buyer outside of the UK. This claims to be the world's largest site for listing businesses and is well established having been around since the mid-nineties.
Fees at the time of writing this article were approx £170 pm with a discount for longer term bookings (£299 for six months). This is our recommended option for UK business sellers.
From our experience, the average small business listing that is reasonably priced can expect to see 2-6 enquiries per month from a listing in BusinessesForSale.
I know, 2-6 is not exciting! But it's not like you're selling a brand new iPhone in eBay for 50% of the list price! If you want more prospective buyers you'll need to hire a business broker (and not just any broker but one who proactively hunts down prospective businesses and approaches a few hundred of them to try and tempt them into taking a look. These brokers will charge a large upfront fee of tens of thousands of pounds!).
RightBiz is a well established listing portal and is our second choice. The charges are lower than for the previous company, and we've found that we get fewer responses from RightBiz ads, but given the cost of £49 pm or a flat £139 till sold, we think it's worth taking a chance especially if you've already invested in a putting together sharp, professional copy for your teaser ad.
From our experience, the average small business that is reasonably priced can expect to see 1-3 enquiries per month during the first six months.
Business Sale Report is one of the UK's oldest and best known listing firms. Their history is in the listing of distressed businesses but they have long since expanded that coverage to include all businesses.
As with some of the previous firms such as BusinessesForSale, they have a large database of registered buyers to whom they send your ad ... though figures aren't available for the efficacy of their list (how many businesses are actually sold to buyers on their mailing list).
They do not charge a per listing fee and instead charge a membership fee of £25 for one month or £195 for the year.
Their sister site, BizSale.co.uk, is for smaller businesses with revenues of less than £500K and selling prices of less than £250K. Fee: One time charge of £35 + VAT and your listing stays on their site till the business sells.
Daltons is the oldest portal in the UK and has been around in print form since long before they were on the web. In terms of number of UK businesses listed and the UK traffic they get, this site comes behind only the previous two sites above. They charge £159 pm or £339 for six months (as at time of writing). We feel this isn't great value given their smaller size and the fact that many of the buyers registered here are registered on one or both of the previous two sites ...so your money does not buy you much additional reach.
But Daltons, like the previous two, is popular with sellers of shops; retail establishments and stores; restaurants; take aways; cafes; pubs; manufacturers and light industrial businesses; fashion, beauty, hair dressing salons; newsagents; post offices; service businesses; construction, manufacturing & automotive businesses; nurseries, child care and play centres ... and numerous others.
DealOpportunities is a newer site that seems to be picking up traction. They claim it cost £20 - £75 per month to advertise your business for sale on their platform.
They have an unusual system of charging. You need to buy "credits" on their site and it costs 1 "credit" per month to run a for-sale listing. If you buy 2 credits at a time they cost £50 each. 5 credits come in at £40 per credit. But you have to buy a wallet busting 100 credits (£2000) to get the £20 price.
BusinessForSale is not to be confused with BusinessesForSale.com which is owned by a completely different company. BusinessForSale is one of the smaller listing sites but does have thousands of listings of UK businesses (and businesses from various other countries).
Charges are based on the country the business is in and the period for which you're buying a listing. Prices are in US Dollars with costs of $169 for a 30 day listing and $299 for a unlimited time listing (i.e. till the business is sold).
My understanding is that this domain name was originally offered to Dynamis, the owners of BusinessesForSale.com, but when they refused the (rumoured) £250,000 price this domain was used for the creation of a new business listing service to compete with the original BusinessesForSale website.
BusinessBroker.net is another US business listing site. They charge $100 for a two month listing, but don't seem to have a large UK audience. At the time of writing they had just five listings in all of Europe (with two in the UK).
Bear in mind that if your business is an online business that's not geographical restricted - for example, a popular website that makes all its money from advertising - the business may appeal to US buyers. That said, there are better places to list online businesses. Traditional MLS like this one may not represent the best use of time and effort. Better locations would include the likes of Flippa below, and the sites we've got listed in the subscriber-only section at the bottom of this page.
BizBuySell is one of the largest listing sites in the world, but with a US focus. Their site has no search facility for non-US businesses. Their charges are "from" $50 per month.
If you're selling a technology business / online-only business, see our notes in the previous entry.
BizQuest used to charge between $60 and $100 per month but as of Oct 2017 it has "merged" with the above BizBuySell under their BrokerWorks banner.
Prior to the merger, business brokers in the US generally preferred to use BizBuySell over Bizquest but now, at an increased fee, a listing in one of these sites gets published on both sites.
Bizmart is another US site, but has a link on their homepage leading to listings for UK businesses.
And they do have a lot of UK businesses on their site!
However, this is probably as a result of a syndication deal i.e. a deal they have with UK based firms to reproduce copies of listings advertised in the UK. From our analysis, they don't get a great deal of UK traffic.
Enterprise Europe Network is funded by the European Union and claims to be the "world's largest support network for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)". It spans 3,000 experts across 600 member organisations in more than 60 countries.
It aims to put business in contact with other business to encourage cross border activity, joint ventures, investment etc. It also claims to have Europe's largest database of business opportunities. This database is accessed via their search page.
You cannot list your business opportunity directly in their database, you need to contact one of their "Network Partners".
MergerNetwork is a US site that styles itself as a "social network for business professionals" but it hosts listings of businesses for sale organised by US state and, in fact, listing businesses for sale is what the site was originally about. There is a section for UK businesses as well, but it's fair to say that this site's main audience isn't prospective buyers of UK businesses.
MyBizdaq: This was originally Bizdaq.co.uk. They rebranded at some point, perhaps because of confusion with a completely different business at Bizdaq.com. MyBizdaq was founded by a business broker in 2014.
MyBizdaq is more than a listing site - it claims to be a new way to sell businesses by dispensing with the brokers, accountants and solicitors involved in a typical sale. Business owners are guided by the platform on everything. The site values their business for them and assists with templates to create a listing. Vendors accept offers on the MyBizdaq platform itself, sign contracts there and complete the transaction at MyBizdaq. MyBizdaq charges £95 pm (or £390 for six months) and claim that their listings are syndicated to other listing sites such as DaltonsBusiness, RightBiz, RightMove and BizBuySell.
However, we're not sure about the whole idea of commoditising the sale of businesses. It may to the advantage of the smaller business, but larger businesses would benefit from having professional expertise and input into the whole sale process. The difference in price a good adviser can achieve is typically several multiples of the fees they charge.
MyBizdaq may be a good way for a micro business (sub £100K turnover) to test the market for a month or two. MyBizdaq has several common features to OwnerSellers.com (a free service). Ownersellers claim to push your listing across to Zoopla, Primelocation, BizBuySell, RightBiz and StartinBusiness.
Business-Opportunities.biz is a US based site and tiny compared to the likes of some of the sites above. It may even be a one-man band. They don't quote prices and invite you to fill in a form if you want to "advertise".
RightMove, while best known for listing residential properties, also lists commercial properties. However, you cannot list directly with RightMove and you need to go through an agent.
If you wish to list a commercial property at RightMove, for free, it may be worth investigating MyBizdaq mentioned earlier. Listing at MyBizdaq is at no cost and MyBizdaq claim that all their listings are syndicated to RightMove. So listing at MyBizdaq may have the effect of getting you a free listing at RightMove.
RightMove is best suited to Offices, Retail Premises, Leisure Premises, Hospitality (Hotels, B&Bs), Industrial Units, Warehouses, Land for Development etc., rather than traditional shops or services.
Loopnet is another US centric listing site for commercial property and makes big claims about the number of visitors it gets and the number of commercial properties listed on the site. It is free to list a business here.
Do a location based search on this site for businesses in London, and you'll get the amusing choice of the most famous Londons in the world:
a) London, Kentucky
b) London, Ohio or
c) London, Texas!
Flippa.com is a large listing site for domains and websites i.e. online businesses only. It is the most expensive of all the options on this page but is quite popular among the sellers of smaller internet businesses (with selling prices from a few hundred to a few thousand). The occasional larger business worth a few hundred thousand dollars may sell here, but these are rare.
Flippa charge $29 as a listing fee with numerous upsells to get you to spend more and get your ad more visibility. It could cost you a three figure sum before you're done creating your listing. But the crunch comes if you find a buyer. Flippa take anywhere from 12% to 15% of your selling price as their commission (and, no, you can't escape that fee!)
The format is different, too. You list your business publicly and buyers bid against each other in an eBay type system. But they can also leave public comments on your listing and some of these comments can be very negative.
The Flippa platform has long been abused by sellers of template and other low-end websites with shill bidding not uncommon. While Flippa do take some action against shill bidders, the fact remains that Flippa are paid by sellers so are heavily seller biased.
Our sister site, a forum, has hundreds of threads about Flippa that are worth investigating.
DPOUSA.com is a new platform that promises "access to capital for all". You can seek either part or full funding (partial share of the business or complete sale), or even just attempt to find joint venture partners.
The cost to list on this platform is a flat $195 and they claim to have 30,000 investors (though figures like these are impossible to verify).
Existing listings on the platform have asking prices from about $200K to a few million dollars.
There are numerous other players that are either not big enough, not UK based or otherwise unsuitable for the listing of micro, mini and lower mid market UK businesses.
These include GlobalBX, the Canadian EmeraldBB, the Australian BusinessforSale, BusinessNation (US), Acquireo (US), BizTrader,(US) MergerPlace (US), BizBen (California only), BBF (Florida only), BizWorldUSA (US), BizSale (listing US businesses being sold by owner i.e. without a broker), VentureConnect (Canada), BSale (Australia) and others.
Sites for the sale of app based businesses - like SellMyApplication, AppBusinessBrokers and Ziipa - are also now beginning to make an appearance. Some sectors have their own specialised listing sites like PracticesForSale that lists just solicitor and accountancy practices.
And there are specialist global listing sites for some industries - for hotels, B&B and campsites, for example, there's BuyMyDreamHotel which includes listings from all over the world, including the UK.
Some of the sites that seem to be general listing sites - like TurnerButler and NationwideBusinesses - are actually owned by brokers for the listing of their own clients' businesses and are therefore not included in this list. Sites like businessroute.co.uk haven't been included either, despite their thousands of listings, because those listings seem to be all copies of listings at businessesforsale.com.
Various M&A Databases
For the larger businesses, with multi-million pound turnovers, there are Merger and Acquistion databases that work far better than the above listing sites. These are the databases that multi-nationals, financial institutions, private equity firms, HNW individuals, family offices and stock market listed companies turn to when they need to make an acquisition. Further information about M&A databases below.
Classified and Local Sites
There are many classified sites - from eBay to Loot - that have active business-for-sale sections. It is free (or almost free) to advertise in most of them. Further information about these locations below.