Are Business Brokers Worth It? Let’s Find Out!

Team Acquira
-  August 29, 2023
What You’ll Learn
  • Explore the multifaceted responsibilities of business brokers, from valuation to deal structuring and due diligence.
  • Understand the diverse fee structures employed by brokers, including listing, commission, retainer, valuation, and success fees.
  • How the size of a business, whether Main Street, Lower Middle Market, or Middle Market, affects broker fee classifications.
  • How Acquira transforms business connections, empowering buyers and sellers directly through innovative systems and training.
  • How Acquira’s Accelerator Program can help aspiring buyers, and how its business buying program can assist sellers.

The process of buying or selling a business is intricate and demanding, requiring intense negotiations and careful financial scrutiny.

Business brokers often position themselves as the middlemen in these transactions, claiming to streamline the process for both sellers and buyers.

This article dives deep into the costs associated with hiring a business broker, discussing their roles, fee structures, and the various factors that dictate their charges.

For entrepreneurs considering a sale or potential buyers evaluating their next venture, understanding the expenses tied to business broker services is essential for making cost-effective decisions.

What is a Business Broker?

A business broker, essentially,  is a seasoned intermediary who navigates the intricate path of buying or selling a business.

Their responsibilities encompass a broad spectrum, ranging from valuing a business, identifying potential sellers or buyers, adroitly negotiating deals, and ensuring a seamless exchange of ownership.

Business brokers wield a significant influence in orchestrating smooth transactions, utilizing their broad experience to handle the complexities of the process deftly.

Also Read:  How to Sell a Business Quickly: The Ultimate Guide

Tasks of a Business Broker

what percentage does a business broker charge

The tasks of a business broker encompass a multitude of responsibilities that culminate in the triumphant sale or acquisition of a business. These tasks include:

  1. Business Assessment & Valuation: Business brokers evaluate and assess the financial underpinnings of the business, effectively determining its precise value. Their expertise serves as a cornerstone for sellers setting realistic expectations and buyers making educated decisions.
  2. Buyer Analysis: Identifying potential buyers, business brokers analyze their financial capabilities and alignment with the business’s objectives.
  3. Financing Analysis: Guiding potential buyers through the labyrinth of financing options, brokers aid in comprehending the fiscal prerequisites of the transaction.
  4. Deal Structure: Playing a pivotal role in structuring deals that satisfy all parties, brokers weigh financing terms, contingencies, and other vital components.
  5. Developing Confidential Marketing Strategy: Devising marketing strategies that balance confidentiality and reaching the intended audience of potential buyers.
  6. Data Room Creation: In larger transactions, brokers establish secure data rooms, facilitating access to pertinent business documents by qualified buyers during the due diligence phase.
  7. Conduct Business Owner Meetings: Brokers choreograph meetings between potential sellers and buyers, allowing for a  seamless exchange of critical information.
  8. Buyer Prequalification: Prequalifying potential buyers, brokers guarantee they possess the financial wherewithal and genuine intent to proceed with the transaction.
  9. Buyer Meeting Preparation: Strategically priming both buyers and sellers for meetings, brokers offer invaluable guidance on how to present their respective positions effectively. 
  10. Review Offers: Brokers lend expertise in evaluating and analyzing offers, equipping both parties with insightful advice to facilitate well-informed decisions.
  11. Conduct Due Diligence: During the due diligence phase, brokers meticulously oversee the exchange of pertinent information for due diligence and address any concerns or queries from prospective buyers.

Business Broker Fees/Commissions

commission rate for selling a business

Understanding business broker fees – what they charge for and how much – is another crucial piece of information worth investigating before engaging their services.

These fees serve as the remuneration bestowed upon brokers for the integral role they play in orchestrating a seamless business sale or acquisition.

These fees are usually calculated as a percentage of the final sale price of the business.

However, it’s crucial to understand the different forms that broker fees can assume:

  1. Listing Fees: Although not as prevalent as other fee structures, listing fees entail charges associated with placing a business for sale on brokerage platforms. This upfront fee often offsets the expenses linked with marketing and promoting the business.
  2. Commission Fees: The quintessential fee structure business brokers embrace is the commission-based model. Brokers garner a percentage of the ultimate sale price as their commission. This percentage can fluctuate but usually resides within 5% to 15%.
  3. Retainer Fees: In certain instances, brokers stipulate upfront retainer fees. This non-refundable sum is tendered to secure the broker’s services. The retainer fee, usually, is deducted from the eventual commission upon the completion of the transaction.
  4. Valuation Fees: Business brokers may impose a fee for conducting a thorough business valuation. This fee is correlated with the initial assessment of the business’s valuation.
  5. Success Fees: This intriguing fee variant is solely payable upon the triumphant culmination of the transaction. It operates as an additional incentive, motivating brokers to foster the seamless progression of the deal.

Factors Influencing Broker Fees

A plethora of factors influence the fees levied by business brokers:

  1. Complexity of the Transaction: The intricacies of the transaction have a profound influence on the broker’s workload, the depth of expertise necessitated, and the investment of time. Transactions with special intricacies may naturally warrant commensurately higher fees.
  2. Services Provided: The extent of a broker’s services which may include robust due diligence support, intricate negotiations, and invaluable legal assistance, will invariably translate into higher fee structures.
  3. Business Size: The size of the business at hand serves as a pivotal determinant. Disparate fee frameworks might apply to distinct categories of businesses:
    • Main Street Business: These encompass smaller businesses characterized by modest revenue streams and an equally modest number of employees.
    • Lower Middle Market: This pertains to businesses that straddle the mid-tier echelon, with relatively larger revenues.
    • Middle Market Mergers and Acquisitions: This fee classification comes into play for larger businesses boasting substantial revenue and labyrinthine operational structures.

Important Tips to Remember

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when deciding which broker to work with.

  1. Compare Different Business Brokers & Their Fees: The epitome of informed decision-making rests in the diligent comparison of varying fee structures and the gamut of services offered by diverse brokers. Don’t rush this process. Make sure the broker is offering the necessary services for a reasonable fee.
  2. Broker Fee Negotiation: Don’t forget that broker fees are not set in stone. Depending on the variables at play, adept negotiation might lead to a more amicable fee structure.
  3. Consider the ROI: As you gauge the worthiness of broker fees, bear in mind the potential returns and gains vis-à-vis the transaction. Proficient brokers can yield value that transcends the bounds of their fees.
  4. Transparency: Transparent fee agreements and unfettered communication with brokers are the cornerstones of a harmonious partnership. Scrutinize contracts carefully, and in case of ambiguity, seek legal counsel to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the terms.

Acquira vs Business Brokers

Acquira offers a transformative alternative to the traditional approach of using business brokers to connect buyers and sellers.

Our innovative processes and carefully designed systems serve as the bridge between motivated business sellers and aspiring buyers.

What sets us apart is our commitment to empowering buyers through comprehensive training that equips them with the skills to nurture and expand businesses post-acquisition, all while preserving the original owners’ legacy.

Unlike the conventional route of working with brokers, which often entails a time-consuming search for the right match and developing a meaningful broker-client relationship, Acquira streamlines the process.

We understand that selling a business through traditional means can be an arduous and distracting endeavor, pulling business owners away from their core operations for an extended period.

By eliminating the intermediary of a broker, Acquira introduces a more direct and efficient channel, saving precious time and minimizing disruption.

Through Acquira, business owners can confidently navigate the sale process, secure in the knowledge that their legacy will thrive in capable hands.


Who Pays the Brokerage Fee?

The party responsible for paying the brokerage fee depends on the agreement between the parties involved. It could be the seller, the buyer, or a shared cost, as negotiated in the brokerage agreement.

Do all Brokers Charge Commission?

Not all brokers charge commission. Some brokers may charge a flat fee, hourly rate, or have alternative fee structures. The type of fee charged can vary based on the broker's business model and the services provided.


Business brokers can be the lynchpin on a successful small business sale, easing the complicated negotiations so both buyer and seller get what they want from the transaction.

Throughout the process, they can help with due diligence, business valuation, and getting the deal across the finish line.

However, the fees can be fairly substantial so their services come at a premium.

Acquira can help connect buyers and sellers through our own business ecosystem.

Are you an entrepreneur thinking about buying a small business? Consider applying for our Accelerator Program to get MBA-level training that can give you the skills necessary to find and operate a business quickly.

Fill out the form below, but space is limited!

If you’re a business owner who is looking to sell, check out our business buying program.

Key Takeaways

  • Business broker fees play a pivotal role in the intricate process of buying or selling a business.
  • Business brokers bridge the gap between sellers and buyers, orchestrating seamless transactions and ownership transfers.
  • Understanding fee structures, like listing, commission, retainer, valuation, and success fees, is crucial before engaging a broker.
  • Various factors, from transaction complexity to services provided and business size, influence broker fees.
  • Comparing brokers, negotiating fees, considering ROI, and valuing transparency lead to well-informed choices.
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