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Who Pays Business Broker Fee?

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

When engaging in a business deal with the assistance of a business broker, it is natural to wonder about the financial aspect and who assumes the responsibility for paying the broker's fee. This article will explore the factors determining who pays the business broker fee.

What is the Role of Business Brokers?

The role of business brokers is to serve as intermediaries in the buying and selling businesses. They support and guide buyers and sellers throughout the transaction process with their expertise, advice, and resources. Business brokers help sellers by evaluating their businesses, determining a fair selling price, and marketing the business to potential buyers.

On the buyer's side, brokers help identify suitable business opportunities, negotiate terms, and facilitate due diligence. Their expertise and experience in navigating complex transactions make them essential in facilitating successful business deals.

Why Should I Hire a Business Broker?

If you're buying or selling a business, you might wonder whether hiring a business broker is worth it. Well, the answer lies in the numerous advantages of enlisting a professional broker's services. Let's dive into the key benefits of working with a business broker:

  • Expertise: Business brokers possess specialized knowledge and experience in buying and selling businesses, ensuring a smoother transaction process.

  • Market Insight: Brokers have an in-depth understanding of the market dynamics, allowing them to accurately assess the value of a business and set an appropriate asking price.

  • Confidentiality: Brokers maintain strict confidentiality throughout the process, protecting sensitive information and safeguarding the interests of buyers and sellers.

  • Wide Network: Brokers have an extensive network of potential buyers and sellers, increasing the chances of finding the right match for a business.

  • Marketing Reach: Brokers utilize various marketing channels to promote the business for sale, reaching a wider audience of potential buyers.

  • Negotiation Skills: Brokers act as skilled negotiators, advocating for their clients and striving to secure the best possible terms and conditions.

  • Time and Resource Savings: By handling complex details and paperwork, brokers save valuable time and resources for buyers and sellers.

  • Transaction Support: Brokers provide guidance and assistance throughout the transaction process, coordinating with professionals like attorneys and accountants.

business broker discussing broker fees

How Much Does a Business Broker Charge?

Business brokers charge varying fees based on several factors, with the size of the business being the most significant determinant. The fees can include retainers, valuation fees, and success fees (commission) paid upon the sale's completion. Main Street businesses typically incur a commission fee ranging from 10% to 12% of the business value, while lower middle market businesses may have a minimum commission fee ranging from $35,000 to $50,000.

In the middle market M&A sector, retainers are common and typically range from $5,000 to $15,000, with flat fees of 1-4% or a variation of the Lehman formula applied to larger businesses. The specific fee structure depends on the broker and the size of the transaction.

selling a business with a business broker CTA

Who Pays the Broker's Fee?

When it comes to the broker's fee, the seller typically pays the broker's fee, and it's agreed upon between the broker and the seller and is usually a percentage of the final sale price. However, in cases where the buyer was introduced to the business by a different brokerage, a co-brokerage arrangement comes into play. In such situations, the commission is divided equally between the buy-side and sell-side brokerage, each receiving 50% of the fee. This co-brokerage model ensures fair compensation for both brokerages facilitating the transaction.

Having the seller pay the broker's fee is common in business transactions. It aligns with the idea that the seller benefits directly from their business's sale and therefore bears the financial responsibility associated with hiring a broker. The co-brokerage arrangement further acknowledges the role of other brokerages in bringing potential buyers to the table, ensuring equitable compensation for their efforts as well.

Final Thoughts

Understanding business broker fees is crucial for anyone involved in business transactions, whether you are a buyer, seller, or even a business broker yourself. These fees play a significant role in shaping the dynamics and outcomes of such transactions.

business broker negotiation of fees


What are business broker fees?

Business broker fees are the compensation a business broker charges for their services in facilitating the sale or purchase of a business. Business broker fees can be either fixed amounts or a percentage of the transaction value.

What services do business broker fees cover?

The services covered by business broker fees vary depending on the broker and the specific agreement. Generally, broker fees cover business valuation, marketing the business for sale, screening and qualifying potential buyers, negotiating offers, facilitating due diligence, and managing the overall transaction process.

Are local business broker fees negotiable?

Yes, business broker fees are often negotiable. Local business brokers may be open to adjusting their fees based on the transaction's complexity, the business's size, the anticipated sale price, and other factors. It's essential to have open and transparent discussions with the broker to negotiate a fee structure that aligns with your needs and expectations.

What are some other costs associated with using small business brokers?

In addition to broker fees, other costs may be involved in using small business brokers. These include advertising and marketing expenses, legal and accounting fees, due diligence costs, and necessary licenses or permits. It's essential to clarify with the broker which costs are included in their fees and which are separate.

Are business broker fees tax-deductible?

In many cases, business broker fees can be tax-deductible. However, tax regulations can vary depending on your jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the transaction. It's advisable to consult with a qualified tax professional to determine the deductibility of business broker fees in your situation.

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Oct 02, 2023

This informative article clarifies the important question of who pays the business broker fee, shedding light on the nuances of this crucial aspect in business transactions and benefiting both buyers and sellers.

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