Should You Sell Privately or with a Business Broker?

sell private sale vs business broker

Table of Contents

The decision to sell a business is a significant undertaking, and one of the early considerations is whether to navigate the sale privately or enlist the services of a business broker. Both approaches have their merits, and the choice depends on various factors such as industry complexity, time constraints, and the seller’s expertise. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of selling a business privately versus with a business broker, providing insights to help business owners make an informed decision.

Selling Privately: The DIY Approach


Cost Savings

One of the most significant advantages of selling a business privately is cost savings. Without a broker’s commission, sellers can retain a larger portion of the sale proceeds.

Control Over the Process

Selling privately gives the business owner complete control over the sale process. From marketing strategies to negotiations, every decision rests in the hands of the seller.

Maintaining Confidentiality

In certain situations, sellers may prefer to maintain a higher level of confidentiality during the sale process. Selling privately allows for more direct control over the dissemination of information.


Limited Marketing Reach

Without the network and resources of a business broker, reaching a wide pool of potential buyers can be challenging. This may result in a longer time on the market or limited exposure to qualified buyers.

Complexity of Negotiations

Negotiating the intricacies of a business sale can be complex, especially for those without experience. Sellers may find themselves navigating legal and financial aspects without the guidance of a professional.

Time and Energy Investment

Selling a business is a time-consuming process. Handling all aspects independently can be demanding, diverting the owner’s focus from day-to-day business operations.

Selling with a Business Broker: Professional Guidance


Expertise and Experience

Business brokers bring expertise and experience to the table. They understand the complexities of the market, know how to value a business accurately and have the negotiation skills necessary for a successful transaction.

Wider Market Exposure

Brokers have access to a network of potential buyers and can market the business more effectively. This broader exposure increases the chances of finding qualified and motivated buyers.

Confidentiality Management

Brokers are skilled in managing confidentiality during the sale process. They can screen potential buyers, secure non-disclosure agreements, and handle inquiries without compromising sensitive information.


Commission Costs

The primary drawback of working with a business broker is the commission cost. Brokers typically charge a percentage of the sale price as their fee. While this cost can be significant, it is often justified by the value they bring to the sale process.

Read: What does it cost to use a business broker?

Less Control for the Seller

Sellers relinquish some control over the process when working with a broker. While this can be advantageous in terms of expertise, it may not suit sellers who prefer hands-on involvement in every aspect of the sale.

Dependency on Broker Performance

The success of the sale is partially dependent on the broker’s performance. Choosing the right broker is crucial, as their skills, network, and dedication play a vital role in achieving a favourable outcome.

Read: Is using a business broker right worth the investment?

Choosing what’s best for you

Considerations for Private Sale:


Assess your own expertise in business sales. If you have experience and are comfortable navigating negotiations, legalities, and marketing, a private sale may be a viable option.

Industry Complexity

Consider the complexity of your industry. If it’s a straightforward business with a clear market, selling privately may be more feasible.

Time Availability

Evaluate the time you can dedicate to the sale process. If you have the bandwidth to manage the sale independently, a private sale might be a viable option.

Considerations for Broker-Assisted Sale:

Complexity and Size of Business

For larger and more complex businesses, a broker’s expertise can be invaluable. They can handle the intricacies of a significant transaction and ensure all legal and financial aspects are addressed.

Network and Exposure

If reaching a wide audience of potential buyers is crucial, a broker’s network and marketing capabilities can significantly enhance the exposure of your business.

Time Efficiency

If time is of the essence and you prefer a streamlined and efficient sale process, a broker can expedite the transaction, leveraging their experience and resources.

Making the Right Decision

Deciding whether to sell a business privately or with a business broker is a pivotal choice that should align with the seller’s goals, expertise, and the nature of the business itself. Each approach has its merits and drawbacks, and the decision ultimately depends on factors such as industry complexity, time constraints, and the seller’s comfort level with the intricacies of a business sale. By carefully weighing these considerations, business owners can make an informed decision that maximizes their chances of a successful and satisfying sale process.


The contents of this article do not constitute advice, are not intended to be a substitute for advice, and should not be relied upon for any such purposes. You should seek advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have.

Compare listings