What do small companies really sell for now?

BVWireIssue #45-1
June 7, 2006

Of the approximately 9,000 transactions in BIZCOMPS®, the mean sale price to gross sales is 0.48 (median is 0.40).  But the mean sale price to "seller's discretionary earnings" (EBITDA plus the salary of one working owner) is 2.0, and the median is 1.8.  Jack Sanders, BIZCOMP's author, notes one factor that influences these "multiples:" for the very smallest businesses (under $150,000 annual sales), the seller is often "buying a job," so owner's comp is far more important than transaction price.  Still, this average might shock a lot of small business clients who come to an appraiser with rule of thumb or other justifications of why their business is worth much more.  Incidentally, the "average" small business takes 180 days to sell.  BIZCOMPS is available through www.bvresources.com.

Please let us know if you have any comments about this article or enhancements you would like to see.