What is a Business Broker? An In-Depth Look at Their Role and Services


Are you considering selling your business and looking for guidance on how to navigate the complex process? One solution is to work with a Melbourne business broker—a professional who plays a crucial role in facilitating business sales while maintaining confidentiality and providing expertise. In this blog post, we will explore the role and services of business brokers, answering the question: what is a business broker? We will also discuss the different types of brokers, the benefits of buying or selling businesses with them, and how to select the right broker for your needs. Additionally, we will cover fee structures, listing agreements, co-brokering arrangements, and the difference between franchise and independent brokers.

Short Summary – What is a business broker?

  • Business brokers are professionals who facilitate the purchase and sale of businesses, providing expertise in business valuation and marketing.
  • Main Street Business Brokers provide services for businesses worth less than $1 million, while M&A Advisors handle companies with values ranging from $1 million to $100 million.
  • When selecting a broker, consider their credentials, experience & reputation. Review fees & commission structures before making a decision.

Understanding the Role of a Business Broker


A business broker is a trained professional who assists individuals in the purchase and sale of businesses. Their role is to serve as a facilitator for the sale of businesses, ensuring confidentiality and providing professional knowledge in business valuation and marketing. A quality broker can add considerable value to the process of selling businesses, with a fee that is proportionate with the service provided.

There are many aspects to selling a business, and a good business broker can manage the process efficiently, protecting the interests of both buyers and sellers. They possess specialized knowledge in many areas, such as business valuation, marketing, and negotiating, which can make a major difference in the success of a sale.

Facilitating Confidential Transactions

Confidentiality is essential in business transactions to safeguard the interests of both the buyer and seller, as well as to ensure a fair and transparent transaction. Business brokers typically charge a commission rate, usually around 10%, which may vary based on the particular brokerage or the kind of business being sold. Some brokers may require an upfront fee, which would typically be deducted from the commission paid at closing.

However, certain business brokers may opt not to charge for their services until the sale of the business is finalized. Most business brokers prefer to co-broker with another business broker who is cognizant of the significance of confidentiality. The Listing Agreement For The Exclusive Right To Sell is a document signed by the seller, which outlines the fee structure in detail.

Expertise in Business Valuation and Marketing

Business valuation is the systematic assessment of a company’s economic worth, which entails examining all aspects of the business to ascertain its value and the value of its divisions or components. Business brokers possess the expertise to analyze all aspects of the business to accurately assess its value and the value of its departments or units.

In addition to business valuation, business brokers also offer expertise in marketing the business to interested buyers. This includes developing marketing materials, advertising the business, and negotiating the sale. Their experience and skills in these areas can be invaluable in securing a successful transaction for their clients.

Types of Business Brokers: Main Street vs. M&A Advisors


Different types of brokers specialize in different business values. Main Street brokers handle businesses worth less than $1 million, while M&A Advisors handle companies with values ranging from $1 million to $100 million. Knowing the difference between these two types of brokers is essential in ensuring that you work with the right professional for your specific needs.

Main Street brokers typically provide services such as business valuation, marketing, and negotiation. They possess an extensive knowledge of the local market and can offer tailored advice and direction. On the other hand, M&A Advisors provide services such as business valuation, due diligence, and financial modeling. They can provide access to a broader range of potential buyers and offer more comprehensive services.

Main Street Business Brokers

Main Street business brokers offer services related to the sale of small to mid-sized businesses, including assistance in securing a favorable price, submitting paperwork correctly, fulfilling licensing and permitting requirements, and negotiating valuations.

They typically charge a fee of 10 to 20 percent of the total sale price for their services.

Collaborating with a Main Street business broker can decrease the duration and pressure related to selling a business, as well as grant access to a network of experts. When selecting the right Main Street business broker, it is essential to evaluate their accreditation and registration, industry expertise, and standing.

M&A Advisors

M&A advisors offer a variety of services, such as buy-side and sell-side advisory services, merger advisory services, and acquisition advisory services. Additionally, they can provide guidance on best practices and areas of negotiation to ensure the terms are in line with the price. They may also act as intermediaries, business brokers, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals knowledgeable in the process of buying and selling a business.

Experience in selling companies to both individual and private equity group or strategic buyers is recommended for a broker/advisor selling companies in the $1 million-$25 million purchase price range. M&A advisors can be a valuable resource in navigating the complexities of larger transactions.

The Benefits of Working with a Business Broker


Working with a business broker can provide a range of benefits, including enhancing the business value prior to a sale, procuring a certified business valuation, discovering potential buyers, supervising negotiations, guaranteeing confidentiality, and reducing risk.

In addition, business brokers provide adept negotiating for business sellers to achieve the most favorable outcome. Collaborating with a business broker can not only minimize the time and effort required to sell a business, but also provide access to a network of experts. This network can be invaluable in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction.

Time and Stress Reduction

Utilizing a business broker can be beneficial to business owners in terms of time and stress management, as they can take on tasks such as valuing a business, finding potential buyers, and negotiating deals. By managing these tasks efficiently, a business broker can relieve the business owner of the burden of handling the sale process on their own.

In conclusion, working with a business broker can reduce stress and save time for business owners by undertaking tasks such as valuing a business, identifying potential buyers, and negotiating deals. This allows the business owner to focus on their core responsibilities and ensure the continued success of their business.

Access to a Network of Professionals

Access to a network of professionals is essential when buying or selling a business as it furnishes invaluable expertise and guidance throughout the process, connects buyers and sellers with potential partners or investors, and enables the recognition of new opportunities and trends.

A business broker’s network is typically comprised of lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other specialists in business transactions.

Engaging a business broker to access their network of professionals can be an efficient and stress-free experience, as the broker can connect you to the relevant professionals and manage the coordination of the transaction. This access to a network of experts can be invaluable in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction.

Business Broker Fees and Commission Structures


Business brokers charge success fees based on a percentage of the sale price, usually ranging from 8-12% for businesses under $1M, and using the Modern Lehman scale for businesses over $1M. The broker’s success fee is calculated as a percentage of the selling price of the business.

Understanding the fee structures of business brokers is essential for business owners to make an informed decision when selecting a broker. It is important to note that the commission rate and fee structure may vary depending on the particular brokerage or the kind of business being sold.

Therefore, it is essential for business owners to carefully review the fees and commission structures of potential brokers before making a decision.

Success Fee Model

The success fee model is a compensation structure wherein the business broker receives a percentage of the final sale price of the business as their fee, contingent upon successfully helping the client achieve their goal. This structure aligns the interests of the client and the broker, ensuring that the broker is motivated to secure the best possible outcome for the client.

The typical fee percentage for businesses with a net worth of less than $1 million is between 8-12%. This fee structure ensures that the broker is compensated fairly for their services, while also providing an incentive for the broker to secure the highest possible selling price for the business.

Modern Lehman Scale

The Modern Lehman Scale is a sliding scale utilized by brokers, investment bankers, and M&A advisors to calculate their commission. It commences at 10% of the first million in consideration and decreases by 2% for each subsequent million dollars in consideration until the commission reaches 0%.

The Modern Lehman Scale is a commonly used fee structure for businesses with a net worth of over $1 million and below $25 million. The success fee starts at 10% for the first million. It then decreases incrementally, with 9%, 8%, and so on until it reaches 3% for any amount over eight million. This fee structure ensures that the broker is adequately compensated for their services while also incentivizing them to secure the best possible selling price for the business.

Selecting the Right Business Broker


When selecting a business broker, it is essential to evaluate their expertise, credentials, standing, communication abilities, and client testimonials. Achieving accreditation and registration with the Australian Institute of Business Brokers, possessing strong communication and interpersonal abilities, and having experience in dealing with the relevant type of business are qualifications that make an effective business broker.

Researching based on their qualifications and credentials is recommended to identify the right broker for your needs. Additionally, it is important to consider the broker’s industry experience and reputation, as well as their fees and commission structures, to ensure that they are the best fit for your specific needs and goals.

Accreditation and Registration

Accreditation and registration are essential when selecting a business broker as they can demonstrate that the broker has achieved specific benchmarks and possesses the required qualifications and training to deliver reliable services to customers.

The accreditation and registration requirements may differ depending on the country and region. Generally, business brokers must be licensed and registered with the relevant government body, and may also be accredited by professional organizations such as the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA).

Engaging with an accredited and registered business broker can offer clients assurance that the broker holds the necessary qualifications and expertise to deliver quality services. Furthermore, accredited and registered brokers may have access to an expansive network of professionals, which can assist in achieving a successful transaction.

Industry Experience and Reputation

Industry experience and reputation are essential when selecting a business broker as they can demonstrate the broker’s proficiency, industry knowledge, and integrity. A successful business broker should possess comprehensive knowledge of the industry, extensive experience in brokering deals, and a reputable standing.

By selecting a broker with a strong industry reputation and experience, business owners can have confidence in the broker’s ability to successfully navigate the complexities of the transaction process and secure the best possible outcome for their business sale.

The Business Broker Listing Agreement


A business broker listing agreement is a contract that establishes the relationship between a business owner and a broker. The agreement outlines the terms of the broker’s services, including the commission rate, duration of the agreement, and the responsibilities of both parties.

Listing agreements for businesses with revenue exceeding one million dollars are of a duration greater than one year. For Main Street intermediaries, listing agreements typically span from six months to a year.

Understanding the differences in listing agreements based on the size of the business can help business owners make informed decisions when selecting a broker and entering into a listing agreement.

Co-Brokering Arrangements in Business Sales


Co-brokering in business sales entails two brokers collaborating to finalize a sale and sharing the commission. Co-brokering is generally employed in cases where the business in question has an annual revenue of less than $1 million. The success fee, traditionally provided to the sell-side broker, is divided between the two parties.

Co-brokering arrangements can be beneficial for both brokers involved, as they can pool their resources and expertise to secure the best possible outcome for their clients. However, it is important to note that co-brokering is less common for businesses with revenues exceeding $1 million, as these transactions often involve more specialized brokers and larger commission fees.

Franchise vs. Independent Business Brokers

A franchise business broker has access to more support and resources from the franchisor, whereas an independent broker enjoys greater flexibility and autonomy. Franchise brokers can take advantage of economies of scale, resulting in more cost-effective rates and services, as well as access to a larger network of potential buyers and sellers.

However, the level of service may differ depending on the franchise, and businesses with sales exceeding $1M may be less likely to list with a franchise broker.

On the other hand, businesses with sales of $1M or more typically enlist the services of an independent business broker, as they may benefit from their specialized services and competitive rates. Ultimately, it is important for business owners to carefully consider the advantages and drawbacks of both franchise and independent brokers to determine the best fit for their needs.


In conclusion, a business broker plays a vital role in facilitating the sale of businesses, ensuring confidentiality, and providing expertise in business valuation and marketing. By understanding the differences between Main Street brokers and M&A Advisors, the benefits of working with a business broker, and how to select the right broker for your needs, you can make informed decisions and navigate the complex process of selling your business with confidence and success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a business broker do?

As a business broker, I am responsible for helping individuals and businesses sell their assets for the best possible price. My job involves appraising a company’s worth, locating buyers, negotiating terms and successfully completing the transaction. I bring expertise in the area of financial transactions to ensure a smooth process for everyone involved.

Why should I use a business broker?

Using a business broker can be extremely beneficial when it comes to selling a business. They offer the necessary professional insight and network to make sure you get the most out of your sale, from verifying information relating to the prospective buyer’s financial capability to providing connections for finding the best market price.

Business brokers can also provide advice on the best way to structure the sale, such as whether to use an asset sale or a stock sale, and can help to negotiate the sale.

Do business brokers need a license in Australia?

Yes, business brokers in Australia are required to be licensed. Depending on the state, a Certificate of Registration or a Class 2 Agent in Real Estate – Business Agent License is needed for minimum requirements. Completion of registration courses with the REIQ is also necessary to become a licensed business broker.

What is the difference between a broker and an agent?

Real estate agents and brokers serve similar purposes, but there is an important distinction between the two. An agent is authorized to help people buy and sell property, while a broker has a license that allows them to own a real estate business and employ agents.

Ultimately, the broker can take a more active role in managing transactions.

What are the duties of a business broker?

As a business broker, it is your responsibility to provide advice and guidance to buyers and sellers. You will help potential buyers identify businesses that meet their needs while also helping sellers determine a fair market value for their company.

Additionally, you will need to negotiate deals between the two parties and ensure a smooth transaction process.

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