Questions to Ask a Business Broker Before
Hiring Them to Sell Your Business

  1. How many years has your firm been in business?
  2. Are you a member of the California Association of Business Brokers (CABB)?
  3. Are you a member of the International Association of Business Brokers (IBBA)?
  4. Are you a member of M&A Source?
  5. Does your firm solicit international buyers?
  6. Where do you advertise your business listings?
  7. What is your valuation process?
  8. How do you screen potential buyers?
  9. How do you maintain strict confidentiality?
  10. Who writes the articles on your website?
  11. Does your firm request any advance fees?
  12. Can you help us renegotiate the terms of our premises lease?
  13. Who will prepare the sale-purchase contract when I sell my business, and will I need an attorney?
  14. What percentage of businesses listed for sale with Pacific Business Advisors do you actually sell?
  15. Does your company work with other business brokerage firms to sell businesses?
  16. When you obtain a new listing for the sale of a business, does the listing business broker work independently or is a team assigned to the listing?
  17. How long is the average listing period?
  18. Is your company licensed by the California Department of Real Estate?
  19. What size business do you sell?
  20. Do you have references?
  21. How many transactions did you close in the last 12 months?
  22. What is the role of a business brokerage firm?


Our Answers -

  1. Our firm was founded in 1987. We have been providing business buyers, sellers, and merger clients with services for over 35 years. During this period, we have developed a large database of potential buyers and sellers.
  2. Absolutely. We are corporate members of CABB and we strictly adhere to their code of ethics.
  3. Absolutely. We are corporate members of IBBA and we strictly adhere to their code of ethics.
  4. Absolutely. We are corporate members of M&A Source and we strictly adhere to their code of ethics.
  5. Yes. We have a Director of Marketing - China who was born in Wenzhou, China. She speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, and Wenzhounese. We also have a Director of Marketing - Taiwan who was born in Taiwan. She speaks English, Taiwanese, and Mandarin Chinese.
  6. Other than pocket listings, we advertise on,,, CABB, IBBA, LoopNet, our own website, and other listing sites we believe will be valuable in marketing a particular listing.
  7. Our valuation process starts with a calculation of Sellers Discretionary Earnings (SDE), sometimes referred to as Sellers Discretionary Income (SOl), or EBITDA which is Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization, whichever is applicable. We then apply a multiplier to the income. The multiplier is based on actual industry sales that have recently taken place, and then adjustments may be made based upon our best collective judgment. See: Receive a Free Broker Opinion of Value and Certified Business Valuations - Appraisals.
  8. How do the business brokers at Pacific Business Advisors screen potential buyers?

    Screening buyers requires several steps. Before a prospective buyer is asked to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) and provided any confidential information about a business, we want to determine the following: (1) Does the person have the financial ability to buy the business and have adequate reserves, (2) Does the person have a genuine interest in owning and operating the specific type of business; and (3) Does the person have the ability to run the business. We do not want to start the buying process with someone who will change his or her mind prior to closing, or who will be unable to successfully run the business after the closing. This is vitally important if seller financing is involved.

  9. Given that confidentiality is critical to business sellers, we have provided our Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA on our website for your review. Sometimes a Non-Disclosure Agreement is referred to as a Confidentiality Agreement. While professional business brokers and investment bankers make it a practice to maintain confidentiality, we insist that all potential buyers sign an attorney drafted NDA because it is critically important that no unauthorized person finds out that a business is for sale until the transaction has closed and the seller is ready to make an announcement.
  10. All of the articles on our website were written by Michael Chulak, the founder of Pacific Business Advisors. They were not provided by a third-party service.
  11. Our firm never requests an advance fee. We are paid after we perform.
  12. Absolutely. has a sister company,, which represents commercial tenants exclusively.
  13. As a corporate member of the California Association of Business Brokers (CABB), we are entitled to use their attorney prepared forms and contracts, including their sale-purchase agreement. In addition, we also utilize the business broker forms published by the California Association of Realtors which are attorney drafted. Notwithstanding, our firm recommends that buyers and sellers consult with their own attorney and CPA or Enrolled Agent before entering into a contract to buy or sell a business.
  14. Historically, if we go back to 1987, we have sold approximately 90% of the businesses that have been listed with our firm. Many factors affect the likelihood of a successful sale. See: Consequences of Overpricing a Business and How Long Does it Take on Average to Sell a Business in California. If you are considering the sale of your business, we suggest you: Receive a Free Broker Opinion of Value.
  15. Yes. Pacific Business Advisors will always do what is in the best interest of our clients. We have a mailing list of more than 700 business brokers in California. Depending on the particular listing, we mail listing information to those brokers we believe will be helpful in selling the listed business.
  16. Every new listing is reviewed with every business broker in the firm. We work as a team, which is far more effective than having a single broker work on a listing.
  17. It will depend on several factors, but most business listings are for six to twelve months. See: Consequences of Overpricing a Business and How Long Does it Take on Averaqe to Sell a Business in California?
  18. Yes. All business brokerage firms are required to be licensed by the California Department of Real Estate. See: Reasons to Run from a Business Broker.
  19. Buyers and sellers we represent generally own or are seeking businesses as small as one hundred thousand dollars and as large as ten million dollars, or more. We have worked with several private equity firms that have the ability to acquire businesses exceeding twenty million dollars.
  20. The best reference we have is that we have been in business since 1987. No business can successfully operate over 36 years without providing a valuable service at a fair price.
  21. Pacific Business Advisors is a private company. There are two things we don't disclose: (1) The number of transactions we have closed in any period of time, and (2) Our revenue and profit.
  22. The role of a business broker is summarized on our home page: The value-added services we provide sellers and the value - added services we provide buyers. Please call with any questions.

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History of Pacific Business Advisors

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Office: 818-991-5200
Direct: 818-991-9019