How to Tell if You’ve Hired the Wrong Broker to Sell Your Business


In my experience, it’s difficult to find a “bad” business broker.  But as with any large group of professionals there are bound to be some who are more engaged in helping you sell your landscape business than others.  Since this is one of the most important decisions you will make in the sale of your business, it’s worth doing your research to make sure you have the right person.   You don’t want to find out that you inadvertently “left money on the table.”  Here are a few “red flag” symptoms you need to be aware of when making your decision: 

You may have a problem if your broker/advisor does not

  • Ask you for a long-term listing with a tail (more than one year).
  • Ask you about your goals for selling the business and spend time with you refining your expectations. 
  • Carefully explain to you how the process works, with likely outcomes. 
  • Explain how this process will require a large commitment of time and attention on your part for several months or longer.  
  • Is slow to respond to your calls and emails and doesn’t respond evenings or weekends. 
  • Require you to provide a significant amount of information to analyze the business. 
    • Ask you for your financial statements and tax returns, your property lease, and details. 
    • Ask you about your clients, contracts, and employees. 
    • Ask for information about your fleet, equipment, systems, and processes. 
    • Find out about potential issues you may have with your prior liens, taxes, or other issues. 
  • Communicate with your accountant and your attorney.  
  • Stay in regular communication with you about the progress and status. 
  • Work with you to determine the range for a market value for your company. 
  • Collaborate with your tax advisors to determine the after-tax result of the sale. 
  • Let you know how you could/should be better prepared before launching into the sales process. 

Ideally, you will find just the right person/company to work with you through the process of selling your business.  Obviously, TRUST is a key element in addition to expertise.  Knowledge of the landscaping industry is also desirable.  Make sure you LIKE your primary contacts since you will be spending quite a bit of time with them.

If you’d like to have a discussion about this or any other topic about selling, buying or otherwise transitioning your business or how to start your exit plan, please reach out to me at 224-688-8838 or email me at [email protected]

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Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio