Those who wish to buy or sell a business need look no further than the internet, which connects an infinitely broad global community of buyers and sellers. Although a Web search for the term “business listings” will turn up millions of results, the landscape is dominated by only a handful of established websites.
NuWire reviewed some of the big names among online business listing sites, and selected its Top 5 based on four primary factors: volume of web traffic and business listings; aesthetic appeal of the site; ease of use; and the unique, useful features that the sites offer.
BizBuySell.com ranks at the top as the most professional and effective business listing site that we reviewed. For starters, the website attracts a massive amount of traffic, with upwards of 700,000 buyers conducting more than 1 million searches a month. More than 50,000 businesses for sale are listed on the site at a given time, and 2.3 million individual business-for-sale ads are viewed monthly.
Overall, BizBuySell.com has become a major hub for online business buyers and sellers alike: 30,000 owners of businesses for sale have been connected with the company or person who ultimately purchased their business, according to the website. The website’s alliance with The Wall Street Journal further adds to its credibility.
Those who visit the site may first notice its clean, easy-to-read formatting, and the lack of obtrusive advertisements. From the home page, buyers can search for business listings by scrolling through a selection of almost 100 business categories and a list of possible locations. The business categories are comprehensive and organized effectively, making it easy for buyers to find what they are looking for.
The advanced search is similarly easy to use, incorporating a keyword search and additional options to return even more specific results. Alternatively, buyers can also post “Business Wanted” ads for free on the Buyer’s Bulletin Board.
The biggest advantage for sellers on BizBuySell.com is, arguably, the valuable internet exposure provided by the site. Individual business listings are indexed and searchable on Google.com, and appear on the Wall Street Journal Online. The listings themselves are brief, but informative, and sellers can jazz up their ads with photos. Listing fees are currently priced at $59.95 per month for a Standard Ad, $79.95 per month for a Featured Ad, and $99.95 per month for a Showcase Ad.
As an additional service, sellers can also purchase valuation reports for $49 each.
BizQuest.com has been online since 1994, and markets itself as “the Internet's oldest and most-established business for sale marketplace.” With a listing of more than 42,000 businesses for sale and an active buyer database of more than 100,000 people, the numbers are certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the BizQuest.com is its unique interactive features. The site hosts several Community Forums, in which users can read and reply to hundreds of posts on topics about buying or selling a business. The website also hosts its own “Business for Sale Blog,” in which visitors can read, ask questions and comment on expert posts written exclusively for BizQuest.com.
BizQuest.com provides excellent exposure for its business sellers as the exclusive provider of business-for-sale listings at Entrepreneur.com. Although BizQuest.com may not offer the level of exposure that BizBuySell.com enjoys, the ad placements are less pricey: $54.95 per month for a Standard Ad, and $74.95 per month for a Featured Ad.
For potential buyers, the simple and advanced search tools are both easy to use and effective. Buyers can also register to receive email alerts to be notified of new business listings.
Among all of the websites we reviewed, BusinessesForSale.com appears to offer the largest selection of business listings worldwide. As of May 20, more than 60,000 live businesses were listed for sale on the website. Of those listings, approximately 30,000 were based in the United Kingdom; 20,000 in the United States; and 10,000 listings in more than 100 other countries.
Visitors can begin browsing business categories and various states from the home page, or start with a simple keyword search. The “advanced search,” on the other hand, is somewhat tricky; it requires some guesswork in narrowing down appropriate business categories, and does not incorporate a keyword search.
Added features include RSS feeds and email alerts to notify potential buyers of newly listed businesses. The Help & FAQ section of the site is comprehensive for both buyers and sellers.
Individuals who wish to sell their business can benefit from the excellent exposure that the site receives through general internet searches. The site is listed first among Google results and other search engines for general keyword searches such as “businesses for sale.” In addition, sellers have access to more than 200,000 buyers who have registered with BusinessesForSale.com.
Business listings are fairly detailed, and an entire page of space is dedicated to each individual listing. The cost for listing a business on the site is $79.95 per month for a Standard Ad or $99.95 per month for a Premium Ad.
While BusinessMart.com did not rate highly for its aesthetic appeal, the quality and quantity of site content is impressive. In fact, BusinessMart.com may be a great place to start for individuals that have never bought or sold a business before. The “Resource Center” section is a gold mine of information, replete with educational articles, advice on SBA loans (including an SBA loan calculator), online tools for LLC registration, tax ID applications, and additional guidance for topics such as small business health insurance and debt relief.
The site contains more than 17,000 business listings and hundreds of franchise opportunities. Visitors can perform an easy search from the home page by selecting the appropriate business category and state from dropdown menus. Buyer membership is free, and members can receive email alerts for new businesses that match specific search criteria.
Individual listings are highly informative, and contain commonly excluded details such as whether the owner is willing to provide financing upon selling the business. Business listing fees are also surprisingly low-priced: $69.95 for a 3-month standard listing, or $89.95 for their 3-month premium service.
Acquireo.com stands out from other business listing websites with its modern aesthetic appeal. The website layout is colorful and graphic-heavy, but easy to navigate—aside from the small body text that might make visitors squint.
earching for businesses through the site is straightforward and simple; visitors type in one or more keywords, as well as the desired City/State where the business is located. In addition, visitors can search for businesses in 178 countries, although few international listings have been posted thus far.
Other features offered through the website include RSS feeds and email alerts for new business listings; a resource library, which publishes helpful articles about buying and selling businesses; and a regularly updated blog.
Individual listings are terse and neatly formatted, and offer business sellers the opportunity to post up to four photos. A significant downside is the limited selection of businesses that are advertised through the site—less than 10,000 listings, as of May 20. However, the site is easily noticed on the first page of results for a Google search for “businesses for sale,” and shows the potential to become a mainstream business listings site.
Standard listings are priced at a flat fee of $49.95 for 90 days, and Featured Listings are priced at $89.95 for 90 days.