Our listings mostly come from referral sources (past clients, affiliate partners, etc.), our website forms, and targeted marketing campaigns. We believe that the best quality listings come from relationships based on trust, so we focus as much as we can on providing a good experience to our clients so that our company is referable.
If you know anyone looking to get a valuation or wanting to sell a website, please fill out our affiliate form here.
Ryan Sorensen has experience selling $7.5M+ worth of websites and web-based businesses (actual sale amounts, not asking price) over 123 transactions since 2011. Out of this, $3.5M+ and 48+ transactions has been through acquisitionstation.com since it was created in 2014.
These numbers have been independently verified by a member of the BBB’s advertising ethics team.
While there is no official website broker license or certification, many states such as California require business brokers to hold a real estate license to be the intermediary in a transaction of assets, whether they are web-based or not. We hold a CA real estate license and are the only website brokers that are also certified business intermediaries (CBI) by the International Business Brokers Association.
This is a document that website and web-business sellers who have signed a listing agreement with us fill out stating that everything they’ve claimed, from ownership, traffic, financials, legal issues, and other items related to the sale is true and correct.
Once the Web Asset Purchase Agreement (WAPA) is signed by both parties we head into the escrow process. Here are the steps:
1. Both parties agree to terms and escrow asks buyer to fund the offer amount with either wire transfer, credit card (under $5k), or Paypal (under $5k). For more info see here.
2. Once the funds are secured the seller will send the buyer all of the assets listed in the purchase agreement. This typically includes the domain(s), website files, switching payment links (so buyer can see the income first hand), client and email lists, social media accounts, etc.
3. Once the buyer has received the assets, escrow will ask them to start the inspection period which is typically 3-5 business days to ensure everything is in place and as advertised.
4. After this period is over, escrow will ask the buyer to either accept or reject the transaction, after which the money will be dispersed to the seller (upon buyer acceptance and escrow’s 24 hour internal inspection) or enter into an arbitration period (upon buyer rejection). From over 100 deals we’ve seen, only 2 went into arbitration with both parties satisfied with the final outcome.
No. There is no time limit, minimum offer amount to activate the sale (although sellers will have their “low end” prices in mind), or public display of bids. Buyers from around the world are free to make a private offer through the broker in charge of the listing whenever they feel comfortable. Typically, the buyers who are first to make an offer that is close to or at the advertised asking price, and are a good fit for the business in question, will be the new owner.
We do not ask for a retainer or charge any other upfront fees. We only ask that the seller pays us upon a successful sale (money released from escrow), so there is no risk to work with us.
Our standard rates are 15% of the gross sales amount of the business. The commission rates may vary depending on the size of the business and how difficult it will be to sell, among other factors.
The only other expense to consider are escrow fees. These are usually split between the buyer and seller, but are quite reasonable. For example, on a $100k transaction, the fees are only $445 per party. The funds are wired directly to the seller’s bank account (or a check can be requested, not recommended) upon the buyer officially accepting the assets and closing the transaction.
This depends on the size, industry type, work requirements, its traffic and marketing history, and potential for growth.
We have seen businesses sold within 24 hours of listing, and others can take up to 3 months. Typically, we strive to sell and finalize transactions within 4 weeks of listing.
We ask sellers to continue running the business as usual during the sales process up until the escrow period and transfer of assets to the new owner.
After the initial consultation we have with sellers to determine how likely their business will sell and for what price (valuation), and if both parties feel comfortable moving forward, we will ask the seller to sign a website listing agreement.
The agreement covers the following:
- the length of the exclusivity period (during this time sellers will not be allowed to list it with another broker or marketplace).
- the commission percentage to be paid on a successful sale (on the gross sales amount).
Once the agreement is signed, Acquisitionstation.com will be the official representative of the listing and we will move onto the listing stage.
We conduct a thorough due diligence process covering over 50 items on all websites and web-businesses prior to making a decision to officially take on the listing and present it to our buyers. More than 90% of all sites that come through our door are rejected for quality reasons. Our due diligence includes:
- Gaining read only access to their traffic analytics, verifying that traffic is legitimate and in not under any major risks such as over dependency on one traffic source, poor quality backlinking, or false traffic.
- Verifying financials through a live screenshare, official backend reports, and/or screenshots that tie the revenue back to the source URL/business. Verify that expenses are in line with industry standards.
- Inspect the quality of the website, user engagement, industry competition, growth opps, and risks, etc.
- Look for red flags such as recent Google penalties or if the site is at risk, under estimated owner requirements, malware, upcoming industry issues such as pending legislation, bought traffic, etc.
- And many others
We are not able to offer any guarantees on the performance or legitimacy of the assets listed, so all buyers are responsible for their own due diligence. However, there are third party companies like centurica.com that will do this for you.
We take misrepresentation very seriously. As such, we conduct our own thorough due diligence process prior to listing to ensure that all claimed traffic and financials are legitimate and in line with our client’s expectations. We have the sellers sign off on their claims by filling out and signing a Seller’s Disclosure Statement that we attach to all information packs. We’ll make suggestions on 3rd party due diligence companies and drafting purchase agreements and help buyers through the escrow, transfer, and asset inspection process.
While buyers are ultimately responsible for conducting their own due diligence and we can’t offer any guarantees, our process can help alleviate some of the fear of misrepresentation. If there are post transaction discoveries, we can help guide you in the right direction for legal representation.
“Bidding wars”, or competing offers from determined buyers that go back and forth raising the price, tend to happen in less than 10% of deals and rarely go beyond the initial asking price. This is because we generally discourage the practice as we feel it is unfair for buyers, plus more often than not an offer will come in from a qualified buyer that the seller wants to engage with on a more exclusive level. While we represent the sellers and do everything we can to get the them the best offer possible, we believe a successful sale only comes from happy and satisfied parties on both sides.
One can make a verbal or written offer to the broker in charge of the listing for any amount and structure that they feel best suits their needs. The broker will discuss this offer with the seller and come back with either a counter or an acceptance of this offer depending on the needs of the seller. A negotiation phase is common as there are several factors (price, terms of offer, time needed for due diligence, closing date) that the buyer and seller must come to an agreement on.
The preferred method to making an offer is a letter of intent (LOI) as it is a written and signed offer that shows the buyer is committed to following through on the transaction pending due diligence. The LOI is not legally binding.
Once an offer is accepted, the due diligence phase begins. The time needed for this depends on buyer’s needs, but is typically no longer than 14 days for online properties.
If due diligence checks out and the buyer would like to proceed, a legally binding Web Asset Purchase Agreement (WAPA) is drafted and signed by both parties, and the buyer is asked to fund escrow.
At a minimum, we have the sellers agree to 30 days of after sale training and support. This covers any questions a new owner may have regarding running the business or how to grow it. Sometimes the sellers are willing to stay on longer in a more involved capacity such as a consultant and running the business entirely or partially for a period of time. Other sellers are open to officially partnering with a buyer, although this more rare.
Absolutely. We strive to take care of first-time buyers as we understand from personal experience how nerve-wracking buying a web-based business can be. It isn’t something tangible that you can see or hold like an offline business with a physical location, so it is normal to feel somewhat apprehensive.
We believe that learning and taking action breeds confidence, so feel free to get in touch with any questions. We recommend signing up to our buyer list on the right, after which we are happy to jump on a short call to discuss your goals and go over everything you need to know to get started.
Yes. All buyers interested in one of acquisitionstation.com’s listings will be asked to sign off an a non-disclosure agreement to view the information packs. Additional qualifying measures will be required for more in depth due diligence stages.
No. Acquisitionstation.com is the legal representative for the seller, so any inquiries or offers must go through the broker in charge of the listing.
This actually depends on how your offer is structured. Some buyers choose to finalize their due diligence in an exclusive (take the listing off the market) or non-exclusive (listing is open to other offers) period prior to signing the legally binding purchase agreement. Others are comfortable with their due diligence when they make an offer and want to proceed to signing the agreement and funding escrow.