2018 Set New Small Business Sales Record as Buyers Eagerly Exit Corporate World

BizBuySell.com's Annual 2018 Insight Report shows 2018 broke records for small businesses bought and sold and retiring baby boomers continued to fuel the market as buyers eagerly exit the corporate world

For the third year in a row, a record number of small businesses changed hands, according to the latest BizBuySell Insight Report, a nationally-recognized economic indicator which aggregates statistics from business-for-sale transactions reported by participating business brokers nationwide. A total of 10,312 businesses were reported sold in 2018, the most since BizBuySell start collecting such data in 2007. The year’s brisk activity of businesses being sold represents a four percent increase over the previous record of 9,919 in 2017 and a 31 percent jump from 2016’s then high of 7,842.

In addition to the reported sale data, BizBuySell also separately surveyed business brokers and small business owners about the market. Brokers said they saw similar increases, with 65 percent of respondents reporting that their transaction activity increased in 2018 while another 21 percent said it remained similar to 2017’s active level. When asked why they believed the business-for-sale market has remained so hot, brokers credited an increasing number of buyers & sellers and the general improvement of the small business environment. Similarly, current small business owners credited the same factors as the reason for transaction growth.


2018 Q4 Closed Small Business Transactions


“I think our society as a whole has put more emphasis on small businesses and has made the pathway to business ownership easier to see for first-time entrepreneurs, which is great as the market continues to perform well,” said one surveyed owner.

When asked why more listings were hitting the market in 2018, exactly half of current owners cited the growing Baby Boomer population that is now ready to retire. Another 34 percent believed owners did not want to manage rising minimum wage and health care costs while 32 percent said owners are motivated to sell based on concerns over upcoming economic or political regulations.

On the other hand, buyers also remain eager to try their hand at small business ownership. Current owners believe most of these prospective buyers are coming from the corporate world, with an overwhelming 59 percent crediting the increased buyer numbers to people looking to escape a 9-5 job.

“The strong economy is giving people confidence to be their own boss, and move away from working for others,” another owner said.

Other reasons included buyer confidence that the economy will remain strong and greater access to capital due to increased personal assets.

“The business-for-sale market has remained balanced for quite a few years now, allowing both buyers and sellers to confidently enter the market and walk away with a deal to their liking,” Bob House, President of BizBuySell.com & BizQuest.com, said. “Small business ownership is the American dream and with a growing number of listings hitting the market, there should remain a steady stream of entrepreneurs ready to take over these businesses.”



2018 Small Business Financial Health

Not only did more small businesses change hands in 2018, those businesses were also financially healthier than in previous years. The median revenue of a sold business grew 6.3 percent this year, from $500,000 in 2017 to $531,653 in 2018. Similarly, the median cash flow increased 4.3 percent, from $115,000 the year prior to $120,000. Both numbers represent the highest financial performance of sold businesses since BizBuySell began tracking this data.


2018 Q4 Key Financials of Sold Small Businesses


Current owners BizBuySell surveyed saw a similar financial success. Nearly half (49 percent) said their business performed better in 2018 than in 2017. Another 36 percent had similar numbers and just 11 percent said they had a worse year. When asked why they believe 2018 was so successful for small businesses, 49 percent credited today’s economic conditions while others noted consumer confidence (22 percent) and improved management practices (7 percent).


2018 Small Business Values

As the financial performance of small businesses grows, so does the value of these businesses on the open market. Because of this, owners were able to ask for and receive more for their businesses in 2018. The median asking price for a small business in the U.S. was $275,000, a 10 percent increase from 2017. The result was a median sale price of $249,000 for all closed transactions in 2018, a 9.3 percent increase from $227,880 in 2017.


2018 Q4 Small Businesses Sale Price vs Asking Price


The fact that transactions have stayed so strong while asking prices have risen shows that buyers are more than willing to pay more for a financially strong business with a bright future. In fact, BizBuySell surveyed buyers who had purchased a small business within the last year and 40 percent believed it was accurately priced. Thirty-one (31) percent said the business was overpriced but they believed the purchase was still worth it, while 15 percent thought they got a deal and the business was actually underpriced.

Business brokers see these higher sale prices continuing in 2019. In fact, 37 percent of brokers said they expect small business sale prices to increase next year, with another 49 percent believing prices will remain consistent with 2018’s historically high levels.


2018 Industry Breakdown

With a record number of businesses changing hands, it was interesting to find that sectors like franchise businesses and retail stores were most popular amongst buyers, while interest in other popular categories like restaurants took a step back.

Reported transactions of established franchise locations grew 27 percent in 2018 following similarly strong growth last year, indicating buyers are still enthusiastic about buying franchise businesses with an established track record and brand name. At the same time, median sale price of franchises grew 2.7 percent, from $225,000 last year to $231,000. Average multiple of cash flow grew at a faster rate for franchises than businesses overall – 5.4 percent compared to 0.8 percent. 2018 also saw a 10 percent higher cash flow multiple paid for franchises (2.56 for franchises compared to 2.35 overall), which may reflect a premium provided by franchise branding.

Within retail overall, businesses saw a 20 percent increase in closed transactions despite smaller financial numbers while restaurants had a 14 percent drop in transactions despite growing financials as compared to 2017. The median revenue of retail businesses sold in 2018 declined 9.6 percent year-over-year and median cash flow was flat. The smaller financials come at a time most retailers are faced with increasing challenges, like Amazon, to their business. It could also indicate buyers’ interest in finding smaller businesses that are less likely to compete with those large retailers. On the opposite end, restaurant median revenue and cash flow increased by 15.3 and 6.6 percent respectively, showing that even while less restaurants are changing hands, those that are available show healthy financials.

Manufacturing businesses continued to perform steadily, with closed transactions slightly increasing 1.3 percent, but more notably, median sale prices grew by 22.9 percent.

For a full breakdown of data by industry, click here.


2018 Q4 Small Businesses Sales by Sector


2018’s Top Performing Markets

By closed transactions, Washington D.C.’s activity grew by 54 percent, the highest among cities with a minimum of 50 transactions in 2018. Baltimore was second with a 42 percent growth rate and Jacksonville third with a 36 percent increase in transactions. Other notable increases in sold businesses include Detroit (up 31 percent) and Nashville (up 30 percent). Those that saw a drop in closed transactions this year were major cities like Boston (down 22 percent), Chicago (down 15 percent), Atlanta (down 11 percent), New York (down 10 percent) and L.A. (down 10 percent).


2018 Q4 Top 10 Markets by Closed Small Businesses Transaction


Salt Lake City owners earned the most cash for their efforts, with the highest median sale price among major cities (minimum 50 transaction) at $600,000. The Charlotte metropolitan area followed at $449,600 and Seattle area owners earned a median sale price of $400,000. Breaking down by region, the Midwest had the highest annual median sale price of $305,000, making a 17.3% jump from $260,000 last year.


2018 Q4 Top 10 Markets by Median Sale Price


“I speak with a myriad of people in a variety of geographical areas. Regardless of the region people feel positively about the nature of their local economies as well as the national economy,” one small business owner noted.

For a full breakdown of the top U.S. markets, click here.


2018 Differences by Deal Size

When breaking 2018 closed transactions down by deal size, a few noteworthy differences exist between businesses that sold for $1 million or more when compared to all business sales. BizBuySell had 1,098 reported sales that exceeded this sale price threshold in 2018. Not surprisingly, these businesses have larger revenues and cash flows which help them command higher prices in the market.

By industry, deals over $1 million are three times more likely to be manufacturing-focused, with these representing 12 percent of all deals over the threshold (compared to 4 percent for businesses overall). Service businesses remain the most common industry represented in deals over $1 million (37 percent) as well as overall numbers (38 percent), while restaurant sales less frequently reached this high (8 percent over $1 million compared to 21 percent of all sales).


2018 Q4 Industry Share of Sold Businesses by Sale Price


Deals over $1 million are also more likely to close nearer to the initial asking price. The national asking price to sale price ratio typically sits around 92%. However at the $1 million level, owners are receiving 96% of asking price. Interestingly, there was little difference in average days on the market for each group with both taking between 175-180 median days to sell.

Perhaps most importantly, these larger deals command higher valuations via larger revenue and cash flow multiples. The average revenue multiple of all businesses sits at .60 but jumps to .94 for businesses sold over $1 million. Similarly, the average cash flow multiple grows from 2.35 overall to 3.89 at the $1 million threshold. Larger deals command a premium for the profits they generate.


2018 Q4 Key Metrics by Sales Price


Q4 2018 Overview

Looking at the fourth quarter of 2018, transaction activity took a small six percent drop from the same time last year. The fourth quarter is typically the softest of the year, but the first three quarters remained strong enough to set the record-breaking mark for full-year transactions.

Financially, the median sale price of a business sold in Q4 remained steady, holding at $230,000, as it was last year. Median revenue of those businesses grew 3.9 percent to $519,287 and median cash flow increased 6.1 percent to $119,382.

In terms of the supply pipeline, the fourth quarter of 2018 saw an increase of active business-for-sale listings of 13.3 percent over Q4 of 2017 showing there remains a strong supply of available businesses for interested buyers to purchase in 2019. In addition, the median revenue of these listed businesses grew 4 percent and the cash flow 6.3 percent from the same time last year, highlighting a larger and financially healthier market of business opportunities.

Business brokers expect the listing totals to continue on this growth trend driven by more Baby Boomers ready to retire. Specifically, close to 80 percent of surveyed brokers believe more Baby Boomers will look to sell their business in 2019 than did in 2018.


Market Outlook

With transaction activity and small business performance at such strong levels, it is no surprise that both business brokers and current owners are optimistic for the future.

Almost 70 percent of business brokers said they expect even more transactions to take place in 2019 than did in the record breaking 2018. When asked why they expect more activity, brokers said they expect the number of owners selling to continue to increase (29 percent of brokers) and seller expectations on price to become a bit more realistic (22 percent). Perhaps related, 13 percent of brokers believed the small business economy would continue to improve and another 13 percent said President Trump’s policies would help spur more business sales.

Similarly, almost half (49 percent) of current business owners believe the small business economy will improve in 2019 with another 31 percent saying it will stay as successful as this year. On a more individualized note, owners believed that strong economy would translate to personal success, with 62 percent expecting their business would perform even better in 2019.

“With a healthy market, more boomer and elder generations are more likely to sell. We expect to acquire in that atmosphere,” said one owner looking to expand in the coming years.

Of course, both small business buyers and sellers should also keep a watchful eye on current issues that could affect this market’s growth, especially in today’s political climate. Twenty three (23) percent of owners did believe that 2018’s midterm elections would eventually have a negative effect on small businesses. Another 20 percent believed the opposite, saying the House changes would be a benefit to small businesses.

Business brokers believed rising interest rates were the top threat to the business-for-sale marketplace (23 percent answered it as the #1 threat), while others showed concern over global financial instability (13 percent), an exhausted supply of quality listings (13 percent), minimum wage hikes (12 percent) and political gridlock (9 percent).

“It was another incredible year for small business transactions and the momentum should continue well into 2019,” House added. “We expect continued strong deal flow, but both buyers and sellers should also keep a close eye on factors that could affect the marketplace such as political gridlock, potential tariff impacts, rising interest rates, and stock market volatility. Those can be good indicators of how the market could shift moving forward.”


About the BizBuySell.com Insight Report

The BizBuySell Insight Report is a nationally-recognized economic indicator that tracks the health of the U.S. small business economy. Each quarter, BizBuySell analyzes sales and listing prices of small businesses across the United States based on approximately 50,000 businesses for sale and those recently sold, reporting changes in closed transaction rates, valuation multiples and other economic indicators for the small business transaction market. Closed transactions are reported to BizBuySell.com on a voluntary basis by business brokers nationwide. Each report includes real small business data on over 70 major U.S. markets and across 65 small business industries.

BizBuySell is the largest business for sale marketplace online, receiving over a million visitors a month. Since 1996, BizBuySell has offered tools that make it easy for business owners and brokers to sell a business, and potential buyers to find the business of their dreams. The website also features an extensive franchise directory as well as an easy-to-use business valuation tool.

NOTE: For the most recent statistics, please see the latest BizBuySell Insights Report


Media Contact:

Bobby Chilver 
Walker Sands Communications 
office: (312) 546-4712
email: robert.chilver@walkersands.com


Small Business Listing Metrics by Geography for Fourth Quarter, 2018

Key metrics from businesses listed for sale on BizBuySell.com by market for Q4 2018

Market # of Businesses Listed Median Asking Price Median Revenue Asking Price to Revenue (average) Median Cash Flow Asking Price to Cash Flow (average)
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 89 $349,999 $670,000 0.83 $133,000 2.83
Albuquerque, NM 87 $299,999 $479,000 0.90 $114,750 3.43
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 747 $320,000 $550,000 0.77 $133,789 3.14
Austin-Round Rock, TX 256 $325,000 $511,500 0.84 $123,353 2.89
Baltimore-Towson, MD 337 $250,000 $555,000 0.75 $120,000 2.86
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 95 $240,000 $399,915 0.80 $111,000 2.91
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 614 $282,850 $575,000 0.63 $130,000 2.58
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 176 $325,000 $790,000 0.51 $152,622 2.41
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 43 $350,000 $400,000 0.87 $100,000 3.56
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC 278 $250,000 $509,915 0.70 $110,500 3.08
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI 771 $245,000 $505,749 0.81 $113,787 3.03
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 127 $350,000 $567,263 0.73 $128,000 3.53
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 153 $250,000 $630,000 0.60 $127,362 2.66
Columbus, OH 188 $249,450 $577,890 0.50 $123,000 2.46
Contra Costa-Alameda-Solano, CA 267 $249,000 $500,000 0.62 $116,000 2.62
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 1254 $275,000 $484,948 0.83 $117,941 3.14
Dayton, OH 76 $307,000 $557,500 0.85 $105,141 3.54
Denver-Aurora, CO 740 $275,000 $559,064 0.69 $115,031 2.90
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 344 $249,900 $455,330 0.80 $107,629 3.13
Durham, NC 45 $250,000 $522,000 0.73 $115,399 2.79
Fresno, CA 28 $547,000 $815,343 0.73 $175,134 3.87
Greensboro-High Point, NC 53 $219,000 $515,000 0.63 $120,000 3.15
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 161 $219,000 $540,000 0.53 $105,000 2.49
Honolulu, HI 20 $150,000 $247,500 0.78 $78,911 2.70
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 773 $230,000 $430,000 0.87 $105,737 3.16
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 177 $389,000 $737,896 0.61 $142,542 2.85
Jacksonville, FL 345 $199,000 $433,000 0.77 $100,000 2.77
Kansas City, MO-KS 194 $296,000 $580,700 0.79 $121,550 3.17
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 406 $175,000 $358,428 0.71 $97,000 2.51
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 2393 $250,000 $480,000 0.80 $108,000 2.93
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN 114 $299,500 $531,000 0.70 $114,000 3.30
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 75 $300,000 $545,586 0.63 $141,795 3.14
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL 1883 $279,000 $480,000 0.79 $122,000 2.94
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 93 $350,000 $700,000 0.66 $150,000 3.30
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 474 $298,500 $595,280 0.69 $125,000 2.77
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro, TN 264 $249,000 $490,523 0.70 $105,124 2.80
New Haven-Milford, CT 161 $250,000 $550,000 0.58 $125,000 2.50
New Jersey 2113 $250,000 $462,749 0.75 $115,000 2.75
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 54 $207,500 $395,922 0.70 $100,428 3.07
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 6333 $300,000 $650,000 0.65 $145,000 2.64
Oklahoma City, OK 127 $299,000 $435,246 0.93 $123,000 3.20
Orange County, CA 665 $229,000 $462,417 0.71 $100,000 2.80
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL 665 $195,000 $414,000 0.71 $96,138 2.68
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 903 $280,000 $475,801 0.84 $113,830 2.88
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 1255 $200,000 $408,000 0.62 $96,965 2.51
Pittsburgh, PA 137 $285,000 $475,000 0.87 $117,000 3.35
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA 261 $274,000 $504,918 0.61 $114,890 2.74
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 147 $325,000 $647,506 0.65 $140,000 2.77
Raleigh-Cary, NC 190 $252,500 $500,000 0.75 $123,753 2.91
Richmond, VA 178 $249,000 $485,000 0.62 $110,000 2.78
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 548 $240,000 $512,795 0.65 $110,500 2.71
Rochester, NY 111 $210,000 $489,000 0.67 $89,964 3.06
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA 244 $237,000 $471,236 0.67 $104,000 2.63
Salt Lake City, UT 155 $297,000 $575,000 0.68 $140,226 2.75
San Antonio, TX 157 $250,000 $420,000 0.82 $100,000 3.14
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 423 $200,000 $442,000 0.67 $99,000 2.61
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 486 $299,950 $633,706 0.70 $140,874 2.69
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 191 $295,000 $610,000 0.66 $121,705 2.93
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 360 $269,950 $517,036 0.72 $125,191 2.81
St. Louis, MO-IL 182 $254,500 $591,978 0.79 $120,000 3.33
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 990 $240,000 $437,359 0.80 $107,121 2.76
Tucson, AZ 114 $247,500 $420,344 0.72 $112,951 2.70
Tulsa, OK 76 $312,500 $693,999 0.72 $113,500 3.24
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 210 $199,950 $480,000 0.66 $90,000 3.09
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 779 $250,000 $569,755 0.56 $121,000 2.53
Wichita, KS 29 $249,000 $485,000 0.61 $75,000 3.27
Winston-Salem, NC 24 $314,000 $545,980 0.81 $94,111 3.61
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Closed Small Business Transaction Metrics by Geographic Market for the Full-Year 2018

Key metrics from transactions reported on BizBuySell.com by market during 2018

Market # of Reported Sales Median Sale Price Median Asking Price Sales to Asking Price (average) Median Revenue Revenue Multiple (average) Median Cash Flow Cash Flow Multiple (average)
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 12 $769,995 $729,000 0.89 $802,000 0.88 $210,000 2.63
Albuquerque, NM 14 $249,000 $249,000 0.96 $876,000 0.48 $151,041 2.56
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 298 $275,000 $248,350 0.90 $580,905 0.60 $117,420 2.52
Austin-Round Rock, TX 83 $249,500 $225,000 0.95 $527,751 0.59 $107,595 2.31
Baltimore-Towson, MD 101 $325,000 $300,000 0.92 $600,000 0.59 $145,650 2.32
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 24 $300,000 $225,000 0.89 $610,948 0.63 $150,000 2.56
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 185 $225,000 $200,000 0.89 $576,000 0.52 $112,000 2.10
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 47 $240,000 $182,000 0.92 $555,200 0.66 $140,000 2.22
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 10 $215,000 $137,500 0.82 $691,000 0.72 $90,000 1.96
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC 84 $425,000 $449,600 0.94 $777,015 0.59 $186,152 2.77
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI 221 $297,000 $275,000 0.88 $608,901 0.51 $120,000 2.40
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 39 $354,950 $318,045 0.87 $704,500 0.54 $143,321 2.64
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 25 $349,995 $340,000 0.93 $500,000 0.50 $92,807 3.15
Columbus, OH 66 $237,450 $225,000 0.91 $505,249 0.48 $102,000 2.21
Contra Costa-Alameda-Solano, CA 95 $290,000 $260,000 0.91 $709,641 0.43 $127,401 2.13
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 341 $227,000 $212,500 0.93 $480,000 0.60 $103,760 2.38
Dayton, OH 27 $273,000 $237,000 0.88 $493,469 0.58 $80,240 2.70
Denver-Aurora, CO 189 $304,498 $299,000 0.93 $680,000 0.59 $142,279 2.37
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 151 $143,580 $134,900 0.91 $385,000 0.51 $80,025 1.86
Durham, NC 24 $350,000 $300,000 0.89 $769,964 0.96 $150,000 3.47
Fresno, CA 13 $79,000 $79,000 1.00 $110,000 0.57 $98,000 0.84
Greensboro-High Point, NC 11 $524,500 $512,500 0.93 $932,545 0.54 $204,227 2.50
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 32 $362,000 $330,000 0.94 $668,500 0.48 $140,000 2.46
Honolulu, HI 3 $275,000 $275,000 1.00 $1,100,000 0.25 $93,918 2.93
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 162 $172,750 $162,750 0.92 $401,500 0.59 $102,500 2.11
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 61 $380,000 $362,500 0.94 $766,856 0.57 $188,954 2.47
Jacksonville, FL 75 $179,000 $140,000 0.89 $395,318 0.47 $80,797 1.89
Kansas City, MO-KS 60 $409,500 $395,000 0.90 $835,400 0.59 $154,252 2.49
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 133 $139,500 $129,500 0.89 $300,000 0.56 $80,049 1.93
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 691 $249,000 $208,500 0.91 $550,000 0.53 $120,000 2.22
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN 32 $312,500 $299,500 0.91 $499,860 0.69 $118,909 2.46
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 44 $210,000 $210,000 0.93 $421,457 0.48 $100,000 2.03
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL 499 $199,250 $175,000 0.89 $381,752 0.58 $93,684 2.03
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 22 $550,000 $545,654 0.95 $956,000 0.69 $243,188 2.90
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 114 $379,500 $375,000 0.92 $634,665 0.65 $157,993 2.35
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro, TN 147 $205,000 $200,000 0.95 $500,000 0.53 $106,283 2.30
New Haven-Milford, CT 25 $349,000 $275,000 0.88 $678,240 0.46 $120,000 2.08
New Jersey 346 $250,000 $250,000 0.93 $420,000 0.63 $113,000 2.35
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 16 $275,000 $275,000 0.87 $565,957 0.49 $155,758 2.69
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 672 $299,000 $270,000 0.90 $550,000 0.60 $145,308 2.23
Oklahoma City, OK 19 $242,500 $236,250 0.91 $479,000 0.45 $97,000 2.10
Orange County, CA 270 $195,000 $180,000 0.91 $456,164 0.52 $96,000 2.18
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL 269 $176,450 $151,250 0.91 $396,699 0.55 $92,704 1.89
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 218 $355,000 $340,000 0.96 $630,123 0.60 $149,973 2.42
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 238 $250,000 $222,000 0.94 $480,000 0.57 $121,195 2.05
Pittsburgh, PA 48 $397,000 $345,000 0.93 $769,674 0.58 $150,000 2.78
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA 100 $258,000 $235,000 0.90 $466,000 0.64 $119,079 2.33
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 36 $599,000 $575,000 0.94 $908,000 0.64 $168,000 3.33
Raleigh-Cary, NC 66 $280,000 $244,500 0.92 $507,500 0.59 $148,696 2.58
Richmond, VA 36 $224,500 $180,750 0.93 $612,500 0.49 $113,500 2.39
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 165 $224,999 $185,000 0.89 $518,356 0.51 $106,964 1.94
Rochester, NY 32 $166,500 $160,000 0.89 $455,204 0.49 $67,152 2.22
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA 72 $229,900 $212,500 0.95 $452,466 0.56 $139,240 1.92
Salt Lake City, UT 54 $630,000 $600,000 0.94 $589,931 0.88 $171,045 2.85
San Antonio, TX 44 $90,000 $90,000 0.98 $207,689 0.56 $76,000 1.71
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 164 $270,000 $240,000 0.93 $568,070 0.59 $120,000 2.15
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 155 $295,000 $270,000 0.90 $652,393 0.52 $140,245 2.15
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 70 $325,000 $212,000 0.86 $581,150 0.53 $113,000 1.89
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 148 $425,000 $400,000 0.92 $750,000 0.52 $158,000 2.63
St. Louis, MO-IL 35 $450,000 $430,000 0.95 $958,841 0.62 $170,440 3.10
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 539 $335,000 $325,000 0.97 $451,600 0.89 $134,705 2.68
Tucson, AZ 36 $125,000 $125,000 0.96 $363,000 0.50 $87,787 1.83
Tulsa, OK 17 $534,500 $470,000 0.94 $806,773 0.71 $209,699 2.52
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 20 $134,000 $130,000 0.87 $427,378 0.37 $68,200 2.05
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 285 $250,000 $235,000 0.92 $570,000 0.51 $117,000 2.12
Wichita, KS 20 $176,500 $147,000 0.89 $620,000 0.45 $86,500 2.47
Winston-Salem, NC 10 $352,200 $500,000 1.01 $680,056 0.77 $143,147 2.87
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Closed Small Business Transaction Metrics by Sector for the Full-Year 2018

Key metrics from transactions reported on BizBuySell.com by sector during 2018

Sector Sub-Sector Number of Reported Sales Median Sales Price Median Asking Price Sales to Asking Price (average) Median Revenue Revenue Multiple (average) Median Cash Flow Cash Flow Multiple (average)
Agriculture Greenhouses 4 $279,000 $299,000 0.93 $800,000 0.35 $ 88,500 3.15
Agriculture Tree Farms and Orchards 4 $871,000 $965,000 0.90 $378,000 2.30 $179,000 4.87
Agriculture Other Agriculture Businesses 10 $1,150,000 $1,350,000 0.87 $1,971,118 0.64 $474,179 2.54
Communication and Media Magazines and Newspapers 9 $150,000 $165,000 0.87 $272,000 0.77 $ 98,242 1.90
Communication and Media Production Companies 4 $275,000 $275,000 0.91 $500,000 0.65 $185,000 2.04
Communication and Media Other Communication and Media Businesses 25 $450,000 $450,000 0.88 $641,677 0.71 $172,402 2.24
Construction Concrete Businesses 8 $1,200,000 $1,200,000 0.85 $1,200,000 0.78 $464,938 2.11
Construction Electrical and Mechanical Contracting Businesses 36 $803,000 $828,000 0.89 $1,398,555 0.50 $400,000 2.21
Construction Heavy Construction Businesses 7 $1,200,000 $1,300,000 0.93 $3,000,000 0.85 $400,000 3.72
Construction HVAC Businesses 75 $420,000 $437,000 0.93 $871,900 0.55 $219,649 2.24
Construction Plumbing Businesses 30 $439,000 $525,000 0.92 $975,000 0.54 $265,344 2.19
Construction Other Building and Construction Businesses 180 $450,000 $499,000 0.91 $1,380,199 0.42 $237,694 2.12
Manufacturing Auto, Boat and Aircraft Manufacturers 10 $944,043 $1,400,000 0.89 $1,500,000 0.61 $119,000 3.32
Manufacturing Chemical and Related Product Manufacturers 3 $775,000 $850,000 0.88 $788,383 0.73 $275,000 2.68
Manufacturing Clothing and Fabric Manufacturers 14 $500,000 $525,000 0.92 $1,136,797 0.99 $212,238 2.83
Manufacturing Electronic and Electrical Equipment Manufacturers 19 $550,000 $675,000 0.87 $1,230,903 0.54 $171,029 2.99
Manufacturing Energy and Petroleum Production Businesses 2 $550,000 $575,000 0.96 $932,900 0.59 $200,000 2.75
Manufacturing Food and Related Product Manufacturers 34 $636,000 $650,000 0.91 $900,456 0.60 $200,000 3.54
Manufacturing Furniture and Fixtures Manufacturers 14 $675,000 $750,000 0.90 $1,183,981 0.67 $219,867 2.79
Manufacturing Glass, Stone and Concrete Manufacturers 12 $550,000 $625,000 0.92 $1,003,702 0.74 $209,679 2.98
Manufacturing Industrial and Commercial Machinery Manufacturers 12 $1,200,000 $1,300,000 0.93 $1,513,363 0.89 $316,000 3.38
Manufacturing Lumber and Wood Products Manufacturers 25 $1,220,000 $1,337,500 0.96 $1,905,000 0.71 $380,724 3.15
Manufacturing Machine Shops and Tool Manufacturers 25 $705,000 $845,000 0.95 $833,524 0.85 $250,000 3.10
Manufacturing Medical Device and Product Manufacturers 8 $444,500 $548,500 0.85 $492,292 0.90 $160,613 2.63
Manufacturing Metal Product Manufacturers 61 $587,500 $750,000 0.88 $1,323,204 0.69 $303,500 3.24
Manufacturing Mining Businesses 4 $8,500,000 $8,950,000 0.95 $9,573,673 0.89 $1,925,732 4.41
Manufacturing Packaging Businesses 4 $217,288 $225,000 0.93 $702,579 0.41 $ 89,797 2.09
Manufacturing Paper Manufacturers and Printing Businesses 41 $367,500 $462,000 0.85 $694,273 0.59 $166,020 2.76
Manufacturing Rubber and Plastic Products Manufacturers 13 $1,050,000 $1,012,500 1.02 $1,057,628 0.84 $332,500 2.99
Manufacturing Sign Manufacturers and Businesses 31 $655,000 $712,500 0.87 $951,273 0.64 $279,000 2.43
Manufacturing Other Manufacturing Businesses 63 $1,250,000 $1,300,000 0.93 $1,478,491 0.85 $399,971 2.98
Mining Mining Businesses 4 $8,500,000 $8,950,000 0.95 $9,573,673 0.89 $1,925,732 4.41
Online and Technology Cell Phone and Computer Repair and Service Businesses 18 $187,500 $202,500 0.94 $451,637 0.66 $108,524 2.19
Online and Technology Graphic and Web Design Businesses 9 $326,000 $362,000 0.93 $401,516 0.67 $128,483 2.47
Online and Technology IT and Software Service Businesses 22 $850,000 $895,000 0.95 $1,148,559 0.92 $266,686 2.85
Online and Technology Software and App Companies 17 $1,550,000 $1,600,000 0.88 $783,355 1.82 $382,152 3.65
Online and Technology Websites and Ecommerce Businesses 353 $475,000 $495,000 0.99 $581,723 1.00 $172,402 2.99
Online and Technology Other Online and Technology Businesses 60 $465,000 $465,000 0.96 $759,846 1.01 $196,408 2.79
Online and Technology Real Estate Businesses 42 $900,000 $975,000 0.95 $1,528,000 1.69 $400,000 4.50
Retail Art Galleries 3 $1,187,500 $1,197,500 0.89 $641,620 1.28 $194,799 4.22
Retail Bakeries 85 $120,000 $159,000 0.88 $340,254 0.42 $ 80,000 1.79
Retail Bars, Pubs and Taverns 343 $255,000 $285,000 0.91 $596,000 0.48 $100,000 2.60
Retail Bike Shops 7 $207,500 $217,500 0.96 $436,203 0.51 $ 76,000 2.72
Retail Breweries 10 $572,500 $507,500 0.95 $810,391 0.84 $120,310 3.74
Retail Building Material and Hardware Stores 35 $600,000 $675,000 0.91 $1,827,000 0.46 $238,000 2.90
Retail Car Dealerships 30 $700,000 $874,950 0.81 $2,451,519 0.43 $269,472 2.93
Retail Clothing and Accessory Stores 121 $177,500 $202,000 0.90 $441,029 0.46 $ 95,400 2.04
Retail Coffee Shops and Cafes 187 $150,000 $162,500 0.92 $361,000 0.44 $ 79,620 2.14
Retail Convenience Stores 273 $175,000 $199,500 0.90 $654,500 0.35 $ 94,620 2.35
Retail Dollar Stores 8 $175,000 $179,000 0.98 $500,000 0.36 $114,800 1.81
Retail Donut Shops 31 $165,500 $185,000 0.94 $357,606 0.65 $ 97,500 3.60
Retail Equipment Rental and Dealers 5 $299,000 $400,000 0.76 $1,200,000 0.47 $120,475 2.44
Retail Flower Shops 57 $110,000 $125,000 0.90 $337,170 0.47 $ 72,193 2.00
Retail Food Trucks 6 $100,000 $115,000 0.95 $182,000 0.64 $ 60,000 1.64
Retail Furniture and Furnishings Stores 365 $225,000 $245,000 0.94 $710,310 0.56 $123,970 2.46
Retail Gas Stations 300 $225,000 $225,000 0.98 $633,150 0.51 $120,000 2.56
Retail Grocery Stores and Supermarkets 66 $465,000 $490,000 0.94 $1,325,000 0.37 $165,000 3.20
Retail Health Food and Nutrition Businesses 18 $249,000 $249,500 0.89 $639,838 0.42 $ 94,700 2.59
Retail Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Shops 175 $135,000 $164,000 0.92 $302,159 0.52 $ 70,178 2.05
Retail Jewelry Stores 8 $165,000 $211,995 0.89 $242,500 0.77 $ 71,494 2.39
Retail Juice Bars 24 $325,000 $327,500 0.93 $679,705 0.52 $115,392 2.20
Retail Liquor Stores 301 $332,500 $349,998 0.91 $900,000 0.44 $139,050 2.85
Retail Marine/Boat Services and Dealers 16 $375,000 $395,000 0.90 $1,100,000 0.54 $150,000 2.58
Retail Nursery and Garden Centers 9 $785,000 $612,500 1.15 $997,500 0.76 $208,607 3.55
Retail Pawn Shops 4 $100,000 $199,900 0.72 $440,000 0.44 $115,691 1.36
Retail Pet Stores and Supply Businesses 21 $197,500 $246,500 0.88 $633,898 0.42 $ 96,830 2.24
Retail Pharmacies 35 $227,500 $245,000 0.96 $1,450,000 0.36 $150,500 2.22
Retail Restaurants 2195 $180,000 $200,000 0.90 $582,826 0.38 $106,008 2.08
Retail Smoke Shops 23 $101,000 $105,000 0.97 $375,000 0.36 $ 84,000 1.60
Retail Truck Stops 6 $3,850,000 $4,000,000 0.96 $9,000,000 0.43 $750,000 5.13
Retail Vending Machine Businesses 46 $153,000 $165,000 0.95 $300,000 0.70 $ 77,400 2.34
Retail Other Retail Businesses 196 $200,000 $225,000 0.90 $517,813 0.48 $100,036 2.20
Service Businesses Accounting Businesses and Tax Practices 81 $227,500 $259,000 0.91 $295,002 0.97 $163,944 2.03
Service Businesses Architecture and Engineering Firms 9 $500,000 $495,000 0.87 $924,442 0.73 $193,322 2.34
Service Businesses Assisted Living and Nursing Homes 22 $325,000 $350,000 0.92 $321,316 1.52 $111,000 4.20
Service Businesses Auto Repair and Service Shops 268 $277,500 $300,000 0.91 $660,000 0.57 $146,085 2.43
Service Businesses Banking and Loan Businesses 11 $152,000 $159,000 0.95 $695,000 0.31 $164,000 1.28
Service Businesses Bed and Breakfasts 12 $887,500 $1,024,500 0.86 $294,618 3.04 $105,853 8.37
Service Businesses Bowling Alleys 2 $399,000 $399,000 1.00 $458,660 0.87 $224,455 1.78
Service Businesses Car Washes 42 $600,000 $649,000 0.92 $575,000 1.48 $225,000 4.29
Service Businesses Catering Companies 5 $289,000 $299,000 0.91 $400,025 0.59 $101,300 2.26
Service Businesses Cleaning Businesses 97 $236,000 $255,000 0.92 $337,258 0.71 $120,000 2.12
Service Businesses Commercial Laundry Businesses 14 $274,750 $314,750 0.91 $283,490 1.24 $115,896 2.86
Service Businesses Dance, Pilates and Yoga Studios 13 $125,000 $189,500 0.80 $378,299 0.51 $ 55,187 2.29
Service Businesses Day Care and Child Care Centers 91 $300,000 $350,000 0.93 $539,477 0.78 $112,000 3.43
Service Businesses Dental Practices 13 $314,500 $360,000 0.90 $495,364 0.64 $191,565 1.75
Service Businesses Dog Daycare and Boarding Businesses 18 $220,000 $270,000 0.91 $390,644 0.80 $105,870 2.49
Service Businesses Dry Cleaners 158 $167,000 $190,000 0.88 $249,715 0.76 $ 84,500 2.27
Service Businesses Golf Courses and Service Businesses 5 $169,000 $179,000 0.86 $470,000 0.43 $114,380 1.50
Service Businesses Gyms and Fitness Centers 63 $182,000 $195,000 0.91 $294,201 0.69 $ 78,321 2.21
Service Businesses Hair Salons and Barber Shops 213 $ 99,000 $100,000 0.89 $250,000 0.42 $ 57,568 1.83
Service Businesses Home Health Care Businesses 64 $275,000 $300,000 0.92 $778,101 0.51 $145,000 2.40
Service Businesses Hotels 29 $5,800,000 $6,000,000 0.97 $1,625,000 3.57 $637,000 9.11
Service Businesses Insurance Agencies 57 $432,500 $562,500 0.93 $351,206 1.46 $125,000 3.28
Service Businesses Junk and Salvage Yards 3 $3,500,000 $1,990,000 1.76 $3,700,000 0.95 $600,000 5.83
Service Businesses Landscaping and Yard Service Businesses 106 $174,000 $199,000 0.91 $353,342 0.60 $101,492 1.81
Service Businesses Laundromats and Coin Laundry Businesses 87 $150,000 $160,000 0.91 $132,952 1.12 $ 60,000 2.83
Service Businesses Legal Services and Law Firms 11 $400,000 $400,000 0.87 $480,000 0.57 $150,000 1.79
Service Businesses Limo and Passenger Transportation Businesses 20 $640,000 $725,000 0.90 $1,100,000 0.64 $250,000 2.41
Service Businesses Locksmith Businesses 1 $190,000 $195,000 0.97 $188,852 1.01 $112,102 1.69
Service Businesses Massage Businesses 15 $167,750 $174,500 0.97 $650,000 0.33 $131,908 1.75
Service Businesses Medical Billing Businesses 5 $1,430,000 $1,550,000 0.96 $2,419,500 0.55 $625,000 2.81
Service Businesses Medical Practices 22 $360,000 $349,000 0.96 $628,445 0.71 $174,633 2.44
Service Businesses Motels 20 $812,500 $849,950 0.92 $353,700 2.32 $154,106 4.75
Service Businesses Moving and Shipping Businesses 49 $309,000 $325,000 0.95 $520,616 0.56 $142,589 2.44
Service Businesses Nail Salons 22 $173,000 $220,000 0.90 $423,434 0.42 $150,000 1.51
Service Businesses Pest Control Businesses 7 $273,350 $375,000 0.84 $231,487 1.27 $119,983 2.21
Service Businesses Pet Grooming Businesses 30 $ 80,000 $100,000 0.89 $268,294 0.65 $ 70,208 1.95
Service Businesses Preschools 8 $575,000 $612,500 0.86 $629,500 1.29 $271,000 3.06
Service Businesses Property Management Businesses 33 $220,000 $225,000 0.89 $309,220 0.73 $111,363 2.19
Service Businesses Routes 354 $175,692 $179,000 0.96 $467,168 0.67 $111,000 2.02
Service Businesses Schools 12 $270,000 $300,000 0.92 $332,500 0.97 $124,350 2.68
Service Businesses Security Businesses 7 $160,000 $197,000 0.87 $298,023 0.78 $ 58,390 2.70
Service Businesses Spas 35 $255,000 $270,000 0.89 $480,000 0.51 $120,000 1.86
Service Businesses Staffing Agencies 26 $500,000 $550,000 0.97 $1,153,936 0.37 $281,903 2.70
Service Businesses Storage Facilities and Warehouses 12 $250,000 $250,000 0.88 $1,452,299 0.27 $190,000 1.78
Service Businesses Tanning Salons 12 $ 78,500 $ 83,500 0.96 $180,330 0.56 $ 69,050 1.71
Service Businesses Towing Companies 5 $415,000 $512,500 0.85 $772,500 0.76 $165,000 2.89
Service Businesses Travel Agencies 2 $ 45,000 $ 99,000 0.45 $157,314 0.29 $ 64,095 0.70
Service Businesses Trucking Companies 23 $649,500 $674,500 0.90 $917,680 0.63 $229,767 2.84
Service Businesses Waste Management and Recycling Businesses 9 $750,000 $812,500 0.87 $847,500 0.75 $277,000 2.66
Service Businesses Other Automotive and Boat Businesses 7 $167,500 $190,000 0.89 $158,482 1.24 $ 57,019 3.40
Service Businesses Other Beauty and Personal Care Businesses 9 $105,500 $115,000 0.86 $226,607 0.50 $ 55,687 1.62
Service Businesses Other Education and Children Businesses 37 $165,000 $174,900 0.91 $320,000 0.62 $ 93,000 2.26
Service Businesses Other Entertainment and Recreation Businesses 70 $207,500 $242,500 0.91 $305,361 0.77 $ 97,963 2.65
Service Businesses Other Financial Services Businesses 21 $712,500 $712,500 1.00 $563,861 0.93 $321,110 2.34
Service Businesses Other Health Care and Fitness Businesses 103 $294,500 $350,000 0.92 $486,448 0.76 $127,804 2.36
Service Businesses Other Pet Service Businesses 7 $537,500 $552,500 0.97 $628,001 0.83 $214,744 2.54
Service Businesses Other Service Businesses 439 $215,000 $235,000 0.94 $350,260 0.67 $127,973 1.99
Service Businesses Other Transportation and Storage Businesses 35 $350,000 $399,000 0.90 $578,000 0.66 $197,000 2.15
Service Businesses Other Travel Businesses 1 $299,000 $299,000 1.00 $260,000 1.15 $130,000 2.30
Wholesale and Distributors Durable Goods Wholesalers and Distributors 73 $609,000 $650,000 0.94 $1,304,489 0.59 $216,529 2.82
Wholesale and Distributors Nondurable Goods Wholesalers and Distributors 53 $190,000 $190,000 0.96 $405,000 0.56 $ 80,392 2.43
Wholesale and Distributors Other Wholesalers and Distributors 24 $271,950 $275,498 0.99 $1,000,000 0.42 $150,018 2.65
Other All Non-Classifiable Establishments 17 $577,500 $640,000 0.92 $570,511 0.97 $198,110 2.87
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