Selling - business as a whole or block of fees?

Looking to sell my online accountancy business, should I sell the whole business or just the fees?

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Hi,

I started a hybrid ('hybrid' as I offer telephone and Zoom communications as opposed to just email/chat in my online accountancy business) about 3 years ago, alongside a part-time job. 

The hope was that my business would grow sufficiently that it would get to a stage where I would need to give up the employed role. However, the business has not grown quite as quickly as I had hoped (with holding-down down employment, and family commitments I have not been able to devote as much time as needed, plus I'm not great at marketing/social media!) and now the employment has presented an opportunity that I cannot pass up.

I want my clients to be looked after, and obviously, there is value in what I have built so far (albeit nothing too significant), so I am looking to sell my business. I say I'm looking to sell my business (limited company), I don't know whether I should look to sell the "business" (i.e. the name/goodwill, domain, website etc. as well as the fees) or just the block of fees? And how do I determine the value of what I'm selling? This is where I am hoping I can get some advice/recommendations, please. 

By way of indication, I have just over £15,500 annual fees on recurring monthly direct debit and another couple of thousand pounds or so in annually returning pay-as-you-go clients.

And of course, if anybody would be potentially interested in acquiring either, let me know :)  I know it's not a lot, but it could be a great starting point for somebody new or a decent little addition to a fledging business.

Thanks.

Replies (2)

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
19th Mar 2024 13:35

I'm not sure I would describe yours as a hybrid business. Offering telephone and Zoom is hardly unusual in the modern age.

You are asking the wrong question. It is not what you would sell, but what others would be willing to buy. Most informed buyers would prefer not to buy a limited company, because they would inherit all the historical problems within that company. Not that I am saying you have done anything wrong, but buyers will see it as an unnecessary risk.

What is your timescale for selling? As you acknowledge, it is a fairly small business and the time it would take to do due diligence before a purchase will put a lot of people off at that level. You might have to accept a low price if you need a quick sale.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
19th Mar 2024 14:11

Apart from total fees of £15,500/£17,500 I would take a look at types of work and average fee re each activity, if the average fees are low then the clients are likely a lot less valuable.

You also need to consider what you can offer re fee transition services/support re migration if you have another job and work elsewhere 9-5.00.

Although fee block is small you might want to chat with a broker before deciding what to do, no idea who as never used one but others on here may make suggestions.

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