How Long To Sell A Business?

So, how long does it really take?

In a recent survey (February 2008), conducted by the listing web site Businesses For Sale (, 62 percent of the business brokers responding stated that it took them nine months or more from listing to sale. Only 28 percent reported that it took six months or less from listing to sale.

Nine months, or longer, to sell a business – that’s hard to believe! Our last survey, conducted in 2006, stated that the average time between listing and sale was 7.9 months. At this rate, it won’t be long before it takes a year, or probably longer, to sell a business. Our survey also reported that the average listing period was 10.7 months. It seems to us that the way these time periods are increasing, listing periods are going to have to be at least a year or more. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if not too long from now, business brokers will have to take lifetime listings. We haven’t quite figured out whether it will be the seller’s life or the broker’s.

As we have repeated many times, when we first got in the business, we took 30-day listings. (At that time, a long listing period was 45 days.) Listing periods then became 60 days, then 90, then 120. Now, listing periods are pushing a year.

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