Category Archives for "Market Intelligence – Small Businesses"

We build and maintain the most comprehensive set of data on what’s happening in the market when it comes to buying and selling of small businesses.

We gather data from all the locations where businesses are advertised for sale and use that data to extract market intelligence that guides business sellers, buyers and agents.

iTABB Market Intelligence – May 2020

​Market Intelligence - Small & Micro Businesses, May 2020

For details on the source of this data and on our market intelligence project, please visit this page. Want to use these images on your site, or have us create other graphs for you from our data? ​They are available without the watermark in exchange for a link back from your site to acknowledge the source. ​Request copies or unique graphical data​.

This month we review three of the best known UK marketplaces to list a business for sale:
Daltons Business 
While we have data on the other portals, we are examining just these three today. Caveats on the below data at the bottom of this page.

Number of businesses per asking price (bands with range of £100K)


Number of business by asking price - Businesses For

At Daltons Business:

Number of business by asking price - Daltons Business

At Rightbiz:

Number of businesses by asking price -rightbiz

Caveats: Listings above £1 million have been excluded as they form such a tiny fraction.

The three platforms show roughly the same spread with about 55%-60% of listings having an asking price of under £100K, and about 75% of listings falling under the 250K mark. 

As is obvious from the table below, Daltons and Rightbiz are roughly the same size in terms of number of listings with both boasting about 17,000 listings each (excluding the "new franchise" and other listings that are not businesses for sale).

BusinessesForSale is the smallest at a little over half the number of listings at the other two sites.


​Businesses For



​£0k - £100k




​​£100k - £200k




​​£200k - £300k




​​£300k - £400k




​​£400k - £500k




​​£500k - £600k




​​£600k - £700k




​​£700k - £​800k




​​£800k - £900k




​​£900k - £1000k




​​£1000k - £100k








Businesses for sale by sector


Number of businesses by sector -businesses for sale

At Daltons Business:

Number of businesses by sector -daltons

At Rightbiz:

Number of businesses by sector -rightbiz

Interestingly, they don’t all seem to attract the same kind of businesses.

The most popular sector at businessesforsale was retail followed by food.

At Daltons it was services followed by food.

Rightbiz is the only one where food was the most popular sector.

​Average asking prices by sector

​The highest average in Daltons seems to be for technology businesses while it’s hotels/hospitality for the other two. Hotels/hospitality makes sense as being the most expensive -  they often come with freeholds, but why is Daltons showing a £1m average price for tech businesses? Is Daltons the go to site for large tech businesses?

Unfortunately, no. Daltons figures are being skewed by a single Midlands based software business listed by ETS Corporate​. This is a business with £230K operating profit, £700K in assets and an asking price of £5.5m. Given the low number of tech businesses at Daltons, this one listing has skewed the average for tech businesses at this site. If that business is removed Daltons, too, has hotels and hospitality as the top sector.

Averages are terrible, aren’t they? Next time medians. Maybe.


Average asking price by sector -businesses for sale

At Daltons Business:

Average asking price by sector -daltons

At Rightbiz:

Average asking price by sector -rightbiz

​Which business brokers are listing the most businesses?


​We've included only the top 30 brokers on each platform. There are numerous brokers in the tail, some with just 2-3 listings each. Including them all would have made these charts unreadable.

Number of businesses by broker - bfs

At Daltons Business:

Number of businesses by broker - daltons

Rightbiz does not disclose to the general public the name of the broker behind each listing. So we found another way to get the names of the brokers behind listings. We are choosing to not disclose this data at this time. We may do so later.

Hilton Smythe are the clear winners at BusinessesForSale. Disclosure: Hilton Smythe are founding supporters of this site. That doesn't, of course, play any part in these stats.

There are one or two known anomalies in the below data that we haven't gotten around to cleaning yet, but they are broadly correct. Note that Knightsbridge / Knightsbridge Corporate are different companies but part of the same group. Bizdaq is not a broker but its own marketplace that "shares" its listings on other marketplaces. Entries like Business Partnership represent franchises. Their listings are accumulations of listings by all their franchisees.

​The Top 30 Brokers 


​Daltons Business

​Hilton Smythe
Intelligent Business Partners
Ernest Wilson Business Agents
KBS Corporate
Meridian Business Sales Ltd
Blacks Business Brokers
Everett Masson & Furby
Sidney Phillips
Transworld Business Brokers UK
Harvey Silver Hodgkinson
Intelligent Business Transfer
Business Partnership
Davey Co
ASG Commercial
Adams & Co
Colliers International
North East Commercial
Sovereign Business Transfer Limited
Veritas Business Sales
Cornerstone Business Sales
Bradleys Countrywide
RMS Estate Agents
Central Business Agency
Miller Commercial
Charles Darrow
CCL Group Ltd
Paviour Property Services


​Nationwide Businesses Ltd
Intelligent Business Transfer
Hilton Smythe
KBS Corporate
Ernest Wilson
Blacks Business Brokers Limited
Meridian Business Sales Limited
Everett Masson and Furby
Kings Business Transfer
Sidney Phillips
Bruce & Co
Transworld Business Advisors
Golden Global Property Limited
Lime Licensing Group
Chaplin Bond Ltd
Business Broker Spain
Harvey Silver Hodgkinson
Rosens BTA Limited
Guy Simmonds
Bar for Sale Spain?
Business Partnership
Broomheads Commercial Estate Agents
Turner Butler
Kenricks Commercial
Davey Co


​You can reach any of the above brokers by searching for their name in our directory.

​​Number of sectors per business

​Most businesses will probably qualify for a listing under more than one sector. However, multiple sector listing happens the most with BusinessesForSale, a bit less with Daltons and when it comes to RightBiz, 75% of listings were featured in only one sector.

From a buyer’s point of view there seem to be both pros and cons to businesses listing in multiple sectors. Buyers sometimes complain that at businessesforsale vendors often list their business under unrelated sectors just to get more views – sector spam if you will!

On the other hand, some buyers are interested in the wider sector and businesses that feature at the edge of that sector or arguably in multiple related sectors.


Number of sectors per business - businesses for sale

At Daltons Business:

Number of sectors per business - daltons

At Rightbiz:

Number of sectors per business-rightbiz

​Businesses organised by net profit

We truncated all results at £200K. There were hardly any businesses worth mentioning that claimed a net profit of over £200K.

All three platforms show a spike in the £20K - £30K range. Daltons and Rightbiz were tied with both showing 18% of their listings in this bracket, but at BFS 25% of the listings claimed a net profit of between £20K and £30K.


Number of businesses by net profit - bfs

At Daltons Business:

Number of businesses by net profit - daltons

At Rightbiz:

Number of businesses by net profit - rightbiz

One further graph on this – a consolidated one

Number of businesses by net profit - consolidated

​60% of businesses are claiming a net profit of between £0 and £50K, 27% claim a net profit of between £50K and £100K and 8% claim £100K to £150K.

98.5% are claiming £0 - £500K and 1.5% say their net profit is above £500K.

Average asking prices as a multiple of turnover

Sellers at the lower end of the range seem to be more ambitious at Daltons with an average asking price of 2.6x turnover. At the other two locations it’s roughly 2.2x turnover. In all cases, these smallest businesses seemed to have the highest price expectations (when calculated as a multiple of turnover).

​We don't need to emphasise that these are asking prices, not selling prices. Not all businesses will sell at the asking price, if any. ​Some businesses are over priced and won't sell at all. In a future post we intend to analyse what percentage of businesses are still sitting on the shelf after 6 months, 12 months, 18 months. We may provide a breakdown by sector.

It might be also interesting to analyse, sector by sector, at what multiple (of profit) businesses are getting de-listed (which suggests that they have successfully sold).

​While we produce asking price as a multiple of turnover, it’s not an indication that turnover has any part to play in ​the normal valuing of businesses. ​Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, as the old saying goes.

​About the below: We excluded businesses with turnover in excess of £1m as they constitute a tiny minority of listings on these three platforms. We also excluded those businesses asking for 30x or more of their turnover.  A business with £0 turnover (like the new franchise opportunities) but an asking price of £20K or £50K would be meaningless in these calculations.


Asking price as multiple of turnover - businessesforsale

At Daltons Business:

Asking price as multiple of turnover - daltons

At Rightbiz:

Asking price as multiple of turnover - rightbiz

What about average asking prices as a multiple of net profit? Isn't that how business values are normally quoted - multiple of EBITDA / profit / SDE? Maybe next time.

Some other general eye candy

Net profit vs asking price

Asking price vs net profit - consolidated

Most popular words


​Numbers of businesses at various asking price intervals

Number of businesses at various asking price intervals

​What about the x, what about y? 

​What about asking prices by sector?  Are businesses in technology really asking for higher multiples than businesses in manufacturing?

Do private sellers have higher price expectations (as a multiple of profit) than do business brokers? Which business brokers are asking for the highest multiples and what's the average multiple they seek?

Maybe next time.

Thank you for reading.


​All the technology behind this market intelligence project ​was created and managed by 17 year old Kaspar Lee. Congratulations, recommendations etc can be left for him at his LinkedIn profile: Kaspar Lee​.

M&A Market Intelligence – Small Businesses

​M&A Market Intelligence - Small Businesses

​We run the a large scraping operation to collect data from all the main platforms / marketplaces where UK businesses are listed for sale. Every day our bots visit thousands of listings of businesses publicly advertised for sale and collect the data on each listing.

The data is cleaned, the fields tidied up etc., and information is saved in one consolidated database from where it can be analysed, dissected and otherwise manipulated to extract the kind of market intelligence and actionable data that's of use to business sellers, business buyers and agents handling the sale of businesses. ​

businesses for sale by sector

All the data disclosed publicly is collected ...and then some. For example, there are fields such as whether the business is freehold or leasehold, and whether the business is relocatable. Our bots collect those as well.

There are over 100 fields for each business that we track (and we are tracking every UK business that is publicly listed for sale at online marketplaces / portals).

As an example, buyers looking for only businesses where there is seller financing available often can’t filter based on their preference as marketplaces don’t give them this. We are able to compile such a list of opportunities where the seller of the business is willing to finance the deal. This list can be further filtered by sector, by geographical region etc.

There are, similarly, several other fields on which buyers would like to filter but are currently unable to – quite simply because the platforms do not offer that facility.

Even if any one platform offered more advanced search facilities, users can’t search across the whole ecosystem, they can search only one platform at a time. We are able to provide a UK wide view.

Thanks to the clever way our tech guy has organised the data, we can track changes to individual listings over time. We know when the price on a listing has dropped, for example. And we can set flags on any individual listing to notify us when there is a change in price (or a change in any other field).

Having a record of past drops in price can be useful for buyers to know what the seller's original expectations were and how they changed over time.

We are able to ascertain a lot more about individual listings than the marketplaces are disclosing to the public. For example, we can tell the age of a listing – when the advert first went live. This is not something any of the platforms disclose. Some buyers find it useful to know the age of listing. Their logic is that if a business has been online for long enough the owner may be getting increasingly desperate to sell and may be more flexible on price.

brokers with listings at Daltons

Some buyers prefer to deal with only those businesses being represented by a broker, other prefer those businesses being sold directly by the business owner/s. We are able to filter on these fields and produce, for example, a comprehensive, cross platform list of hair salons being sold in London via brokers rather than directly by business owners.

When a listing for a particular business is taken offline for a while (suggesting the business had an offer) and then comes back online again (suggesting the offer didn’t work out for whatever reason), it might help buyers to know this history.

Since we have data from all the main marketplaces we know if a business has been listed at multiple locations or just one. A business listed in just one location is likely to be getting fewer enquiries; buyers might find they have less competition for these businesses.

Our data is likely to be of use to sellers as well. Given we know highest, lowest, median and average asking prices as a multiple of earnings, this can serve as a guide to sellers who are deciding on a price at which to go to market.

We can analyse average asking prices by sector, by geographical area, by various other metrics.

By tracking price drops of individual listings we can ascertain at which price point and which multiple each business was taken off the market. This gives an indication as to the price point / multiple at where deals may be happening in that sector.

businesses by net profit

​​We need your help

This project is very much in its initial stages and not ready for public access yet. In the meanwhile, we are going to be sharing some of the data we have.

But we need your help for ideas and suggestions on how this data could be useful to you. How can we manipulate the data to extract intelligence that you would find interesting and helpful? What burning question do you have that we may be able to answer? Tell us here.