Sunbelt Network review

Sunbelt Network Review (Read Before You Use This Broker)

Sunbelt Network has a longstanding history in the business sales industry. In fact, this business is one of the oldest.

It was founded in 1978 in South Carolina. But the founder had a vision and started licensing Sunbelt offices in the 1990s.

This was a huge step for the business. It solidified its longevity in the market. This was also a sign of a true longsighted businessman.

UPDATED: January 2021

Our Overall Rating


People Behind Sunbelt Network

The man that made the Sunbelt Network what it is today was Ed Pendarvis. He thought up this company and even launched it later as a franchise opportunity.

This licensing allowed the company to flourish across the country and help owners sell their businesses.

Currently, Sunbelt Network is no longer owned by the Pendarvis family. In 2006 Merrymeeting, Inc acquired this business.

Sunbelt Network still maintained its name and branding. As well as continuing on in the standards that made the company what it is.


Types of Businesses Sunbelt Network Sells

Sunbelt Network business types

Sunbelt Network is a true brokerage firm that is very hands-on with the sale of businesses. They sell mostly brick and mortar businesses.

Sunbelt Network is committed to small businesses across the country, or what they call Main Street businesses.

Under $1 Million

If your business has a valuation of less than $1 million dollars then this is a business that they call a Main Street business.

These are going to be those small businesses that are found in the main part of a town.

Sunbelt Network is passionate about helping small business owners get what they deserve out of the sale of their business.

They don’t treat small business owners any differently than they treat the larger businesses.

Over $1 Million

While Sunbelt Network doesn’t treat the larger or smaller businesses differently as a broker, the process is slightly different.

This kind of sale is likely to be handled by a team rather than just one broker. That is because the sale and acquisition of a larger business does require more.

It requires more paperwork, more due diligence, and more marketing.

These businesses are going to be larger corporations or multisite businesses.


Sunbelt Network Valuation Process

Valuations

Since Sunbelt Network is a true brokerage firm they do handle the valuation. This is a different process from website sales.

The valuation is something that is done as part of the sales process. There is no free valuation upfront to see if you want to sell.

Even if you already have a valuation of the business, your Sunbelt Network broker will give you their valuation as well.

If you have two valuations near the same amount it is likely that you will get what you are asking for. Or at least close.

To value your business they will need access to all aspects of the business. They will also need everything to be true and complete.

A valuation that is produced on false or incomplete information could result in a sale falling through.

They will want your profit/loss, payroll as well as all financials, discretionary spending, income, expenses, and whatever other financial information you have.

Part of the valuation process is providing the client with different options for the deal to be structured.


Sales Process

Sales Process

The Sunbelt Network sales process is laid out well and precise so there is not a question of how it will go.

If you choose to use Sunbelt Network to sell your business you will have a good idea of what steps you will need to take.

Prepare the Business

The first thing that Sunbelt Network does is look deeply into your business to analyze it. Because of their extensive experience, they are confident they know what buyers want to see.

This leads to them helping prepare your business for sale. If your business doesn’t look good to buyers it may sit on the market for a long time.

This is one advantage of using a brokerage firm instead of trying to sell independently.

Values and Structures

The valuation process with Sunbelt Network is part of the sale. With some companies, they will give a free valuation to get you started.

But Sunbelt Network does not do that. They want a committed seller before they expend manpower to value your company.

They also encourage you to have an idea of what your business is worth before you decide to sell.

This is also the step where they determine how the deal will need to be structured. Beginning with an eye on where they are going contributes to their success.

Marketing Assets

Marketing assets when you are trying to sell the business is basically making your business look good on paper.

Your Sunbelt Network Broker will take everything about your business and turn it into quality listings and reviews. This will help attract the right buyers.

This is part of the service that will be paid for upon the sale of your business.

Sunbelt Network wants you to be successful with the sale of your business. Your business is their business.

Internet Promotion

Because life is lived daily in a digital world listing your business online is important. It is true that the Sunbelt Network will list your business on their website and contact potential buyers.

But that is not all they do. Sunbelt Network is aware that a potential buyer could be looking on a different platform.

That is why your broker will list your business confidentially on up to ten different top business sales sites.

We are sure this is why Sunbelt Network is so successful.

Off-Line Marketing

In addition to online marketing strategies, Sunbelt does off-line marketing as well. In today’s world, this is different from how others do it.

Some brokerage firms neglect offline marketing. This could be due to a lot of reasons.

The most common reason for not using offline marketing is because it does take more time and attention to be successful.

Most buyers do have an online presence. However, the perfect buyer for your business could be offline.

Sunbelt Network understands that and leaves no rock unturned.

This is the part of the process that calls on the extensive network of global buyers that Sunbelt Network has cultivated over the years.

Screen Potential Buyers

Once offers to buy your business start coming in from the marketing efforts it is time for the next step.

Screening the buyers is an important part of success. If Sunbelt Network allows an unqualified buyer to try and purchase your business it will fall through.

This is frustrating for the seller and it also hurts the success rate of the brokerage firm.

For this reason, Sunbelt Network is very serious about screening potential buyers.

The way the marketing efforts are designed creates a large group of buyers. Your broker’s job is to narrow that list down to the most qualified and serious buyers.

Evaluate Offers

At this point in the process, your Sunbelt Network broker should have a list of the best buyers and the best offers.

This is where you become a very key player as the seller. You will now, with the help of your broker, will look at the pros and cons of the offers that are presented.

The process of evaluating offers could be fast or slow depending on what you are looking for. There could be huge differences in the offers or differences so small that it will be hard to choose.

Your broker is an expert in this field and you should use them as such.

Ask all of the questions you want to ask. But remember that in the end, this is your decision. If you and your broker have different opinions you might consult an attorney for a second opinion.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is something that you should see done in all brokerage firms. Even if you sell on your own without a broker due diligence should be done.

This is the process that your broker will handle for you. They will determine that everything is what has been presented.

The broker will look again into your business along with other professionals like accountants. They will also look into the buyer to make sure they are absolutely qualified.

However, the most pressing reason to complete due diligence is so the buyer doesn’t have any surprises once the business changes hands.

This all happens after the offer is accepted and the sales agreement is signed. The buyer will not have open access to your business at this point.

But they will be informed.

Closing

If the due diligence process goes smoothly and everyone is still in agreement it will be time to close.

The closing is an exciting time because the long sales process is coming to an end. This is where the business and money changes hands.

Depending on the payment arrangements that were made in the negotiations stage, the down payment will be transferred. Or possibly the full amount.

Oftentimes the buyer will have a payment plan for a set number of years.

The closing process may also seem overwhelming. That is what your broker is for.

Your Sunbelt Network broker will help you facilitate the closing and get the paperwork where it needs to go.

That is another benefit of using a brokerage firm like Sunbelt Network.


Sunbelt Network Success Rates

Looking on the Sunbelt Network website we didn’t see anything that explicitly says what their success rate is.

However, since it is a franchise business the overall success rate may be hard to track. Also, different franchises may have different success rates.

With that being said, the combined experience and global presence it is safe to say that they are a successful brokerage firm.

We do feel better writing reviews when we can see what the success rate is. However, businesses that are structured like Sunbelt Network likely won’t tell you their success rate.

It is just too complicated to calculate.


Fees Charged By Sunbelt Network to Sell a Business

All brokerage services do this a little bit differently. Some brokers charge a listing fee and commission.

On the other hand, some brokers only charge commission.

Sunbelt Network does not say on their site how you pay for these services. Since they don’t mention a listing fee it is safe to say it is commission-based.

It is also likely that the commission rate will change based on how much your business sells for.

While some people do not like working with commission-based brokers it can be an advantage.

The more your business sells for the more money they will make. This motivates brokers to sell quickly but also to make sure the sale price is right.


Pros and Cons of Using Sunbelt Network to Sell a Business

Pros and cons are inevitable when working with any business. We have decided to make a clear and concise list of the pros and cons of Sunbelt Network.

Once you see these pros and cons you will have to make a decision to list with them or not.

While we might consider something a deal-breaker, you may not consider it a big deal.

Deciding who to list your business with or whether or not to use a broker will be up to you.

Pros

  • Help with your sale
  • More than three decades of experience
  • Work with main street and middle-market businesses
  • Do not charge a listing fee
  • Global presence

Cons

  • No fees listed
  • No free valuation

Conclusion And Verdict

When deciding to sell a business it is important to come up with a plan of action. How do you want to proceed with the sale?

Part of this plan will need to be whether or not you want to list independently or use a brokerage firm.

A brokerage firm like Sunbelt Network does offer invaluable experience in this area. Selling businesses around the globe is what they have done since 1978.

One of the things you need to consider is the cost to use a broker. Much like a real estate agent, they will make a commission.

This will eat into your profit. However, you could possibly sell your business for more than you would if you tried to sell it on your own.

Because Sunbelt Network has a huge network of buyers it is more likely you will find the right buyer for the right price.

We do like that they sell a range of businesses. They don’t limit it to middle-market businesses but do also work with small businesses.

There are many brokerage firms that only want large companies. But Sunbelt Network sees the value of small businesses and wants to help the owners.

We also appreciate the global presence and the lack of listing fees. Another thing we like about Sunbelt Network is that they list businesses on at least ten top sales sites.

There are some things that gave us cause to consider. When we look at a website and they don’t tell us what they charge it concerns us.

We value transparency. However, if you contact them they will give you their commission scale.

It would also be nice to have a free basic valuation. This will help many owners decide to sell or to sit on the business for a while.

But valuing a brick and mortar business is harder than valuing a website business. It would be hard to give even a semi-accurate valuation in a few minutes.

Overall we were impressed with Sunbelt Network. Their experience and longevity in the market tend to outweigh the cons on our list.

Verdict

After looking at all of the information on the website and doing a separate internet search we have come up with our verdict.

There was nothing that we found about the Sunbelt Network that would make up go in a different direction.

If we had a brick and mortar business of any size it is likely that we would list with Sunbelt Network. However, if we had a web based business, we would use a website broker.

They would at the very least be on our shortlist. We would get a consultation with a broker to determine if this is the brokerage firm for our business.



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