So, You Really Want to Sell Your Practice Yourself?

Probably our biggest competitor is the DIY FSBO…that’s Do it Yourself, For Sale by Owner. Hey, if that rocks your boat, I understand. But first, let me tell you my story…you knew that was coming.

I had a CPA practice in San Jose for about seventeen years and, quite simply, got burned out. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was sure I could find a buyer. It really didn’t have anything to do with saving a broker’s commission. I thought I would contact a few of my CPA buddies and give them a pretty good deal.  Oh yes, this was the truly old school approach: Here’s my practice, pay me 20% of collections a year for five years, and we’ll do it on a handshake. I was okay with that approach.

Unfortunately, the three separate buddies I approached didn’t really have an interest in my practice. By the way, it was pretty much a tax practice with a bit of bookkeeping and write-up. My rates were decent and, well, it was an okay practice. Why didn’t they buy? I don’t know. Maybe they thought my clients would be reflective of my personality. That could scare some people. Maybe I saw the practice through rose colored glasses. I don’t know.

Anyway, my office mate had just sold her practice through John Ezell at ProHorizons in a fairly short amount of time. So, I called John and three weeks later I had the practice sold. This was in July of 1999. It was an earn out over three years with about a 25% down payment. Now remember, I had no allusions about what I would ultimately receive, but I got what I was looking for: The sale of my practice at a fair price.  John actually had buyers who were looking for practices to buy, and he knew they would be interested in my practice.

Long story short (which means it’s already too long), I went off and did some other things for about five years and then joined ProHorizons as a broker in 2006.  I like what I do, and, more importantly to me, enjoy and respect the people and company I work with and for.

If you want to save that broker commission and you believe you can sell your practice yourself, go for it. We'll be here in case things don't work out.




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