Business Broker Licensing: What You Need to Be a Business Broker

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Aug 17, 2021 10:09:25 AM


Business Brokers are necessary intermediaries for buyers and sellers of businesses. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses currently in operation throughout the country. Bear in mind that at some point, those business owners will want to sell. Seeing as those owners do not typically have the skills to procure a buyer on their own, hiring a business broker is the logical next step.

business broker licensing

To be a successful business broker, you must know your stuff. Brokering is not just selling a business. The job includes understanding valuation to determine asking price, marketing the business, vetting potential buyers, negotiating offers, preparing documents, assisting with financing, interacting with clients and attorneys, and sealing the deal by going to closing.

It’s a big job. There are many different requirements, and they can vary by location. There are no uniform or standard, national, professional business broker licenses. Instead, requirements for business brokers differ by state. Some states have mandatory licensing, others do not.

Professional licenses are commonplace in many occupations. Look, for example, at electricians, doctors, lawyers, contractors, and therapists, to name a few. Professional licensing ensures the public that the licensee is competent or qualified to provide a service. This comes from having been properly trained in the field, sometimes required advanced degrees, and having passed a standardized test and to show expertise in that profession.

For many states, what is required to work as a business broker is an active real estate license. That means you have fulfilled the necessary classroom hours, passed the state licensing exam, passed a background check, and are affiliated with a real estate firm. Real estate licensees also have many professional fees to pay to the firm, listing services, and professional membership organizations. For business brokers, what’s even more helpful are those who have additional training in commercial real estate.

Here’s the caveat. If a business broker is not licensed in real estate, they are not supposed to be involved in leasing activity or transfer of ownership. That makes it very difficult to provide necessary services to your clients. So, whether or not your state mandates a real estate license, it is in your best interest to obtain one.

This is the current list of states that require an active real estate license to practice business broker services:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois (Illinois does not actually require a license, but registration with the state securities commission is necessary.)
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming


While not required, there is also a professional certification available to business brokers through the IBBA (International Business Brokers Association). The Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) is a prestigious designation exclusive to the IBBA that identifies an experienced and dedicated business broker. It is awarded to intermediaries who have proven professional excellence through verified education as well as exemplary commitment to the industry.

Once you have what it takes, professionally, you need to know how to become a business broker. Business brokers may work as an agent for an existing multi-broker office or may choose to start their own business brokerage practice, whether on their own or as part of a franchise system. Business broker franchising is what We Sell Restaurants is all about.

The demand for business brokerage services is driven by the number of people looking to sell businesses. We Sell Restaurants is a niche business broker practice based on the premise that the industry needs and requires an expert in selling restaurants. We are the nation's foremost restaurant brokers, leading the nation's only business broker franchise focused on restaurants.

We built a specialized practice for selling only restaurants, with a systemic approach never before seen in the industry. There is great demand for restaurant industry experts like us, and we are always looking to partner with franchisees who share our passion. We Sell Restaurants is a vibrant and innovative company that operates in 45 states and sells more restaurants than anyone else.

As a franchisee, you receive top-notch training and support. That training provides you with the distinction as a certified restaurants broker, a credential respected and known in the industry for expert understanding in the practice of business brokerage for restaurants. Our in-depth training allows you to hit the ground running rather than learning on the job through trial and error. In addition to your training, the We Sell Restaurants brand requires all franchisees to have a real estate license.

We Sell Restaurants is a great opportunity to own your own business broker franchise with an established brand, using a proven operating system, capitalizing on a reputable brand name.

Want to learn more about the We Sell Restaurants franchise model? Request more information and begin your new business venture as a part of our team!

Topics: Restaurant Broker Franchise

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