When buying or selling a business online you’ll need to use a broker to make the deal quick and painless. Two of the most popular brokerages are Empire flippers and Flippa as they have a combined buyer and seller base of 1.7 million people.
In this article, we will compare them both in detail so you can decide which broker is best for you to use.
Presenting The Contestants: Empire Flippers and Flippa
Empire Flippers Overview
Founded in 2013, Empire Flippers is an online marketplace that allows users to buy or sell websites whether they are affiliate sites, E-commerce, or SaaS you have an array to choose from.
They are an Inc. 5000 company with over $375 million worth of businesses sold on their marketplace so it’s safe to say they are experts at what they do.
At the time of writing, there are 196 listings available on the marketplace and a 77% success rate. This means there are countless businesses to choose from, and if you are a seller there’s an almost 80% chance your asset will sell.
Flippa labels itself as the ‘#1 global online marketplace to buy and sell digital assets. With over 6,000 listings there’s no shortage in choosing one that suits your needs.
Founded in 2009, Flippa has sold an incredible 300,000 assets from then. The team has a variety of different specialists like sales managers, account managers, and a number of others to assist you when it comes to buying or selling businesses online.
Flippa’s marketplace isn’t limited to just websites, you also have the opportunity of buying mobile apps and domains too.
What Type Of Businesses Are Offered?
The Empire flippers marketplace is primarily websites with a number of different monetization methods ranging from things like Amazon FBA sites, content sites, eCommerce sites, and SaaS companies.
They have fewer listings on their marketplace due to the standard which they want to have. This means that all types of businesses you find on Empire flippers are of the highest quality due to their extensive vetting process.
Flippa offers some more flexibility when it comes to listing on their marketplace.
Similar to Empire flippers there are a number of affiliate sites, eCommerce sites, and dropshipping sites which cover plenty of different niches for you to choose from. As there are currently over 6,000 listings you can be sure there’s almost any niche you can think of up for sale right now.
This is helpful as a buyer if you have a specific niche you like to stick to.
There’s also an opportunity to buy and sell mobile apps for ioS and android however the bulk of the marketplace contains websites.
Listing information is a website overview you see on the marketplace, containing information like monetization method, asset price, and niche.
Empire flippers don’t reveal any of the URLs currently listed on the website, this is to prevent people from finding the website and replicating it, or performing malicious attacks.
To view the website you need to verify that you have proof of funds, this includes something like a recent bank statement.
Once you provide Empire flippers with the proof of funds you’ll be able to unlock the website, This allows you to view certain information about the listing such as domain name, google analytics, revenue statements, and more.
By default, Flippa doesn’t hide the domains listed on their marketplace however sellers can pay an extra $100 fee to make it private. If a buyer wants to view a private listing they must sign an NDA to ensure the website is kept private.
When viewing a listing on Flippa buyers are able to see :
- Site age
- Monthly profit
- Sale multiple
- Description of the business
- Screenshots of financials
- Monetization methods
Remember as a buyer to always do your due diligence to ensure the website you’re buying is legitimate.
Business Valuation Process
Before an asset is able to be listed on a broker’s marketplace it needs to go through something called a valuation process. This is when the broker takes some asset information like monthly income, traffic, and some other factors to give the business an estimated value.
Empire flippers use a valuation calculator for you as the seller to input some information about your business such as :
- When the business was created
- Monthly revenue and expenses
- Monthly traffic
- Your email subscriber list (if you have one)
- Social media followers
The valuation tool then gives you an immediate estimated value of your business, thanks to their algorithm.
If you are happy with the valuation the free tool gave you and want to go ahead with selling your website, you’ll need to go through a more thorough valuation process. Empire flippers pride themselves on having a quality marketplace so every website is manually inspected.
During this process, you’ll be asked to verify all the information you submitted to the valuation tool. This will include screenshots of revenue, spending, any backlink efforts, and traffic sources.
Flipp has two different types of valuation processes. You can use their tool to get a free estimate of what your business is worth. You submit information about your website like the URL, organic traffic, when the business was started, and the tool then automatically gives you an estimated business value.
Your website must be at least 12 months old to use the valuation tool as websites under a year old aren’t established enough to get a reliable estimate.
If the estimate sounds like a good deal to you and you further decide to sell the business then Flippa will take you through a more extensive valuation.
They will ask for a detailed report of your asset like monthly income, expenses, and anything else that helps them during the vetting process. The more accurate the information you give Flippa, the higher chance your website will sell.
Flippa then takes all of this information and gives you a valuation which will be what you’re able to list on their marketplace.
Business Due Diligence Process
Due diligence is a process that buyers need to go through in order to verify that the asset they want to buy is legit and all the information about the business is verified. For websites, this means things like traffic and income are similar to what the buyer has listed them as.
Brokers usually have systems in place to help buyers perform due diligence correctly. Let’s look at them.
Empire flippers perform due diligence by only allowing quality websites to be shown on their marketplace. This is down to Empire flippers extensive vetting process, which includes things such as verifying an asset’s traffic, income, domain ownership, and how trustworthy the seller is.
The vetting process at Empire flippers can take up to 4 weeks which may seem long but it just shows the amount of work they put into keeping their marketplace full of quality websites.
On the other hand, Flippa doesn’t have a vetting process as anyone is able to list an asset on their marketplace, upon which they leave it to the buyer to do the due diligence. They do however provide a blog post that contains everything a buyer should look for when buying a website.
This is a 3000 word article on their blog that contains 22 things you should verify before placing a bid for a business. Some of them include :
- Business model
- Whois history
- Get to know the seller
- Plagiarism check
- Revenue account transferability
If you want to read about the complete checklist you can do so by reading their article.
The second way you can perform due diligence using Flippa is by using their paid service. You pay Flippa an amount, and they will go and perform the due diligence for you. As it’s quite a time-consuming thing to do, if you have the money then paying for their service is recommended.
Flippa’s due diligence service has three different pricing plans :
Safety & Verifiable Information
When buying an asset you want to use a broker which verifies that all listings on their marketplace are legit and you don’t get scammed. This is one of the most important aspects of a broker and they need to get it right as once they lose their reputation it’s hard to gain it back.
Empire flippers have this process nailed down as it’s something they do incredibly well. They have far fewer listings compared to Flippa however this is down to the fact they go through a thorough vetting process in order to keep their marketplace to the highest standard.
Once a website has been bought Empire flippers will then act as a mediator to prevent anyone from being scammed. The funds are transferred over to them so the seller can then begin transferring the asset over to the new owner. The funds will be released once everything has been migrated.
Even after a site is bought, Empire flippers allow a 14-day inspection period. This is for the new buyer to ensure revenue is similar to what was advertised.
If the site doesn’t earn at least 50% then the buyer is able to negotiate a new price.
Due to Flippa allowing anyone to list, there have been more instances of scams as they don’t have the same vetting process Empire flippers do.
This is often caused by sellers providing fake listing information such as traffic or revenue, which hasn’t been verified manually.
When it comes to receiving your funds or asset on Flippa, you have the same level of protection similar to Empire flippers. Once you buy a website, Flippa holds the funds until the buyer transfers the ownership over to you.
Fees & Commission Structure
All brokers are going to charge you a fee when selling your website. After all, they need to make money too. Some brokers charge a listing fee and a fee for your website eventually selling, whereas some broker only charges you a fee if your asset does sell.
Empire flippers are a broker that doesn’t charge you a listing fee to put your website on their marketplace. This means you have a risk-free chance of finding a buyer for your asset. You only have to pay if Empire flippers are successful in finding someone to acquire your site.
Empire flippers sale commission is as follows :
- Under $700,000 = commission will be a flat 15% of the sale price.
- $700,000-$5million = commission will be 8% of the sale price.
- >$5million = commission will be 2.5% of the sale price.
Flippa does however charge you a fee to list your asset on their marketplace. If your website price is listed for $1-$9999 then you will have access to two different listing packages, standard or enhanced.
If your website’s listing price is higher than $10,000 then you’ll have access to their premium and ultimate listing plans.
Now let’s say your asset has been on Flippa’s marketplace and someone has bought it. You’ll have to pay a commission fee to Flippa based on how much it sold for.
Flippa’s sale commission is as follows :
- $1-$49,999 = commission will be 10% of the sale price.
- $50,000-$99,999 = commission will be 7.5% of the sale price.
- $100,000-$2million = commission will be 5% of the sale price.
For assets priced over $2 million, you need to join Flippa’s VIP program where they provide you with a specialist team.
After you sell an asset the broker doesn’t take their fee and run. Most brokers will provide some post-sale services to help you with things even after you’ve received your money.
Empire flippers have something called an inspection period. This is to ensure both parties are happy with the deal and everything is running smoothly.
Once the business is in the hands of the new owner, they will have a two-week period in which they can confirm the revenue is similar to what it was listed.
If it’s above 50% of what the seller listed it as then there’s no problem, however, if it’s less than 50% the buyer is able to renegotiate the final sales price of the asset.
This is reassuring as a buyer knowing that even after you’ve purchased an asset, Empire flippers are still there to help and make sure you’re satisfied.
Flippa doesn’t actually provide after-sale support, but they do encourage their sellers to do it.
This is done by enabling post-auction support when creating your listing. Flippa also provides a blog post in which they explain step by step how to provide quality after-sale support so that the buyer is satisfied and the website is as advertised.
Asset migration is the process of transferring the website over to the person who bought it from you. This includes transferring the domain ownership and hosting to the new owner. Some people like to leave the whole sales process down to the broker, this includes asset migration.
As it’s one of the most vital steps of the sale it’s important to get it right, which is why many people leave it to the experts.
The way an asset migration works depends on which type of business it is. For example, an Amazon FBA business is going to take longer to migrate than a simple content one.
To complete an asset migration you need to hand all the logins over to the owner, which often leads to asking how they’re going to get paid out on commissions they are owed for that month.
During this time Empire flippers accommodate both buyers and sellers during this time so nobody misses out on revenue they are owed.
As Empire flippers have sold millions worth of assets they are familiar with any problems that may arise during the migration process. They even have dedicated migration advisors that specialize in this part of the sale.
When it comes to asset migration, Empire flippers definitely win the award as Flippa doesn’t currently offer any assistance when it comes to the process.
While they don’t hold your hand through it, Flippa has a number of articles on their blog that explains each step but that’s as far as they go. They even advise you to use an external company that offers website transfer services so it’s clear it’s not something that they prioritize right now.
Empire Flippers vs Flippa – Verdict
No two assets are the same, so when it comes to choosing a broker it’s ultimately up to the one which suits your needs.
Each broker has its own pros and cons however we think Empire flippers is the one to go for.
Flippa’s 6,000 listings mean that really anyone can post an asset on the marketplace. This is bad for buyers and sells for a number of reasons.
As a buyer: The more listings there are the more you’re going to have to search to find the hidden gem.
As a seller: The more listings there is the more competition you have. This leads to a decreased chance of your website being sold.
Our verdict isn’t only down to the marketplace but other things like post-sale support, success rate, and our own personal experience lead us to choose Empire flippers.