If you are interested in becoming a Business Broker in Florida, here are the steps to take, in order to reach that goal.
1. Get Your Florida Real Estate License
Business Brokers in Florida are required to have an active FL real estate license, hung with their Broker of choice. While we don’t sell houses, we do occasionally sell commercial real estate, but only when a business that we have listed is selling their commercial real estate as part of their assets.
The first step is completing a Florida Real Estate Sales Associate pre-licensing course at an accredited and state-approved real estate school. The most popular ways to do this are in-person at a local real estate school or to take the course online. It is a 63-hour course, and culminates in an end of course exam.
Once the pre-licensing course is finished, and you’ve passed your course exam, you will need to go get your fingerprints done at a state-approved location, and send in your application to test for the FL Real Estate Exam to the Florida DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation). The DBPR advertises that it can take up to 21 business days to process your application, so it is important to get the finger printing done and get your application submitted as soon as you pass your course, since there is some waiting time involved.
After the DBPR has processed your application, then you will be given the authorization to take the state exam. You will schedule your exam date and location online, and go into a testing center to sit for your exam. The good news is that you get the results of your test the same day, and it only takes the DBPR a few business days after that to issue your license. Once you have your license number, then you are authorized to hang your license with a Broker and begin working.
2. Interview At Multiple Brokerages
You wouldn’t buy a new house or a new car without looking at several different options, most likely weighing the pros and cons of each. The same care should be taken when choosing the right Brokerage to partner up with. Do your research and narrow down the top Business Brokerages in your area to interview with.
Make sure you look at factors like their web presence, customer reviews and testimonials, how many and what kind of businesses they have for sale, what the make-up of their team of Brokers is, and the impression that their branding and marketing makes. These things are often overlooked, but are supremely important, and you will be a part of that brand, representing the Brokerage, and you want to make sure that it aligns with who you are and what you want to project professionally.
Pick the ones you deem to be the top 3, and call them to set up an interview. Their response and their eagerness to interview you will be your first indicator of what it will be like to work with them, and how much they value their Brokers. Most likely you want to be in a positive environment, where you will be able to thrive in your new career.
3. Decide Where You Will Be Most Successful
Prepare for your interviews in advance. Bring a copy of your resume, and come with with a list of questions that you’d like to ask of the Broker. Dress professional, and it’s ok to ask about office dress code when scheduling your interview. In most cases, Florida is a little more laid-back, and a coat and tie or power suit and heels isn’t necessary, but it is never a bad thing to come dressed to impress.
Make sure you inquire about their onboarding process. Do they offer training, mentoring, or on-going support? Also, you want to know the bottom line when it comes to costs, fees, and commission splits, so don’t leave there without knowing the numbers.
Speaking of commission splits, you want to make sure that you are actually getting value for the portion of commission you are sharing with your Broker. Ask about what services or perks that their Brokers enjoy. Keep in mind that some Brokerages will have bigger commission splits than others, but you have to find out what you get for the cash that you split with the company. Is marketing included? What about lead distribution? Do they offer administrative support or transaction coordinators? Those are all extremely costly parts of doing business, and if they are included at a Brokerage that maybe has a lower commission split than the others, then at the end of the day, the lower commission split might be the smarter way to go.
Weigh out all of the different scenarios at each of the Brokerages and decide which one is going to help you to be the most successful in the long-run.
4. Join The Business Brokers of Florida (BBF)
Once you have chosen your Brokerage and have hung your license there, then it is time to apply for membership with our state association, the Business Brokers of Florida or BBF for short. Your Broker of Record should be able to assist in getting this done. There is a form that your Broker needs to fill out, and then you sign it and send it in, along with the required fees. Currently, new members have to pay a one-time fee of $125 to join the association, and the annual dues are only $225.
Once you have been given an Agent Number within the BBF, you will have access to the MLS system that all of the Florida Business Brokers use. All members are required to list the businesses they have for sale on the central MLS, in order for all of us Brokers to co-broke with one another. In fact, Florida is very unique in the fact that we have the largest and most organized MLS of businesses for sale of any state in the country. This allows Brokers with buyers to search any and all businesses for sale in Florida, to help find them the right opportunity.
In order to have access to the MLS and to be able to post your business listings on the system, the BBF requires all new members to participate in a 2-day training course, which teaches you how to use the MLS, in addition to learning about the rules, by-laws, and code of ethics for members of the BBF.
5. Get Training And Get Working
In the beginning of your career as a Business Broker, you have lots of time while you are prospecting and filling your sales pipeline to get in some vital training. If the Brokerage you choose doesn’t offer any type of formal training, the BBF website has some training videos you can watch (they offer occasional training events too), and you can also register to take classes with the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) at www.ibbauniversity.org. They’ve got all kinds of courses from how to value a business, Business Broker basics, to legal pitfalls to avoid. The IBBA is a great organization and is a fantastic resource.
Get some knowledge and then get working. While we are trusted advisors to our buyers and sellers, we are ultimately in a sales position, and we work on commission, so our income is down to us. The more calls you make, the more relationships with buyers and sellers that you create, the better your chances of landing a deal are. So, while you have the time (before you are juggling 5 businesses under contract at once), try to work as hard as you possibly can to fill your pipeline with potential buyers or sellers. Then the key is to keep your prospecting consistent, so that you are always closing business, and you don’t get onboard the typical sales roller coaster of feast or famine. If you have the drive and ambition, an open mind to learn new things, and the right team of Brokers around you, you will find success, but you have to set yourself up for it, and go for it.
If you have additional questions about becoming a Business Broker or would like to learn more about becoming a Business Broker with Green & Co. then we would be happy to speak with you.