If you’ve ever considered buying or selling an online business, you may have already heard of Empire Flippers.
Stated as the #1 curated online business marketplace, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular compared to other M&A advisories, business brokers, and website marketplaces. But are their services actually any good?
In this review we’ll dive into the various features offered by Empire Flippers, how to buy and sell on the platform, and whether it’s a viable marketplace that’s worth browsing and utilizing.
Let’s get into it!
Unlike traditional types of online marketplaces, Empire Flippers fits into that sweet spot between a self-service platform and a dedicated business brokerage.
While you still have the ability to browse listings to your heart’s content, you’re not left on your own to sift out scams, and organize the website transfer.
Empire Flippers sells a wide range of online businesses, but their main focus is on e-commerce or content websites, like blogs.
And while they state that every online business must earn $2,000+ over 12 months to be listed on their platform, most of their business listings far exceed this threshold, even ranging as high as $100,000 in monthly revenue.
Let’s face it, when it comes to comparing different platforms, the details matter.
From commission fees and the vetting process to support throughout the transaction, payment, and beyond, here are some of Empire Flipper’s key stats and facts.
As expected, Empire Flippers has a special commission structure based on the value of a business. They do have a free valuation tool and commission calculator on their website, which sellers can use to get a better idea of what to expect.
While you can view an in-depth breakdown on their commissions page, you can basically expect a flat 15% commission for businesses valued at under $700,000. Any higher, and the commission lowers from 8%, and to 2.5%.
To join the platform and browse the listings, no payment or long-term membership is required. Similarly, their listing fees are currently $0.
And with a 2-month exclusivity period, this sounds like a good deal if you’re just looking to dip your feet into the buying and selling world.
With around 91% of businesses not passing Empire Flipper’s initial vetting process, it may seem like a daunting obstacle for many sellers.
However, this tactic has the opposite effect of being bad for businesses, as their strict vetting process has made them one of the leading destinations for potential buyers to browse and purchase businesses with confidence. Plus, it makes sellers that much more determined to pass their strict vetting and due diligence system!
While the ins and outs of their vetting process isn’t displayed for the public, sellers can expect ID checks, verification of business earnings and key metrics, financial data analysis, and more.
This process isn’t the easiest, with it often taking weeks or months to complete. And if that isn’t nerve-wracking enough, their team will often reach out to sellers with additional questions or tasks to make sure their business is credible.
With over 195,000 users in their database, Empire Flippers isn’t the largest online marketplace out there, with some having over 1 million users.
However, due to their more selective vetting process, these 195,000 users are often more engaged and willing to buy or list online businesses. This helps prevent stagnant users who don’t contribute anything, or worst of all, list scam businesses.
Because Empire Flippers primarily focuses on ecommerce and content websites, there isn’t the greatest range of options to browse through. Because of this, don’t expect to find any mobile apps, incredibly niche SaaS websites, or smaller startup businesses.
Filtering options on their website are also relatively limited, with only the ability to choose the min and max price, alongside the niche, listing number, and monetization type. However, more filters are available once you register.
Because of this, it’s not the easiest to navigate if you have no idea what you’re looking for. Luckily, the team at Empire Flippers also offers support for first-time buyers, or if you don’t know where to start.
Empire Flippers has some of the most in-depth listing information available, partly due to their strict due diligence. To reduce the risk of competitors from copying each other, most details like site links, social media channels, and SEO analytical data is hidden until the viewer “unlocks” the listing.
To do so, they would need to verify their ID and attach proof of funds, which adds another layer of security.
The details that are available without the need to “unlock” the listing, includes monthly profit and monthly revenue, assets included in sale, a short lowdown of the business, an earnings chart (net vs gross), additional risks or opportunities, and more.
Once “unlocked,” potential buyers can directly communicate with the sellers on the Empire Flippers website. These include follow-up questions on various aspects of the listing description.
In some cases, and for larger online businesses, the potential buyer can organize a virtual call with the seller and a member of the Empire Flippers team, who acts as a mediator.
If a listing looks to be of particular interest, the buyer can click the “Buy Now” button, which places a hold on the listing with a 10% non-refundable down payment.
At the moment, Empire Flippers requires users to add funds to their EF wallet in order to complete down payments and purchases. This involves copying a wire memo and attaching it to the transaction.
And if the buyer doesn’t necessarily agree with the listing price, they can submit a lower offer. Only if this is pre-accepted by the seller, then the listing will be circled to other potential buyers for 24 hours to see if anyone is willing to counter that offer.
The whole process of website and social media transfer (where applicable) is handled by the Empire Flippers team.
Once the website transfer goes through, the buyer is ready to enjoy their new business! But what if something comes up?
At the moment, Empire Flippers doesn’t offer in-depth post-sale support from their team, but in most cases, sellers are happy to organize 1-2 months of post-sale chats via email or skype if necessary.
However, this should always be clarified and confirmed during the negotiation stage with the seller, especially if you think you may need some additional support down the line.
Now that we’ve covered most of the important details, let’s get into the advantages of Empire Flippers.
Buying or selling an online business can be a complex process, and if you miss out a few steps or misread a few things here and there, it can lead to headaches down the line.
Here are some of the services offered by Empire Flippers:
As you can see, pretty much all your bases are covered — and these are just the free ones!
Their other services include weekly emails to their dedicated buyer network promoting new listings, filtering out time-wasters and scammers, and one of the industry’s lowest exclusivity periods.
Pair these together and it’s no surprise why Empire Flippers has constantly remained one of the most well-known business marketplace platforms in the world.
If you’re looking for quantity over quality, this platform probably isn’t the place for you. However, if you don’t mind browsing through a small selection of vetted listings, then there’s no better place than Empire Flippers.
As mentioned earlier, their strict vetting process is no joke. This allows you (the browser) to spend more time reading the details of business listing, rather than sifting through low-quality businesses.
The last thing you want to do is commit your time and energy into researching a new online business that you’re incredibly excited about… only for it to turn into a scam.
Empire Flippers nips this problem in the bud before it ever gets to their platform, by only ensuring the best and most credible businesses even make it to their listings page.
Is this the first time you’re dipping your toes into the world of buying and selling online businesses? If so, it’s completely normal that you are apprehensive.
Empire Flippers has sold over $450 million of online businesses, making them perfectly poised to help you out. Their extensive team consists of vetting advisors, business advisors, and M&A associates to help business owners and buyers at every step.
In addition, they have hundreds of blog posts, guides, and reports on their website resources page to help you get familiar with your unique online business journey.
And if you prefer a more visual way to understand your information, their YouTube channel is a dive into some entrepreneurial tips and tricks and how-to’s, like this video on the Walmart affiliate program.
But what about the cons? Every platform has their downsides, and Empire Flippers is no different.
Ok, so 15% isn’t the most expensive fee, but it certainly isn’t the cheapest fee out there either. And while online businesses over $700,000 have a lower fee, this can still be a damper for someone looking to sell their business.
While it may seem discouraging to have to pay that much, it’s good to note that this compensates for the time, experience, and energy that business advisors put in to ensure the Empire Flippers services are up to par.
In our opinion, if a company spends time building up a long-standing buyer network and ensuring the transaction is completed smoothly and securely, it’s worth it.
As mentioned earlier, Empire Flippers has a relatively unique payment system, consisting of an EF wallet and wire transfer.
While wire transfers certainly have their own pros, namely security and reliability, they can also be a hassle to deal with. Buyers would need to contend with timezone issues, delays in the transfer, and potential issues with banks blocking transactions.
This can be a stressful process, exacerbated by the fact that “better” businesses seem to get snapped up quicker than others.
While Empire Flippers has aimed to combat this by introducing the 10% deposit system, this payment process is still worth keeping in mind before you make a purchase.
At the end of the day, Empire Flippers is still a public online business marketplace. And while they do an excellent job at protecting the business URL and other important details to users that verify their information, these details can still get in the wrong hands if the person is sneaky enough.
If you want the selling of your business to be 100% confidential and undetected, a business brokerage may be more ideal.
The heart of what makes Empire Flippers so successful is their buyer and seller network. While it may seem like a complicated process, it only takes a few steps to get started.
1. If you decide to browse and potentially buy an online business with Empire Flippers, you’ll first need to create an account. Registering is as easy as entering your contact details and a new password. Then you’re in!
2. You’ll get access to a personalized dashboard. There, you’ll be able to view listings for sale, messages, your wallet, and sort by filters or preference.
3. You’ll get 100 free unlocks to view business listings, and more can be redeemed by contacting their sales team. To unlock a listing, you’ll have to provide proof of funds by either:
4. Once you’ve found a website that you like, it’s the perfect time to carefully comb through all the appropriate listing information:
5. Once you’re ready to make the purchase, you’ll reach out and make an offer by paying a deposit to the seller.
6. Once they confirm, negotiations may begin or you can go straight to finalizing the transaction. The hard part is now over, as the Empire Flippers team will help you through completing payment and migrate all business assets over to you.
1. The first step to selling an online business with Empire Flippers is submitting your business for review. You’ll need to fill out information that describes various aspects of your business in a separate pop-up window:
2. Once you’ve submitted your online business, the Empire Flippers may take some time to process all the information. In some cases, they may reach out for additional information.
3. Once accepted for listing, your online business will be published to their extensive buyer network as a live listing. In most cases, their business advisors will advise you on how to find quality buyers and weed out those looking to waste time.
4. Buyers can make offers on your listing, and you can choose to accept or reject them.
5. The Empire Flippers team negotiates with the buyer on your behalf if needed.
6. If all goes well, a sale agreement is drawn up, the buyer transfers their payment to an escrow account managed by Empire Flippers, and the website and assets get transferred over.
7. Once completed, the funds will be released from escrow and sent to your account. The sale has now been completed!
Now that we’ve covered their key practices, services, and policies, it’s safe to say that yes, Empire Flippers is legit.
In fact, Empire Flippers is one of the frontrunners in the current online buy and sell space, primarily due to their smart outreach tactics, transparency, and high-quality offerings.
But don’t just take our word for it. Their Trustpilot account is full of customers praising their fair and clear process, seamless business transitions, and an overall professional experience.
Of course, it’s always worth doing your own research and comparing the offerings of different platforms before you commit to one. And with something as big as buying or selling an online business, you’ll certainly want to be extra confident in your decision before you jump in and start!
While Empire Flippers do a great job at vetting each and every online business on their platform, you may be worried about a potential scam. And for a good reason! The last thing you want is to lose your hard earned money by purchasing a business whose reality doesn’t match up with their promises.
The good thing is that you’re always in contact with at least one or several people on the Empire Flippers team. They’ll be able to advise you on whether this transaction seems too good to be true, based on their years of expertise.
It’s also recommended that all communication and payments stay on the platform. Any seller pressuring you to send money through additional forms of payment like PayPal or cryptocurrency may not be having your best interests at heart.
As long as you keep your activity on your dashboard and on the platform, there’s little to no chance of spam activity happening. And if you want to ease your fears about purchasing a business from a stranger, why not organize a video call where you can get to know the person behind the website better?
Empire Flippers targets all kinds of buyers, whether you’re a first-timer or experienced at purchasing and flipping online businesses. Their only requirement is having enough funds to purchase the listing of interest.
For sellers, Empire Flippers are a bit more picky. They’re ideally looking for businesses that fit the rest of their listings, which means ones with a proven track record of profitability and no “shady” dealings behind the scenes. Basically, if you’ve got an online business that is doing everything right, you should have no problem joining the platform as a seller.
In some cases, sellers with particularly niche websites also get rejected, even if they qualify for the other conditions. This is to ensure that the listings they promote actually get seen and sold by the right people.
Founded in 2011, Empire Flippers isn’t the oldest online marketplace platform out there, but their success can be attributed to their diverse team.
While the Empire Flippers headquarters are in Wilmington, Delaware, in the United States, most of their employees work remotely across the globe, including co-founders and current owners Joe Magnotti and Justin Cooke.
This gives them a distinct advantage over some of their competitors as it allows them to serve a wide range of clients, across different countries and timezones.
Empire Flippers is an excellent marketplace for buying and selling high-quality online businesses. Unlike other platforms like Flippa, Empire Flippers provides a more customized and vetted service, protecting its buyers and sellers and keeping the standard of companies sold as high as possible.
While there are pros and cons, as with any platform, with fantastic reviews about the team’s customer service and attention to detail, Empire Flippers is a platform worth trying if you want to sell or buy an online business quickly and safely. In particular, Empire Flippers stands out as the leading place to sell and buy ecommerce businesses.
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