The economy has seen a big shift toward the subscription model in the last decade. While big names like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify spring to mind when you think “subscription,” in reality, you can purchase almost anything this way nowadays—from the razors you use and the meals you eat to your meditation app or favorite software.
Retail customers have become very accustomed to this way of purchasing goods and services, meaning now is an excellent time to own and run a subscription business.
If you’re in the market for a subscription-based business but are not sure where the best places are to purchase one, this article should help. We list ten popular, highly reputable platforms where you can snap up a subscription business or sell one. But before we get into that, let’s first look at the benefits of owning such a business.
As mentioned, the marketplace is ripe for subscription businesses, but what other advantages come with this business model? Here are some of the main ones:
Subscription businesses prioritize customer retention. Unlike one-time purchase models, customers who come on board will likely stay with you for an extended period, offering a steady recurring income stream.
Subscription businesses have greater customer loyalty and a strong community feel, as they can focus more on their subscribers rather than always needing to acquire new customers.
Continuous engagement with your subscribers allows you to gain greater insights and really understand your target market, allowing you to fine-tune your products, services, and marketing.
The subscription model offers convenience to your customers. They can spread out large payments over time yet get immediate access to your offerings. Payments also happen automatically rather than needing to do them manually.
Here are the best places to find subscription businesses for sale in 2023.
Empire Flippers is undoubtedly one of the best places to buy and sell online businesses, including subscription businesses. This highly reputable marketplace, which has won the Inc 5,000 award seven times, has facilitated the sale of over $450 million worth of online businesses.
When browsing their extensive yet carefully vetted list of businesses for sale, you can filter the results to show only subscription businesses. You can then narrow the results further by filtering based on price, niche, and more. Each listing has all the information and tools needed to make an informed assessment.
It doesn’t take long to generate a list of candidates that match your criteria, and when you’re ready to make an offer, Empire Flippers will help you every step of the process.
Flippa is another top, highly-praised marketplace for buying and selling online businesses. You can find many businesses with a subscription model listed on this platform, valued from a few thousand all the way up to tens of millions of dollars. No matter the niche, from health and finance to pets and fashion, they’ll likely have something listed you’re interested in.
Flippa processes around 12,000 deals annually, with a team of experts on hand to ensure every purchase goes as smoothly as possible. They provide all the data and tools needed to help you find subscription businesses and close the deal, including key metrics, a deal room for negotiations, legal services, and integrated payments.
On Acquire.com, you can browse thousands of carefully vetted, high-quality startups and view all their key metrics and other vital information. And when you find an attractive listing, you can connect with its founders and really start digging into what this business is about.
Plus, you’ll be pleased to hear this platform has no shortage of subscription businesses. Simply tell Acquire what you’re after, for example, a subscription business in your preferred industry and valuation, and they will find you a list of matching startups. It’s as easy as that! You can even get notifications on new listings that match your criteria.
Investors Club has listings with a wide range of price points and profit margins, spanning many industries. You can also directly filter for listings that generate revenue through a subscription model, making your search that little bit quicker and easier.
While Investors Club has fewer businesses for sale than some other options on this list, this private marketplace is carefully curated, ensuring that everything is of decent quality. You’ll need to create an account to access the most valuable data and information on this platform, but you can do this for free in just a few minutes.
FE International was ranked by the Financial Times as one of ‘The Americas Fastest-Growing Companies’ in 2022. The platform has successfully facilitated the sale of over 1,500 businesses worth more than $50 billion. Many of these were subscription businesses, and you can find plenty of subscription businesses for sale on this platform today.
However, you will only find large, well-established businesses with significant revenues listed here. So, if you’re looking for something small-scale, this isn’t the place for you. That said, FE International boasts a 94% success rate when facilitating acquisitions, and they reject 90% of businesses that apply to be listed, so this truly is a marketplace for serious professionals.
BizBuySell is a top online directory that has facilitated the sale of over 100,000 businesses. You can literally find every type of business here, from restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores to software companies and online businesses. Among their massive trove of listings, you will also find some for sale with a subscription-based business model.
BizBuySell is a great place to search if you’re looking for a subscription business that isn’t exclusively online. With over 45000 listings, BizBuySell is one of the largest business-for-sale websites in the world, so you’ll surely find something.
BizQuest has been around since 1994, making it one of the original online marketplaces for buying and selling businesses. Like BizBuySell, this platform offers all types of businesses, not just online ones. After years of operating, this platform is still going strong, and you can find many companies with a subscription model for sale here.
To find what you’re looking for quicker, take advantage of the search bar, inputting terms like “subscription” or “subscribers” along with your preferred industry.
AcquireBase prides itself on being a marketplace for startups free from sales commissions or listing fees. However, while you pay 0% commission on any successful acquisition, to access the best listings and metrics, you have to pay for a yearly or lifetime ‘Premium’ membership.
While, unfortunately, you cannot filter the extensive collection listings to specifically find those that are subscription businesses, if you spend a little time scrolling through, you will indeed find some.
As its name suggests, the SideProjectors marketplace is designed for those looking to buy and sell side projects. This means it naturally attracts sellers with projects that are smaller in scale and with a lower price point, making it great for those looking to acquire a subscription business on a budget.
The platform has a decent number of listings, and it allows you to filter specifically for subscription businesses, which is handy.
IndieMaker is a thriving marketplace with over 19,000 members, where you can buy and sell side projects, domains, SaaS companies, social media accounts, and, of course, subscription businesses.
To quickly find the businesses that fall into the subscription category, you’ll want to input the keyword “subscription” and then sort the search results by “MRR” (monthly recurring revenue).
Like when buying any type of business, doing your due diligence is a must to avoid getting burnt in the process. Here are some tips for when purchasing a subscription business:
Do you rate its products or services? Would you use them yourself? Are they of high quality in comparison to its competitors?
It is absolutely paramount that you have a good grasp of its finances to avoid risks like paying more than it’s worth or buying a business with hidden financial problems.
Does it have a loyal customer base that tends to stick around for the long run, or does it have a high churn rate and constantly needs to find new customers?
Research the market this business operates in to get a realistic idea of the growth potential, level of competition, and more.
That’s our list of the top 10 places to buy a subscription business concluded, along with some reasons to buy one and tips on making your purchase go smoothly. The general public is very warmed up to the subscription model, meaning the time is ripe to own one, but that doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy any old subscription business.
Due diligence is key, and using one of the reputable marketplaces above will help you find high-quality businesses while providing lots of assistance during your acquisition.
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