On January 1st, 2018 I purchased my first content website through Empire Flippers for $49,000. In just 4 months, I improved the profitability of the website and then resold it on the Empire Flippers marketplace for $75,000.
This article will cover my experience as a seller with Empire Flippers, as I already wrote a very in-depth review of my experience as a buyer. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, I highly encourage you to check out that article as it coves some interesting topics.
Additionally, you can check out this article where I’ve shared some of the quick and easy techniques that I used to increase the monetization, not the traffic, in order to have a successful flip.
Why I Chose Empire Flippers To Represent My Website
There are several reasons why I used Empire Flippers (EF) to sell my newly acquired website.
First, my experience with them as a buyer just months prior was nothing short of superb. Candidly, when I made my purchase and wired the funds I was extremely nervous as I was venturing into uncharted territory.
I had just wired money to a company I did not know much about, and was buying a digital asset in a space (website space) that I had no prior experience in. I did do an initial introduction phone call with an EF team member which alleviated a lot of my concerns, but clicking “send” on the wire transfer was still unnerving.
Had I not stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would not be where I am today! Their team did everything possible to be a good steward of my money and newly acquired asset.
Since my buying transaction went on without a hitch, it was a no brainer to use them for the sale.
Secondly, they already had ample information about the website on file as they recently sold it. When it was time for me to resubmit the website for vetting, there was not much worked needed on my part as I only needed to update 3-4 months on the P&L, along with gathering verification screenshots.
Having documentation already within their files, allowed for a quicker vetting process which got my listing to market a week or so sooner. Being quick to market proved beneficial as I accepted an offer within 48 hours of the listing going live, but more on that later.
The final reason I chose to sell with Empire Flippers, was simply the fact that I liked the employees and felt their terms, conditions, and commissions were fair and protective. Since my site was valued way below the $1 million mark, I paid a 15% commission that was assessed on the selling price.
If it was not for the staff, on both the buy and sell side, my success would not have been possible. I want to give a shoutout to Ross G., if you read this, thank you for your expertise and help in negotiating my deal, along with the migration team that makes a sellers life so much easier.
As with most brokerage services (real estate, yacht sales, digital assets, etc), commission is paid by the seller. Below is the current Empire Flippers commission breakdown:
- 2% for any business above a $10 million list price
- 5% for any business between a $5 million and $10 million list price
- 8% for any businesses between a $2 million and $5 million list price
- 12% for any business between a $1 million and $2 million list price
- 15% for any business under a $1 million list price
The only other fee that is charged to a seller is the vetting fee (also known as the listing fee). This cost is $297 for first time sellers and covers the expense of a rigorous vetting process that Empire Flippers upholds and that buyers expect.
However, Money Nomad readers can submit their websites and digital assets for vetting for free!
The Negotiations and Successful Sale
If you follow the Monday morning new listings email blasts from EF, then you know that solid content websites in the $30k to $90k range can sell very quickly. Fortunately for me, my website fell right into the sweet spot.
After a website has been cleared by the vetting team, the head of vetting puts together his proposal and thoughts on a list price, based on facts and current market conditions. We emailed back and forth a few times, and both decided that a 34x multiple would give an accurate representation.
We also used the last 12 months of revenue/profit to determine the monthly average.
With an average profit of $2,361 per month and a 34x multiple, the listing price was set to $80,279. Not taking into account commission, that is a $31,000 value increase in just over three months!
The hour after the listing went live, a flurry of deposits were made so that prospective buyers could gain access to the URL, Google Analytics, and supplemental documentation. As a seller, you must manually add depositors to your Google Analytics account, so be available when your listing goes live in order to do so. More on this in the “tips for sellers” section below.
Side note: Empire Flippers requires prospective buyers to make a monetary deposit before gaining access to private website information, which I greatly appreciated as a seller.
In the first six hours, I received one formal offer in writing that was lower than I was willing to accept, so I countered in the high $70k range. Another real buyer emerged and scheduled a phone call for the following day to go over the listing in more detail.
Later that night, on the first day of the listing being live, the prospective buyer that made the first offer submitted a counter to my counter, which was $75,000. Just $5,000 below my listing price, which I accepted.
EF has a policy that if a seller accepts an offer that is not full price, then an email goes out to all other depositors that a non-full price offer has been accepted, allowing time for another buyer to come in. While this helps a seller get the most money for their listing, when I was a buyer it made me feel like my offer was getting put up against other buyers with a possible bidding war to ensure.
Regardless, the 24 hour clock was ticking and I completed my phone call with the other prospective buyer, who decided not to make an offer.
In just 48 hours, my website was marked as sold for $75,000 and was moved into migration! I can confidently say that only Empire Flippers could bring this type of speedy and superior results.
Migration and Closing
After the price had been agreed to, and the remaining funds were transferred to EF’s account, the migration process began. This process entails transferring domains, content, databases, SOP’s, social accounts, affiliate accounts plus much from the seller to the buyer.
Empire Flippers is extremely hands-on with this step, as they handle nearly all of the transferring process. They switch out affiliate links and even test the website on a test server before pushing it over to the buyers server, in an effort to ensure everything is in working order.
As a seller, I just had to supply the migration team with various login information and they handled the rest. I did have a one-on-one Skype chat going with the buyer where I could quickly answer his questions as he went through the website, while sending off tips and ideas that I thought could be beneficial.
At the end of migration, as closing appeared, Empire Flippers helped both parties settle up any outstanding affiliate commissions that were owed. Once the loose ends were tied up, I received a wire from EF marking a successful close.
Since I can not sit idle, I already had my eyes on another website purchase. I took the profit and used it to purchase another website, which I took ownership of three or four weeks after my other site closed escrow.
Helpful Tips For Sellers
Below I’ve outlined some tips that I found to be helpful when getting ready to list a website for sale:
- Create a spreadsheet to store affiliate account, hosting account, social account, and the like, login credentials
- Document affiliate and other earnings via screenshots and build a comprehensive P&L that can be shared with the broker and prospective buyers
- Don’t cut spending just to try and get a higher price, keep you website flourishing
- When your broker and/or prospective buyer needs additional information or questions answered, be sure to reply in a timely fashion
- Be readily available the day your listing goes live so you can answer questions and grant Google Analytics access
- Don’t forget the age-old saying, “your first offer is sometimes your best offer”
- Lean on Empire Flippers for advice when it comes to valuation, negotiation, or migration, this is what they do for a living
- Enjoy the process and congratulate yourself on a job well done
Please do not hesitate to reach out via email (email@example.com) if I can help in any way, either on the sell or buy side. If you’ve listed to any of my YouTube videos or podcasts, you will know that I’m the first to share that if it wasn’t for Empire Flippers, I would not have the success I’ve experienced in the digital asset space.