Selling an Education Business

Apr 16, 2024

Malcolm X is credited for the quote, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

One of the most rewarding industries for IBA to represent in the sale of privately held companies and family businesses is the education industry.   Few industries impact people in as positive a manner as those who provide knowledge.  The entrepreneurs who combine the desire to educate with filling a void not adequately addressed by the public or private sectors should be admired and hopefully, rewarded for their vision, execution, effort, acceptance of risk, and allocation of assets.

The rewards received by these business owners traditionally come in three components.  The first component is the accrual of enhanced knowledge and skills by their pupils as a platform for future achievement in life. This is often the most rewarding for those who select education as a profession whether as teachers or entrepreneurs. The second component is the annual annuity of profit from running a successful business model and the final component is the financial consideration received upon a successful transition of ownership.

The successful sale of an education sector business requires knowledge, experience, and skill.   The knowledge component is demonstrated by a professional M&A intermediary in their ability to properly value the company (and potentially the associated real estate) and create a marketplace for the sale where the best buyer in terms of relevant experience and price is located.  The experience element is confirmed by the business broker’s ability to successfully navigate the transition of students, staff, and licensing from one owner to the next.  The skill element is substantiated by the maintenance of an environment of confidentiality throughout the sale process; negotiation of the best possible primary (Price), secondary (Transition Employment/Consulting), and tertiary (Non-Competition Agreement) deal terms; and obtaining financing for a sale with a large goodwill (Blue Sky) component.

Knowledge & experience are not limited to a comprehensive understanding of how to execute a business sale process employing best practices. It is also important to engage a business broker who has sold similar business models within the education sector.  IBA, as the oldest & largest business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, is blessed to have on its resume of accomplishments a full spectrum of completed transactions involving many different types of schools & training institutions.  Deals completed in the past by IBA include preschools & kindergartens (Both with independent & franchised business models); private schools; tutoring platforms executed both online and in brick & mortar facilities; artistic & athletic schools & training programs; and vocational schools teaching skills from floral design to medical assistance and from mold remediation to bartending.

If you are an entrepreneur in the education sector wishing to sell your business in 2024, the members of our transaction team serving this area would welcome the opportunity to provide an overview of our services.  All conversations with IBA are held in strict confidence.  100% of IBA’s fees are paid on performance upon completion of the project.   The marketplace for businesses in the education industry is currently robust.  An online education platform supporting public school districts recently represented by IBA for sale sold for $500,000 over asking price as a result of a competitive bidding war by a double-digit group of qualified, motivated buyers created by our time-tested methodology for building a marketplace for our client’s companies.  A preschool in Washington brought to market in March was under LOI pending sale in less than a month to a buyer who had previously bought a company through IBA who trusted our process and welcomed our professionalism. It should be noted that the best time to transition ownership of a preschool or private school is often the summer administratively.

If as an entrepreneur, you are interested in buying an education sector business in Washington or Oregon, you are encouraged to participate in our Buyer Database Program ( to learn about the companies we represent for sale when they first enter the market.  Unfortunately, we are unable to predict when the next education business will enter the market and where it will be located.  One solution to create more control of the business acquisition process is to buy a franchise which you can place wherever you want geographically and select the industry.  IBA’s franchise brokerage division ( is happy to introduce you to a selection of the best franchises available for purchase.  The following are some of the education franchises that are currently popular for purchase in the market ( that you may want to consider.

Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  There are few professional fields more rewarding and impactful than education.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, legal, and accounting communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.