Buying a Business

Cost to Buy a Business in Contra Costa

If you want to buy a business in Contra Costa, California, you're no doubt wondering how much a typical Contra Costa, California business costs to buy.

Fortunately, a company called has made some data available on what it costs to buy a business in Contra Costa. is the biggest business-for-sale listings site on the Internet, offering over 50,000 businesses for sale at any given time. The vast majority of business brokers in the country put their business listings on In addition, many business owners who are selling on their own, without a broker, will place listings on

If you are looking to buy a business in California, check out the BizBuySell California listings to get instant access to business-for-sale listings for Contra Costa and other California towns.

Contra Costa, CA Business Valuations

According to, the median asking price for an Contra Costa business-for-sale listing in Q4 2008, the quarter when they most recently released their data, was $222,000.

That was based on 191 listings in the Contra Costa-Alameda-Solano, CA metro area. As such, some of the businesses used to derive the median valuation might be outside of Contra Costa, but they are nearby and so are probably representative of Contra Costa business valuations.

Note that this is the median asking price for a business. If you are in the market to buy a company, you may be able to buy an Contra Costa business for much less. At the same time, some Contra Costa businesses may cost much more.

Importantly, this is the asking price for an Contra Costa business. Typically, when an entrepreneur lists a business for sale, they start with an asking price that is higher than the final sale price. The sale-price-to-asking-price ratios depend on deal specifics but typically might be between 0.85 and 0.90. In other words, a business listed for $100,000 might sell for between $85,000 and $90,000.

If you are interested in trends in business-for-sale asking prices, here are the median asking prices for businesses in the Contra Costa-Alameda-Solano, CA metro area for the last 8 quarters.

Median Ask
Q2 2007
Q2 2008
Q3 2008
Q4 2008

Revenue Multiples In Contra Costa, CA

In the Contra Costa-Alameda-Solano, CA metro area, businesses will usually sell for 0.70 times the selling company's revenues. The data indicates that is the mean revenue multiple for Q4 2008 in this area of the country.

In other words, a firm with revenues of $200,000 might list for $139,777. Keep in mind that this is just an average for revenue multiples in Contra Costa and surrounding communities. Some firms will have higher revenue multiples and others will have lower revenue multiples.

Here is how median revenue multiples are trending in the Contra Costa area, based on's quarterly reports.

Revenue Multiple
Q2 2007
Q2 2008
Q3 2008
Q4 2008

According to, the median revenues for its business-for-sale listings was $443,827 in Q4 2008.

Cash Flow Multiples In Contra Costa, CA

Another popular way to value a business is through cash flow multiples.

For Q4 2008, the average cash flow multiple for listed businesses in the Contra Costa-Alameda-Solano, CA metro area was 3.44.

So, a business with cash flows of $120,000 might have an asking price of $413,027. That math only works if the business sells for the area's average multiple. The distribution on revenue multiples for a given set of businesses can be quite wide-ranging.

The table below shows how cash flow multiples are trending in the Contra Costa area, based on's quarterly reports.

Median Cash
Flow Multiple
Q2 2007
Q2 2008
Q3 2008
Q4 2008

If you are interested in what cash flows are for a business in Contra Costa, reports that the median cash flow for Contra Costa area businesses was $100,000 in Q4 2008.

Things to Consider When Buying a Business in Contra Costa, CA

Never underestimate what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur. It's important to understand that owners work long hours, and, in many casees, it can take a while before a business generates sufficient cash flow to pay the owner well. This useful tip comes from Domenic Rinaldi, managing partner of Chicagoland Sunbelt, a leading business brokerage firm.

Business Valuations for Contra Costa, CA Businesses

If you have a specific business in mind and want to look at comparables in the area, we recommend the Business Valuation Tool. You can refine the dataset that generates business valuations to meet your specific needs, and access to the tool is very affordable -- less than $100.

More Information on's Quarterly Reports

The BizBuySell Insight Report is a nationally-recognized economic indicator that tracks the health of the U.S. small business economy. If you find this data interesting, be sure to visit Insights Report for more information.

Share this article

Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Lists of Venture Capital and Private Equity Firms

Franchise Opportunities


Business Glossary