How to Appraise Your Business Assets

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A row of garages may contain assets a business owner will need to appraise

Once your business has fulfilled its outstanding orders and completed its jobs in process, you can begin to inventory, appraise, and sell off the assets you needed to run your business.

 

How do I get started?

Start by creating a spreadsheet that lists each asset your business owns. Here, you might include columns for a photograph, the serial number, and a brief description of every asset you list.

Asset name Photograph Serial number Description

 

Once your spreadsheet is set up, start inputting the tangible assets your business owns. Your asset list could include some or all of these items:

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Equipment
  • Furniture and office fixtures
  • Finished goods
  • Input materials

 

Next, include the intangible assets that your business claims. Items here could include:

  • Patents
  • Copyrights
  • Trademarks
  • Transferrable licenses and permits
  • Transferrable leases
  • Social media accounts
  • Brand or reputation
  • Customer lists
  • Subscriber base

 

How can I find the value of my business’s assets?

Once you complete your inventory records, you’ll need to hire an appraiser who can help you with the liquidation value of each of your assets. Select an appraiser who:

Has experience in appraising real estate, equipment, and inventory in your industry
Complies with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)
Is capable of providing real-time market pricing

 

Would you like to connect with an appraiser? Click the Connect button below to get started.

 

How does an appraiser make estimates?

Some appraisers take on this task remotely. They use replacement cost software and the spreadsheet you create to assess the market value of each item.

Others prefer to conduct an onsite appraisal. This allows them to inspect each asset and arrive at more accurate appraisals. Of course, this second approach is more costly, but it's also more effective in helping find the true values of each asset you plan to sell.

 

How can I make sure my appraisal is accurate?

One way to ensure accuracy is to get multiple appraisals. The downside here is the price. This tactic can be expensive quickly, especially for a business that’s winding down.

Here's another option. You could test your appraiser's estimates by running online searches for assets that match the make, model, and condition of your own. Study their pricing and compare how it matches your estimates.

But the best way to feel confident about your appraisals is to choose an appraiser who's accredited to conduct this kind of work. Both the Institute of Business Appraisers and The American Society of Appraisers offer certifications to pros who are experienced in their trade.

 

How much does it cost to hire an appraiser?

Most often, appraisers charge a per-hour rate, so the cost can vary greatly. Depending on the size of your business and the number of assets it owns, an appraisal could cost between $5,000 and $30,000.

 

Can I appraise my own business assets?

You can certainly estimate the value of the assets you plan to sell. To do this, you might follow the process we shared above for checking the accuracy of your appraisals. Simply conduct an online search for each item you want to sell and set your prices to match what others are asking for similar makes, models, and conditions.

But you may want to ask for an expert's opinion on any item that’s high in value, including real estate, vehicles, and essential equipment. This will help you ensure that you get the most back from your business.

 

What’s next?

When your appraisal is complete, you can sell your business’s inventory, equipment, and items of value. Read our guide, How to Sell Your Remaining Inventory, Equipment, and Items of Value, for strategies that can help you with this step.

 

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