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How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney to Buy a Small Business

When you’re considering buying a small business, there are many considerations to keep in mind. One of the most important is hiring a competent attorney to help guide you through the legal process. But how much does it cost to hire an attorney to buy a small business? In this article, we will explore the various costs involved in hiring an attorney to assist with the purchase of a small business.

Initial Consultation

The first step in hiring an attorney to assist with the purchase of a small business is usually an initial consultation. During this meeting, you and the attorney will discuss the details of the purchase, and they will provide you with an overview of the legal process and their services. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, while others may charge a fee for this meeting. The cost of an initial consultation can vary widely depending on the attorney’s experience and location, but it is generally a small fraction of the overall cost of hiring an attorney for the entire transaction.

Flat Fee vs. Hourly Rate

Once you have decided to move forward with hiring an attorney, they will typically offer two different fee structures: a flat fee or an hourly rate. A flat fee is a set amount that covers all of the attorney’s services related to the purchase of the business. This can be beneficial because you will know the total cost upfront and won’t be surprised by any unexpected fees. On the other hand, an hourly rate means that you will be charged for the attorney’s time spent working on your case. This can be more flexible if the scope of the work is uncertain, but it can also lead to higher costs if the transaction takes longer than anticipated.


In addition to the initial consultation fee or the flat fee/hourly rate, some attorneys may require a retainer before they begin working on your case. A retainer is a lump sum of money that is paid upfront and held in a trust account by the attorney. As they work on your case, they will bill against the retainer, and once it is depleted, you may need to replenish it. Retainers can range widely in amount, depending on the complexity of the transaction and the attorney’s requirements.

Additional Services

Beyond the basic fee structure, there may be additional services that the attorney will offer at an extra cost. For example, if the purchase of the business is complicated or involves a high level of due diligence, there may be additional fees for these services. Additionally, there may be costs associated with filing legal documents, conducting research, or hiring other professionals, such as accountants or appraisers, to assist with the transaction. It’s important to discuss these potential costs with your attorney upfront to avoid any surprises down the road.


In conclusion, the cost of hiring an attorney to assist with the purchase of a small business can vary widely depending on the attorney’s fee structure, location, and the complexity of the transaction. It’s important to have a clear understanding of all potential costs upfront and to discuss them in detail with your attorney before moving forward. While hiring an attorney to assist with the purchase of a small business is an additional expense, it can provide peace of mind and ensure that the transaction is legally sound. Ultimately, the cost of hiring an attorney should be viewed as an investment in the success and legality of your small business purchase.