Unless you already have a buyer, such as a fellow franchisee, a key manager, or a family member, then you should use a business broker. And even if you have a buyer, it may be helpful to still hire a business broker to expand the universe of those interested in your business and to confirm that you are getting a fair deal.
The law of supply and demand applies to businesses as well. If you have more buyers (higher demand) you should be able to command a higher asking price. Brokers have specialized knowledge and experience dealing with multiple transactions a year, where you may only sell a business once in your life or only a handful of times.
In addition, don’t underestimate the value that a broker provides by acting as a third party intermediary. They will screen unqualified buyers and help the serious buyers understand your business better.
Broker’s have processes to deal with many buyers and will be able to efficiently and effectively reach a much larger audience than you could alone. Your ideal buyer may contact your broker about another business they have listed only to learn it is not a match or already sold. Access to that database of buyers is usually well worth the commission.
Talk to multiple brokers, and when you interview them be sure to obtain and check references. Hiring a broker is an important step. The wrong broker can cost you valuable time.