There is a lot to think about when purchasing a business.  Combined with the emotion of the experience, it can be easy to overlook some of the practical steps that need to be taken to ensure a smooth transition to ownership. 

Here is a quick checklist of some of the items you need to remember or action when purchasing a business.  The list is not exhaustive but will give new business owners a great place to start and will ease the stress of the process.


  • Do you know which employees you want to retain? Can you meet with them prior to settlement to introduce yourself and conduct an interview?
  • Have you provided the existing employees (that you want to keep) with an offer of employment? If not, you may not have any staff on day 1!
  • Check your contract to determine if there are any particular terms that your offers of employment to the existing employees must contain. Seek advice if required.  You don’t want to find yourself in an unintended dispute with the seller!
  • Do you have the required ATO Declaration Forms ready for the employees to complete?


  • Have you made arrangements for the electricity to be transferred into your name from settlement?
  • Have you made arrangements for the telephone lines to be transferred into your name from settlement?
  • Is there a hot water account that needs to be transferred?

Business Operations

  • Is the seller selling you the float and change in the business on settlement? If not, you will need to arrange for your own float and change to be available on day 1.
  • Do you know what time to arrive at the business to start trade on the date of settlement? Is a security code required?  If so, have you made arrangements with the seller for the code to be provided?
  • Have you ordered new stationery for the business?
  • Do you know when your first rent payment is due?
  • Have you set up your supplier accounts so that you can order stock for the business?
  • Do you have permission to use the existing trading name for the business? If not, have you made arrangements for the signage to be changed?
  • If you are purchasing a pharmacy business, have you made arrangements for the PBS approval number to be entered into your dispensing system ready for activation?


If you have any queries about purchasing a business, please contact Stoddart Legal on (07) 3370 0200.

This article is intended to be for general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish a relationship of client and lawyer. Specific circumstances or changes in law may vary the accuracy or applicability of the information published. We recommend seeking specific legal advice particular to your circumstances before taking any action, or refraining from taking any action, on any issue dealt with in this article.