First, a couple of thoughts on earnouts when you sell your business. While an earnouts is often seen as a mechanism to defer payment of the purchase price; if used correctly, it should in fact be consideration to the seller of a company over and above full cash paid at closing. Earnouts should not be considered part of the purchase price if/until they materialize and are paid to the seller, but why not set additional opportunities to increase the purchase price paid, over and above the full cash price paid? If “x” is the maximum that a buyer will pay for a company in cash at closing, it is still possible to negotiate “x” at closing, plus an additional 25-50% or more after closing. As with most things in life and business, it is not the tool that is at fault, it is the way that it can be misused and misunderstood.