I think I remember a post along these lines a few months back, but couldn't find it, so I apologise if this is a repeat.

I am currently looking into buying UK hosting provider companies (say mainly in web hosting and game servers), or perhaps their clientele. I need advice on the general process, and had the following questions:

1. How does one ensure that the new customers stay with you for longer than the first payment? Do you have a deal in the offer to pay half now, half in 3 months if the customers are still with you?

2. If customers pay different prices at the original company, then would the old company contact them all, and ask them individually whether they would want to sign up with the new company?

3. After what point would you make the first payment to the company? After he said his price? After he gave you the e-mail addresses of his customers? After he gave you root passwords to all machines?

4. How does one value a customer (from the company being bought), since you have no idea of how long he will stay with your company?