Five things to think about before deciding to sell your dental practice

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There could be a number of reasons why you might be considering selling your dental practice. Perhaps you’re nearing retirement and thinking about how best to ensure the continuity of your business. Or maybe you’ve had enough of certain elements of running a practice which seem far removed from the reason you entered the profession in the first place. 

There is no doubt that the current Covid-19 crisis will have caused people to question many aspects of their personal and business life’s. This is of course a challenging time for all business owners and dental practices are no different.  You may also be wondering whether to even think about selling at all.  

Indeed, the challenges thrown up by the pandemic are causing some people to rethink their role in dentistry and what their future looks like. Our acquisitions team is still very active, talking with principal dentists about their practices and the difficulties they are currently facing. We continue to engage with potential future Dentex partners and offer support whenever possible.  

Stepping away from the pandemic for a moment and considering a more ‘normal’ market, what are the key things you should take into consideration when thinking about selling your dental practice? 

  1. Research  

Speak to your accountant to check your finances are in order to start the process of selling the practice. Contact a lawyer and ask if there would be any legal issues with selling. Is your lease secure, does it have security of tenure?  

Also, speak to friends, colleagues and anybody you know who has been through the process of selling their dental practice. Find out how they went about it, as well as what worked and what didn’t. What would they do differently next time? 

  1. Value 

What are you hoping for in terms of the value of your business, and will it help you achieve your own personal financial goals? What do you want to be able to do once you’ve sold the practice? For example, are you selling it to plan your retirement or are you looking realise the capital value and re-invest in other areas?  

As a principal dentist it is unlikely that you have been paying yourself an Associate rate of pay? Consider what you might potentially earn if you became an Associate in your own practice. You may find that your potential Associate pay rate is similar to the dividend payments you received as the owner – depending how substantial your clinical involvement has been. 

  1. Timing 

When do you want to sell? Perhaps you’re planning for retirement and are thinking about an exit strategy. Or maybe you’re 10 or 15 years away from your planned retirement but would like to put plans in place early or change the focus of your input in the practice as you approach the next stage of your life. Whatever your preferred timing it is never to early to begin confidential conversations with friends, families and professional contacts. 

  1. Post-sale involvement 

What level of involvement would you like to have in your dental practice following its sale? Are you planning to sell and step away from it completely, or do you want to sell and continue in some capacity? The answer to this question will determine the type of buyers interested in your practice. If you are keen to stay on with the practice post sale how do you view your role going forward? Perhaps you’d like to continue as a figurehead of the business with a say in strategy, procedure, development and growth. Or maybe you’d prefer to focus on your dentistry and the patients, leaving elements like administration, marketing and development to someone else. 

  1. Legacy 

For many principal dentists, their practice has been a huge part of their professional and personal life. Whether you bought your practice from someone else or started it from scratch, you have put a lot of time and hard work into growing it and making it a success. So when the time comes to sell it, you need to think hard about its legacy. Are you comfortable that a potential buyer – whether an individual or a company – will protect the team you’ve built, your brand, name, patients and everything that has made the practice a success? Is it going to be in safe hands and looked after? Will you continue to feel proud of what you created, even after you sell or retire? 

Dentex Model

Finally, we welcome you to speak to a member of the Dentex team or one of our partnering practices who have gone through a similar process and can share their experience.  We can also give you details on our unique co-ownership model, which may be something you haven’t considered before. 

Here at Dentex, we work with you to ensure the continuation of your practice through a co-ownership model. Our model allows principals to realise a large percentage of the practice value at the outset, but still provides them with shares in Dentex and a retained sense of ownership. Our model is unique and allows for: 

  • Equity retention 

Under our model, the dental practice principal would retain a piece of equity in their business while still releasing a substantial level of upfront value from the sale. 

  • Individuality and freedom 

Our co-ownership model allows practices to retain their individuality and what makes them special and successful. We don’t rebrand practices or enforce any corporate processes; instead, we leave our clinicians to have complete freedom in terms of their patient journey and treatment policies. We do, however, help all our practices adhere to the highest standards of compliance and infection control.   

  • Stress alleviation 

Every dental practice owner has something that they don’t enjoy about running their business. We work with them to identify what it is that causes more stress and less enjoyment. We then work with our integration team, business development managers and operations team to assist with these stressful elements – freeing up time to concentrate on the more enjoyable ones. 

Whether you’re just considering the possibility of selling your practice or you’ve decided you’re ready to make a change in your professional life, we’d be happy to talk to you about the options available. For a no obligation, confidential conversation about your plans for your dental practice, please contact our Partnership & Acquisitions Director Oliver Snowden on [email protected]