Listing Your Dental Practice For Sale

The decision to list your dental practice for sale can be one of the most personal and important decisions of your professional career. When you list your dental practice for sale, you should have certain expectations of your dental practice broker. Valuation: A thorough valuation must be performed so you have an accurate idea for […]

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Good Estate Planning = Wealth Preservation

The dental profession is not exempt from unexpected death or disability. What makes these unfortunate events even more tragic is when a doctor is unprepared. This article does not address the proper practice transition under death or disability, but focuses on how a complete estate plan will assure your wealth preservation for you and your loved ones.

For most dentists a good estate plan will frequently consist of a Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive, and possibly a Revocable Trust (this list is certainly not comprehensive). Nevertheless, you should consult with your own estate planning attorney to be sure that your particular situation is addressed and state law is considered.

WILL. A Will allows you to designate where your assets go, who shall take care of any minor children, who shall administer your estate, establish testamentary trusts, and engage in complicated estate tax planning. Without a Will, state law determines who gets your assets, who takes care of your children, and who administers your estate. Moreover, if you allow the state rules to apply without estate tax planning, it may cost millions of dollars in estate taxes.

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In a Divorce, don’t get Doubled Up

(Please note, the following is not intended to be a legal opinion nor address other legal issues that might arise in the case of a marriage dissolution. Typically divorce law is governed by state statute and state legal precedence. Accordingly, one should seek competent legal advice from an attorney familiar with marriage dissolution matters).

There is a joke circulating as a result of our most recent economic turmoil, which goes, “the economic meltdown is worse than a divorce. My net worth has been cut in half, but I’m still married to my spouse”.

Although this may give a chuckle to some, the unfortunate circumstances of a marriage dissolution most undoubtedly causes significant economic and emotional damage to a doctor. Usually in marriage dissolution, there are many issues that arise; however the two most significant economic issues involve spousal maintenance (commonly referred to as alimony), and property settlement.

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Two Simple Questions before you Sell

Shakespeare’s Hamlet pondered, “To be or not to be, that is the question…” Likewise, many dentists considering the sale of their practice ponder, “to sell or not to sell”. Unfortunately the answer to this question is oftentimes not self-evident. Accordingly, when I (or other American Dental Sales brokers) are asked, “Do you think it’s the right time for me to sell?”, we typically advise the doctor to answer two fundamental questions:

ARE YOU FINANCIALLY READY TO SELL? Today more than ever, dental practices are very profitable for the owner/operator. Twenty to twenty-five years ago, an average dental practice would have revenues of $180,000 to $200,000. Currently it is not uncommon to encounter practices with $1M or more in annual revenues. Best of all, during those intervening twenty years, the overhead percentage has remained relatively constant (approximately 60%). Naturally 40% profit on $1M is much greater than a 40% profit on $200,000. Unfortunately the value of dental practices has not kept pace with their growth in relative terms. In other words, the sale of your practice will not replace the earnings if you continue to own and operate your practice.

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A Good Broker = Peace of Mind

There is nothing more comforting than knowing that everything is going to be all right. Whether it’s a small child with their favorite teddy bear or your insurance being in “good hands”, the knowledge that a project will be handled properly gives one peace of mind.

The same is true of a practice broker. When a doctor hires a broker to handle the sale of his/her practice, the selling doctor must have ultimate confidence in that the practice broker will handle all the details ethically and capably. The two broad criteria I would recommend for hiring a practice broker are: (1) the broker must be competent; and (2) the broker must be honest.

Although a broker may be honest, if they don’t have the degree of experience and expertise necessary to handle your transaction, your practice sale might be fraught with mistakes, stress and failure. A capable practice transition specialist must be well versed in a variety of different areas, such as: (1) proper appraisal methods; (2) fair and effective sales techniques; (3) in depth knowledge of the legal and tax implications incidental to the practice sale. Overall, your practice broker must have good business judgment that they can apply to your practice transition.

Some questions you can ask your practice broker in order to ascertain their competency are:

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Brokers Make You Money

For a doctor contemplating the sale of all or part of his/her dental practice, it is often enticing to attempt to sell the practice on their own. The transaction may seem simple enough; should be quick and easy; save a few bucks because you don’t have to pay a broker’s commission. Smart…right?? Not necessarily. It may be the worst mistake you ever make.

Please examine a few of the reasons why you should utilize a broker in the sale of your practice, and you will see why retaining a broker will actually make you money:

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Ten Tips to Preparing your Practice for Sale

1. PLAN AHEAD In today’s market, selling a practice is “easier said than done”. Thus, it is incumbent upon you to plan well in advance for the sale of your practice. For example: six months to one year (for a metropolitan area), one to two years (for a medium sized city), and two to five years (for smaller cities).

2. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER Most practices have accumulated years and years of “clutter” (books, journals, old dental equipment, artifacts). All of this should be cleaned up and in some manner disposed of. Buyers will expect an office to be organized and sanitary.

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