Most of us have a vague notion of what retirement might look like but that’s where our planning usually stops. Getting sick or receiving a terminal diagnosis isn’t something that is easy to think about and is even more difficult to talk about. Nobody wants to contemplate their last moments in this world.
Sadly, we have all witnessed peers who have been thrown a curve ball and had an illness or untimely death. The aftermath of these events places a huge strain on our families. However, these stresses can be lessened with some discussion and at the very least, taking the steps now to get the right people in place when you need them.
An unexpected sickness can occur at the height of our professional careers. Depending on the prognosis, it’s critical to get our affairs in order as quickly as possible. Staff might suspect that something is amiss, and you can ask them to keep health issues confidential.
If you haven’t assembled a team already, start searching for a reputable estate-planning attorney and CPA. Also include the often-overlooked professional; a practice transition broker who can assist with the transition of your practice and can begin the process with you as soon as possible. Most widows/widowers are not thinking that the responsibility of selling the practice will fall on their shoulders. We recommend starting these delicate conversations with your spouse now, so they are not left to deal with this in addition to emotional stress.
If you are still able to work at your practice, we can begin to market the practice heavily but discretely so we can find a buyer as quickly as possible. The best medicine for you is to heal and take care of your family. Selling might seem short-sighted if you expect to make a full recovery, but there are many other options available if you still want to continue to work after you heal.
However, for those doctors who pass unexpectantly, word of mouth tends to get ahead of any marketing and the reality is that your practice will be marketed without a doctor and thus the practice value can decrease substantially. Some of the most difficult challenges that we have encountered are in serving spouses who are left to deal with quickly selling a practice when the doctor is sick or has passed away. The value of the practice drops sharply and is often valued at 30-40% less even after just one month without a doctor.
Prepare for the unexpected. Assemble your professional team and get your estate planning documents in order. Most importantly, make this information accessible and communicate your wishes with your spouse.
Life is short, spend your days doing what you enjoy and take care of your health.Read More
By Kevin Brady
Why use a Dental Broker to Sell your Practice?
After many years of the hard work, long hours, and substantial investment that go into building a dental practice, you’re now thinking about selling the practice. It’s easy to assume that the practice will sell quickly and for a great price when you are ready to sell. Feedback from doctors who have recently sold their practices shows that the process is more complicated and stressful than anticipated. This is why it is essential to hire a dental broker to help guide you through the process.
Potential individual buyers and DSOs (Dental Service Organizations) will have experts who can help them navigate the sale. You will also need someone to advocate for you and help you understand the process from start to finish. In most cases, the last time you were involved in a practice sale was when you bought the practice, which means you need someone to help you navigate the process.
Benefits of Hiring a Broker
Here are just a few reasons why hiring a dental broker to assist with planning and selling your practice would be a sound investment.
- Determining Fair Market Price: At Omni Practice Group, we have certified practice appraisers that put together a valuation to maximize a fair market sales price for the practice and real estate (if applicable).
- Develop a Marketing Plan for the Practice while Maintaining Confidentiality: Omni provides confidential marketing and advertising services for your practice that do not identify you or your practice until a buyer is screened and signs a confidential Non-Disclosure Agreement. Omni also provides the financial prospectus for your practice along with confidential personal showings of the practice to potential buyers. Finding the right buyer that you will want to take over your practice can take some time. Good practices can sell quickly, but some can take months or even a year to sell.
- Letter of Intent: Omni brokers negotiate on your behalf, a Letter of Intent with your approval for the purchase price of the Practice and the Accounts Receivable. Your broker will also guide you through the due diligence conditions for bank financing, help negotiate a new lease agreement, non-compete agreements, and other conditions that both the seller and the buyer will agree on. If real estate is included, your Omni broker will determine the value of the real estate with a “Broker’s Real Estate Opinion” that is used to market the real estate with the practice.
- Finalizing the Sale: Your Omni broker works with you to determine a possible closing date based on whether your practice has real estate to sell or a lease that will be negotiated with the new owner. Omni’s brokers work with attorneys to finalize the Asset Purchase Agreement for both the seller and the buyer.
Omni’s 70-point-plus checklist helps guide both the seller and the buyer through the process of items to be completed prior to the sale closing.
A banker at one of the major banks recently said, “A high percentage of deals that fall apart is due to the seller not using a dental broker.” Using a broker typically saves sellers a lot of time, money, and headaches in selling their practices.
Omni Practice Group has been helping dentists for over 15 years with the planning and transitioning of their practices. If you’re thinking about selling now or in the next few years, give us a call for a “free consultation” to help you determine a plan that works for you and how we can assist with a smooth and profitable transition – 877-866-6053.Read More
By Megan Urban, Practice Transition Consultant
Your practice has successfully worked for you for many years so why isn’t it selling? It could be the transition consultant (broker) you are using, or it could be your practice.
Working with an experienced transition consultant is important. We know where and how to advertise. It doesn’t work to simply advertise on a website. You will want marketing and advertising in schools across the country, dental journals, and county/state societies. An experienced consultant already has a list of potential buyers for your area or type and may have other creative grassroots ideas to find the right buyer.
The right consultant cares about you, your team, practice, and goals. It shouldn’t be just about the commission money. Your consultant should be responsive and professional to potential buyers and you.
A comprehensive valuation and prospectus are important. If you or your consultant price your practice too high, it can be offensive to potential buyers, and they won’t feel comfortable offering a lower price. Even if you find a buyer willing to overpay for your practice, the bank will not finance 100%, which means you have to become a bank for a specific amount of the purchase price.
Sometimes even when you have the right consultant your practice may have other reasons for not selling. Sometimes it’s simply not finding the right dentist at the right time. Often it is because your location is not desirable to new buyers and their families. Sometimes it’s the size of the practice. We all know 3 op practices can be very efficient and profitable, but many buyers want 4 to 6 ops, especially to add more hygiene.
Declining collections the last 3 years or simply low collections can be a deterrent to potential buyers and banks unless you have a reason. They understand more time off due to vacation or health issues. Low new patient count, too many PPOs with low reimbursement, and low hygiene production can be concerning to buyers.
Most buyers understand they may need to update style or equipment and technology, but if it’s a lot of cost and effort, they may keep looking for a better practice.
If your practice falls into any of these areas of concern, it will take more time than the average to sell. Lowering the price may help, but if there is no interest, it’s not the price that’s the problem. Don’t give up or get mad, just understand that while your practice may have been perfect for you, it can be a while to find the right buyer.
By Cindy Pauley, DDS & Practice Transition Advisor, OMNI Practice Group
You are ready! You woke up one morning early last week and said to yourself, “It’s Time!”
You have loved being a practicing dentist. But for a multitude of possible reasons, you are ready to sell. So, what’s next? You look around and think is my practice ready to sell? All of a sudden you see the chipped paint and remember the door that sticks if you don’t open it a certain way. Not unlike a house that you are putting on the market, some quick accounting of your practice is in order. Unlike a house, big and costly upgrades will not net you a higher sales price. So, let’s talk about what is a great bang for the buck and what may be money thrown out the window.
First, some really great things that don’t cost much. If your paint is chipped worn or aged… paint! Painting is simple, fast, and the quickest way to make a great first impression during the showings. Second, and advisably after the painting, upgrade flooring if it is worn or really outdated. For both of these options, go for smart clean colors. For the flooring options, keep it simple. Commercial carpet or carpet tiles and vinyl sheet or luxury vinyl plank (LVP) are quick to install and look great.
Second, fix all minor repairs. Doors that stick, duct tape on a hose, or worn fabric on chairs can be easily and inexpensively repaired and add to an overall feeling of a well-run business.
Third, declutter your entire office. It is time anyway. Put things you can’t part with boxes and get them out of the office. Otherwise, use your local goodwill and dumpster and let things go. Walk through the office as if you were going to buy this practice. You know that you would want to have clean, clutter-free spaces to visualize your future dental life in.
Even if you choose to postpone your sale, all the things I have just mentioned should be done if they are needed regardless, so it is a win-win! Your staff and patients will love everything mentioned and it is an inexpensive boost to the whole business.
Notice what I didn’t include? That’s right. I didn’t include any expensive dental equipment upgrades. Much to the dental supply company’s sadness, new dental chairs and a cone beam are not a good investment if you are planning to sell soon. Do not buy a new laser or a CAD CAM machine because big equipment purchases, with rare exceptions, do not pay for themselves when a sale is imminent.
Ok, you are all set. Now what? Well, give a practice broker a call in the meantime to start the valuation process. A side benefit is that we are happy to come out to your practice and let you know what we see as the best things you can do prior to listing. Be ready for the answer to be that nothing needs to be done. If you look around and think “it looks pretty good here”, chances are we will too.
My door is always open for consultations at any stage of your practicing life. I am always excited to help you navigate the pathway to your new life’s adventures.Read More
The best time to start preparing for your practice transition is three to five years from the date you plan on selling your practice. Since you may not really know that date, the best time to prepare is NOW! Here is a checklist of things you should do as you get closer to deciding to sell your practice:
___ Meet with your Financial Advisor – Discuss with your financial advisor that you are thinking of selling your practice. If the intention is to retire, let them know that is your plan. Ask them how much you may need to retire at the income level you desire.
___ Discuss Taxes with your Accountant – This is especially important in the current environment. There have been discussions at the government level to increase both capital gains and income tax rates significantly. Both affect the proceeds you will receive from the sale of your practice.
___ Obtain a Practice Valuation – It’s best to get a full valuation. You can provide this to your financial planner which will help determine when you will be able to retire if you get the desired amount from the sale of your practice. If you can’t yet retire now, most practice valuation companies or brokers will update the valuation for a minimal charge.
___ Keep your foot on the gas – Don’t slow down in your production. In fact, if possible, ramp up production to get the maximum value from your practice sale. Banks and buyers like practices that are trending up in production instead of going down.
___ Assess the condition of your practice – Do you have 20-year-old flooring that is faded, stained or torn. Replace it. Do you have mustard-colored countertops from 1970? Update the countertops. Paint will do wonders as well. Don’t spend a mint, but spend a reasonable amount – $10,000 to $20,000, to make the practice look and feel fresh and updated.
___ Clean up your Accounts Receivable – If you have credit balances on patient accounts, you’re required to send those back to the patient after a certain number of years. Each state has its own Unclaimed Property, or Escheatment law. You can find it on the internet. If you cannot find the patient, you are required to submit the balance to the state. Note that you can charge a nominal processing fee to the patient.
___ Self-assess your practice numbers – Is your staff payroll and benefits expense above 25% of your total collections? Is your production down, but you have the same staffing level? Is your dental supply fee over 7% of collections? Know what your ratios should be and manage to your numbers. Contact a consultant if you’re not sure what to do.
___ Know the market – Are practices in your area selling quick? Are interest rates super high? If it takes two or three years to sell a practice in your area, then you may want to list it soon rather than later.
___ Do a self-assessment – Think you’re five years away, but your back, neck or hands are telling you – SELL NOW! Burned out on managing staff and insurance companies? Just tired of living where you live and are ready for a change? All these may lead to selling sooner than your retirement date. Just because you sell your practice does not mean you have to retire. You can still practice either in yours or someone else’s practice. Or, maybe you’ve always wanted to do something different. Maybe it’s time to test the waters. You can always go back to being a dentist. I know several dentists who semi-retired and work as a dentist two days per week and drive Uber or LYFT two days per week for fun.
___ Contact a broker – Some of the best transitions we have done began several years before the sale occurred. We built relationships with the seller. In several cases, we found a buyer asking for a specific area. We made the call to one of the dentists we had a relationship with and they said “it’s time”. Brokers can also be advisors over the final two, three, or five years of your practice ownership. Should you buy the new CBCT? Should you hire an associate? We can help answer those questions.
Selling your practice is a major life event right up there with buying your first practice. Be sure and prepare, have a plan and get the right advisors. We’re always here for you and phone calls are always free. Give us a call – 877-866-6053.
Download your own checklist here: Seller Preparation ChecklistRead More