Sell a Practice Now?
What a crazy time we are in. At least to me, this is a sober reminder that major disrupters are almost impossible to predict. I am reassured that our nation seems to be taking the situation seriously and I do firmly believe we can weather this storm. Most of you reading this are making difficult decisions about staffing, how to deal with emergencies, and how you are going to pay the rent for the next few months. I don’t envy any of you right now. There is a strong support system in this industry ready to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out. I think you will find all of us willing to go the extra mile right now to help you keep the ship afloat.
Many of you reading this are very close to transitioning your practice, some of you being on the fence. It is human nature to want to put off transitioning until after this crisis is over. You may even be getting that advice from your CPA or financial advisor. I am going to give you four reasons why you should do exactly the opposite.
One, value. We have been in a booming economy. Many of your numbers have been at all-time highs over the last couple of years. Now COVID-19 hits. How long will we be shut down? How will the economy look on the other side? Will patients pull way back on elective treatments for a couple of years like they have done in other recessions? In the present, buyers and bankers will mostly be willing to look past these next couple of months as an anomaly. Practice values will hold. For a while. That said, as someone who does Valuations and sells practices, I can assure you that in two years no one will care what your 2018 and 2019 numbers look like. In two years, what happens in 2020 and 2021 will be the new reality.
Two, market. There is a backlog of practices that are nearing the market. The people who work in the transition market have been wondering when that bubble will burst for a few years now. I for one believe this crisis will do the job. That said, many dentists pathologically suffer from procrastination by analysis. Most are going to ignore me and wait for two, three, even five years, watch the market flood, the economy falls off its current pace, and wonder why their practices are down in value and are hard to sell. The early bird gets the worm.
Three, more rules and regulations. Once this crisis is over, they are coming. They won’t be cheap, fun, or easy. You know it and I know it.
Four, time. Many of your potential buyers had their hours cut, some by 100%. They have unprecedented time right now to look at practices. Odds are you also have more free time than normal. Realistically, practice sales won’t close until this crisis is over. That said, there are months of work between deciding to put a practice on the market and a practice changing hands. When life gives you lemons…