The Cost of a “Perfect” Practice in the COVID Era
Should you buy now in this COVID environment? Everything seems kind of scary. It might be better to stay with that nice, safe, secure job and wait for the perfect opportunity to come along? That said, there are a lot of practices coming on the market. Maybe now is the perfect time to buy? Let us look at two hypothetical practices and see where you would be in ten years with each.
PRACTICE A: The practice is located a little further out than you would like. The equipment, while exceptionally well maintained, is twenty years old. The doctor, who is booked out for weeks, does zero marketing and restricts new patients to about ten a month. Additionally, the doctor wants to be able to fully retire as soon as possible.
- Overhead: 50%
- Gross: $700,000/year
- Net: $350,000/year
- Acquisition price today, due to COVID environment: $350,000
- Current interest rate: 4%
- Loan of $385,000 (acquisition price plus one month of working capital) over ten years: $3,898 monthly payment/$46,775 annually/$467,753 over life of loan
HOW IT PLAYS OUT: Despite the doctor leaving fairly quickly, patient retention is strong. By employing a modest marketing program and updating treatment planning you grow the practice by fifteen percent each of the first two years, leveling out to 5% growth for the next eight years.
Total income over ten years: $4,705,000
In ten years, banks are willing to lend up to 110% of annual gross, having adjusted their arbitrary ceiling a few years earlier. Your practice, still operating at 50% overhead, can be sold for 110% of annual gross. Plus, as a bonus, you just paid your practice off.
Net asset value of practice year ten: $1,433,000
Sum of income and asset value: $6,138,000
PRACTICE B: The practice is in a great spot. There is even a coffee shop next door! The doctor is current and has a robust marketing program bringing in fifty new patients a month. It took you three years to find this “perfect” practice, but your patience paid off.
- Overhead 60%
- Gross $900,000/year
- Net $360,000/year
- Acquisition price in three years, market having recovered $600,000
- Interest rate in three years 6%
- Loan of $660,000 over ten years: $7,327 monthly payment/$87,924 annually/$879,282 over life of loan
HOW IT PLAYS OUT: The transition goes very well. Being the well-oiled machine that it is, annual growth of five percent continues for the next seven years. Though it took you three years to acquire, you did make $200,000 a year while working at your corporate job prior to purchasing.
Total income over ten years: $2,651,841
While your practice is profitable, it is not at the top end of profitability, the bank is willing to lend 95% of gross. Additionally, you still have three years left on your loan with outstanding principle of $240,858.
Net asset value of practice, ten years from now: $904,924
Sum of income and asset value: $3,556,765
The cost of a “perfect” practice (at least in this scenario) versus jumping on the great opportunity? About 2.5 million.