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Acquiring a practice

Purchasing an existing practice from a retiring dentist is often a good way to get into business but how can you find the right opportunity for you?

Here are some areas to consider.

Outline your lifestyle

Brainstorm some ideas about the type of life you hope to lead. Are you looking to maximize earnings? Work fewer days per week? Where would you like to live? Would you prefer a small practice in a quiet town with little competition and a lower ceiling, or a large practice in an urban center with high growth potential but that’s filled with competitors?

Just because a practice is profitable doesn’t necessarily make it the right fit for you. Do you love the idea of a solo practice or do you dream of a large office with a stable of associates? Finding the right practice is as much a lifestyle decision as it is a financial one.

Work out a transition plan before signing

Some dentists prefer a clean break when purchasing a practice while others ask the selling dentist to continue to work for a transitionary period to ease patients into the new ownership. Both strategies have merits but it’s important to clarify the specifics before signing the agreement to purchase.

Hire a third party to value the practice

Overvaluing a practice can set you back for years to come. It’s usually best to outsource this task to experts.

Does the equipment match your needs?

If you purchase a practice filled with old equipment, you may need large loans to outfit the operatory the way you need. Conversely, you don’t need to pay top dollar for an office filled with new technology that you are unlikely to use.

Talk about staff transition

Find out if staff plan to stay on after the ownership change before you pull the trigger. You don’t want to show up for work on the first day to find a good part of the team putting in their notice. Some turnover is expected during the transition but do your best to be proactive on this issue.

Are you ready?

Analyze both your ability to treat patients efficiently and your aptitude for business management. Both skills are important when it comes to running a practice.