As you prepare to sell your dental practice, it’s important to have a qualified, dedicated transition team at your side. Simply choosing general advisors regardless of their specialty may seem harmless. For some dentists, choosing a general transition team has worked out fine. For most, though, a transition team comprised of dental experts yields the best results.
The dental broker you choose to help sell your practice is perhaps the most important role to fill. This individual should be a competent business advisor educated and experienced in the financial and legal aspects of dental practice sales and purchases. This person’s role is to market your practice to potential buyers, advise you on achieving the best value, and support and direct the entire process. The broker will help you evaluate potential buyers and will usually direct the entire transition team.
Because your broker is the one responsible for sourcing and vetting potential buyers, he or she should have extensive experience in dental transitions – not just healthcare. A dental transitions expert will know the industry better, help the dentist navigate and understand operational and contractual matters, and generally help prevent transition pitfalls.
The dental CPA should be someone familiar with the dental industry and knowledgeable about practice sales. This person will help you prepare for the sale or transition of your practice through tax planning, purchase price allocations, and projections. The CPA will remain on board after the transaction to ensure a smooth transition and assist in retirement and estate planning, if needed.
Trusting the sale of your practice to a general CPA could result in an improper valuation, partially completed due diligence, and poor advice throughout the sale process. Any of these scenarios could cost you thousands of dollars, if not the entire transaction itself.
The dental attorney is a professional who will guide you on legal documentation, such as letter of intent, agreements and contracts, and letters to patients, staff, and vendors as well as protect your interests in goodwill and other business assets. The attorney will work closely with the broker and CPA on maintaining practice documentation and items needed for the transition. This person will look out for your best interests and be your advocate in the sale process.
A dental attorney is an important distinction. We had a client once who relied on the counsel of a general attorney for the sale of his dental practice. When the process really got going, the attorney missed key details and risked undermining the entire transaction. The dentist lost valuable time, paid attorney fees for work that wasn’t done properly, and other transition team members had to pick up the slack to get the deal done correctly.
Especially if you’re counting on the sale of your dental practice to finance your retirement, it’s a good idea to include your financial planner in the overall decision-making. Your financial planner can also ensure the sale is structured in a way to maximize your long-term value. Look for someone who is fee-only, which means they don’t receive a commission on the proceeds of your practice’s sale.
Working with a financial planner who’s familiar with dental transitions will help dentists avoid retirement pitfalls. A skilled dental financial planner will know how to structure the sale to best fit your long-term goals.
If you’re buying a dental practice, you’ll also want to have a lender on speed dial and a pre-approved loan.
The first consideration in assembling a strong transition team is to find individuals who specialize in dental sales and transitions. Ask for referrals from other dentists, and conduct research online to find potential transition team members. Find people you would enjoy working with whose personalities match your own. Reach out to these people early in the process, even if you’re not ready to list your practice for sale yet. Interview these professionals before engaging them. This is your dental practice, and you need to fully trust the professionals guiding you.
NL Transitions is a highly experienced dental brokerage firm that has helped dozens of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C.-based dentists transition out of their practices. We work closely with our team at Dental CPAs to help dental clients achieve their retirement goals. Contact us for more information on
listing your practice or if you have questions about the transition process.