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Pearls of Wisdom…..after 30 Years

Posted on May 23, 2018 in Articles & Frank Taylor & Associates

Frank Taylor & Associates (FTA) recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and used the opportunity as a time to reflect on how the market has evolved.  Lis Hughes, Managing Director for FTA takes up the story.

“Back in the mid-80’s Claudius Ash, a dental supply company, introduced a service known as ‘Confidential Services’ which provided a valuation of a dental practice, enabling the principal to sell the practice (normally to facilitate retirement) onto an associate.  This was back in the 80’s, where such deals were completed within days and usually culminated in a long lunch with the bank manager on a Friday!”

“Two of Claudius Ash’s employees, Frank Taylor and Sandra Rhodes, saw an opportunity for a new business, devoted exclusively to supplying this type of service to dental practices, so they left Claudius Ash to set up their own business, which they named Frank Taylor & Associates.”

“The two founders were shrewd, for up until this time there was no open market for the sale of dental practices.  They realised that dental practices could, and should, be run as a business, a concept that was totally alien at the time.  It is not unusual to speak to principals today who credit Frank with developing their original business plan and the model from which their practice worked for the next 30 years.  Frank was renowned for being quite outspoken, but not all his prophecies were that insightful.  The “fad” of emails would never survive he predicted; in the past 12 months FTA has sent 2,640,000 mails!”

“The first practice ever valued for sale was in Hove, East Sussex, for a record breaking £21,000 (£16,000 for Goodwill and £5,200 for Equipment, Fixtures and Fittings).  In today’s market, a similar practice would be £625,000, an increase of 3,061%.”

“Over the years we have grown own client base of sellers and buyers, and today we have 4,921 dentists who have registered an interest in buying a dental practice.  To put it in context, if you were looking to buy a dental practice in Hertfordshire today, you would be in competition with 2,066 dentists for a mixed NHS/Private practice and 1,477 for a fully private practice.”

“In 2,000 Chris Strevens and Andy Acton, two city bankers, bought Frank Taylor & Associates, originally as an investment, however, they swiftly moved into active business ownership and transformed the business model, quickly establishing it as the UK’s leading valuer and sales agent to the dental profession.  A position we proudly still hold today.”

“The dental market survived the financial crash of 2008 better than most other sectors and it was at this point that we started to see a change in attitude between private and NHS practices.  Banks were happy to continue providing funding for the purchase of dental practices, but wanted security that bank loans could be repaid.  What better security than the comfort of an NHS contract with guaranteed regular income.  Unsurprisingly, the value of NHS goodwill increased significantly compared to private practices, and continues to do so to this day.”

“FTA continued to grow and in 2010 FTA Finance was born, headed up by David Brewer.  This was driven by the demand of our purchasers, who not only needed advice on finance to buy their practices, but also guidance on managing their cash flow and producing business plans.  The business grew further over the next couple of years, with FTA mortgages, FTA Law, FTA Wealth and most recently, FTA Media being added to the portfolio.”

“Although we’ve always been a national business, in 2013 we opened an office in Manchester so we could have a physical presence in the north of England.  By 2017 we delivered our 10,000th valuation and continue to feel privileged that we’re trusted by so many dental practices across the UK.  We see some truly amazing practices, each has their own story, and we are always thrilled to get the opportunity to be the story teller.”

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