Dental Practice Sales in a Pandemic
Not surprisingly during the ‘lockdown’ period, the dental practice sales market slowed down, however, over the last few months there has been an encouraging surge in activity. Having some time to think and evaluate will arguably have led to some principals wanting to take stock of their business, however, Frank Taylor & Associates (FTA) has seen the biggest interest come not from principals, but from associates registering to buy a practice. “The main reason for this increase in activity”, reports Lis Hughes from FTA, “is the lack of control many associates, particularly in private practices, are feeling about their careers. This was illustrated really by two factors; firstly, the lack of government support for anyone earning over £50k pa, and secondly that when practices returned to work, many associates saw their pay rates, and therefore annual income, reduced. The obvious way for them to address this, and therefore take control of their own destiny, would be to own a practice”.
Not only are the number of potential buyers increasing, but the geographical spread of practices for sale is changing. Not surprisingly the popular areas remain just that, however, practices are now being sold in areas where historically there has been less interest. This may reflect the change in the working patterns of the population at large; as more people work from home, more rural settings are becoming more appealing.
This surge in demand would indicate that dentistry as a sector will adapt and change to the new environment. FTA is the leading supplier of business services to the UK dental profession. They never take a payment from the buyer so there’s never a conflict of interest unlike other agents. Lis Hughes has this advice to prospective sellers: “Be cautious of agents offering to sell your property for free. We recently had one practice who’d been offered such a deal, however, his property had been undervalued. Even after our commission the owner was over £300k better off. It’s a cliché, but if something sounds too good to be true, then it most probably is!”