1. PLAN in advance – it can be daunting when we speak to principals who have booked their round the world cruise before even getting their practice valued. Succession planning is vital and ideally you should be considering your options at least three years in advance.
2.Don’t lose motivation, it is vital to keep the turnover up as any buyer will be looking at your figures all the way through the sale process, and could demand a reduction in the sale price to reflect a drop in turnover.
3.Always get a valuation – even if you are approached privately – do not accept any offers until you know what your practice is really worth by having an independent valuation. Many principals are amazed how much their practice would attract on the open market.
4.Make time to sell – if you have agreed to sell to an associate, private individual or corporate don’t underestimate the time and skill it takes manage the deal through to completion. It will require your attention for several months. Find out the value a reputable agent acting on your behalf can add to the deal.
5.Understand the current market dynamics in your area – Frank Taylor & Associates currently has over 4,300 dentists looking to buy practices in England or Wales, and with 14 banks lending to dentists we know they are not just looking, but have a genuine interest and sufficient access to funds.
6.Are the premises freehold or leasehold? If leasehold, make sure there are at least 10 years left to run. If not, then establish if a shorter lease will impact on the goodwill value. If you want to sell the freehold, arrange for a commercial valuation.
7.Due diligence – this is the assembling of all the essential paperwork required to sell your practice. This routinely takes 3-8 weeks to complete. The sooner you can start the better – savvy sellers start before they find a buyer.
8.Engage a specialist dental lawyer – it will make a huge difference to your transaction.
9.Really consider your future options – just some of the things to think about include; do you want to stay on at the practice? How many days will you want to work? What associate fee would you work for?
10. Choose the right agent – some agents work for both the buyer and seller which clearly creates a conflict of interest. Also, check they have access to a good supply of dentists who want to buy. Use the open market; ensure the agent you have chosen will take the practice to the full open market.