Whatever your reason for selling your dental practice, be confident you are getting the best advice.
Here’s answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about selling a dental practice.
How do you sell a dental practice?
If you’re looking to sell your practice, then the best place to start is to get an independent, expert valuation so you know what your practice is worth in today’s market. At FTA, we’ve been selling dental practices for over 30 years and understand the complexities of the dental sector. For more advice or to speak to a member of our specialist sales team about a dental practice valuation or selling your dental practice, call 0330 088 1156.
What is the best way to sell a dental practice?
Selling your dental practice is a big decision and not one that you will be taking lightly. Maximising the value of your dental practice will be a key consideration and to achieve this you need a dental practice sales agent that has the skills and resources to achieve this for you. With years of experience working in the dental sales market, we have completed on more dental practice sales than any other business in the UK.
How do I find a buyer for my dental practice?
A good dental broker will have pre-qualified dentists registered with them and keen to buy a dental practice. The demand for dental practices is high and depending on where you are in the country and dental broker should have between 700 and 2,000 dentists registered for particular locations. At FTA, we have over 5,000 buyers currently registered on our database and rising, looking for practices all over the country. This means that we can reach as many potential buyers as possible and find the right one for you.
How do I find a sales broker to sell my dental practice?
Your dental practice is a valuable asset so it’s important to find a dental broker who will have your best interests at heart. Once you’ve decided which dental broker to use to sell your dental practice you will develop a relationship and share lots of information, so you need to be comfortable with who you choose. You should also ensure you choose a dental broker who is committed to the Practice Sales Promise – a voluntary code of conduct open to all dental brokers that sell dental practices. It has 15 points that ensure they operate to a high level of service and integrity. There are a number of criteria you should look for in a broker before instructing them to sell your dental practice – you can read more about these here on our website.
Should I use a dental broker or manage the sale of my dental practice myself?
Selling a dental practice is so much more than just finding a buyer. Firstly, you need to ensure the buyer is credible; you will need to vet them before disclosing any personal information. You also need to get an independent assessment of the value of your property, as markets change.
Of course, once you’ve found a credible buyer, who is willing to pay the market rate (or at least a price acceptable to you) you then need to control, manage and be responsible for the process, including the conveyancing. Most practitioners are currently pretty stretched, managing their business not least with the imposition of new protocols. Trying to fit in the additional demands of selling your practice on top of your day job would be challenging to say the least. Engaging an external party will mean that you can carry on doing what you do best, whilst others employ their expertise to expedite what can be a long, arduous process. Having sold thousands of practices, we pre-empt the pitfalls and know how to move the sale on. It’s not like selling a house, and we would urge any practitioner to think very carefully before going solo on such an important project. It isn’t advisable to ‘learn on the job’ when your business is at stake. Most dentists only sell their practice once; it makes sense to leave it to those experienced in the process.
If you’re still keen to learn more about managing your practice sale yourself, have a read of our article on our website which we hope will give you some useful pointers. However, if you’d value the support of an experienced sales agent that operates with integrity and is committed to the Practice Sales Promise, then the team at Frank Taylor & Associates would be delighted to assist.
When is the best time to sell my dental practice?
In an ideal world you will look to plan the sale of your dental practice two years ahead. However, for many this isn’t possible due to a variety of reasons. The more time you have to prepare the more opportunity to improve the performance or make slight adjustments to increase the desirability of your dental practice to buyers. You will also need to set aside time to organise the sale. Whilst your sales agent will take on the majority of the work there is still work to be done in assembling information so that the process can get under way.
How much does a dental practice sell for?
There is no standard for what a dental practice sells for. There are over thirty factors that need to be considered when assessing the goodwill value of a dental practice. The key determining factor on how much a dental practice will sell for is the location. A dental practice located in a large city or town will be among the most desirable, with a larger pool of interested buyers, and a such will command a higher value. The simple economic rule of supply and demand applies here.
What is a dental practice valuation?
A Frank Taylor & Associates valuation is considered the benchmark within the dental profession. Our robust and in-depth dental valuation service will provide you with an accurate market value for the goodwill, equipment, fixtures and fittings of your practice.
How do I book a dental practice valuation?
For more advice or to speak to a member of our specialist sales team about a dental practice valuation or selling your dental practice, call 0330 088 1156.
How do you determine the value of a dental practice?
There is a lot to consider when valuing and selling a dental practice and experience has taught us that no two dental practices are the same. From the very start, we will work closely with you to prepare accurate and comprehensive information that clearly reflects the unique elements of your dental practice to potential purchasers. We will also spend time understanding what you are looking to achieve by selling your dental practice.
What should I do to prepare my dental practice for sale?
You might be surprised by the amount of thinking time and procrastinating that takes place compared to the lack of preparation undertaken prior to selling a dental practice. Being poorly prepared doesn’t mean you get to side-step the necessary work it just shifts when it gets done – preparation for selling a dental practice invariably ends up getting done at the same time as a mountain of other things. You can read our full ‘preparing to sell checklist’ on our website.
Can I sell my practice to a corporate?
The growth of dental corporates in recent years has meant a dramatic increase in the number of direct approaches from them to buy practices. There are attractions to selling to a group however they are the same as any other buyer and the most obvious being the capital sum, particularly as corporates can make competitive offers to acquire the right practices. To ensure you are comfortable in selling your practice to a corporate, have a read of our article that explains more about some of the considerations you should bear in mind before making any decisions – read now.
How do I find a lawyer to manage my dental practice sale?
When the time comes for you to consider selling your practice, we strongly recommend you use a lawyer who is experienced in the dental sector as without this specialist knowledge the sales process can often end up costing more in both time and money. At this time, we can point you in the right direction on this as we only deal with solicitors who specialise in dentistry. The lawyer you engage to handle your practice sale plays a vital role in ensuring your sale reaches a successful completion.
Why should I pay a sales fee to a broker to sell my practice?
You may think that finding a dental broker to sell your dental practice for free is a good idea and there are agents that do offer this service. Be wary of this approach as in this scenario the buyer will pay the agent so there is a clear conflict of interest. Inevitably there will be commercial negotiations through the transaction, and it is important that the dental broker has a sole duty of care to you, as their client, and not a conflict of interest that this arrangement would inevitably create. If the buyer can afford to pay the dental broker this should be added to their offer price and you pay your own dental broker directly. Additionally, where the buyer is paying the dental broker directly you may not know their agreement and could be paying significantly more than you would be paying – this is money that they could be paying to you as part of their offer.
In choosing Frank Taylor & Associates to sell your dental practice, you can be confident that we will work for you; we are very clear in our duty. We will only realise a commission fee once a sale is completed and, unlike our competitors, we DO NOT accept a commission fee from a purchaser – to us that is a clear conflict of interest and often not in the best interest of you, the seller.
Why should I sell my practice on the open market?
The best price for any practice sale is achieved by engaging a large pool of qualified buyers and not by approaching a few. Be wary of dental brokers who only approach a few buyers because they either don’t have a decent pool of buyers or they are being paid by the buyer to source practices. in either case this may not achieve the best sale price for you. All practices sold with FTA are launched to the open market (unless we are requested not to) and not just to a select few, as we believe this builds competitive pressure and achieves true market value prices.
Do I need to tell my staff that I’m selling my dental practice?
Selling your dental practice will take many months and it can take some time to find the right buyer. Letting your team know you are looking to sell your dental practice has many risks attached to it. Some team members may feel vulnerable and this impact their work or worse still leave. There is also the danger that patients find out and see this as a time to look for another dental practice as people often see a change as an opportunity to re-assess their own situation. You don’t have an obligation to tell your team your plans and based on our experience this is best left until much later on when the sale process is close to completion.
When should I tell my staff that I’m selling my dental practice?
Ideally you shouldn’t tell your team until you have exchanged contracts. This is for their benefit as well as preserving the confidentiality from your side. If you tell your team too early it could unsettle them as you may not know who your buyer is yet or be able to confirm a timeline or other details. By leaving it later in the process it means everyone can focus on continuing to deliver excellent patient care.
I fear a patient will make a complaint. What should I do?
The fear of a patient complaint for many principals is real. There are many horror stories of spurious complaints designed to illicit a discount or refund. Thankfully they are very rare but do happen and cannot take away from the ongoing concern among dental practice that it ‘could be them’.
In life we often carry around worries of things that, on balance, are less likely to happen but that doesn’t mean that we can banish those thoughts completely.
Whilst it is unlikely that selling your dental practice will be driven by the risk of a patient complaint it is commonly cited as being one of the reasons.
What if the NHS contract changes and affects my dental practice?
No business is without risk, but dentistry is notoriously a low-risk profession. This is partly why the banking sector is so supportive of dentists.
That said there is always a concern that a change to the NHS funding structure could negatively impact the viability of a dental practice. if a change were to take place this would be introduced over a period of time and whilst the funding system has changed the patients still require dental care and will be looking to practices for alternative solutions.
If the NHS funding structure was no longer deemed viable there will be the opportunity to provide a fee scale which is comparable with the NHS funding structure that is currently in place. This would then become a communication exercise to educate patients about the care they will be receiving and how this would benefit them.
I am not sure there would be a demand for my dental practice?
At present there is a disconnect between the number of buyers looking for a dental practice compared to those available for sale. For example, Frank Taylor & Associates currently have 2,104 dentists registered looking for a mixed income, leasehold practice in Hertfordshire; this is from a total buyers universe of 5,426.
Of course, there will be differences across the country with demand higher in some areas than others. With an appropriate valuation there should be demand for all dental practices across the UK.
Am I getting the best deal possible if a buyer approaches me directly?
Whilst a direct offer to buy your dental practice is without doubt flattering, and, of course, with no agent involved you will sell your practice for free and save on the commission. But at what cost?
Your dental practice represents a significant part of your life’s work. You deserve to get the best value possible and in our considerable experience this is achieved by having more than one person interested. There is an increased number of buyers’ keen to acquire practices at present – in fact, demand has never been higher!
If you’ve had a direct approach or you’re looking to sell your dental practice, always get an independent valuation. This way you’ll know the real worth of your practice goodwill and what value you’re likely to achieve if you sell your practice on the open market – the unrivalled way to achieve the best price for a practice sale.
If you’d value our support, please give us a call on 0330 088 1156.
Will I receive 100% of the offer value upon completion of my sale?
Absolutely. For the majority of dental practice sales handled by the Frank Taylor & Associates team, 100% of the offer value is paid to the seller as soon as a sale completes.
In some circumstances, such as if you decide to sell your practice to a corporate buyer, then there may be a deferred element of the purchase price. However, before agreeing to this option you need to ensure you are comfortable with the terms and conditions of the sale.
If you’d like to speak to a member of our team about this in more detail, please get in touch on 0330 088 1156.
Should I deal directly with a buyer?
More than ever before, it is vital that you seek trusted and professional advice when selling your dental practice. If you deal directly with a buyer, you are highly likely to receive unfavourable and unrealistic conditions, as well as a mediocre offer. With the right, expert advice you can be confident that you will get the best deal. Plus, a good sales agent will also be the intermediary to manage any delicate issues, and will have those tricky conversations if needed, allowing you to maintain good relations in your practice.
If you’d value our support handling your dental practice sale, please give us a call on 0330 088 1156.
How can I increase the goodwill value of my practice?
So often sellers ask how they can increase the goodwill value of their dental practice. For those with one eye on selling their dental practice in the next couple of years the underlying profitability matters. This is what your buyer will be taking over and feeds heavily into the goodwill valuation of your dental practice. Whilst you cannot control the market, you can control your own practice and ensure your practice is in the best financial shape possible.
Whether you are looking to restore, maintain or grow your gross fees, doing so in a profitable way is the priority. This will ensure you will get the very best goodwill value for your practice.
There are a few areas you could focus on in your practice that would positively impact the goodwill value of your dental practice. These include for example: reviewing your work/surgery opening hours, engaging your team, scheduling patient appointments to maximise surgery time, minimising downtime in the practice, reviewing your treatment pricing or boosting your marketing activity.
My premises are leasehold – is this a problem if I want to sell my practice?
If your practice is leasehold, make sure there are at least 10 years left to run on your lease. If not, then renegotiate your lease with your landlord and aim for at least 15 years – the sooner you can do this the better as landlords can be very slow to act. For more advice on this matter, please get in touch with us on 0330 088 1156.
I’ve received a private offer for my practice – should I accept it?
Our advice is always get a valuation – even if you are approached privately. Do not accept any offer until you know what your practice is worth in today’s market by having an independent valuation from a reputable sales agent. Many principals are amazed by how much their practice would attract on the open market. With years of experience working in the dental sales market, we’d be more than happy to talk to you further and provide you with an accurate valuation of your practice to ensure you get the best deal. Simply call us on 0330 088 1156.
Can I sell my practice to an associate?
Of course, selling to a loyal associate is very often a route many principals consider. Our advice remains the same though – always get an independent valuation before accepting an offer and don’t underestimate the time and skill it takes to manage the sale yourself, even if it is to an associate, you’ve known and worked with for years. A good sales agent will handle the sale on your behalf, will ensure you get the best deal and will deal with any delicate issues should they arise along the way – leaving you free to focus on running your practice and maintain good relations in your practice at all times.
If you’ve received a direct offer and you’d like to get a valuation, please get in touch with us on 0330 088 1156.
What is EBITDA?
EBITDA stands for ‘earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation’. This a measure of the practices overall financial performance and is used as part of the basic foundation for how a dental practice valuation is calculated.
Will my practice valuation be kept confidential?
Your confidentiality is of utmost importance to us. This means that should you decide to market your dental practice for sale with us, we will present it in a confidential manner so that your team and patients are not aware your practice is for sale. Selling a dental practice can take some time and part of our role is to preserve confidentiality until the deal is well progressed and then help manage the introduction of the buyer to your team. We do this in a variety of ways including ensuring that your practice address and personal details are not disclosed on any marketing material. In choosing to work with us to sell your dental practice, you can be confident that we will work for you.