There’s a point where everyone reassesses how they want the remainder of their lives to look. An important question for many dentists is whether continuing to run their dental practice is still right for them. Does it still bring you the joy and the satisfaction you thought it would? Does operating a business leave you feeling energized and confident?
If you answered no to any of those questions, then you might think about selling your dental practice. Recently there’s been a decline in the number of independently owned dental practices since 2005, when 84 percent of dentists were their own bosses, to 80 percent in 2015. According to the American Dental Association, this follows a similar trend among physicians.
If you think “sell dental practice” is on your future to-do list? Here are some telltale signs that it’s the right move.
1. No Long Enjoy Running Your Own Practice?
When you were in school, you focused on learning how to practice dentistry. Many of the skills required to exceed at providing excellent patient care — dexterity, critical thinking, professionalism, negotiation — translate into good business skills, which may be why so many dentists have thriving practices. However there might be something lacking: the passion for running a business.
If you’re not interested in the business side of owning a practice like: marketing, brand establishment, hiring staff, or managing a budget, and all you really care about is providing great patient care, it could be time to consider selling your dental practice so that you can focus on the things you do enjoy.
Rather than owning your own practice it might be a good idea to be apart of a corporate practice. This may allow you to focus on the art of dentistry itself without having to worry about making a business work.
2. You Don’t Enjoy Your Time at Work
It’s natural to want to get away from everything sometimes. But if you have persistent thoughts about leaving work — especially if you’re feeling the urge to retire a few decades earlier than intended then it just might be time to call your accountant and run the numbers.
You’ll need to find out what would it look like for you to sell? Is it a good time to sell the practice? Could you pivot to a new employer or even a new line of work?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” it might be time to get in touch with a dental practice broker or speak with your associates about finding a successor.
3. You’re Considering Retirement
If you are considering retirement soon, you may want to consider putting the end game in motion now. Lenders consider dental practices a safe investment that may be able to better withstand a downturn, so the economic climate may be less impactful than with other types of businesses. I mean everyone needs to go to the dentist.
You will also want to consider how to make the transition easier for staff who have worked with you for years. This will be a very anxious time for your staff as they will worry about keeping their jobs under the new owner, so it’s important to let them know what to expect. If you’re able to make your staff an active part of the transition, then you should consider doing so.
In many cases, business owners end up allowing seller financing, which means that you lend the buyer part of the purchase price, and they agree to make monthly payments for a set period of time. It also means that, as the former owner, you are still invested in the business. If it continues to flourish, your loan payments are more likely to be made on time, providing you with steady cash flow. Having a smooth transition is likely in everyone’s interests.
4. You Want to Spend Time with Family
Running a business requires many hours of work both in and outside the office. Over time, you may feel that your personal life has taken a back seat to the demands of developing your dental practice. That could be putting a strain on your relationship with your family and personal life. For the sake of life/work balance, you might consider selling the practice and join the number of dentists who are becoming part of corporate dentistry, which will free up time for you to nurture the relationships in your personal life.