If You’re Looking to Buy, Dental Practice Criteria Comes First

There are some critically important steps you need to take before you buy a dental practice.

California is a great place to live and own a business, but there are a lot of decisions to make before you actually begin your search.

This page will help you sort through some of those decisions and organize your search criteria.

Consider Practice Location

Begin by considering the type of area where you would like to live. This matters so you can plan a reasonable drive from your home to your office. The more areas you find that are compatible with your lifestyle, the greater the range of opportunities you’ll have to investigate.

Consider the nature of a suitable community that meets your preferences. For example, do you prefer a metropolitan, suburban, semi-urban or rural setting? If urban, would you be more comfortable in a mature/no-growth community, a slow-growth community or one located in the path of projected growth?

Consider Your Needs and Preferences

How should factors such as the following affect your search criteria?

  • Raising children, if applicable
  • Schools and churches
  • Lifestyle/cultural needs
  • Proximity to transportation arteries and hubs
  • Commute time and traffic patterns
  • Proximity to specialists (or GP’s if you are a specialist)
  • Affordability index of a community as it pertains to your current designs/needs
  • Community infrastructure
  • The patient demographic you wish to treat

Determine the Profile of a Practice that Best Matches Your Goals

All practices are not alike. So, here’s a key consideration before you buy: dental practice profile. What do we mean by this?

Profile refers to a variety of characteristics that make a business unique: its age, earnings, nature of the patients, staff, infrastructure, physical space, etc. There is no “best” or “worst” when it comes to practice profile. It’s simply a matter of difference and which best fits you.

For example, long-established practices typically have older delivery systems and less efficient office designs. Yet they are often rich in patients, reputation and staffing. A key benefit is that they can enable you to acquire that desired patient base and experienced staff while still letting you focus on building the physical plant you envision.

Younger practices typically have newer delivery systems, technology, more attractive decors and better designed suites. However, the patients may be economically restricted and the staffing more transient in nature. A newer business provides the facility and delivery systems you want while giving you the opportunity to better shape the practice’s future.

And then there are those well-established practices that have redesigned suites and upgraded delivery and management systems. And the well-established practice with everything in place allows you the ability to practice at your optimum level immediately.

Think about Your Goals, Practice Profile and Desired Investment

Determine your goals. Do you want a practice that is extremely productive, generates healthy profits and is strongly entrenched in its community? Are you willing to pay the price that such a practice commands?

Or, do you have the luxury of buying a practice with excellent upside potential that you can develop over time? Is your goal to minimize your investment?

What is your threshold for monthly production goals along with your tolerance for debt and risk? Think this out carefully. It is very important that you never purchase more practice than you can chew, swallow and digest.

As you investigate a specific practice, develop a model of exactly what is required on your part to make this acquisition work.

Besides selling and delivering dentistry, be mindful of the time required to manage the practice.

Don’t acquire a business you are not properly prepared to manage and operate at this point in your career. Remember, it took your seller many years to ramp the practice to its current performance level.

You need to ask yourself if you can jump on the established treadmill without tripping and falling. This is a very important question you need to answer. There are no refunds for the acquired practice that is now performing at 70% of its pre-purchase levels.

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Client Comments

Works Hard for Both Parties

“As an attorney working with dentists for over 20 years concerning practice transitions and other aspects of dental practice operations, it has been my pleasure to work with many outstanding brokers, agents, accountants and consultants. I count Ray Irving high among such outstanding individuals.

I have always found Ray to be technically proficient, knowledgeable and hard-working, not only for his client’s interests but for the best interests of both parties in order to craft a fair deal that will last long after the close avoiding possible disputes later. Any dentist looking to sell their practice would do well with Ray on their side.”

Daryl Weinroth, Esq., Law Offices of Daryl J. Weinroth, Novato

 Impressed with the Detail

“Hi Ray. I have never seen a more detailed Prospectus than yours, and I work with a number of brokers. I am impressed with the detail.”

—Kathleen Johnson, Kathleen Johnson Consulting, Inc., Port Orange, FL

He Was Always There for Contact

“With all the trials and tribulations of 25 years of dentistry and the myriad of difficulties with various dentally associated people, I would like most highly recommend Mr. Ray Irving of Professional Practice Sales. I had more than two dozen viable candidates (in days) as possible buyers for my practice.

Ray very astutely pointed me to the best candidates and was always there for immediate contact, even on his business trip to Chicago. Ray goes out of his way to travel any distance and almost any day. How does New Year’s Day sound?”

—Todd Lee, D.D.S., Dublin

Things Could Not Have Been Smoother

“I was referred to Ray through my accountant. From the beginning of the relationship with Ray, things could not have been smoother. At our first meeting we came up with a sales price that was agreeable to both of us. He then placed ads in a timely manner and before I knew it we had a prospective buyer. He was a great help in getting the sale to go smoothly. I would highly recommend Professional Practice Sales if you are considering buying or selling a dental practice.”

—Bergen James, D.D.S., San Francisco