How to Sell a Dental Practice: California-Based PPS Offers Advice

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Before Starting: Be Sure You’re Ready to Sell

Before we address how to sell a dental practice, let’s start with the obvious. Are you really ready to sell? Dental practice growth takes time, and you have put years of care and devotion into building your business.

Deciding to sell a dental practice is never easy. However, if you are sure of your decision to sell, then this page is for you. What follows are the proven steps we have taken—with many thousands of dentists—over the past 50+ years.

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Step # 1: Know Your Desired Outcome

Before considering the HOWs, you must know the WHY.

This is a personal question—and one only you can decide. Are you ready to retire? Or do you really just want to work fewer hours?

  • What is most important to you in assuring your successor will provide the same level of care your patients expect?
  • What VALUES and SKILLS must your successor have in order to assure your staff is treated properly and fairly?
  • What PERSONAL QUALITIES must your successor have?

dental-practice-transitions-successful Step # 2: Mentally, Try to See Your Practice as a Buyer Would

This is a backward step: you mentally step back from your normal day-to-day involvement with your practice. It’s not unlike what you would do with your house, if you decide to sell it.

Understanding and relating to your buyer’s wants will make the sale relatively quick and painless (like your dentistry)!

The market value of your practice is a complex of mix of both tangible (measurable) factors and intangible ones—many of which dentists find surprising. Here are some things to consider:

  1. What is the “feel” of your location (neighborhood) and your building? Are they well-maintained?
  2. How do your patients feel when they call your office: are they greeted warmly?
  3. Likewise, when you walk into your reception area, do you feel welcome?
  4. Are your patients—and other dental professionals—regularly referring new patients to you?
  5. What is the overall “mood” of your staff? Are they enthusiastic, warm and cheerful?

Step # 3: Assemble Your Transition Team

Dental practice management consultants agree that, whether you are buyer or seller, “a dentist looking to transition in or out of any dental practice needs to formulate a plan with a team of experienced advisors… [including] a financier, consultant, appraiser, attorney and a CPA with experience handling dental practice transitions.” (from www.dentistryiq.com)

A clear benefit of engaging PPS is that we bring with us connections with professionals like these with whom we have built mutual trust over many years. We will tailor our team to work with you and the professionals you have established relationships with.

Step # 4: Dental Practice Valuation—What is Your Practice Worth?

Perhaps the most critical step in how to sell a dental practice is valuation. Accordingly, we commit significant time and effort into assessing both the tangible AND the critical intangible (“goodwill”) assets of your practice. In order for our client to realize the full value for his or her practice, a thorough understanding is required.

We look at a large number of components of the practice, from the financials to patient mix, service mix, payer mix, staffing, office design, the community… the list is exhaustive. Our approach to appraising a dental practice is probably unique in the industry because of its breadth and scope. Read more about our approach to California Dental Practice Valuation >>.

At PPS, most of our sales conclude within 90-to-120 days of our entering into a listing. This is clearly related to the time and effort we take to assemble the needed information for the project at the front end. Without such information, practices often languish in the marketplace.

Step # 5: Create a Unique, Individualized Marketing Plan

dental-practice-sale-attract-multiple-buyersOne of PPS’ demonstrated strengths over the years is crafting a highly effective and appealing marketing plan tailored to each practice. We focus on the most appealing aspects of your practice to target your ideal buyer.

Our marketing plans result in your meeting with serious prospects shortly after engaging our services. Our intent is to realize multiple purchase offers within the same time frame. This way, you have the luxury of comparison when deciding which party is best suited for your practice. At PPS, we take pride in providing a special “added-value.” This happens when our client gets to select a successor from a pool of qualified candidates—all of whom have tendered serious offers.

Step # 6: Mind the Details!

If you are feeling overwhelmed at this point, then you understand why our clients engage us! Clearly, if you want to sell a dental practice successfully, it requires full-time attention to an enormous array of details. This is the focus of our job.

If you haven’t already read about the services we offer, you can review a lot more detail about how we mind the details. Read About Our Services>>

Client Comments

“I enjoyed an extremely smooth transition for myself, my staff and the new owner. Ray was always available to help me think through my options. Sometimes I would have questions that would surface late at night or on a Sunday morning… I would send him an email, not expecting an immediate response.

To my surprise, a thoughtful response was only minutes away. His calm understanding and his professional advice helped relieve the anxiety of this transition. Ray kept my concerns foremost in his mind as he looked for a good match for my practice. Ray helped evaluate potential buyers and advised me when he saw potential problems. He was always there. He got the job done calmly and efficiently. I truly enjoyed working with him.” –Marc Alexander, D.D.S., Healdsburg

“I had my practice listed with a competitor for over twelve months…. The first weekend PPS had my listing, I had three people visit … and an offer by the end of the first week! —Chris Stellpflug, D.D.S., Merced

Learn How to Sell a Dental Practice >>

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Ready to move forward? Register to Sell Your Dental Practice >>

Client Comments

Thoughtful Response Only Minutes Away

“I enjoyed an extremely smooth transition for myself, my staff and the new owner. Ray was always available to help me think through my options. Sometimes I would have questions that would surface late at night or on a Sunday morning… I would send him an email, not expecting an immediate response.

To my surprise, a thoughtful response was only minutes away. His calm understanding and his professional advice helped relieve the anxiety of this transition. Ray kept my concerns foremost in his mind as he looked for a good match for my practice. Ray helped evaluate potential buyers and advised me when he saw potential problems. He was always there. He got the job done calmly and efficiently. I truly enjoyed working with him.”

–Marc Alexander, D.D.S., Healdsburg

Three Visits and an Offer in First Week

“I had my practice listed with a competitor for over twelve months…. The first weekend PPS had my listing, I had three people visit … and an offer by the end of the first week!

—Chris Stellpflug, D.D.S., Merced