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 running a dental practice is right for you. Does it bring you the joy and satisfaction you thought it would? Does operating a business leave you feeling energized and confident?
If the answer is no, and you're thinking about selling your dental practice, you are part of a growing trend. 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.
Is "sell dental practice" on your future to-do list? Here are some telltale signs that it’s the right move.
1. You’re Not Enjoying Running Your Own Practice
When you went to 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.
What might be lacking, though, is passion for running a business.
If you’re not interested in marketing your practice, establishing a brand for your practice, 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 enjoy.
Being part of a corporate practice 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 ahead of time — it may be time to call your accountant and run the numbers.
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. Generally speaking, lenders consider dental practices a safe investment that may be able to better withstand a downturn, so the economic climate mas be less impactful than with other types of businesses.
You do want to think about how to make the transition easier for staff who have worked with you for years, though.
Your staff is going to be anxious about keeping their jobs under the new owner, so it's important to let them know what to expect. As much as you can make your staff an active part of the transition, 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 spouse or children.
For the sake of life/work balance, you might want to sell 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.
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We have more than sixty years experience assisting clients at every stage of their dental practice, from residency through retirement, with a comprehensive suite of financial services. We offer custom-tailored advice and a strong national network that is focused on delivering the highest level of service.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer legal advice. Please consult a professional concerning these topics. This content is intended for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as advice.