Are you a dental practice owner looking to embark on a new chapter in your life? Whether you’re planning to retire or explore new opportunities, selling your dental practice is a significant decision. As a leading English law firm experienced in dental practice sales, we understand that the process can be overwhelming. However, with the right preparation and guidance, you can make the sale easier on yourself and ensure a successful transaction. In this blog, we’ll walk you through essential steps to prepare for the sale, ensuring a smooth and seamless experience for you as the seller.
1. Early Planning is Key: Selling a dental practice is not a decision that should be rushed. The earlier you start planning, the better. Ideally, begin the planning process at least one to two years before you intend to sell. This will give you ample time to organise your financial records, address any operational issues, and increase the value of your practice.
2. Financial Assessment and Valuation: Understanding the true value of your dental practice is crucial before listing it for sale. Work with financial experts and a reputable agent, experienced in dental practice sales, to determine a fair and accurate market value. The valuation will take into account various factors, such as your practice’s revenue, assets, patient base, location, and goodwill. Knowing the value will also help you set a realistic asking price.
3. Organise Legal Documents and Compliance: Prospective buyers will want to review your financial and legal records to evaluate the viability of the practice. Ensure all financial statements, employment policies and procedures, vaccination records, tax returns, commercial contracts, permits, licenses, CQC registrations, and lease agreements are up-to-date and well-organised. Having these documents readily accessible will expedite the due diligence process and build trust with potential buyers.
4. Improve the Appeal of Your Practice: Make your dental practice as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Enhance the aesthetics of the office, update equipment if needed, and ensure your practice is well-maintained. Just like with a house, a visually appealing and well-maintained practice will create a positive impression on potential buyers and increase the likelihood of a successful sale.
5. Strengthen Patient Relationships: Your patients, particularly in mixed or private practices, are an essential asset when selling your dental practice. Strengthen your patient relationships by maintaining excellent customer service, correspondence, and personalised care. Patients raising lots of complaints, may well put off a nervous or inexperienced buyer. Satisfied patients are more likely to stay with the practice and refer others, adding value to the sale.
6. Consult with Legal Professionals: Navigating the legal aspects of a dental practice sale can be complex. Enlist the expertise of a reputable law firm specialising in dental practice sales. An experienced legal team will guide you through the entire process, including negotiations, contracts, and compliance, ensuring that your interests are protected at every step. This is not just the sale of a property and equipment – there’s a lot more to it (especially if there’s an NHS contract to deal with!). Check your prospective solicitor understands the legal issues and processes involved in selling a dental practice, including CQC, TUPE regulations, NHS, and dealing with shares if there is a limited company involved (as is becoming increasingly common!). A progressive law firm used to dealing with dental practice sales should also be happy to “fix” their fee in writing to avoid the risk of unexpected increases in legal costs down line – don’t fall for the low “estimate“.
7. Confidentiality is Crucial: Maintaining confidentiality during the sale process is vital to prevent any negative impact on your practice, staff and patients. If your agent does not have a standard document, work with your law firm to draft a comprehensive confidentiality agreement (aka non-disclosure agreement or NDA) for potential buyers to sign before disclosing sensitive information. This will help protect your practice’s reputation and ensure that patient information remains secure.
Selling your dental practice can be a rewarding and profitable venture with the right approach and preparation. By starting early, organising your legal documentation, enlisting professional help, and maintaining confidentiality, you can ensure a smooth and successful sale that benefits both you and the future owner of your practice.
At Scott Bailey LLP, our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping dental practice owners like you navigate the sale process with confidence and ease. Get in touch with us today, and let’s work together to make your dental practice sale a resounding success!
Ben Ironmonger is head of Scott Bailey’s company and commercial department and has well over a decade of experience acting for dentists on a range of commercial matters. View our healthcare pages for more general information on how Scott Bailey can help your healthcare business.