GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA— At least once in their lives orthodontic practice owners will go through a practice transition. Whether they are buying into a practice, adding a partner, or selling their practice for retirement, Chris Bentson of Bentson Clark & Copple advises orthodontists through every step of the process.
In the latest issue of Orthodontic Products Magazine, Bentson explains practice transitions in five main steps.
Begin by Gathering Information
The transition process starts at least two to three years before an orthodontic practice is put up for sale. Begin by learning as much as possible about the transition process. Talk it through with financial advisors, spouses, and other orthodontists who have gone through a transition. Make sure you consult several colleagues and sources of information, as experiences can vary. Word of mouth can also be a valuable asset when choosing a company to conduct an orthodontic practice valuation. Being well informed can minimize any pitfalls or surprises that come with the transition process.
Have A Valuation Performed
Before selling a practice, an orthodontist needs to know exactly what it’s worth. Like selling a car, or a house, appraisals must be done before any transactions can occur. An orthodontic practice valuation is much like having an orthodontic appraisal done before you sell. Valuations allow an orthodontist to know exactly where their practice stands financially before undergoing a transition.
Find the Perfect Partner or Buyer
In the current market there is a ratio of 3:1 seekers to opportunities, which is good news for those looking for another orthodontist for their practice. While residents tend to move to coastal states or high-density areas, it’s important to look for a candidate that can transition into your practice in the time frame you had in mind. Consider listing your opportunity with a transition specialization firm that has resident/doctor matching services. Transition firms often match doctors with buyers or partners free of charge.
Finalize all Transaction Negotiations
This period is where a transition will really kick into gear. During transition negotiations, buyer and seller will agree on a price, a financing plan for the orthodontic practice sale and work out any other details of the sale in writing. Generally, finalizing all the paperwork can take up to 90 days.
Official Ownership Transfer
This final stage of transition is essentially nothing more than finally signing official documents, and changing stationary and nameplates. Done properly, ownership transfer day will seem like just another day in the office.
These steps are an outline of the transition process to prepare orthodontists for the future. Proper research, planning and patience will allow for a smooth and rewarding transition.
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