The Professional Advisory

  1. Is it Time to Move?
  2. Staging A Dental Practice
  3. The High Cost of Dying
  4. Deal-Busters
  5. Patients - Attract and Retain
  6. Should I Stay or Should I Go?
  7. Is There a Buyer for Every Practice?
  8. Good, Better, Best - The Market has Spoken
  9. Smooth-Sale-ing
  10. Buying Time
  11. Patients, Patience, Patients
  12. A Real Patient
  13. Why Do a Practice Valuation? I'm not Selling
  14. Irrational Exuberance or The New Normal?
  15. Do dental equipment and dental technology affect a practice value?
  16. Finding and Being a Mentor
  17. Bigger is Better
  18. Dave's Top Ten List for Buyers (Vendors should read this too!)
  19. How Well Do You Know Your Practice?
  20. Dave's Top Ten List for Vendors
  21. What will happen to dental practice Values in the next 10 years?
  22. Your Premises Lease is an Important Asset
  23. What are Associates Thinking?
  24. There is Life Outside the GTA
  25. When Is the Right Time to Sell My Dental Practice?
  26. Mergers are a Viable Option
  27. Is Your Associate an Asset or a Liability?
  28. Has your Practice Facility Kept Up With Your Billings?
  29. The 100 per cent of Gross Myth
  30. The Past, The Present and The Future
  31. Caveat Emptor
  32. Overpaid Long Term Staff
  33. Selling your Practice in Stages
  34. A Potential Pitfall of Selling Shares
  35. Value in Your Practice Through Balance
  36. Only Trusted Staff Can Defraud You
  37. To Own or Not to Own Practice Real Estate? That is the Question.
  38. Coping With A Large Patient Base
  39. Successful Dental Practice Transitions
  40. Taking Care of Business
  41. The Investing Dentist Phenomenon
  42. Two areas to focus upon that could negatively impact the value of your practice
  43. Organize your Debt in Order to Sell your Practice
  44. Having a Better Team
  45. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale
  46. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 3
  47. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 2
  48. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 1
  49. Advice to My Son or Daughter Graduating from Dental School
  50. Transition - What to Expect
  51. Discussion on Digital X-Rays
  52. Partnerships and Shotguns
  53. Strategic Planning - How to Get Started
  54. Calling All Vendors - Practices have Gone Up in Value
  55. Purchasers: Expect to Pay More for a Practice because of Lower Professional Corporation Tax Rates
  56. Matrimonial Practice Valuations
  57. Purchaser's Guide to Affording a Practice
  58. Location Improvements Throughout Your Career
  59. Small Practice Valuations
  60. Partnerships – The Best and The Worst
  61. Changing Location When the Opportunity Comes Along
  62. Visual Presentation of Your Practice
  63. Presentation of Charts
  64. Your Premises Lease Can Be Your Worst Enemy
  65. How to Select an Appraiser for Your Practice
  66. How Are Your Billing Ratios?
  67. It Pays to Invest in Your Tangible Assets
  68. The Importance of Separate Financial Statements
  69. Five Time Frame Levels to Sell a Practice
  70. 12 Suggestions to Safeguard Computer Data
  71. How to Buy a Visible Practice
  72. Why is there a shortage of good practices today?
  73. The Importance of Equipment in the Purchase of a Practice
  74. The Balanced Practice
  75. Will My Practice Be Saleable in The Future?
  76. Buyer Be Aware
  77. Excess Profit - The Second Key
  78. Patients and Profits are the Keys
  79. Plan Ahead

Volume 13: It Pays to Invest in Your Tangible Assets

Download the PDF version now!

We are often asked to value practices with old old equipment (25 to 35 years) but with a steady patient base of 500 to 1000 patients. The doctor does not see the equipment as old because he has aged with the equipment. Part of owning and managing a dental practice is keeping the practice appearance up to patients' expectations - reinvest in your practice! In a sale situation, seldom are purchasers excited to see equipment older than themselves.

A comfortable ratio of "goodwill", as a percentage of the sale price, is about 60%. If Goodwill is 70 or 75% of the total sale price this means that the equipment, leaseholds and supplies are only 25 to 30% of the value. The purchaser would be concerned about the additional cost of new equipment and leaseholds on top of the cost of the practice. Although the practice is making a good income, the value of the practice is going to be limited since there is a limit to the value of a chart; the equipment is not adding its fair share to the total value of the practice.

A good guideline is: the current market value of the equipment, leaseholds and supplies should be about 25% of the practices gross billing for the year. So, if billings are $600,000 then one would expect the fair market value of the tangible assets of the practice to be worth about $150,000.

Assets below this figure, say $80,000, would mean that since a reasonable value for the practice, at 75% of gross billings, would be $450,000, this leaves (450,000 - 80,000) $370,000 in Goodwill which predominately represents patients. At an average billing of $500.00 per chart that would indicate 1,200 charts. Therefore each chart is worth ($370,000 for Goodwill/ 1200 charts) $308.33 per chart. This is noticeably above average or to put it another way, the practice is going to be worth less than $450,000; it will be harder to sell, since the purchaser would be thinking of the additional costs, to improve the leaseholds and equipment, after he or she has purchased the practice.

Around 25% of gross billings, in a mature practice, indicates that the dentist has kept the practice equipment “up-to-date”. One can also go overboard in the other direction, too many assets for the level of production. This does not leave enough room for Goodwill thus limiting the value of a chart.

I recently recommended that a vendor take some of his major equipment with him as there was not enough net earning to carry the level of assets in the practice. New practices tend to fall in this area as the billings are too low to support even reasonable assets.

I prefer to see a "balanced practice" with contemporary assets, controlled costs, reasonable billings per patient and one that is clean and visually appealing. This makes an attractive proposition for a purchaser.