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 34: How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 3

Download the PDF version now!

Part III – One to Three Years Before Planned Sale

With only one to three years before a planned sale we are coming down to the wire. There is limited time to maneuver. You have definitely come to the point when a valuation is prepared – assuming you have not done so in the past few years. Where are the weaknesses in the practice? Can they be corrected to reflect the changes in the financial statements that will be used to prepare the final valuation to sell the practice? Remember, three years of financial statements are generally the norm unless in very special circumstances it’s one or two years. This means you are in control of how your practice is presented in the valuation.

One should make every attempt to keep the practice production stable or growing – a feature definitely preferred by purchasers. Cost control is also needed as the value is based not on billings but on net normalized profit and patient count. In many situations, where there are low billings per patient, the use of a staff bonus system targeting certain results may be very beneficial to encourage your administrative staff to be more diligent in having patients book and keep their appointments. Increasing their hourly rate carries no guarantee other than increasing costs – thus reducing your net normalized profit. Money may not be the limiting factor for your staff. Your front desk people may not be capable of doing better. They may need coaching or replacing. Every situation is unique.

Cosmetic changes are available and may be needed in order to present your practice in a favourable light. You should treat these as the final changes before it is time to sell. Choose your colours wisely. Major changes to your leaseholds may not have enough additional value in the final valuation to cover the costs involved.

Try putting on a purchaser’s hat and look at your practice. Too often vendors look at all the old “dead” files and think there is opportunity in them because the staff is always going into them to reactivate files from the past. Ideally, if your staff can proactively revive some of the old files, do it now. But if the staff is only reacting to returning patients to pull the file forward, the purchaser would see little value in those charts.

Most purchasers like to see a good dental hygiene management program in place. A motivated hygienist will not only reward the patient but also your bottom line and thus the value of your practice. If you do not have the time or inclination to better train your hygienists there are excellent practice management courses available.

Even if you haven’t used an accountant in the past, now is the time to set up a system of annual financial statements for your practice. The last three years financial statements is all you need for the valuation. What happened before that is not important. Purchaser’s accountants like to see another accountant’s prepared financial statements. It strengthens the reliability of your accounting numbers.

OVERVIEW: The one to three year mark is getting too late to put much money into capital items. Focus on increasing billings and cost control for those three years prior to the sale of the practice. This is especially important if your overhead is high. Remember, both patients and profit drive the value of the practice.