Is your dental practice ready for sale?

13th March 2023

Any principal or dental corporate owner will ultimately look to sell their practice or their interest in the practice. This may be for a number of reasons, from a retirement sale to unforeseen events forcing a sale. Given the uncertainty presented by the global pandemic and more recent fears of a recession, planning the right time for a sale is not a scientific exercise. However, being “sale prepared” gives any seller an advantage if any unforeseen events do arise, positive or negative, which affect the otherwise preferred time for sale.

A recent survey carried out by Lloyds Bank concluded that seven in 10 dentists said they expected their profits to improve in the next 12 months. This can be seen a catalyst for confidence in the sector and a bounce back from 2020 and 2021, which may readjust dentists’ plans for selling sooner rather than later.

The process of a sale and what comes next might sound daunting or complicated, especially if the process has not been undertaken previously. However, any complications can be unravelled, and a smooth sale process can ensue if the correct contracts, documents, procedures and protocols are in place and up to date.

For example, compliance documents may have been overlooked – such as property-related EPC and PAT certificates or fire risk assessments – or the property’s lease may not have been renewed, or even implemented, or it may be discovered that there are unused or underutilised services which are being paid for.

Where documents are out of date or missing, for example SOPs and employment contracts, or even not thought of – for example CQC registration not being in place for the correct provider – they have the potential to cause delays in the sale process or impose obstacles, and at worst impact on a buyer’s confidence in the practice, which may lead to them either delaying or withdrawing from the transaction.

A comprehensive review might reveal a number of matters, however minor they may appear, which have the potential to cause issues in the sale process. It is prudent to give your practice a “health check” from time to time to ensure that it is running with all the documentation in place.

Correcting any issues now will prevent delays when it comes to sale and could also enhance the financial performance and prospects of the practice. So when the time comes to sell, a buyer may be more attracted to your practice ahead of the competition.

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