Specialty Dental Practice Owners – Be Aware


As technology and times change, we are seeing the world of dentistry evolve along with it. From the abundance of corporate dental centers (DMSOs) to how to market for new patients, things are done differently now compared to even three years ago better yet 10 years ago. There is one item in particular that I want to bring to your attention as we see it growing more and more and it could affect your retirement plans if you are an Endodontist, Periodontist, or Oral Surgeon. Note that Pediatric and Orthodontics are exempt from this theory. Notice that I use the word theory as this is our opinion and  this opinion is based upon our market experience in the Florida market.

Let’s get right to it…what effect will a ‘traveling specialist’ have on the sale of a specialty practice in the future? If you are not familiar with what a traveling specialist is, let me explain. This is an Endodontist, Periodontist, or Oral Surgeon that is coming into a general practitioners office to do their specialty work whether this be weekly, bi-weekly, or on an as needed basis. You will typically see the overhead (lab / supplies) of the procedure taken off the ‘top’ then the GP and specialist split the proceeds 50-50. This has become a win-win for both doctors as the GP is now getting paid something opposed to receiving a thank card and gift in the mail come the holidays. For the specialist it is also a positive as they do not have to worry about running a business. The specialist can come in to the GPs office and do what they love…dentistry! No headaches of Cindy at the front desk calling out sick or having to worry about did you pay rent this month or can you pay rent this month. Not to mention that a few specialist we know are reporting that they are actually making the same amount of money, if not more by doing this model! Who wouldn’t want to make more money with less headaches? I believe this sole reason alone is what will cause this model to grow throughout the country.

As our company is limited to Florida, we can not speak for the rest of the country though I believe that come another year or so you will see this model spread like wildfire. Our fear lies in the fact that if this is to happen that these doctors looking to sell their specialty practice and retire in the next few years will not be able to do so as their practices will be worth minimal or NOTHING besides the value of their assets. We are unsure of how this model will effect the market at this time but better to plan ahead. I stress that ANY doctor, specialist or general, NOT depend upon the sale of their practice for retirement. You should be able to burn your practice to the ground if you had to. If you are currently a specialist that plans to retire in the next five years, I suggest you consider selling now and working back as an associate otherwise let it be known that you may not be able to sell your practice. The purpose of this article is not to insult or upset any specialist but rather ‘prepare you’ for what COULD come.

Associate Non-Compete

If you are going to hire an associate, it is vital that you have a non-compete agreement in place to protect yourself and your business. In regards to a future sale of your business, NO buyer is going to purchase your practice if your associates in there are working with no contracts. Getting a non-compete agreement after an associate is already in place is no easy task, cover yourself on the front end. Lastly, this non-compete needs to be assignable or transferable. Unless specified, it may not ‘transfer’ over to a potential buyer.

How to Negotiate Dental Practice Transitions Like a Pro

For a NAPB dental practice transition broker, negotiation is part of the job. From partnership buy-in agreements to space sharing agreements and everything in between, our days are spent dealing with contracts and covenants. Most of the time, negotiations go smoothly, but if one derails, it can cause a tremendous amount of stress, frustration and holdup for all parties.

The ultimate goal when buying or selling a dental practice is for all parties to walk away from the table feeling like they got a “good deal.” Tensions can run high when making such a big transition. The seller may be embarking on a new phase of life and they want to capitalize on years of hard work. The buyer may be just starting out or making a shift in their career and they don’t want to bet on the wrong horse, if you will.

Trusting in the process and having a sense of humor can really help your dental practice transition.

Here are a few tactics to negotiate like a pro:
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