Assembling Your Transition Team

Purchasing a dental practice is complicated. Just as a ship captain needs a harbor pilot to help guide them safely into port, you require a few seasoned professionals to help prevent you from making a costly mistake.

These professionals should have expertise in dental practice transitions. If you don’t feel confident that your current accountant or lawyer has the necessary experience, then don’t compromise—hire a transition expert. Remember, you have to get the practice purchase right the first time. It is a significant financial investment, and your first mistake could be your last.

Inexperienced advisors can cost you money and maybe even the deal.

When anyone on my team is handling a dental practice negotiation, and they encounter advisors with little experience, it’s a sign that we can be more aggressive in furthering our client’s best interests. Exploiting this weakness almost always ends up getting our client a better deal.

We all know that first impressions count. When you enter your first negotiation session with a selling dentist, they are likely to judge you by the professional company you keep. Having a heavyweight (i.e., an experienced transition specialist or lawyer with experience in handling dental practice purchases) on your team will send a message that you may be younger and less experienced at dentistry than them, but you are not there to play games. Let the bargaining begin.

I can’t stress enough the importance of having your team in place well before purchasing a practice. I have seen many dentists gather a team only after the negotiations have gone off the rails, and the fact they were then fighting a rearguard action was highly detrimental to their eventual deal.

When selecting your professional team, look for personal recommendations. Make a list of at least three candidates for each spot on your team. Conduct interviews with each person. Specifically, ask about their particular experience in practice transitions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and discuss your expectations.

You should seek advisors who have a good grasp of dentistry and the unique issues you face. Hiring advisors with expertise in dental practice transitions will ensure that you get the best advice and prompt service. It’s a small market; experienced advisors will have many dental clients and are motivated to maintain their reputation in the dental community.

Get to know your team of professionals, and never forget that while these professionals offer advice, the buck stops with you, and it’s your buck; it is up to you to make the final decisions.