In the years leading up to retirement, many doctors slow down and allow their practice to decline. But before you slow down, consider this: A small decline of 5% may cost you 6 figures in the practice sale. Can you afford such a decrease? If yes, good for you. If no, you need a plan to not only keep things going, but to also increase gross collections and build up your hygiene program. This plan shows an exponential increase in value to the bank and buyer. If you are thinking about a sale, planning an increase is crucial to raising practice sale value. This increase can often be accomplished without a great deal of effort or expenditure of time on the part of the dentist.
When you prepare to sell, also consider long term staff members’ salaries. After a review of multiple practices, this issue crops up often and is a challenge. Many employees have been loyal and stayed for years. However, due to the duration of employment, they are now paid in excess of the market salary range for their staff position and their contribution to the overall practice income. This creates an inflated increase in practice overhead and decreases the practice value. The buyer likely cannot afford this overhead, so he/she will see this as an obstacle in which the practice will not transfer easily because key staff members will be lost.
From your point of view, it is understandable since most often the employee has a connection with the patients, knows the practice systems and adds value overall. Although these are probably true, an adjustment in salary with a bonus compensation plan, retirement plan, or a replacement staff training program may be necessary. Regardless, transition plan must be smooth for the practice, seller, buyer and employees.
Anita Tate, DMD
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