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Protect The Goodwill It’s Taken Years to Build — Before, During and After the Sale of Your Practice

The most valuable component of the price of a dental practice is the portion allocated to “goodwill.” Goodwill represents the intangible assets of a business—the difference between an established, successful business and one that has yet to achieve success. In an established dental practice, goodwill consists largely of the name, reputation and skill of the dentist and team, which have led to a strong, loyal patient base and consistent inflow of new patients. For the buyer, goodwill greatly increases the likelihood of continued cash flow from retention of that patient base and from new patients.

For you, the seller, preservation of the goodwill of your practice is paramount to a successful transition. A young dentist who purchased an established practice in Southwest Florida recently said, “The goodwill of the seller in my transition was priceless. His vote of confidence to our patients has increased retention and allowed me to succeed on a level I never would have been able to do otherwise.”

Keep on Building Goodwill
In order to assure that you retain goodwill not only prior to selling but also through the critical transition time during and after the sale, you should maintain your reputation and good name within the practice and community at all times. Through the transition process and even afterward, remain involved in study clubs, the local dental association, community organizations and volunteer groups such as Rotary. This not only will help ensure that you receive proper compensation for your years of practice building, but also that your buyer receives full value. Even after you retire, positive support and praise for the new dentist (such as in social settings) will go a long way toward continued retention of patients in the new practice.

Choose the Right Broker
Working with an experienced and ethical transition broker is also invaluable in preserving goodwill and value. The right broker will perform a legitimate appraisal and value the practice in a manner that reflects the true anticipated cash flow following the sale, rather than telling you what you may want to hear and subsequently luring a buyer into a bad deal that destroys goodwill. The right broker will also work to find a buyer who is an appropriate fit for the practice, one whose abilities, ethics and practice style match your own, preserving your reputation and the reputation of the practice. Additionally, the right broker will guide the entire process, working with lenders, accountants, and counsel who are knowledgeable in dental transitions. The right broker will also work toward the ultimate goal of having a satisfied seller and buyer, preventing negative interactions that can sometimes occur when working with an inexperienced or self-serving advisor.

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