How to Tell if a Dental Practice Offer Is Fair

If you’re trying to sell your dental practice, you may have been fortunate enough to receive an offer. That’s a good sign! It shows that you’ve built a solid and resilient dental practice. Not only that, but it’s also a sign that a dental support organization thinks the same way and is willing to buy your practice from you. 

However, receiving an offer on a dental practice is just that – an offer. You still need to ascertain if the offer is fair and if the dental support organization aligns with your goals and long-term needs. Think of this as a “marriage” and talking with DSOs and DPOs as the “dating” phase. If you’re a dentist, you might not have sold many small businesses and can thus be forgiven if you feel overwhelmed by the process. Also, note that each DSO spends roughly $250,000 on direct marketing and mailers to dentists and practitioners because, as the old adage goes, buy low and sell high.

How can you tell if a dental practice offer is fair? Try using the methods below to get a feel for the offer. If one or more of the below is true, you can rest assured that your dental practice offer is fair. 

You’ve Received Multiple Assessments

Valuing a practice can be difficult. The best way to ensure that your dental practice offer is fair is to receive multiple assessments. It’s quite easy for two assessors to have slightly different takes on the cost of a dental practice. Multiple assessments reduce the odds of one assessment being taken as gospel truth. 

This is especially worth remembering if you’re receiving an offer directly from a DSO. These DSO offers are typically lower than the market at large and should never be taken at face value. Additional assessments should be used to counter low-ball offers and give the selling dentist leverage at the negotiation table. If you have met one DSO, you have met only one DSO. 

A savvy assessor will also use multiple assessment methods. If various methods show comparable asking prices, you can rest assured that you have a good gauge of the practice’s value.

A qualified assessor will consider your practice’s:

  • Cash-Flow
  • Future Earnings
  • Value of Current Assets
  • Active and New Patient Base
  • Payor Mix
  • Competition 
  • Marketing spend and branding
  • Practice turnover

A custom valuation of the practice is always recommended. A rule-of-thumb valuation might give you a ballpark estimate, but that’s not good enough to sell your practice, which is likely the biggest deal of your life and will directly impact your future and indirectly your team’s future. Trust us; get your practice assessed so you are better positioned to resist unfair offers to buy. 

You Know the Market

A way to tell if an offer is fair is to be aware of trends within the market. If you know what comparable dental practices are going for, you’re well-positioned to push back against unfair offers from DSOs. 

It is worth remembering that this is more complex than knowing what a dental practice in your market sold for. A multi-associate dental practice that owns multiple pieces of real estate will go for a much higher price than a solo practitioner’s dental office. Inversely, a practice with cutting-edge, high-grade medical equipment might be worth more than a practice of the same size with older tech. You must have a trusted advisor to help you through the process and advise on what is and isn’t fair for your practice firmographics. There are many metrics outside of % of collections or EBITDA to determine the true value of your practice. As a sell-side advisory with buy-side experience, we know the trends and metrics that matter for you. 

You’ve Reviewed the Fine Print

It’s easy to get focused on the asking price when reviewing the offer. You should stay focused on this figure, as it’s an important part of any deal. However, the fine print is an often-neglected piece of the puzzle that can make or break your satisfaction with the deal. The deal terms, culture and partner are just as, if not more important for you as a seller. The value will be there if you have the right partners, but anyone can offer a high valuation, but not everyone can get you the high valuation. 

Consider key decisions like hiring, firing, buying power, marketing, the experience of the DSO, who is their sponsor, have they recapitalized healthcare or any platform before. You will be asked to stay on as a dentist with a dental support organization after closing; you might expect to retain control over these decisions and will have full autonomy with the right DSO. If the fine print of your deal specifies that the DSO can hire and fire, you might be in for a rude awakening. 

Few things can sour a business partnership as quickly as differences over business decisions. If your deal contractually obligates you to stay on despite these differences, you may be stuck in an unhappy business partnership. Reviewing the fine print of any terms is necessary to ensure you aren’t stuck in an unfair deal and having a qualified representation that knows the market and timing matters. 

The DSO Aligns to Your Goals

It can be challenging to gauge, but not all DSOs fit all dentists well. Each has its own specific policies, paradigms, and standard operating procedures. A DSO might offer favorable terms and a fair price and still not fit your particular needs well.

You must understand exactly why you’re selling your dental practice and what you want out of the sale. Once you understand this, you’re well-positioned to review offers from DSOs and compare these offers against your unique goals. 

If all of this is overwhelming, know that help from a qualified dental broker is available. Selling and transitioning a dental practice is difficult, tedious, and you don’t know what you don’t know. A trusted partner in the process can help you from listing to closing and everywhere in between. Moreover, they can even help you sell your practice above the asking price and the terms you deserve while impacting your legacy, team, and family in a positive matter. 

An excellent dental broker will:

  • Help you screen buyers and vet them thoroughly 
  • Assess your practice to help you understand its value
  • Have experienced healthcare CPAs and underwriters
  • Experience on both the sell-side and buy-side
  • Know what metrics matter to a DSO and which ones do not 
  • Can handle the lease terms as well as practice terms
  • Experienced and have a strong network and relationships with the buyers
  • Equip your attorneys with relevant documents
  • Serve as a strategic consultant throughout the process
  • Offer unique insight into the market as a whole
  • Have experience in selling and buying dental practices
  • Know the timing of an exit of a DSO and their Sponsorship
  • Know the DSO agreements, deal structures, and C-suite level team members

Are you ready to sell your dental practice? Your trusted Triumphant Transition Partners advisor is available for a free courtesy consultation to discuss your unique needs. Call Now!