Dental Practice Transitions, Made Easy

Buying or selling a practice is one of the most significant financial events in a dentist’s career – with only one chance to get it right.

EMA Staff

From left to right: Steve Wolff, DDS; Debbie Wolff; Brad Babcock, DDS

 Act Now to See These New Practice for Sale Listings!

  • Central Missouri – Specialty Practice – A four-operatory practice, with great quality of life! Please take a look at MO361.
  • Eastern Kansas City Metro: Five-operatory general practice located 30 minutes from Kauffman Stadium.  Please see MO 359 for additional information.
  • Central Missouri: Small town charm with above average profit margins. Please see CODE MO358.        
  • St. Joseph, Missouri: Dentist retiring by the end of the year: patient charts, equipment and phone number available. Call now!  Look at CODE: MO357 on the Missouri tab.  

Our latest sales . . . 

We were delighted to have the opportunity to represent Dr. Rod Thiele in the sale of his Leavenworth, Kansas, practice to Dr. Michael Arnett. Congratulations and best wishes to both gentlemen!

Dr. Rod Thiele (l) congratulates Dr. Michael Arnett on the purchase of his Leavenworth, Kansas, practice

When do I tell the staff? Part 2                                                                    A blog post from Dr. Steve Wolff

We ended our discussion in Part One with the timing of making the “Big Reveal” to your staff. Again, while instincts might suggest that you let everyone in on your plans early in the game, our advice is to minimize the time spent in the “Neutral Zone.” Treading water is hard work and it isn’t fair to make it more difficult than necessary. It is important that everything now go smoothly and according to plan.

The new doctor should be introduced so as to put a face with a name. The buyer should have received instruction on reassurances they can make to their prospective employees along with some things that for now are best left unsaid. We recommend that the buyer initially plan as few changes as possible – including work days, business hours, office décor and financial policies. Evolution – not revolution – seems to be better accepted by both staff and patients.

While one of my broker colleagues once described this phase as akin to “cheating on your wife and then asking her to help pick out a birthday present for your girlfriend,” the fact is that the transition now needs the assistance of the team. Among other things, announcement letters will need to be sent to patients of record on the day of closing, and staff members can be very helpful in the production and mailing of those letters. Making them part of the process seems to begin the move toward the new normal.

Confidentiality needs to be maintained with regard to patients and the dental community. While our closing rate is better than 98%, lightning can strike: what a mess you will have if the deal falls through and your retirement has already been announced.

By the date of closing, the staff will begin to move toward the New Normal. Tears may still be shed (by both doctor and staff), but they will soon adjust and will perhaps come to realize that by extending the life of the practice, their jobs may be more secure than ever. In our experience, if properly coached, counseled and implemented, staff losses are very small. You can take some comfort in knowing that even the Israelites eventually made it to the Promised Land.

A final thought from Dr. Bridges: in the chapter of Managing Transitions on dealing with nonstop change, he states that “People have to understand that the point of change is to preserve that which does not change.”  Assuming that the core mission of the practice is to provide quality dentistry, changing the doctor may be the one thing that most assures that care will be available into the future.

Dr. Steve Wolff – UMKC Class of 1977