Fuzzy Transition Numbers

Many early Boomer Dentists are preparing to make a move. Hopefully, they are investigating all the transition offerings as the numbers being contracted are a concern to me. Is anyone reading the contracts prior to beginning a five-year buyout? There are many unfulfilled expectations, disappointment, anger, and then attorneys are involved.

Approaching a five-year partnership and ultimate buyout, the selling Doctor believes he will nurture a younger dentist who will pay 50% of his $1M price to start. He believes there is no concern about money because by bringing someone in, even without patients or a practice to merge, the selling doctor will be able to continue working on all his favorite patients, there will be no change in his net, and the practice will grow to cover all expenses.

The purchasing Doctor believes, for 50%, he or she is buying half of hygiene, half of existing patients and half of the new patients. He or she also expects to grow into the larger treatments, have a say in the leadership, AND receive half the net.

Math Problem: How can a solo practice of $1M with a net of $400K which has been marketing and is known in the community suddenly accommodate another Doctor with the expectation of each receiving half the net, and yet the selling Doctor is told he can continue as before with no drop in net? If the practice could grow to support two net figures without a drop, don’t you think the selling doctor would have accomplished that by now? Crazy math.

A $500K purchase results in $100K repayment a year, or $8K a month. Without growth, the net for each is $200K. The new Doctor’s payment is $100K, leaving her with $100K net. In two years, the seller would have given up $400K in net for half the practice and now has a partner.

In some of these transitions, the selling doctor tells his staff the new Doctor is the associate rather than a partner. The staff is loyal to the selling Doctor and patients are not steered to the purchasing Doctor. After a year or two of loan payments and little net, the purchasing Doctor is frustrated but has no one to talk to as she really was not represented in the sale. The broker worked for the seller.

Both sides are frustrated because the expectations of numbers are not fulfilled. A potentially beautiful transition turned ugly because the buying dentist did not do the real math, and both parties were naïve.

At Blatchford Transitions, we work to provide the buyer and the seller with a win/win situation. This is the most important move in your career. Make sure it is handled professionally and it works for you. You cannot afford a large error at this point in your career. We can help you.

About the Author

Drs. Bill & Christina Blatchford

Dr. Bill Blatchford and his daughter, Dr. Christina Blatchford are the strongest voices in dentistry today for profitability. They are the private practice dentist’s advocate for net return, more time away and increased enjoyment. Bill graduated Loyola in 1970 and practiced for twenty years in Corvallis, OR. Christina graduated OHSU in 2009 and practices in Milwaukie, OR. In their Custom Coaching Program, both Drs. Blatchford have helped thousands of Doctors develop leadership skills and practice success by working personally with Doctor, spouse and team to achieve their dream practice. In addition, they have published four books, including Bringing Your ‘A’ Game 2.0 and No Nonsense Transitions.