Dr. A had a successful general dental practice located in a large, desirable metropolitan area in the Northeast U.S. His practice provided him with a good income and long-term financial security. Everything seemed perfect except for one thing: winters seemed colder every year, and he longed for the opportunity to practice in a warmer climate. Every winter he dreamed about palm trees, warm breezes, and the ocean, but picking up and moving South always seemed too difficult to consider.

His wife shared his dream, but there appeared to be too many obstacles. They still faced the expenses of a college education for their three children and a sizeable home mortgage. They just didn't see any way that they could afford to sell their practice, relocate and start all over again at this stage in their lives. Even though he already had passed the Florida boards, relocating there seemed to be a distant if not an impossible dream.

While vacationing in Florida one year, Dr. A heard about a practice available in a nearby coastal area where he was doing some deep-sea fishing. He decided he would at least look at the practice since he was in the area. He called the seller and arranged for a meeting. The seller was a very friendly man in his early sixties who was ready to retire. They talked for several hours, discussing their philosophy and methods of treatment, and Dr. A was surprised to find that they were remarkably similar in many ways. Even their practices were comparable in size. After having a very pleasant meeting, Dr. A and his wife left with a desire to buy this practice and a commitment to relocate to this area.

They thought that this could be an opportunity of a lifetime. The new practice was perfectly located and priced right. If they could sell Dr. A’s practice in Minneapolis and then buy the one in Florida, they would not have to incur the significant losses associated with starting a new practice. They called the seller and told him that they would buy his practice just as soon as they had the Minneapolis practice sold.

The seller, however, cautioned Dr. A that he could not take his practice off the market until he had a firm offer in hand from Dr. A. The seller was willing to accept Dr. A’s offer to purchase with the contingency that Dr. A sells his practice first.

Dr. A and his wife returned home anxious to get the practice and their house on the market and sold. They listed their house and placed an ad in the state dental journal for selling the practice. Their house sold in just one month and they were excited. They had to move into an apartment as a temporary residence, but this seemed like a minor inconvenience at the time. The apartment was much smaller than their house, so they stored much of their furniture and other goods and waited for a purchaser for the practice.

They began to receive calls from some young doctors looking for an associateship and others who had no money to buy the practice nor any credit good enough to borrow that amount. One purchaser candidate seemed genuinely interested, but after reviewing all their tax returns and other confidential information, he made them an offer so low that it was evident that he was only looking for a bargain. They were disturbed that despite all the money they had put out for attorney and accountant's fees, still, nothing came of it after all.

Six to eight months later they still had no qualified candidate to buy their practice. Then one day they received a call from the seller of the Florida practice. He informed them that he had accepted a firm offer from another purchaser and was going to sell it since he could not afford to wait any longer. Dr. A told him he understood and appreciated his patience, but there was nothing they could do about it.

Dr. A and his wife, after many frustrating months, decided to stay where they were and not relocate to Florida after all. They felt they couldn't afford to sell their practice without having another one ready to purchase, and they couldn't commit to purchasing unless their practice were already sold. It seemed to them to that relocating was an impossible dream after all.


AFTCO has successfully relocated many dentists to locations of their choice throughout the United States. AFTCO is the oldest and largest national transition consulting firm in the United States and is uniquely qualified to successfully market a dental practice in one area of the country and then locate the right practice opportunity to purchase in another area.

Dr. A had attempted to accomplish this complex transaction himself, and he went about it the wrong way. He should have had his practice sold as quickly as possible and merged into one of the established practices in the same area. There is a big advantage to selling to an established dentist in the same area who has the income and experience to handle the combined practices.

Once Dr. A’s practice was sold he could then concentrate his efforts on locating the right practice in the new area. In the meantime, Dr. A will be able to continue to work in his now merged practice, and he will be paid until he is ready to relocate to an established dental practice in his area of choice. Dr. A will receive the fair market value of his current practice and have no interruption of earnings during the transition. This entire transaction must be accomplished with a very comprehensive and equitable agreement that describes all the details of the sale of the practice and a potentially long-term, post-sale relationship between the seller and purchaser. The same holds true for the practice that is to be purchased by Dr. A in the other area.

Relocation, if handled correctly, is no longer the impossible dream. It’s time to call AFTCO.

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