Purchasing a practice is one of the most important steps that a dentist can make in his or her lifetime. Practice gross income over an average practice-life of thirty-five years can exceed twenty to fifty million dollars! The decisions made now can severely impact a dentist’s income potential for the remaining years in practice. The value of a dental practice is not in the equipment, the office space or even the location; it is in the income potential of the practice over the purchaser’s expected practice-life. Wrong decisions or choices can cost the purchaser millions of dollars!

Despite this fact, many doctors go about purchasing a practice as if they were buying a house or a car. An error in judgment when selecting a house or car may impact savings, but it will not affect earnings for the rest of the doctor's life! Purchasing the wrong practice, or purchasing for the wrong reason will have a considerable impact on the doctor’s future earnings. A dentist who contacts a traditional broker will be confronted with practices being sold for a variety of reasons. Some practices are not economically viable, in which case the seller wants out of a bad situation, and the broker is going to “sell” this bad practice to an unsuspecting purchaser.

There have been situations where a long-term associate has recently left the practice and set up his or her own practice nearby, leaving the practice in position for a big decline in business, and the owner wants to sell now. There have been instances where the seller was losing the lease and was trying to sell before being forced to pay the high costs of relocation. Some sellers have sold their practices knowing that a large factory or business is scheduled to close down, causing a decline in the insurance business.

These sellers usually list their practice with a traditional practice broker, hoping that the broker can sell someone else on taking over and buying a "dead horse.” This is the way business is conducted in the traditional unilateral broker purchasing process.

As a rule, purchasing a practice through a traditional broker creates a typical “buyer beware” situation. The traditional broker does not represent the interests of the purchaser due to the law of agency. It is the traditional broker’s responsibility to sell the practice regardless of its suitability as it relates to the clinical, philosophic, and economic needs of the purchaser.

Purchasers are not charged a fee by traditional practice brokers. As a result, purchasers erroneously believe that they are receiving a free service and representation by that broker. This is just not so. The risks to a purchaser are high, from over-paying for practice to being unable to make a living from the practice you purchase. You can either pay a reasonable fee for competent assistance, or you can take a chance and potentially lose millions. The choice is yours to make, "There is no such thing as a free lunch… nor free representation."

Some brokers may be tempted to over-appraise a practice to increase their fee because they only represent the seller, and they foresee little or no chance of future business from that buyer. Once you become a client of AFTCO, however, we see you as a client throughout your entire professional career. This provides you with the assurance of not paying too much for practice, and of acquiring the best practice for you when you acquire a practice through AFTCO.

AFTCO is a dental practice transition consulting firm that provides practice transition consulting services designed especially for dentists. We provide a brokerage service as one of our many transitional services. AFTCO first consults with practice owners to determine their needs and the best course of action for them to consider such as practice mergers, consolidation or walk-away sale, equity conversions, incremental sales and other options). We then analyze the practice and appraise it for its actual fair market value and look for the most appropriate purchaser whose goal meet the seller's needs.

AFTCO consults with new dentists to determine their personal and professional goals and needs and then helps them to identify the practice program that is best suited for them. Planning considerations include geographic preferences, income needs, financial resources, clinical and administrative skills, family requirements, commitment, and practice alternatives. Practice options include purchasing walkaways, pre-sales, deferred acquisitions, production acquisitions, mergers, office sharing, equity associateships, equity conversions, incremental sales, etc.

It is of utmost importance to determine the new doctor's needs if they are to ultimately reach their practice goals. You don’t leave something this important to chance, nor do you take advice from an agent of another party. AFTCO is paid a fee for its services by both parties. As a result, a purchaser can draw upon AFTCO’s more than forty years of experience for information and advice on successfully transitioning a practice. AFTCO is the oldest, largest, and most experienced practice transition consulting company in the United States, with offices located nationwide. Our policy of “Equitable Transactions through Dual Representation” assures both clients that their interests will not be compromised in any transaction.

If you understand that the decisions necessary for purchasing or selling a practice involve millions of dollars over your practice lifetime and you don’t want to leave decisions like this to chance, then call AFTCO to arrange for a consultation. It’s your future, make the most of it! Remember "There’s No Such Thing As a Free Lunch.” Call AFTCO at 800-232-3826 or visit our website at www.aftco.net. It’s time to call AFTCO!

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