By Dr. Suzanne Ebert, ADA advisor, ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT).
Many dentists reach a point in their careers where they are done with owning a practice. Some are tired of managing the financials, dealing with payers, chasing down suppliers, and all the other headaches of practice ownership. Others have physical limitations that make daily practice difficult. And some want to capitalize on a hot market for practice sales.
These doctors are not always done with patients, though. They love the art and science of dentistry. They still get a thrill from solving a tough case or restoring a smile. They just don’t want to do it five days a week, or they don’t want to manage a business anymore.
However, they know that if they start scaling back production in their own practice, the bottom line will decrease. Staff may leave if they’re not needed — and we know how hard it is to find/retain good staff right now! Patients will go elsewhere if they can’t be served in a timely manner due to a reduced schedule. All this will eventually lead to a lower sale price.
That’s why some dentists choose to sell sooner, while the value is high, and continue to work in some capacity. This can take many formats:
- Sell the practice, but stay on to work part-time as an associate
- Work in a community clinic, FQHC, or other setting on a more relaxed schedule
- Teach, mentor, or pursue less physically taxing ways to practice
At ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT), we speak with many dentists contemplating their next steps and trying to plan how and when to retire. If you’re thinking about retiring in the next five years, consider exploring some of these options.