Have you had the letter yet? The one from one of the bigger UK Corporates that offers you a cracking price for your practice. Tempting isn’t it?! I know what you’re thinking, ‘This could be my way out’, ‘I’m fed up with staff problems,’ ‘I’m fed up with associate and hygienist attitudes,’ I’m fed up with CQC and all this hassle’, ‘Who knows if practices will sell for this sort of money 5 or 10 years down the line,’ ‘Will anybody else buy it, because it’s all about me?’ etc etc…
Tempting isn’t it? And then the mice of doubt get their say, ‘What will it be like working for a Corporate?’ ‘I’ll have to give up all the control and be an associate again, I hate being told what to do.’ ‘Yes but they’ll pay me 45/50% and I won’t have any responsibility.’
Have a look at the deal a little closer. Hmm, you don’t get all the money up front? Well, no, of course not, they’ll want to keep you interested and keen to maintain practice turnover and profits.’ So how will they do that with rising costs and the economy pretty flat for the next 5 years? No, I don’t know how they’ll do that either! So will you get the balance of the deal at the end of your prolonged stay? The evidence suggests that you probably won’t… and of course, you may well earn less as an associate in your own practice… Why? Because the new owners will want a slice of the profit too and as there is only so much to go around, you’re going to get less…
Not looking quite so good now? No, I thought not. And, consider this. The difference between what you are earning now and what you would earn as an associate with the Corporate is partially funding the corporate to buy your practice. Yep, you’re funding them to buy your practice.
So, hang on, 5 or 7 years of earning less, no control over costs or marketing or hiring staff, with the promise of the balance of the sale price coming when you finally leave, although it’s not guaranteed. That’s the deal? And then there’s reputation, your reputation, good I hope, being hitched to a Corporate with a not so good reputation, how does that feel?
It’s a familiar cycle in the world of service businesses. It happened in the 80’s to Opticians, it happened in the 90’s to Estate agents and it happened in the noughties to Vets. All now mostly corporatised. Now it’s happening to Dentists. The corporates want to control the market and this round of acquisitions will give one of the corporates around 10% of the dental market. I have no doubt that most dentists will take the money and be miserable for 5 or 7 years, not get their final cheque and Dentistry will end up belong to a few large chains: ‘Teeth Savers’, Teeth Express, Teeth R Us etc. Will that be your legacy, is that how you want your story to end? Really?
Or could you be a successful independent practice? Could you get a lot better at marketing, sales processes, hiring staff who share your values? Could you enjoy your business more and make it more successful? Could you leave a sustainable legacy? At Breathe, we think you could. Need convincing please call either myself or my partner Jonathan Fine for a no obligation chat.
07770 430 576