Selling your dental practice will be one of the most significant transactions of your life, but also an exciting and rewarding journey. Strategic planning and professional negotiation during the sales process can significantly impact the success of the transaction.

Here are five helpful tips to streamline what can often be a challenging process.

Tip 1: Team First. This is the most critical step in the process. We have had many clients come to us with poorly planned transactions in progress with hidden snags and deal-killers. Your team should consist of a lawyer, an accountant, a dental practice broker, a CPA, and a financial planner.

Tip 2: Your Future/Restrictive Covenants. The non-compete clause in the transaction documentation will determine where and when you can continue to practice dentistry after your sale, and it is worthy of considering as you plan your sale. In addition, often forgotten is that your non-compete clause with your associate doctors in your practice. Such clause needs to be present, enforceable and assignable. Otherwise, your practice may be less marketable for sale.

Tip 3: What’s Your Plan After the Sale? This is crucial for two reasons. First, depending on how your non-compete clause is negotiated, you might face limitations on establishing a new dental practice near your previous office post-sale. Second, the buyer may require your continued involvement for several years to facilitate a smooth transition. It's essential to have a clear vision for your post-sale life so that you can negotiate these terms effectively in the sale contract.

Tip 4: Lean into the Liens. You need to be aware of all the liens against your practice and organize any debt you may have. Know in advance all liens will need to be discharged/paid off at the practice closing. We often see surprises in deals, such as the practice real estate being connected to the practice loan, and doctors being required to pay off both loans, which can adversely affect the underwriting of the deal. Time kills deals, so don’t cause yourself delays and get out in front of this.

Tip 5: Understand Your Representations and Warranties. If you have things to clean up, do so before your practice is on the market. That means making sure you disclose any lawsuits, board claims or potential employee claims against you. You don’t want your buyer to have any surprises that lead to costly delays or legal entanglements for both of you.