FSBD: The Mistaken Beliefs Dentists Have About Listing Their Own Practice For Sale

Selling a dental practice on your own or FSBD (For Sale By Dentist) is an unexpectedly time-consuming process. A dentist can spend up to two hours every day fielding calls and emails from prospective buyers. At first, this may seem like a positive situation. Most dentists would conclude that getting a lot of calls and answering a lot of questions means they’ll soon find a buyer for their practice. Everyone in the field knows dental practices are in great demand and there are many buyers out there looking to purchase a practice.

Unfortunately, having a lot of buyers and a great deal of interest in your practice isn’t the same thing as having one serious, qualified buyer who’s well suited to the type of practice you’re selling. The sad fact is most buying dentists who answer random classified ads tend to be tire kickers and window shoppers. Although they may not be in a position to buy, they’re very interested in learning and they’re using you as their teacher.

Is educating buyers the best use of time to sell my dental practice?

When selling your practice, it’s important to keep all operations flowing exactly as they did before you put your practice on the market. Taking two hours out of every day can certainly impact your performance. For one thing, it’s exhausting and frustrating to answer the same questions over and over. It’s time-consuming to set up showings for buyers who either don’t show up, call and cancel, or turn out to be unsuitable and unprepared. The time and frustration would be worth it if the result was a sale, but buying a dental practice isn’t an impulse decision.  Ready, willing, and able buyers act differently than tire kickers.

What serious buyers do

When serious buyers decide it’s time to buy a practice, they usually want to move fast. With all the competition among buying dentists to buy a dental practice, they know they can’t waste time. Sellers who try to list their practice on their own are sometimes just “testing the market.” They aren’t ready to sell at all. Serious buyers want to find serious sellers and they know that serious sellers list their practice with dental practice brokers. A seller who lists his practice with a broker is serious about selling and is prepared to sell.

In dental school, dentists, like physicians, are taught that the simplest solutions are often the best. Regarding the problem of purchasing a practice, the simplest solution is to find a successful broker who offers many practices for sale, rather than randomly investigating individual classified ads. 

Dental practice brokers have the listings, so buyers go to brokers. 

Purchasing a practice is very complicated. It involves many steps that must be taken in the correct order and at the correct time. Neither side can control the whole transaction. That is probably the biggest drawback in listing a practice FSBD.

Selling a dental practice on your own won’t give you control of the transaction

Dentists are a unique group. Unlike other professionals, they rarely share their practice with other dentists. Successful partnerships aren’t common. Dentists have a strong individualistic streak. As a former dentist himself, Dr. Gary, founder of Health Care Practice Sales, is very sympathetic to the attitude selling dentists have about their practice. They often see it as an extension of themselves. When they sell their practice, they are giving up their life’s work. They can be very proprietary over who will take over when they sell. Sellers mistakenly believe that listing the practice on their own will give them more control over the transition.

Each side can only control their own side

In order to begin the process of buying and selling a dental practice, each side must hire dental, not general practice,  lawyers to represent them. Once dental lawyers are involved, the seller and buyer can no longer have direct contact. The seller and buyer, as well as all other representatives of each party, can only communicate through their side’s attorneys. When problems arise (and they inevitably do) each side’s dental lawyer has a duty to represent only their client’s best interest. This can lead to a nearly adversarial relationship because each side is trying to win the advantage over the other. A broker is the only party who can communicate directly with all the players involved in the transaction.

Dental practice brokers keep deals together

For over a decade, Dr Gary has been matching buying dentists with dental practice sellers. He has brokered hundreds of successful deals and made many dentists happy. If you’re even considering selling your practice, the first step you should take is to call or email Dr Gary and start a conversation with him about how you should proceed. He can be reached anytime day or night, 363 days a year (he takes Christmas and Easter off). He will get you the quickest, most profitable sale possible. 

Dr Gary DDS
Health Care Practice Sales, LLC
201-663-0935 (call or text)