Owning a dental practice is a goal that many practitioners aspire to. For Dr Imran Ahmed, his dream became a reality back in 2015 when he purchased Fern Cottage Dental Practice in Barnsley. It wasn’t long, however, before the bug took hold and he considered buying again. Here, he details the financial considerations that have to be taken into account when becoming a multiple practice owner…
When I acquired Fern Cottage Dental Practice I didn’t go into it with the intention of looking for another, but when I saw my new practice on the market, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It is a nice mixed practice in an affluent area, with a good NHS contract. My mind-set at the time was if a practice came along that would be suitable from a financial perspective, and was of value to my CV, then why not go for it?
Of course, I spent a lot of time evaluating valuation trends, the state of the market and looking at the types of practices that were available from afar. As an existing business owner with financial responsibilities and commitments, I had to be sure that purchasing another practice wouldn’t jeopardise my original goals.
That is why in the run up to the acquisition, I spent a lot of time reviewing my accounts to make sure that if something did come along within my price range, I would be able to feasibly afford to make an offer. Becki Barnett from DE Finance was key in this area. From about a year before I successfully bid on my second practice, Becki was in touch to calculate my affordability, and was very honest about what my options were. Her advice at the time was that it might be possible to borrow money against my existing practice if there was equity there, though she was as equally positive about my chances of securing a loan.
With Becki’s estimation of what I would be eligible to borrow in mind, I was able to narrow my search down to a specific price range, which proved to be invaluable in the initial stages. I may not have known whether I was definitely going to make a bid, but there was certainly no point looking at practices that I couldn’t afford!
When I eventually did stumble across the practice that ticked all the boxes, Becki was very proactive in helping me to put together my business plan and secure the necessary funding. Practice finance can be a bit of a minefield, especially when it comes to technical jargon and knowing which banks to approach, so it was very reassuring knowing that I had Becki to fight my corner.
After shopping around and receiving a number of fantastic offers, I chose to borrow some equity from my first practice and took out a smaller loan from the bank. I also moved all the funding from my first practice to the new lenders, so that everything would all be in one place. Thanks to Becki, I not only received an incredible rate, but my original loan repayments are cheaper than before! Admittedly the rates that are available to you have a lot to do with the current market, but if there is the possibility that you can get a better rate, I would always recommended shopping around – even if you’re not looking to buy another practice.
Altogether, I am both very happy with my loan and the service from DE Finance. Becki was spot on with her calculations and negotiations with the bank, and she followed the process right through to the end to ensure that the transaction completed successfully. Without her advice and expertise the purchase would have been a lot harder, so I am very thankful for the time and energy that she put in.
Moving forward, I don’t have any plans to purchase another practice – but since I thought that the last time, I won’t be ruling it out! Regardless, I will continue to monitor the market and keep on top of my accounts – which will be more complex now that I’ve got two practices – making sure that I keep in touch with Becki in case anything comes up. After all, you never know what’s round the corner!