Dr Sarab Oberai emphasises the importance of working with an experienced and knowledgeable team to get the most out of your dental practice sale.
Which consultant at Dental Elite did you work with? Were they in regular contact?
I worked with Luke Moore and yes, he was.
What was your biggest fear prior to marketing the practice for sale?
I was concerned about whether it would go through or not, and if I didn’t achieve the sale price I was seeking.
How did your completion price compare to your original valuation?
It was the same so I was very happy.
Have you stayed on at the practice? Was this your choice?
Yes. I decided to stay on at the practice, as I’m not ready to retire yet and, therefore, still want an income. As a condition, the buyers also wanted me to stay on for two years. This indicates the position of the market if the principal dentist is a big part of the practice goodwill, which is at its highest right now – buyers need to know that this will be maintained for a period of time after sale completion.
On reflection, what was the most challenging time during your practice sale?
It has to be the due diligence aspect and having to answer all the questions the buyer had. Dental corporates usually have a team of people behind them and if you’re answering to their due diligence yourself, you have to chase the relevant people, including accountants, solicitors, managers and the like, who aren’t always on hand as they’ve got other jobs to attend to.
What was the biggest challenge to getting your practice sold?
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly didn’t help, but the main issue was that the sale with our initial buyer didn’t reach completion. I felt guilty that Luke’s time had been wasted because of the deal falling through. However, he was very understanding and moved on quickly to find new buyers – the practice was viewed four times the following week. We then sold to Together Dental, who did exactly what they said they would do, and acted quickly and honourably throughout the sale. They were fair, helpful and very professional, which is what Luke had advised they would be.
How did you find the agent buffer between solicitors, buyer and seller?
There were a lot of emails between everyone, but I spoke to Luke on a regular basis. He was incredibly helpful and basically held my hand during the process. It was almost like having a specialist dental solicitor, as Luke was very familiar with the legal documents involved in the sale. This meant I could go to him first for advice, especially when it came to the due diligence aspect. In fact, there were quite a few questions that my own solicitor couldn’t answer and I myself wasn’t sure how to answer. Luke was able to guide me so that I didn’t risk prejudicing the deal unnecessarily.
At first, I thought Dental Elite would have as much interest in serving the buyer as they did the seller, but the team represented me from the very beginning and took the view that buyers could look after themselves, especially if they were a corporate. Indeed, with regard to our first buyers, it would have felt like turning up to a gunfight with a flick knife! All of the important meetings were attended with Luke for additional support and advice.
How was the CQC changeover process?
It was all completed through Dental Elite and Together Dental, making it the least painful part of the entire sale process.
Would you recommend Dental Elite? If so, why?
Although I shouldn’t need to again, if I were to sell another practice, I would definitely go to Luke Moore and the team at Dental Elite first to get their advice on whether it was the right time to sell and if I needed to develop the practice beforehand. I would then sell through Dental Elite. That’s one of the great things about the team – they look at whether you could restructure your practice. I would have no hesitation in recommending Dental Elite.
If, for instance, you had a timeframe in mind as to when you wanted to sell, Dental Elite would provide sound advice on how to get the most out of your practice before and during the sale. Some practice owners might think that they’re running their business as best as they can, but Dental Elite can advise on what purchasers are looking for and how the expenses are examined, which you don’t necessarily appreciate until you come to sell.
After 17 years of developing my practice, it was time for it to be developed further. Having built a great team, it was important to me for the practice to go into the right hands. The many thousands of lovely patients can be assured of being treated by the same staff, but in what will become a more state-of-the-art building with Together Dental.