Colin Brodie recently sold his practice in Colchester through Dental Elite to a corporate body. Here, he details his experience of the transaction from beginning to end, including his decision to pull out of a previous sale.
How would you describe the service from your representative?
“Luke Moore was excellent – he always kept me up to date with the latest events and was very good at keeping in contact throughout the process.”
What happened in your first attempt?
“When I first put the practice on the market, I hadn’t given much thought about staying on. After the heads of terms were signed, however, and it was agreed that I would stay on for two years, I realised that I didn’t want to work for anybody – after all, I had been a practice owner and principal for over 30 years. For that reason, I aborted the sale.
“After coming to this realisation, I spent six months reducing my clinical workload and transferring my patients to one of my associates. Thus, when it came to selling I no longer had a presence in the practice other than my involvement as practice owner. This has meant that I haven’t had to stay on in the practice. My only connection now is that I still own the freehold, which the new owner rents from me.”
How did you find the bidding process?
“Unlike the first attempt where the practice was put on the general market with an open bidding process, the second sale was a lot more low-key. The only potential buyers that knew about the sale were five of Dental Elite’s clients, which were handpicked by Luke Moore. I think I could have got more if I put it out to the open market but I secured the asking price and I got to approach it in the way that I wanted to, so overall I am very happy.”
How quickly did you accept an offer?
“To begin with the buyer offered below asking price, which I declined, but when they came back with an offer that matched the valuation, I accepted it straightaway.”
What was the most challenging part of the sale?
“For me, it was the due diligence, not for any other reason than the sheer volume of information that was required and the amount of work that went in to it. On occasion I did also have to resend information to the buyer’s representatives, which was frustrating, but apart from those two things everything went relatively swimmingly. If you are looking to sell, I would suggest making a start on collecting the relevant documents. If you aren’t sure what’s required, your agent will be able to provide you with a list of all the necessary paperwork that will be required.”
What advice would you give to future sellers?
“My best piece of advice to future vendors would be to enter your sale with a strategy and an idea of how you would like to approach the transaction. That way you can make sure that you utilise the right team that can help you to achieve your aims. I would also say, make sure that the agency you choose to work with is fully aware of your intentions – after all, unless everyone is working on the same page, you wont be able to pull off your master plan.”
Why did you choose Dental Elite?
“I first became acquainted with Luke when I saw him present a lecture at a BDA conference three years prior to selling my practice. Having valuated my practice three years in a row for free, I decided to utilise their services when I finally decided to sell.”
How long did the process take?
“Between the first and second sale there was a gap of 18 months, but in regard to the actual timescale of the transaction, it only took two and a half to three months to complete – it was very quick. Although in part this was due to good organisation, the main factor was that the practice was incorporated in 2006, which meant there were no restrictions in my contract about who I could sell to and I was able to do a straight transfer of shares.”
When did you tell your staff?
“I made the decision not to tell staff until after the deal had been agreed, as I didn’t want to create uncertainty – and because the bidding process was very low-key and select the second time round, I was able to keep the sale under wraps without associates finding out. In the first sale that wasn’t the case and staff managed to find out, which wasn’t ideal.”
Would you recommend Dental Elite?
“I would definitely recommend to other vendors.”