Peter James recently sold a dental practice with the support of Dental Elite, and here discusses the main challenges he faced.
Which consultant at Dental Elite did you work with?
I worked with Alanna Harrison who I thought was good, knowledgeable and helpful, and generally easy to contact. She made sure to keep me updated as soon as there was anything new to report during the transaction.
How did you find the agent buffer between solicitors, buyer and seller?
I was very happy with Dental Elite’s involvement in this practice sale. I found the buyer’s solicitors to be far too nit picking and therefore the due diligence process became long winded and quite repetitive at times. As such, we both ended up with hefty legal fees – the buyer’s was much higher than originally thought, particularly as a previous prospective buyer had already gone some way down the due diligence process with the same solicitor in 2017. I think that Dental Elite agents could do little about this, but I would suggest that other vendors make careful selection of their solicitors and ensure that they have firm quotes.
How was the CQC changeover process?
I realise that the process is intended to protect the public, but it can make a practice sale feel like a plot for a Kafka novel. Helen Craine from Dental Elite, who deals with the CQC, was fantastic throughout, even when I was starting to reach boiling point.
Would you have any advice for other dentists?
This is a difficult question to answer. I sold a specialist practice a couple of years ago (which took ages due to NHS objections regarding the transfer of PDS contracts) with strict instructions to solicitors to avoid as much of the due diligence that took forever in this most recent sale. That saved a lot of time and money, so I think it’s important to streamline the process wherever you can.
It would be an idea to have a comprehensive due diligence package ready to pass to a prospective buyer’s solicitors as soon as an offer is accepted.
The other headache – CQC – is an unavoidable, if incredibly frustrating, part of the process.
Generally, I would advise to allow plenty of time from deciding to sell until completion – surgical removal of any sense of urgency early in the process may help to avoid frustrations.