The Probe - Proudly serving the dental profession for over 60 years

A practice sale doesn’t have to be DIY


  Posted by: The Probe      21st October 2019

Dentists are masters at overcoming adversity. When you do all your work upside down, in the dark, in someone else’s mouth, you have to be. It’s not surprising then that one of dentists’ greatest adversities is also one of their most admirable virtues – their independence.

When you’re a dentist, you’re expected to shoulder the weight of everything. You’ve come through years of training. You’re responsible for the oral health of hundreds, if not thousands, of patients. And you’re a business owner. At any given time the world can expect you to be a surgeon, a teacher, a social media expert, a salesman, a minor celebrity and an entire HR department all at once. And I admire that. Because time and time again, I see dentists confronted with these monumental tasks, and you never back down. You step up and you make it work.

But just because you can shoulder those burdens doesn’t mean that you should have to. Your patients don’t come to you for data protection advice, they come for your oral health expertise. You trained to be a dentist, you should be allowed to be a dentist. At least that’s what we believe at Simplyhealth Professionals.

Making it easy

We may not be able to change the regulatory requirements you have to meet, but we can make meeting them a lot easier. Instead of leaving you to fend for yourself, we provide training and guidance on every part of running your practice. That includes social media, GDPR and CPD that’s been quality assured by the BDIA.

It might surprise you to know that all of our quality manuals, business and marketing support services and online webinars are all included as standard as part of your membership with Simplyhealth Professionals.

Our benefits start from day one of your membership. From the beginning of your business, to the day you choose to move on to new things. Our Goodwill Transfer service has helped welcome hundreds of dentists into their new practices. Many of those same dentists have come to us again, to help them say goodbye to their teams and patients.

Buying and selling a practice

Those times, when a dentist starts a new business or moves away from one, are a particular challenge for any dentist’s independence. During a practice sale, dentists are expected to suddenly know everything about an entirely different industry.

For example, if you intend to sell your practice as part of your retirement, the sale will need to be one of the first things you start planning. Especially if you plan to use the capital from that sale to fund your retirement.

To get the best return on your investment, and maximise the value of your practice, you’d be well advised to begin planning 3-5 years ahead of the sale. That piece of information is deceptively simple, because within those years of planning there are a wealth of concerns to unpack. Maximising your practice value can mean changing your practice procedures, the layout of your practice space and, of course, your payment plan offerings.

Then, speaking of payment plans, towards the end of this 3-5 year journey, you will have to begin the process of transferring any payment plan lists to your buyer. For a Denplan patient list, all you need to do is ask us about our Goodwill Transfer service. Transferring all of the Denplan contracts at your practice to your buyer just needs two forms, a letter, and one month’s notice period. The service is simple, confidential, and probably the easiest part of any sale.

The other side of the coin is a similar picture. Buying a practice is the first step in a process intended to build a business that will be profitable for years to come. The planning that goes into something like that can often leave you feeling like you should have become a sociologist, not a dentist. The social and economic factors of the area you’re buying in to can have a profound effect on your business’ success. For example, if you’re looking to buy a practice to build a top-end, private-only practice, buying premises in an area of social and economic deprivation is going to be a hard start. Likewise, if your new business will rely on NHS contracts as a primary income source, you’ll need to avoid areas that are already saturated with NHS practices.

Buying and selling a practice is so full of potential pitfalls for dentists we’ve created a range of resources to support anyone going through the process.

Even if you’re not a member with Simplyhealth Professionals you can visit for information on:

• Due Diligence

• Maximising your practice value

• Planning for retirement

• Communicating with your team

• Communication with patients

And if you’re already a member, you get access to even more, including:

• A dedicated Business Development Consultant

• Free online webinars

• Our Professional Support Services

• Our patient mailing services

• Financial and demographic reports of the practice area

Practice sales are just one of the pressures put on dentists though, and they’re not the only thing we’re making easier at Simplyhealth Professionals. If you feel like you’re on your own, visit as we just might be able to help.

If you’re planning to buy or sell a practice with Denplan patients, speak to your Business Development Consultant, or call our Goodwill Transfer Team on 0800 169 7660.

About the author

Sandy Brown is Director of Dentists for Simplyhealth Professionals

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