Buying a Practice? Looking for an Associate?

I hear about both of these from clients on a weekly basis.

Here’s my position on both of those:

On Buying a Practice…

First, why are you buying one and not creating one from scratch? My friend just finished up his 3rd office. I’ll give you the rundown on each. He has a partner in two of them and he owns one on his own. The one he owns by himself is just now getting cranked up. He has a doctor in place and 2 ops are equipped. He is getting the software, hardware, etc. ready, too. And of course, getting staff lined up. All total, he will have about $125,000 to $130,000 invested. He will also be spending $2500 per mnth in marketing for the next 12 months. That’s another $30,000. For less than $200,000, he will have a booming practice. WHY would you spend $250,000 OR MORE on someone else’s problems? Why not put up an office near the guy who is selling out and just spend your $ to market to attract HIS/HER old patients? They’re gonna go somewhere. And, as you may have found, 50% or so of the pts in the practice you would buy usually LEAVE. Nice if you can pay the seller based on how many remain after a year, but I doubt it. I could write for a few more pages on this, but maybe the gist is here?

On Looking for an Associate…

Start 1 year before you are ready. It could very well end up taking a year or more to find the right person.

Some docs think that they should look for an associate AFTER their practice gets heated up. Problem is, you create the demand and where do you put the pts? Why not STAFF up for it and THEN create the demand? Knowing what I know about marketing, getting pts in the door is the least of the concerns. Finding a good doc is the hard part.

Again, let me know if I’m really off base here. You’ll soon see the project of generating patients as just another dental procedure. Not difficult, but necessary. And, you can utilize systems.

Like Harvey McKay said, “Dig your well before you are thirsty.” I guess that could go for NPs, too, but again, that’s about marketing, as is getting a doc in to associate, but THAT project is much more difficult in my book and from my experience than generating new patients.

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