4/30/2015 | Dental Practices

Considering an exit?

In response to increased demand for dental practices in Scotland, specialist advisors Christie + Co has recently expanded its dental team across its offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Here Paul Graham, Negotiator, Corporate Medical offers advice to practice owners considering an exit strategy.


For practice owners considering an exit strategy, it is encouraging to know that currently demand exceeds supply for dental practices in Scotland. When marketed properly, not only does this create a safety net by having competition to buy, it also ensures the best possible price for your practice is being achieved.

As 2015 draws to a close, it is an appropriate time to consider what your plans are for 2016, a principal owner considering retirement involves much more than just giving up work. You will have worked hard to build and nurture goodwill that you wish to ensure is not only maintained but will flourish further.

Aside from Christie + Co providing a realistic appraisal for your practice, there are a number of aspects in the mix that need to be working coherently in order to ensure a smooth and successful sale.

There are three main buyer profiles: corporates, multiple operators and independent/first time buyers. The current demand from buyers is a major catalyst for activity and each purchaser type has its strengths and weaknesses.

On the dental transactions that Christie + Co are instructed on, we act for the seller and therefore have no conflict of interest when speaking to a wide audience of buyers. This helps ensure a healthy and fair bidding process.

Banks see dentistry as a ‘green light sector’ and are lending heavily in it. Relative to other sectors, such as social care, the dental sector has been very resilient during the recession. Funding is readily available from many high street and specialist lenders.

The allure of all types of dental practices in Scotland continues to attract buyers from across the UK and this is enhanced by the fact that the average value versus turnover for practices in Scotland is still considerably behind that of the English market. Recent reports announcing a new low for dentists’ income will also create drive for the more entrepreneurial associate/buyer looking to take charge of their first practice.

As we head into a more sustained economic recovery, buyers are becoming more confident and overall this is driving activity.