Owning a dental practice is, for many dentists, the culmination of their professional ambition. If you decide on practice ownership, achieving your goal will require a considerable amount of work.
You will need professional help to ensure that you know what to do and when; many aspects require careful planning, and timing can be crucial. Being aware of what lies ahead can help with planning and managing expectations, especially with timescales – it is likely to take longer than you think.
Having an idea of the type of practice that you want and how would you like it to develop will allow you to focus your search. Be realistic and think ahead – if you buy an NHS practice with many fee-exempt patients, a future dream of going private may be difficult. Undertake careful market research before deciding to buy or buy into a practice and consider the location, the premises, the equipment, the dental team, the patients and its financial performance.
Key learning points
This advice provides an overview of the process and where professional advice is needed. It will help you to:
- Consider your options for practice ownership – buying an established practice or joining an existing partnership
- Identify the information you need – about your ideal location, the practice premises and whether they are freehold or leasehold
- Understand the due diligence process and its role in helping you find the right practice for you
- Identify factors affecting the value of goodwill
- Comply with relevant NHS requirements and registration requirements of the relevant regulatory bodies
- Your TUPE obligations towards the seller’s employees.