Info to Ask for When
Buying a Dental Practice
If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking to acquire an existing dental practice, or you’re thinking about purchasing a practice in the future. (Either that or reading about dental marketing is a hobby, which would be weird.) You might be feeling like the list of things to consider for a practice acquisition is rather long and getting longer, but resist the temptation to rush the process or cut corners when doing your due diligence. We’re all too often astonished at the lack of information that buying dentists have about the practices they’ve purchased. We don’t want that to be you! Make your list, do your research, and check everything twice (or more). When buying a dental practice, get the following info to set you up for predictable marketing results and business success:
- What is the current production of the practice and the state of collections? What is the history (3-5 years)?
- How many active patients are there, and how many inactive patients are on record?
- What are the general patient demographics? Pay for your own demographic study of the area.
- What is the current monthly new-patient flow, and what has been the trend (1-3 years)?
- Ask for a breakdown of all current marketing expenditures, for internal and external marketing, and for digital and print initiatives. Get as much data as you can with as much history as you can about KPIs (key performance indicators) for the results of that marketing. Ask about the tracking arrangements for marketing leads (both for call tracking and web form submissions).
- Are there outstanding contracts for dental marketing services and, if so, what will happen to those when the practice owner changes? Are the accounts current or is the practice in marketing debt?
- Who owns the domain for the website, and how do you get access to the current site?
- If the selling doc will be staying on for a period of time, will he or she help pay for any of the transition marketing, particularly a transition letter?
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In addition to asking questions specifically relating to your future practice’s current dental marketing, you should also find out about the office’s marketable attributes. This information includes but certainly isn’t limited to the business hours, treatments offered, the age and state of the equipment and technology, and any history of special offers and other financial accommodations. Find out about the staff and team culture, too. If you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a dental practice, and then that practice is going to become your livelihood and workplace, try to keep in mind that no question is a stupid question. Learn the story of the practice. You’re going to be the next chapter and when you know where you’re starting, it’s a lot easier to figure out how to get where you want to go. Don’t assume that you don’t need to know the state of affairs because you’re going to do a better job than the selling doc. When it comes to your dental practice acquisition, it’s best to not assume anything!LEARN ABOUT MARKETABILITY
Transition Marketing Basics
In terms of immediate dental marketing considerations for a transition practice, start with the basics: a practice name decision and dental logo, a letter to the current patients, and any time-sensitive updates to the practice's dental web design.
If you’re changing the name of your new-to-you dental practice, are you wondering when to rebrand and announce the change? Now is a perfect time to either update the existing logo or have an entirely new dental logo designed, depending on your personal preferences and how much existing brand equity you surmise to be worth holding onto. Reveal the rebrand when you announce the new practice name. That said, “now” is loosely defined here. Exactly when you make your announcement is up to you. Ideally, the logo design will be done in advance so your transition letter can be sent with the logo, and so web updates can be made live the week you start seeing patients. Some dental practice transition advisors suggest waiting 3-6 months while the dust settles, which in some situations is the way to go. There are so many variables that can factor into your decision about timing that you should call us so we can talk through them together! We’re here to help!SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION
A Dental Logo That’s
Right for You
If the existing practice logo of the dental office you’re acquiring is professional-looking and well-known by patients and the community, it may be worth keeping. If that doesn’t describe the logo, or if the design is based on the selling dentist’s name, make the investment in your brand image to a logo that’s right for you!
How long will it take? If you have clear ideas about what you want to see for logo options and can give specific input and productive feedback during the design process, your dental logo could be finalized in a matter of weeks.
Transition Letter Checklist
Think of your dental practice transition letter not as a burdensome obligation, but as an opportunity to introduce yourself to hundreds or even thousands of patients at the same time, to reassure them about the transition and inspire confidence in you, and to invite them to the business that just became yours. These existing patients are a very important asset of the practice investment you’ve made. Don’t leave your transition letter as an afterthought—treat it seriously so it can help protect your investment. Make sure to cover these questions:
- Who is the new dentist/owner? Will the selling dentist be staying on for a time?
- What is the basic transition plan (timing, relevant details, etc.)?
- Will the hours be changing?
- Is the most of the staff staying the same?
- Will the practice’s insurance participation be the same?
We believe that transition letters get noticed more when they come in an envelope with a practice name and return address that patients recognize (as opposed to an envelope with a new practice name and/or new logo). Introduce your new practice name and branding on the inside of the transition letter. Your first goal is to get patients to open the letter, and your second goal is to convince them to come back to the practice to give you the chance to remain their dental provider.
Website Updates to Make Immediately
Farther down on your list, you might have the question, “Should I get a new practice dental web design?” Unless you feel you have the capacity for that during the time leading up to the closing of the practice, you don’t need to worry about that right away. We like to say, “Don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems!” Most dental website updates can be made over time if the existing practice site is worth carrying over to your long-term dental marketing plan. If it’s not, a brand new dental website is a big project and requires more bandwidth that you’ll likely have in the days following your practice acquisition. As you take over an existing practice website, here are some updates that may need to be made immediately:
- Practice name and basic branding (new logo and, if necessary to avoid clashing, new colors)
- Doctor name, photo, and bio
- Updated hours
- Staff changes
- New patient forms
Transition Primavera Package
After you’ve made it through your dental practice transition, meaning the closing is behind you and you’re settled (and hopefully happy) seeing patients, then it’s time to finalize a more comprehensive dental marketing plan for your first year. Dental marketing projects and endeavors that we suggest adding to your transition plan beyond your logo, website, and transition letter include stationery, internal and referral marketing pieces, a banner, and digital marketing, including dental SEO and dental PPC. Our Transition Primavera Package has everything you need!
Allocate sufficient funds from your loan for a viable transition marketing campaign, just as you would when starting up a new practice. Your future self will thank you!