Slowing down your career later in life is a major decision. Most optometrists truly love their profession and continue to practice well into their 70s and often 80s.

But why? Is it because they cannot afford to retire… or is it that they simply do not have the proper exit strategy? 

Many often choose to hire an associate in an attempt to reduce their hours. Another option is to sell the practice and either continue working PT in the practice or just simply retire completely.

Many practitioners/practice owners decide to cut back their hours without bringing in an associate optometrist, simply resulting in an annual revenue decline, not a desired outcome for anyone!

One of the biggest challenges for an owner is finding a buyer for a practice, as well as determining a price, and then negotiating and getting that price from the buyer once found. Here are some tips to help navigate the process:

1.Knowing your goals.

• Do you want to work at all for the new owner and slowly phase out from working in your practice, or do you want to break ties immediately once the sale is complete?

• If you own your building, do you want to sell it at the time of the practice sale or maintain ownership for the rental income from the purchaser of the practice?

• How much do you want to get vs. what you need so you can afford to retire? 

2. Knowing your timeline.

The sale of a practice can take up to a year – or even longer to complete! Depending on your location, the state of the market and economy, buyers motivation can change quickly and their urgency to make an offer for a practice changes often. 

3. Typically, the most recent 3 years of performance matter most. 

Most appraisals look at the trailing three year period for financial statements and tax returns. Checking to see if your practice is showing growing, declining, or maintaining sales at the same levels. Practice buyers are looking to see gross receipts moving higher year after year.

4. Pretend to be a patient. 

When selling a home, often times the real estate agent will stage your home. You want to create the same effect for your practice. You want it to look appealing and show well when prospective buyers visit. It should look clean and well taken care of. Take the necessary steps to update the office to make it look as good as possible and update any decor or furniture that needs to be cleaned or replaced.

5. Selling on your own vs using a broker. 

Can you handle the process on your own? Are you the primary doctor seeing patients in your practice? If so it can be very challenging to manage communication with prospective buyers and bankers if you’re handling the sale transaction and patients at the same time.

With today’s technology and the use of the internet, everything is at your fingertips and easier than ever before. For those looking to sell their practice, one of the best places to list your practice for sale is the Job Board Network on their practices for sale section.

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