The vision care or optometry business can be quite profitable. People need eye care all the time, and you can always expect patients at your practice throughout the year. Depending on how well-managed your practice is, and how much effort you put into customer satisfaction, you should be able to retain most of your patients, and profit from them.
While lucrative, it’s understandable that not everyone can go on forever with their business. Optometrists too need to retire to give themselves a well-deserved break from their careers. They make the transition from doctor to the patient as they put their business up for sale. The question is, how can they do so? What are some of the major points that optometrists should know about as they make that transition? That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Find a Good Reason and Time to Sell
Doctors think of selling their practices for many reasons. In most cases, it’s because they’re failing to profit from the business. Apart from that, there’s also a possibility that they’re moving on or starting over again.
As you’re transitioning from doctor to patient, one can assume that you’re stepping into retirement. That’s a pretty valid reason for selling your optometry practice.
You do not have to worry much about dividends and such if you are running a solo practice. However, for a group practice, you should have your colleagues or business partners buy you out, starting years in advance.
That means if you’re planning to call it quits in 2021, they should start buying you out sometime around 2016-17. And right before you retire, they’ll be making the final payments. This has to start so early on since the selling process can get complicated and time-consuming.
Ideally, the best time for selling your practice is when it has a high market value, and a buyer willing enough to take it off of your hands. Optometrists looking to sell their practices usually reach out to multiple interested parties over a year or so to decide on a potential buyer.
Understand the Timeline
Many people try selling their optometry practice at the last moment. They hardly take any sort of preparation for the sale, and somehow try to put everything together at the last minute. That, however, is not how optometry practice sales are done.
An optometrist will need at least three to five years to get their practice ready for sale. Ideally, you’ll need around three years to organize all your financials and present them before the bank. Then comes the appraisal period, which can take a few weeks to a month. After that, you can start looking for an interested buyer. So in total, you are looking at least three to five years’ worth of work for selling your practice.
The timeline might be pushed back due to a few reasons, but you don’t have to worry about those as long as you are fully prepared on your end.
EENT docs – eye, ear, nose, and throat doctors – who run specialized practices often feel the need to close their chambers. It’s not usually the workload that bothers them, but the ultimate thought of bringing their business to a close, and enjoying a happy retired life. And since they run specialized practices, they expect to make more profit than what one would get from selling a generalized practice.
It’s not uncommon for optometrists to stay in business until they themselves need an optometrist! If you’re ready to retire, and you’re thinking about selling your optometry practice, PECAA has provided a selling guide of sorts to help instill confidence in yourself and the process.
Many doctors do not plan ahead for the sale, which is why they can’t find a good deal on time and often have to sell their practice at a much lower price. However, with early preparations, not only do they get to organize all their paperwork on time, but they can also talk to multiple buyers, and take their time on the final decisions.
Appraisals and Brokers
A single-location practice appraisal can cost around $2,000-$4,000. It should be done after you have completed the valuation of your practice, preferably by a broker. Otherwise, the appraiser may settle the matter by putting an unrealistic value on the practice. The whole process can take a month or two at most, however, you might experience some delays at times due to which it can take a few months.
Brokers can make your life a lot easier when selling the practice. As you’re leaving your professional life behind, you’d want to cherish these last few months or years as an optometrist. So why waste time looking for buyers and managing paperwork when your broker can do it for you?
That’s all for this article. Focus on the aforementioned points while selling your optometry practice, and you can get a good deal on it and enjoy a happy life afterward as a retired optometrist.