Frequently Asked Questions

Buyer FAQ

What does PracticeLister do to help with buying or starting a private practice?

PracticeLister provides a 1-stop-shop to review all practices available for sale nationwide. Comparing practices for sale has never been so easy.

With greater access to information and the ability to objectively compare practices, buyers are equipped with knowledge and can be more confident in their purchase decisions.

We offer objective information to make informed purchasing decisions based on the current marketplace. Our guides and resources are designed to help Buyers feel confident in their decisions.

Buyers can trust vetted resources and seasoned experts using our tools. Connecting with industry-leading CPAs and Attorneys can make the purchasing process smooth and painless.

How long does it take to start a private practice?

Buying a private practice from an existing owner can take anywhere from 2-18 months.

Starting a private practice from scratch generally takes between 6-24 months.

How do I know if opening a private practice is right for me?

Answering these questions for yourself can help assess your readiness:

  1. Personal evaluation – Are you ready to manage and lead a team in addition to performing clinical duties?
  2. Professional evaluation – Can you perform the necessary procedures to run a private practice profitably?
  3. Financial evaluation – Do you have the operating funds and necessary loans in place?

Can owning a private practice really help me if I feel burned out with Dentistry?

Running your own practice can help with burnout if done correctly. You are in control of who you serve and how you serve them. With careful planning consideration, you can opt out of completing work that is not fulfilling.

Is it difficult to start your own private practice?

In a word: yes. Starting your own private practice takes considerable time and effort. With dedication to learning sound business fundamentals, most dentists find that they are entirely capable of ownership.

Steps involved include determining the goal of ownership, setting priorities, finding a team to help you get established.

If buying an existing practice many systems will already be in place. If starting a new practice, you will need to make hundreds, if not thousands of decisions big and small.

What does ongoing support look like once my practice is open?

You will typically need to form a team around you for your practice support. Assembling a team of experts early will save you time and money. Key experts to partner with include:

  1. CPA – An Accountant that specializes in dentistry is especially helpful
  2. Payroll—Outsourcing payroll to an expert supplies’ protection and time savings
  3. Insurances:
    1. General Liability – For the office
    2. Malpractice – For the provider
    3. Workers Comp – For the office
    4. Health Insurance – If offered
    5. Disability – If offered
    6. Life Insurance – Banks issuing loans often require life insurance.
  4. Dental Laboratories
  5. Specialists – Marketing or referral generation team
  6. Dental office repair specialist for chair/handpiece/X-ray repairs
  7. X-ray annual inspector

How much does it cost to start a private dental practice?

This depends widely based on the size and location of the office. Many new or start-up private practices cost from $500,000-$3M+ to build. Office size, equipment, location, and finishes are important variables to consider

How long does it take to pay back a practice loan?

Most dental office loans are on a 7–10-year repayment schedule

How can I fund the purchase or building of a new office?

There are multiple ways to get private practice funding. SBA Loans can be an option for some new owners. Private banks also offer dental-specific loans. Common providers include: Provide, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Live Oak, First Citizens, US Bank, 1st Med Financial, and BMO.

Meet with a minimum of 3 lenders to understand their application, requirements, and lending terms.

How can I create a group practice?

Creating a group practice involves building a repeatable, profitable system for office growth and expansion. Once a system is proven in one location, an owner can buy a similar location and implement the existing systems for success.

How long will it take before my practice becomes profitable?

Figuring out your “break-even” point comes from understanding your underlying metrics. This includes key performance indicators such as your new patient flow, value per new patient, and total monthly overhead.

Dental Practice consultants can help owners evaluate metrics such as total overhead, savings opportunities, patient flow, average treatment plan value, and more to provide more specific break-even estimations. With an understanding of typical office performance, consultants can help owners focus on the most important priorities that will produce the greatest return on time and money invested.

Why is the seller selling?

Understanding the seller’s motives can help buyers make an offer that meets the seller’s most important needs. For example, one seller that must move out of state urgently will prioritize a fast-moving contract while another seller may put a greater emphasis on total purchase price.

There are many reasons an owner might look to sell a practice. Some of the most common reasons include:

  1. Retirement – The seller is ready to stop working or work on a significantly reduced schedule
  2. Burn out – The seller does not want the responsibility of running an office
  3. Relocation – The seller desires to move to another city or state
  4. Cutting Losses – The seller has an unprofitable office and can no longer sustain its losses
  5. Equity capture – Seller has built or grown the office and desires to capture equity to move into another investment

How long of a transition is the Seller willing to offer post-sale?

  1. Post sale transitions vary in length and are negotiable
  2. Some sellers desire quicker transitions while others are interested in staying in the practice part- or full-time
  3. Consider these factors as you negotiate the transition period:
    1. Fast Transition:
      1. Pros – Office is quickly under new owner guidance and there is less opportunity for leadership conflict.
      2. Cons – Can result in a higher turnover of staff and patients if not handled carefully. If Practice depends on referrals, new patient flow might be compromised.
    2. Slow Transition:
      1. Pros – Time to allow for “mentorship” of newer doctor to office culture and patient integration (resulting in less patient loss at transition).
      2. Cons – Often more time for conflict between incoming/leaving Doctor and issues with office team/staff.

What is the insurance mix of the practice (commercial, Medicare, Medicaid, self-pay)?

Every office is unique in their insurance mix. Most patient management software systems offer simple dashboards or tables for quick evaluation.

How many active patients are in the practice?

The active patient base reveals a great deal about the practice’s overall health and success. Many software programs will calculate the “total patients in the system” as “active patients”. A more exact reflection of the active patient base can be obtained by calculating the number of patients seen in the last 24 or the last 36 months.

Is the Seller willing to share in the Buyer’s risk?

There are creative deals to be made for both buyers and sellers to share risk.  For example, “bonus clauses” can offer win-win situations for both buyer and seller. With this type of structure, the price of the practice is adjusted based on post-sale success. The seller has an incentive to fully support the new owner because the new owner’s success results in a higher sales price. Conversely, if the seller does not set up the new owner for success, s/he will receive a lower selling price.

What are the gross collections and seller’s discretionary earnings during the past three years?

Gross collections reflect the total amount of money the practice made during the year.

Seller discretionary earnings (SDE) is a term that represents the total compensation for an owner-operator. The owner-operator is paid for his/her individual labor (dentistry) and for the management and leadership of the practice. This figure includes clinical compensation and EBITDA or leftover profits together into one number

Example: The owner of this office makes $200k/year for clinical work and $150k/year to manage the business. In this example, SDE = $350K per year as an owner-operator

What assets are included in the sale?

Assets are negotiable. Consider some of the asset types listed below.

Equipment is almost always included unless it is rented or broken.

Working capital is typically only included from the bank during loan processing.

Real estate can either be included or excluded. If the seller does not own the real estate, buyers should fully understand the lease terms and whether the existing lease may be delegated to the new owner.

Accounts receivables are negotiated. Clarity on AR can help buyers avoid cash flow challenges early in ownership. There are a few common options for AR agreements:

  1. AR can be purchased
  2. AR can be assigned based on FIFO (first in, first out) or LIFO (last in, last out)
  3. Working with a qualified Attorney or Practice Consultant can help if you have questions or concerns about AR negotiations

What employment contracts are currently in place? Will the staff stay with the new owner?

Most employment is “At Will.” This means that employees have the right to leave for any reason. Employees may want to continue to work for the office post-sale    or leave. Clear communication around expectations is critical to success.

New owners should understand existing employees’ rates of pay, working                          conditions and schedules, and any expectations on other benefits.

Assessing the skill and character of each staff member individually is important for the new owner’s success. If staff are kept, it is important to lead alignment to the new owner’s vision. When buying a practice with a highly skilled and engaged workforce, many new owners find the greatest success making changes very gradually and with staff input.

Meeting the employees before the purchase is completed can help buyers feel more comfortable with their purchase. An early introduction is a wonderful opportunity to build trust and rapport with the employees.

What restrictive covenants will the buyer receive from the seller?

Restrictive covenants are important to protect your purchase of “good will”. The goal is to keep as many patients post-sale as possible.

Understand the difference between “non-compete” and “non-solicitation”.

Enforcement of restrictive covenants varies from state to state.

Covenants range in duration and radius. In more rural areas, covenants have larger radiuses (meaning the exiting owner cannot practice/solicit in a wider area). Urban areas that are very densely populated have much smaller radiuses,  as the number of potential patients (and thus opportunity) in each square mile is greater.

What areas do you serve?

PracticeLister serves the entire United States. In sharing valuable information and transparency on the market, we hope to remove friction from the process of buying and selling Practices.

us. In more rural areas, covenants have larger radiuses (meaning the exiting owner cannot practice/solicit in a wider area). Urban areas that are very densely populated have much smaller radiuses,  as the number of potential patients (and thus opportunity) in each square mile is greater.

I have more questions. What is the best way to contact you?

Our Team can be reached at

There’s a real person on the other end. We read every single email and we care that you have an amazing experience with us. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions.

Seller FAQ

Why should I use PracticeLister?

PracticeLister is the first and only nationwide online marketplace for dental practices. By listing on PracticeLister, you will generate greater interest and demand for your practice.

How will I exit the dental practice?

Planning an exit from a dental practice simply involves a proper plan, timeline, and communication with important parties involved. Advisors can guide you through many of the most essential elements. Sellers seek guidance from trusted attorneys, CPAs, and Practice Brokers. It is typically appropriate to let your office team know once a deal has been signed and how the process will be handled.

Who will buy my Practice?

Typical buyer profiles include individual Dentists, smaller group practice owners, and larger DSOs. Developing a clear outline of your priorities (timeline, price, legacy for example) will help you target the perfect buyer for your practice.

Why is vetting the buyer of my Practice important?

A great buyer will carry on the legacy you have worked to build and can even enhance the service provided to both employees and patients.

If you intend to stay with the Practice post-sale, even for only a brief period of time, your time will be much more enjoyable if you align with the new owner. You can avoid disputes on topics like AR or treatment planning by clearly communicating with the new owner.

You can even structure your sale so you benefit from the growth of the practice post-sale. By selling to a doctor capable of growing the practice, you might be able to demand a higher sales price.

How does my Practice compare to competing offices?

Since reporting on business sales for non-publicly traded companies is private it can be challenging to understand how your practice compares to others. Consulting an experience Practice Broker can share more insight for comparison.

We recommend viewing other practices currently for sale near your office to develop an understanding of what is realistic in your area.
You can also learn a lot about other practices by researching their patient reviews (both number and quality) and marketing efforts.

What will I include in the sale of my practice?

  1. Lease agreement or rights
  2. The good-will of the practice and patients
  3. The staff/team
  4. Office equipment
  5. Potentially Accounts Receivable
  6. Potentially real estate

What is my practice worth?

Practice values vary by area, and everything in a fair market is worth what someone will pay for it.

Broadly speaking, updated practices with strong marketing and patient care command the highest prices.

General Rule of Thumb: Practice prices typically range from 70%-120% of annual collections

What is a dental broker?

A dental broker is a trained agent familiar with the dental practice market in your area. They supply organization, expertise, and guidance on selling your practice.

In connecting with a network of potential buyers, they can help provide greater visibility and demand for your practice

They will help counsel you on the worth of your office in the current market. They can offer a more objective evaluation based on market trends and demand.

They will help with the legal process of transitioning the legal entities to the new owner and organizing payment of funds.

How can I maximize my Practice’s selling price?

Consider your perspective buyer’s point of view. Will the average buyer place a premium on the brand new, top of line chairs you just purchased? If you are very close to exit, it is generally not advisable to make large capital investments. On the other hand, if something smaller like paint is very outdated, a small refresh will give buyers more confidence that the practice is well-maintained and turnkey.

Maintaining marketing efforts is an excellent way to ensure you sell for a great price. It is tempting for experienced owners, generally busy with existing clients, to reduce marketing spend. Buyers will want to see strong new patient flow (generally a 3-year lookback) and will pay a premium for offices with a consistently growing new patient base.

What areas do you service?

PracticeLister serves the entire United States. In sharing valuable information and transparency on the market, we hope to remove friction from the process of buying and selling Practices.

I have more questions. What is the best way to contact you?

Our Team can be reached at:

There’s a real person on the other end and we care that you have an amazing experience on our website. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions.