Selling Your Dental Practice– Comparing Brokered and Private Transactions

When it’s time to start planning your practice transition, you want a partner you can trust and a fair market valuation you can feel good about. Historically, many practice owners have turned to brokers to facilitate a practice transition; however more practice owners today are discovering the value of working directly with buyers to find the perfect fit. 

So what’s the difference between working with a broker and going directly with your buyer? In this guide, we’ll explain the pros and cons of each path and how to decide which option is the best for you. 

Do you need a broker to help you find the best buyer? 

Selling your practice can be an overwhelming process, and you may worry you’ll only be able to negotiate a fair market price with an expert advocating on your behalf. 

Brokers can certainly be helpful – especially if you’re looking for a fast transition out of your practice. A brokered deal can also be beneficial for those focused solely on selling their practice to another clinician, as they can help connect you with serious, qualified buyers whose transition timeline matches your own. 

However, because brokers often juggle numerous practice sales at any given time, they can understandably be in a hurry to get each deal closed or distracted by other transactions. But when you try to rush a complex process like selling a dental practice, you are bound to run into some speed bumps along the way. 

What are the benefits of selling directly to a buyer like Apex Dental Partners?

You can keep more of the equity you’ve built. 

Working directly with a buyer means you avoid paying costly brokerage commissions and other related fees, which has a direct impact on the net proceeds of your practice sale. And when it comes to your practice valuation, Apex has an extensive track record of valuing practices at or even above the prevailing market price. Plus, you’ll have the choice to roll over a portion of your equity into the parent entity, meaning your partnership with a group won’t just pay off, it can actually multiply over time.

You have time to build a relationship with your buyer. 

You’ve spent your entire career building relationships with everyone from vendors, to employees and patients. So when it comes time to sell your practice, relationships matter more than ever. 

At Apex, we value Service, Excellence, and Integrity, and we look for Partners who uphold values in alignment with our own— an approach we urge sellers like you to adopt as well. 

We don’t rush our clinicians to sign away their business to the highest bidder. Instead, we encourage you to get to know the buyer’s values and see whether they really are someone you could partner with long-term. 

Do brokers negotiate higher valuations? 

A common reason some dentists look to brokers is for extra negotiating power. If multiple buyers bid against each other, shouldn’t that change the valuation of your practice for the better? If headline price is your singular focus in a transition, then perhaps a brokered process could be the best option for you. However, even then, the decision is more complicated than it might seem.

We advise sellers to remember that the purchase price and net proceeds to the seller can often be very different — there are many other factors to consider. For example, in exchange for matching you with as many potential buyers as possible, brokers typically charge commission fees of 6-10% of the purchase price. This means a million-dollar valuation (many practices are worth even more) could cost you $100K or more — a hefty price tag for those expecting to utilize sale proceeds for retirement planning.

This isn’t to say you should go through the process alone. After all, selling your practice is likely the most significant financial decision you’ll ever make. So shouldn’t you have an expert by your side to guide you along the way? 

For all sellers, but especially for those that feel particularly concerned about neutral guidance through the transition process, we suggest working with an experienced dental attorney. They’ll be able to offer dental-specific advice to ensure your interests are protected.

As you spend time evaluating your options, you’ll learn that buyers like Apex are happy to help you navigate unfamiliar territory at your own pace, with no pressure to make a sale (and no commission fees along the way). 

How does working directly with a buyer like Apex work?

We know the broker process can sometimes feel like speed dating. And while that may work for some practice owners, it’s certainly not for everyone. 

Going direct means your transition happens at a pace that makes sense for your situation. When you work directly with buyers like Apex, there’s no fixed timeline. Instead, we purposely take the process at a slower, more intentional pace to get to know our partners first— a process we believe is vital to a successful, long-term partnership. 

Dentists get to know our model, culture, and philosophy by spending weeks, months, or sometimes years, building relationships with our team. Our experienced team helps provide all the information necessary to make the best decisions for you and your practice every step of the way. 

Never lose sight of your “why.” 

As overwhelming as the ownership transition process may seem, the best person to match you with the right partner isn’t a broker— it’s you. Evaluating your own potential buyers at your own pace empowers you with holistic knowledge so you can feel confident you’re making the best decision for you, your team, and your patients. 

Whether you’re hoping to ease into retirement, accelerate your practice growth, or simply enjoy a better work/life balance without the hassle of practice ownership, you deserve to partner with a buyer who appreciates your journey and goals as a practice owner.

If you’re ready to explore what it would look like to partner with Apex, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reach your ideal transition goals. Together, let’s create a prosperous future for the practice you’ve built— and for you. 

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By choosing the right partner, selling your dental practice can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your professional career. At Apex Dental Partners, we work closely with you every step of the way to ensure you feel comfortable and confident you're making the best decision for your future.