Selling a Fee for Service Practice

Before the 2008 recession, Dentists strived to have a fee-for-service practice.  Just think about it, no write-offs for insurance, patients paid when treatment was completed and there were no headaches dealing with insurance companies. The most interaction with the insurance companies was when you submitted the insurance form for your patients.  The patient was responsible for the full payment to your practice and then they were reimbursed by the insurance company.

Oh, those were the days!!

And then everything changed.  When the recession hit, albeit dental practices were not really affected until late 2009, dentists jumped on the insurance bandwagon. It was believed that the only way to survive was to start taking insurance.  And for many practices, that was true. However, many practices stayed the course and were successful.

Today, thirteen years later, the same Dentists who had a fee-for-service practice are now ready to transition out of practice, and buyers are hesitant to buy them.  Why??? Buyers feel that the only reason patients are going to that practice is because of the current Dentist, and if they are no longer there, the patients will leave for an insurance-based practice.  While that may be true to some extent, if the buyer and the seller have a strong transition plan in place, patients will stay.  They are familiar with the practice and the staff that is staying with the practice.  The key element is for the new Dentist to build the value for remaining with that practice.  It is critical for them to show patients that they will be receiving the same level of care and that the excellent treatment they will be receiving far outweighs the value of insurance coverage. 

It is incumbent upon the new Dentist and the staff to build the value and expertise of the new Dentist.  The buyer will need to market themselves and build the same trust that the patients had with the previous owner.  Patients like to go where they are familiar with the practice and the staff. Fee-for-service is still a great way to practice and many dentists wish they had remained that way 13 years ago.  Go for it!!