Are You Forgetting to Include the Dental Spouse Partner In Your Practice Sale?

Are You Forgetting to Include the Dental Spouse Partner In Your Practice Sale?
Posted on 11/05/2021

By Susan A. Spear, Owner/Broker SAS Dental Practice Brokers

I have had the pleasure of working with not only amazing dentist owners and buyers, but their wonderful spouses as well. Many dental spouses hold positions in the dental practice such as assistants, hygienists, or office managers. They may also work behind the scenes as accountants or bookkeepers, marketing managers, payroll processors, retirement account administrators, or the “do it all” person wherever needed! Their critical role cannot be overlooked. The dental spouse, although not always considered the owner of the practice, is a true “Partner.” Spouses play a major role in how the transition will occur.

At SAS Dental Practice Brokers, we know how important it is to work in collaboration with the dentist and spouse to ensure open lines of communication for all principals. It is important to have them on board from the beginning and to engage their services when possible. In the situation of the seller, there is so much confidential information that must be provided to buyers during this time that without the help of the spouse, the owner dentist may struggle to gather it on their own. Often there are software reports with statistical information that are needed for the practice profiling process. The owner dentist may not know how to access these reports without asking a team member. It may seem benign, but just simply asking a team member to provide a report that seems out of the ordinary, etc., can increase the risk of exposing the potential sale before the owner is ready. The dental spouse may be more familiar with the software because he/she may pull reports for their internal processes outside of the daily care environment. The spouse may also have the contacts for accounts payable and direct communication with the accountant, attorney, etc., when needed.

Selling or buying a dental practice is not just about the academics of agreements and processes. There is the subjective side that is emotional and sometimes stressful. Even with the best laid plans, practice transitions take time, constant attention, and patience to reach fruition. Let’s face it, for most sellers, this is a time of ending. They are leaving behind professional commitments, experiences, friendships, and often what they believe to be their personal identity. For buyers, they are crossing a new threshold of independence, addressing new challenges, questioning their abilities, and feeling insecure because of the unknown. The dental spouse is probably the closest person to the seller or buyer than any other advisor. The dental spouse is a sounding board, gleam of wisdom and insight, and an incredible support for the dentist facing a new chapter in his or her life. Without a doubt, the dental spouse is one of the most valuable and wonderful Partners they have on their team!