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What To Know If You Plan To Sell In 2024

Your dental practice serves as not only your primary source of income but likely your most valuable asset as well (TUSK Clients sell at an average of 252% of collections. Selling a dental practice is a significant decision that goes beyond a typical real estate transaction. With patients, team members, and your professional reputation at stake, careful planning is essential as you are effectively swapping cash flow (taxed at ordinary income tax rates) from the business for a lump sum payment of many years of cash flow (5-10 years) on which you will only pay long term capital gains at today’s rates.  You only get one chance to sell your business – let’s make sure that you make a well-informed decision.

What is YOUR business worth, TODAY?

It is hard to plan for your exit if you don’t know what your business is worth today.  There is no Zillow.com for dental practices.  As a result, seeking expert advice becomes crucial. TUSK performs hundreds of practice valuations each year to help owners understand the value of their business.  We then provide doctors with a market read of where the value is likely to trend based on previous transactions, current buyer sentiment and general economic trends like cost of capital and private equity activity.  Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently make informed decisions about your sale. Additionally, we assist in making strategic adjustments to maximize your practice’s value before it hits the market.

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Timing Your Sale Wisely

The right time to sell is when you are ready, and the market value meets your needs.  Trying to time the market is fool’s gold because M&A markets, like the stock market, move in cycles.  We have recently seen the greatest rise in practice values in the history of M&A.  This run-up in values was driven by private equity demand and a low interest rate environment. While demand remains strong, increased borrowing costs have made buyers more selective. Like always, we are extremely selective in which practices and groups we work with because we only want to work with owners whose valuation expectations we can meet and beat.  In fact, in 2023 year to date, we have sold practice at an average of 32% over the initial expected valuation range.

The January Issue

A recurring trend in the industry is the rush to close transactions by the end of the year. This rush creates a scarcity of deals in the market at the beginning of January, coinciding with high demand from Dental Service Organizations (DSOs). The basic principles of supply and demand come into play, leading to a surge in prices. Last year, clients of ours who took advantage of this phenomenon were rewarded.  The deals that we took to market in Q1 enjoyed a nice premium over deals that we took to market in Q2.  If you want to take advantage of this in 2024, you need to be working with us today.  We are working with many groups and practice owners prepping them to go to market in January of next year.

 Boogie Man in the Closet

Markets hate uncertainty.  When there is uncertainty in the US economy, CEOs stall decisions, lenders get nervous and capital freezes up.  On November 5, 2024, we will have our 60th Presidential election.  Today, the markets are solid, and capital is flowing. If the polling is close and the Presidency comes down to a few Electoral College votes from swing states at midnight, prepare for a choppy September and October.  There was lots of concern in the last election cycle that Biden was going to increase the long-term capital gains taxes.  Current national debt is over $30 Billion dollars (highest in recorded history and 123% of GDP).  If Democrats keep the White House, you must assume that they will look to more taxes.  Additionally, the lifetime Estate Tax Exemption (currently at $12.9M) is scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2026, and will be cut in half.  This could lead to a glut of business for sale in 2025.  If the supply of businesses for sale exceeds demand from buyers, you will certainly see a precipitous decline in pricing.

Where Do You Start?

In this dynamic environment, it’s essential not to panic but to take proactive steps. TUSK is here to assist you throughout the process. We offer complimentary practice valuations that provide clarity on your current standing. Whether you’re considering a sale in 2024 or exploring options for the future, our team is ready to guide you through the intricacies of the process. Make an informed decision and ensure that your dental practice sale is a success.

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