For those of us in the wonderful over 50 club, thoughts of a practice sale may be dancing in our heads. Depending on where you are these can be good or scary thoughts.

I was having lunch the other day with an owner who is 56 years old. We both agreed that life is not like the way it was for our parents—freedom 55 or retire and stop working at 65. For some of us, these are the thoughts from the past that we are now struggling with. Our own family history and the tantalizing promises of freedom and a stress-free lifestyle found in the ad campaigns from the 90s tells us one thing— but how healthy we feel and our mindset tell us something else. Therefore, my question to him was, “Why can’t you sell but still keep working?” Yes Virginia, there are options for owners after the practice sells.

Is now a good time for you to sell? Definitely. We believe the market has peaked. We have seen a definite change in the dynamics of the market for the last 12 months. Therefore, today, if you are at the best place you can be then selling does make sense. Sell if you are noticing changes in your health, stress levels increasing more than usual, reducing your hours, or worse, showing up a little grumpy to work. These are definite factors that affect your value and as such, cause your value to go down from where it is today. Adding an associate can also bring your value down if the associate treats patients you normally would. Now you have added an expense you did not have before.

If you are still loving your own practice and if you believe you can and will make further improvements then don’t sell. Your value won’t go down and you may have a real opportunity to further increase it.

Deciding to sell your practice can be a difficult and a highly emotional decision to make. After all, you have spent years or even decades building up your practice, you have relationships with staff and patients so the idea of no longer working in this office is extremely difficult. However, after 35 plus years, maybe you are really ready to do something else. There are other opportunities in completely unrelated areas that you may wish to explore.

So I ask again, what will 2019 look like and will it be the year you sell your practice? I hope it is—but only if you have a game plan in place and are emotionally ready. We always advise owners when they are ready to sell to take 100% of their hard earned, well deserved sale price of their practice. Stay on working if that is what you and the buyer want. But don’t have a portion of your sale price tied to a small amount of ownership or performance. Those are very separate issues, and why should they be combined?

On behalf of our entire team here at ROI, I wish you a healthy, and peaceful 2019.

Jackie Joachim

Jackie Joachim

is Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at Jackie.joachim@roicorp.com or 1-888-764-4145.