NOVEMBER 23, 2022 (35-MINUTE READ)

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Rich Andrus:

Whether it's a lease or a buy, first thing I'd say is you didn't go to school, do all this schooling to put yourself in an opportunity to not be a practice owner. And so make a decision. Both paths create massive opportunities, but it requires your decision.

Corey Brown:

I'm Corey Brown and this is Provide's The Path to Owning It Podcast where I sit down with trusted industry experts in Provide's network to give you the tools and advice you need to take your practice ownership dreams into your own hands. From owning your own practice, to expanding or improving in existing practice, we'll help pave the way for you to achieve your dental or veterinary career dreams and guide you through all the nuances of the practice ownership journey. Please make sure to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you listen.

Do you dream of practice ownership, but aren't sure if you should start or acquire a practice? Then this week's show is for you. I'm speaking to David Haynes, Mark Haslip, and Rich Andrus from the Menlo Group, the largest commercial real estate broker and space finder in the state of Arizona. Our guests have vast experience in all aspects of what it takes to start or acquire practice. From lending and equipping a practice, to finding an office, and negotiating your offer, our guests know what it takes to make the practice of your dreams a reality.

Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. We're very excited to have you. Mark, let's kick it off with you. When an aspiring owner asks you if they should acquire practice or start one of their own, what do you tell them?

Mark Haslip:

So look, I love the question. Here's a couple of thoughts. Number one, this is a question that we get asked almost on a daily basis. Especially in today's world, it could be maybe a little bit confusing as to which direction do you go, and so one of the things that I love about our group in particular is that we're a little bit uniquely positioned to handle both of those questions or directional paths regardless of which direction someone goes, whether it's acquiring a practice or doing a scratch start. So one of the initial starters that I always will just in transparency and clarity provide to a potential new doc or a new buyer is regardless of which direction you end up going, A, we can help you, but, B, I want you to know that you're going to get the same advice that I would give you as if you were my brother, my sister, my mom, or dad.

So we just begin by having a little clarity and then saying there are pros and cons to each because there isn't really a one size fit all answer to this particular question. It could go in a myriad of directions. So acquiring a practice. Pros are instant cash flow, you've got theoretically a business that's already up and functioning and the flywheels turning, the engines running, so to speak, so you just have to, in air quotes here, kind of theoretically plug yourself in and keep it going, right? Now, the cons are a little bit of when you get into practice ownership, you've only got some transparency into a few things from the outside looking in, all the way through the close of escrow of the purchase of this practice. And inevitably, because you're dealing with real world scenarios and human beings, you get into this practice only to discover there's always going to be a few kind of skeletons in the closet, so to speak.

And we all know it's going to happen, we just don't know the depth and breadth of that until we are sitting in the owner's seat and in the office on day one. So once we get there, we start to figure out, "Okay, here's some things that we're going to deal with," and oftentimes it's just a little bit of the existing owner that is the seller, or the past owner I should say, has gotten very comfortable in their seat of ownership, and that typically translates into the last 10 years they've been on autopilot. And so they've just allowed themselves to ignore things that a new owner would be glaringly obvious and want to address. So depending on what those are... And oftentimes, like I said, you just don't know what they are until you're sitting in that owner's seat. The theory of having instant cash flow is great and the unknown is the drawback. What is it that I'm not saying? What is it that I don't know?

Then when it comes to real estate, the pros are essentially you get a chance to do everything from a clean slate, whatever it is you want, policies, procedures, location, direction, hiring of staff. Your name and thumbprint is intimately involved in every aspect of this new start. So in some ways, that's great. You get to put your thumbprint on everything. And for others, they just don't simply want or necessarily desire the ability to do that. They would rather just not go through the headache or the hassle. They would rather just kind of take over and manage an ongoing situation. Now, the good news is we're talking about an industry that has an incredibly high success rate. I'm not aware of any other industry in our country or in the world, so to speak, that has a higher rate of success than the field of dentistry. So we've got that going for us, but there's definitely some ways to address what they envision as far as what they're going to encounter as they enter into practice ownership for the rest of their career and what that's going to look like.

So I think once the conversation starts to flow, what happens is everyone kind of naturally will self-identify which direction fits them the best.

Corey Brown:

Yeah, that's fantastic advice. Thank you for sharing. David, I know with your lending experience, let me ask you, when should a healthcare provider start talking to a lender regardless of if they're looking to acquire or start from scratch?

David Haynes:

Sooner rather than later. This is something where we have conversations with a lot of people, lots of prospects and buyers, and we love that. The first thing that I hear on the phone from a buyer candidate is, "Oh, I've been pre-approved," and then my question is, "What does that really mean? Is that just a verbal preapproval? Is that a more formal situation? And then how well does that lender really know you?" So my advice to buyers get involved with a lender early, have the discussion, but also in addition to that, stay in touch with them. We've had multiple experiences recently, and I heard about one last night, where they were in touch with a lender, they had kind of checked the pre-approval box, but then went off and made some decisions, adding debt to their situation, upgrading their house, putting the pool in, buying a nice car, those things like that. All fine things, but it's important to...

As far as initial timing, yes, get in touch early and then stay in touch as you make those life decisions because those things absolutely have an impact on a deal. They have an impact on the type of terms that you get, the rates that you receive. So 100%, get in touch early and then stay in touch throughout the process. As fun as it sounds, you don't want to let a Tesla get in the way of your practice ownership, right? Just pause a little bit sometimes. You don't necessarily have to live like you were in dental school, but take the advice of the lender.

Corey Brown:

Absolutely. Now, you mentioned rates. How can rising interest rates affect healthcare providers' ability to start or buy their practice?

David Haynes:

It definitely has an impact, but this is a big exception here within the space, and this kind of goes back to Mark's point earlier. Dentists get preferred programs. Dentists have some of the best lending available to them probably more so than any other group. So yes, rates are going to increase for dentists just like they do everywhere else, but usually the impact is a little bit softer within this business, especially within practice acquisition. And the terms are shorter. So just the fact that rates are increasing should not deter somebody from buying a practice. A, you'll have an opportunity to refinance down the road if you really have to, but, B, if you sit down and actually calculate the difference in interest that you pay, people freak out about a half point increase or even a one point increase. In their mind, they want the best deal that's out there.

And the reality is when you do the math on a typical deal, a change in rates or the change in rates that we've seen is not as impactful as you might think. Yes, it is more money, yes, it does impact affordability, but it's not the same because we're talking in most cases a 10 year amortization, a 10-year repayment period. Because it's such a short repayment period, that interest isn't quite as front-loaded as you experience on your 30 year mortgage. A 30-year mortgage, and there's a 1% move in rates on a million-dollar home, it's a huge impact. It reduces affordability by a dramatic amount. The change that we've seen in rates thus far, in my opinion, shouldn't deter anybody from pursuing a practice. Now if we get up much, much higher than where we are today, that could definitely start to have an impact, but the biggest things that you and I don't know... we don't know what's going to happen to rates going forward.

Rates are something that they're controlled and driven by the market. So if you want to be the rate genie and predict what's going to happen in the next 12 to 24 months and try and time the market, you're probably going to be out of luck, and you would've been better off biting the bullet, taking a higher rate than what the guy got last year on a similar practice, and you're going to make that up over time. So I don't personally think that today's environment, yes, it has an impact. That's for folks that are really on the fringe. If you're borrowing the max that you can possibly borrow, and you're living on the edge of your budget, then it can affect affordability for the most part. It's not affecting affordability to a large extent yet. And hopefully rates stay low, but my big point is don't try and time the market. Nobody knows what's going to happen. If you find a good deal and it checks out, you should take some action.

Corey Brown:

Mark, let's go back to you and talk again about timelines for each. So when we look at acquiring a practice, an existing practice, what's the timeline look like for that?

Mark Haslip:

I'd love to have, again, a one size fit all answer. Unfortunately, it's just not that simplistic, right? I'd love to be able to look at most buyers and say, "Hey look, the reality is 30 to 60 days and you can acquire a practice," but I know there's no way. I mean, you're going to transact on a practice, find one, negotiate your deal, close escrow, and be sitting in the owner's seat within 30 days. The reality is it kind of depends. Generically speaking, we live in a really competitive environment right now. There's definitely more buyers than there are sellers, and most people are looking for the same thing.

When we cross that bridge and we're ready to start looking for a practice, we all kind of think, "Hey, here's what we want." I mean, I hear this all the time. "Hey Mark, I'm looking for someone that's ready to retire, refers everything out. Like, it doesn't do their own endo, doesn't do any surgery, doesn't do any implants, doesn't do any ortho, pretty much just an old school crown and bridge person so that I can slide in, renegotiate those reimbursement rates for the insurance companies, pick up another two to $300,000 in outsourced referrals of different procedures that the existing dentist doesn't do that I feel comfortable doing, and we can be off and running and have a huge upside."

And look, there's nothing wrong with those thoughts. The reality is everyone else thinks the same thing, so the competition for those types of practices are huge. And so when they hit the market, and they do, there's just competition for them. So with most buyers, if they're looking, they've kind of identified in their mind, they've got clarity as to what type of practice they want and where they want it. Those are involved questions in and of themselves. But once they've got that kind of dialed in, I would say on average three to six months. And it's not uncommon, Corey to see it go twice that or longer. You can spend a lot of time just on looking at practices that just are a little bit outside your box. And also, the less flexible you are, the more time it's going to take.

Corey Brown:

Sure. And again, I'm sure it depends, but for the startup scenario, what do you typically see as a timeline for that case?

Mark Haslip:

So in the real estate world, here's what we're seeing now. When it comes to available product to do a scratch start in, we're looking at a real estate world that, again, is every bit as competitive as what the acquisition world is. So to be on what we in the real estate world to call Main and Main, you're in the perfect position. You got frontage, you got signage, you got parking, you got everything that's needed in a great location with lots of eyes on your building. To be there in today's world is expensive. And if someone's not there already, then you're waiting for new development to come. And new development from what we're seeing in today's world with post COVID and the supply chain issues and construction being what it is, oftentimes with good new product, we're a year out, if not more, for really good real estate.

We can certainly search around and find some existing product. And every once in a while, the stars line up and we're able to find something that's in a good position that's already built out dental that makes sense economically in the location that you want it to make, but more than likely in today's world we're looking at newer product. If we said go today and you wanted to be in Main and Main, so to speak, you're probably a year out.

Corey Brown:

Good to know. And that's the importance of working with a good broker that can find those places for you and kind of give you that advice and hold your hand along the way.

Mark Haslip:

Yeah. For a hundred reasons, whether it's an acquisition or a scratch start, to have someone who knows your industry, is specifically trained and deals with this... I chuckle frequently because in the commercial real estate space, we get phone calls frequently from residential agents, and this is typically a reach out phone call to say, "Hey, I've got a friend, I've got a client who's a dentist who is looking for space," and the conversation between someone in the commercial real estate space who focuses on dental commercial real estate and that residential agent will oftentimes say something like, "Look, in transparency, Mark, I have no idea what I'm doing. This is not my world. I don't do this. I just need someone to help." And so my comment to them typically is, "Hey, great, thanks for reaching out. I'm happy to help. Here's what I need from you as a residential agent. I need you to get out of the way. I'll handle everything."

Because to negotiate and to find space, to know what the market is, to know what's coming in the market, to know what deal points, what rate and terms and landlord concessions to ask for, to put that new dental practice in the most economically viable position possible takes a lot of skill from someone who focuses on that submarket. Not someone that's a generalist. We don't go to an oral surgeon to have an implant and a crown put in. We go to an oral surgeon to have oral surgery, to have our wisdom teeth taken out, or whatever the case may be, right? We want to go to the specialist who specializes in that type of product. So yeah, it's incredibly important to find someone who's a good advocate for you and knows the space.

Corey Brown:

You guys are the pros when it comes to commercial real estate. Rich, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts in regards to the commercial real estate that would house their future practice. When should an aspiring owner consider buying versus leasing that space?

Rich Andrus:

In most cases, when the opportunity exists. So last night I got a call from a dentist whose landlord stopped by because the roof was leaking. And came in the door and they had a roof leak in the last rainstorm, and so he just came in just to check to see that the roof had been repaired, everything was rolling forward. And in that conversation he said, "Hey, I'm considering selling." So the dentist called me on his way home. "Hey, what do I do?" Perfect conversation, right? I'm going to say, that's exactly what you need to do. Call somebody that knows the market, the comps, the area, the space so that you can get yourself in a really good place to position yourself for the negotiation. So the first case is lots of people buy just simply when it's the right opportunity. I would say market-wide across the United States, a large majority of individuals lease. And the majority of dentist's lease as a result of, number one, that's what available.

And so one of the biggest mistakes in commercial real estate is that you let the real estate lead your practice decisions rather than letting the business and your practice lead your real estate. It is critical that you have a good business plan, and that business plan then lays itself into what is the real estate plan for that business rather than, "Hey, I want to own a building and then I'm going to go find a building in the wrong place." I have had a dentist try to do government aid dentistry in north North Scottsdale, which is a high end area and wonder why they weren't doing well, but they got the real estate. They bought the real estate, phenomenal job, just the wrong strategy for the real estate.

And so you should consider buying when the opportunity exists, but you should always allow the business, whether it's a lease or a buy, you're going to earn way more money in your business than you are on the real estate side over the course of the career. And so certainly if you have the opportunity to be able to build two assets, the asset class of the real estate and the asset of your practice, and do that both at the exact same time, in the same location, then heck yeah, let's go. Let's buy that real estate and let's make it happen.

Corey Brown:

That's fantastic advice. What are your predictions for the commercial real estate market in the future?

Rich Andrus:

Buckle up. Here we go. I mean, you sat in a podcast right when COVID hit and said, "What are we going to do?" And candidly, the overall scope of the marketplace in March of 2020, April of 2020 was kind of gloom and doom, and then look what's happened over the last two years. You've seen 20, 30% increase in values, seen significant value creation, seen rents go through the roof. Obviously, that's what's created a lot of this inflation that we're currently dealing with, but I think what you're going to see is really good real estate continue to be really expensive, and really good real estate is going to continue to be on high, high demand. And over the last several years, I would say that dentists were no longer the belle of the ball. They were no longer just the only group running after a really nice space. And so let's say an endcap space opened up in a nice retail plaza. You're competing with that space with restaurants and with spas and with all these different types of users.

It was a really heavy seller and landlord market, and I think that will pull back a little bit. I think we'll see really good space continue to be really competitive, but I think you'll see opportunities open up over the next 18 months. I really believe that we'll see some really good opportunities in markets as we keep our eyes open and look for good relocation, good renewals. I think we'll see some good opportunities, but it's going to require us to keep our eyes open and be able to really be hyper focused in a marketplace. One other thing that I want to add to this. If you read all the macroeconomic and you look at all the macroeconomic news, I think you're going to see significant space come back to the market. And you'll read that there is a lot of space coming back, and this really is because of the work from home movement that's affecting the office category.

And so think eBay or think Meta or whatever it may be. They're giving back space because there's a work from home. Now, when you think of that, you think of 100, 200, 300,000 square foot office user giving back 100,000 of its square feet. That creates a big movement in every market. And so you see this massive amount of sublease space, you see a lot of vacant space in the marketplace. But if you get really granular and start categorically going in and saying, "How much space is there in a marketplace that ranges between 1,800 square feet and 3,500 square feet?" Which is kind of the low end of a dentistry like 16, 1,800 square feet, 35, 36, those are the parameters. You'll see significantly less inventory in that range for two reasons. Number one, the demand of that property has actually increased because you have eight to 10,000 square foot users that are now shrinking into 5,000 square foot users. So everybody's use is getting smaller because of that work from home, and so the space is consolidating.

And by the way, there's really strong tenants that used to take 6,000 square feet that now want 4,000 or 3000 square feet, and so the space is actually fairly competitive to come into, and that's one thing that's new because of the work from home movement that's occurred post COVID, and something that we're competing with. We're competing with some really good large tenants for space, and I think that will continue to happen as the work from home movement continues. I don't think that's going away. That's here to stay in some form or another.

Corey Brown:

Yeah, another good reason to work with a broker, right? Thanks for your insights. We've talked a lot about what it takes to start or acquire a practice, but when we return, I'd like to dive deeper into how one's decisions can impact the future of their practice. More with David, Mark, and Rich after this short break.

I'm Corey Brown and this Provide's The Path to Owning It Podcast. We are back with David, Mark, and Rich of the Menlo Group to discuss whether purchasing or starting a practice makes more sense for you in your ownership dreams. Mark, we're hearing a lot about the state of the economy today. What can healthcare professionals do today to prepare for future economic trends?

Mark Haslip:

Cory, great question. I know Rich kind of addressed a little bit of this, but if we go back to COVID world, right, March of 2020, that was really a unique time for dentistry as an industry. Before that, we had always prided ourselves on being fairly recession resilient. And in April of 2020, we were all told that we were non-essential. That was a new term for the industry. So not only were we told to shut it down, but in certain areas of the country and definitely places within the state of Arizona, the dentists were actually reached out to by local groups here and asked for them to collect all of their PPE and essentially reallocate that to hospitals. So it got spooky on a lot of different levels. We'd never experienced that before. And so all of a sudden, we were forcing this box of "They just shut us down. And to make it worse, they're asking for a bunch of our inventory that even if and when we can reopen, we have no product to open with. So then what?"

So as Rich was saying, I think there's a lot of economists now that are looking into this next year and kind of predicting a bit of a recession, right? No one's got a crystal ball. We don't know exactly when and what the extent is going to be, but we know that more than likely a slow down is coming. So when I have conversations with my clients about this very thing, I will tell them exactly this. "Look, double down on what you do well. Okay. Those who ran a solid business platform prior to COVID, the moment that the markets reopened up again, they not only backfilled all their kind of wasted time, so to speak, but then they set production records throughout the rest of the year. So whatever you happen to be good at, let's nail that down, and then take a little bit of time to look at things through a different lens, so to speak."

We all know as business owners, "Hey look, these are a few things that I know I do well cause I'm comfortable with them and I know I crush it in these categories, but maybe in case presentation, I just don't close as many cases as I'd like to see me close. I don't offer ortho consults to the extent that I want to offer. Maybe it's been a long time since I've had my fees renegotiated. Maybe I need an advisor of some point to kind of help come into the practice from a consulting or coaching standpoint and take a look at what I'm doing and what I'm doing wrong," so take a little bit of time to do a little self-reflection. And pick two things, just two and say, "In the next six months I'm going to address this. Either I can address them by myself or I'm going to get help from a friend," a colleague, a coach, whatever it is, but identify those two things and then chase it.

What we find is five years from now, we're still suffering from the same maladies. And we don't have to. The industry is healthy, yes, but all of us can make some improvements and some tweaks on our process and policies and procedures, no question. So double down on what you do well, pick two things, and get some help, and address those.

Corey Brown:

Rich, you kind of hinted at this earlier too, but how can rising labor wages, inflation, construction costs, how does that affect startups and practice purchases these days?

Rich Andrus:

Let's start with just labor. One of the things post COVID that's occurred is that we've had a mass exodus of labor. And we have a labor shortage in the United States of America across many, many categories, not just in dentistry. This labor shortage that we're currently experiencing is here to stay. We don't have a strong labor pool to backfill where we're at. Many people have chosen this opportunity to retire and/or do other things that they deem as being worth it, if you will. And so we're just not seeing the return to work atmosphere that many people predicted. And so let's talk labor shortage in general in being that, hey, if you are a practice owner or going to be a practice owner, I would say to hone in really, really well on what do the current owners of the business that you work for, what do they do really well to retain employees?

And I think you can really make a really good list and identify what it is that you can do to retain employees because I think going into the future, that retention of employees will become one of the largest things that will determine the success of a practice. We know when you close a practice or run after an acquisition of a practice, having staff that's been tenured is absolutely amazing and awesome, and it helps that transition to the practice go so much better. And so I would just say let's hone in heavily on what do we do to retain our labor. Now, labor costs are definitely moving up. I went to lunch yesterday with the doctor who came from California, and he was telling me about hygiene costs in California, dental assistant costs in California, and just basically laying out that, "I don't know how much longer a practice that's not producing can really sustain."

I mean you have to produce, and that's the bottom line. You have to produce to match in today's labor. So that's labor. Inflation in general, I think the government's doing everything they can to try to control this. They certainly printed a lot of money and put a bunch of money out in the monetary supply. It has certainly led to very, very heavy inflation. Many economists believe that the only way to change this inflation is through unemployment, and I've heard and read some predictions that north of two million people need to be out of work before the inflation actually curtails and comes down. And so then you start looking at what that does with labor and inflation and the variables between the two. That's a pretty big deal. And so inflation, at least for the near term, we're dealing with this.

When it comes to leasing, I've been in the business for 12 years. So let's just say in the past 12 years, we've pretty much been able to say leases increase on average by, let's just call the market average is about 3% annually. We're seeing a very strong push from landlords to try to have leases match consumer price index, CPI, which inflation, that's about 9%. So think about your lease increasing by 9% year over year. It's been a long time since we've seen these types of measures in leases, but we're getting landlords pushing for escalation clauses that are a little bit more open and matching inflation. There's two sides of that coin. The landlord is saying, "Hey, it's costing me a lot of money to run my building," and the other side of that is from a tenant, "Look, I don't want to be left holding the bag of this inflation. I want to have fixed increases, understand what those costs are going to be through the course of my lease."

And so this is a major issue that you need to open your eyes to, make sure that you are not floating with the inflationary rate, if you will, on a lease. And then as it pertains to construction costs, it's certainly one of the biggest things that affects a startup decision versus a practice ownership decision. With the practice ownership, you already get the tenant improvements that are there. Today's TI costs or today's tenant improvement costs, fairly significant. It was 10 to 12 years ago that we were doing tenant improvement costs around 85 to a $100 a square foot in our marketplace, and we are now seeing that closer to the 160, $160 a square foot, so we've doubled our cost to build a dental office in the last 10 years. That's due to, I mean, you just name it. That's due to supply costs, that's due to labor increases. And so it is what it is.

And that's not just in our market, that's across the United States, construction costs are high. And so knowing what those construction costs look like, being able to open your eyes to that affects that decision. Now, I will say, when you are purchasing a practice, I would say at the same time as purchasing a practice, recognize that the paint, the cabinetry, the flooring, things of that nature, eventually during your course of ownership, you will be upgrading those things as well. So it affects both decisions, it just affects the startup decision now because you need to pay for that now.

Corey Brown:

Yeah, absolutely. David, Rich just kind of hinted at this, but talking about staff and the importance of having a tenured staff, what does that do for the future sale of one's practice?

David Haynes:

I'm working with mostly established practices, bringing those to market, and having a tenured staff makes a huge difference. It's part of the package. It's part of the overall deal that somebody's buying. And so we've seen some really creative things that practice owners will do over time to retain staff. And oftentimes, it just comes down to the culture that you've made within the office. And so it gives buyers confidence that they're working with somebody that's a little bit easier to work with. Obviously, they're not going to be very tenured staff if there's really, really high constant turnover all the time, so buyers take messages and little hints from things like that. And tenured staff, we've seen some challenges on almost every transaction that we've worked on in recent months.

There is a little bit of staff turnover, and that just has to do with these larger economic conditions. At some point that'll level out. But even with the challenging economic conditions, there's still offices that we see and work with that have really tenured staff, and a lot of it comes down to the culture that they've made, and that makes a difference in the buyer pool.

Corey Brown:

Yeah. And besides creating a fantastic culture and retaining employees, what other business decisions can an established practice owner make today that would affect the future sale of their practice?

David Haynes:

I work on the transition side of things. When I look at what we're doing, I'm looking through that lens. And oftentimes, there are some tweaks. If we have an opportunity to consult with somebody well before they're going to sell their practice, we really enjoy having strategy sessions with folks to map out "What do they want to be when they grow up. Do you want to have a smaller office, and I'll call it a lifestyle office, that's fine, or do you want to try and cash in bigger and sell to a group? What do you want for the future?" So I think step one is have a plan, visit with professionals to establish and implement that plan, and just think about over time, what do you really want in the end? If you have the ambition to own multiple practices and to be a mega dentist, then great, let's put a plan in place initially to do that.

Oftentimes, I'll see a lot of the doctors that come to us, they haven't really had a strong plan in place, and they're ready to go to market, and we kind of have to work with what we've got. And that's fine, we do that all the time, but it's a lot more fun and it's easier to work within a situation where we've had a plan from the beginning, and we've stuck to that plan, and it's just about implementing, benchmarking, and measuring against that success. So if there's one thing to point to, I think business decision wise, it's planning, it's having some advisors, it's working with professionals to set up the transaction that you want in the future.

Corey Brown:

We hear that time and time again with podcast guests, building that team around you and the importance of that when advising the doctor. David, last question for you, and we're kind of circling back to the beginning of our discussion, but what's one piece of advice you could give an aspiring owner who can't decide whether to start or acquire that first practice?

David Haynes:

If you can't decide, then let the deal drive the decision. Set your parameters on a purchase front or on a startup front. And if you're having trouble deciding between the two, I think it's probably more important to focus on what are your parameters? And when there's an opportunity, you need to commit to and make the leap when the right opportunity presents itself. And so usually, the issue that I'm running into is it's less about the decision, it's more about, "Have I found the right opportunity, and have I passed on good opportunities, and should I continue to pass on good opportunities?" So my advice is set your parameters, whatever it is, if it's startup or purchase, if you're contemplating between the two, and when you find something that fits in those parameters, then take the shot.

Corey Brown:

Mark, same question to you. Anything that you'd like to add?

Mark Haslip:

Yeah, I'll just piggyback off of what David said, and that is have a conversation and get some advice with someone who's relevant and can help. This is something we do on a daily basis. It would be really easy if it was just looking at it through one set of lens for real estate. It'd be super easy to just highlight all of the cons of a practice acquisition and then diminish all of those negatives on a startup, but the reality is, have a conversation with someone and an open dialogue that they can guide you to help you best figure out what's the best for you and your family. And once that gets vetted out, which it will over the course of a conversation, it'll just kind of naturally come to the forefront as to what is the best fit, and then you can put a plan together as to how to chase that and how to best make that dream a reality.

Corey Brown:

And Rich, final thoughts to you on the great debate of starting up versus acquiring.

Rich Andrus:

The first thing I'd say is, "You didn't go to school, do all this schooling, put yourself in an opportunity to not be a practice owner." Very few dentists go to school to be an associate for the rest of their life, and so make a decision. Both paths create massive opportunities, but it requires your decision. And build a good team. Put a team together that knows you and knows your goals, and a team that's not just going to be there for your practice acquisition or your startup, but a team that's going to be there for the life cycle of your dentistry. When you stop and think about the life cycle of dentistry from startup to lease renewal, to practice ownership, through the sale and the transition of your practice over that 15 to 20 to 25 year horizon, who's a team that will give you good advice and look after you like they would their own family? That's the team you need on your side to be able to help you make decisions that are both short-term and long-term and in your favor.

Corey Brown:

And Rich, if our listeners decide that the Menlo Group is someone that they want on their team, how can they contact you?

Rich Andrus:

Yeah, we'd love to have you. Go to our website. Our website on the commercial real estate platform is menlocre.com. That's spelled M-E-N-L-O-C-R-E.com, or go to menlotransitions.com for our practice transition platform.

Corey Brown:

Gentlemen, thank you so much for sharing your expertise on this topic with our listeners. You've certainly given us a lot to consider when debating whether to start or acquire practice, and we just really appreciate your time. Thank you.

Thank you for joining us for this episode of The Path to Owning It. If you're ready to take your practice ownership dreams into your own hands, be sure to visit getprovide.com to pre-qualify and browse our practice marketplace, or check out our news page for more helpful resources. The path to owning it is brought to you by the team at Provide with production assistance from Sarah Parkey, and it's produced by Podcamp Media, branded podcast production for businesses. Podcampmedia.com. Producer Dusty Weiss, editor Larry Kilgore, III. For Provide, I'm Corey Brown. Thanks for being on the Journey with us.

 



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