A number of options determine whether you should purchase a practice or start from scratch; here’s what chiropractic schools don’t teach
Once you have decided not to work for someone else when you come out of the chiropractic schools system, the next question is whether to buy an existing practice or start one of your own. It sounds easier to buy, but is it?
Buying a practice can be less trouble, but it is still a lot of work. Here are three reasons why buying a practice can be easier:
- You don’t have to start without patients. The established patient files give you a base income each month that will help pay the bills.
- You don’t have to buy all your equipment and supplies. The office might not be set up exactly as you want, but everything is there.
- You don’t have to set up the practice systems. Billing, collections, patient flow, and other procedures are already in place.
Coming out of chiropractic schools with: buyer questions
If you do find a practice you think you may want to buy, get answers to the following questions before you get too involved in the purchase decision:
- Is the practice set up to support the way you want to work? — If you want to run a family practice, and most of the clientele are work-related injury or PI (personal injury) patients, you will have to start from scratch to attract families to your practice. If your technique is notably different from the previous doctor’s, you will have a difficult time transitioning the patients.
- Is the practice located in the right place? — If the practice is not exactly where you want to be located, you will probably be better off finding a town you like and starting your own practice.
- Is a practice broker involved? — The broker works for the seller — not the buyer — and the broker’s objective is to get top dollar for commission. Hire your own CPA and attorney and verify everything the broker says.
- Is the price reasonable? — Beware of an inflated practice price funding a retirement.
Non-competes and finances
Can you get a non-compete from the doctor? The last thing you want is to buy a practice and have the selling doctor open-up down the street and take back all of his or her former patients.
Make sure that you know the actual reason the doctor is selling. If your instincts tell you that you’re not getting the whole story, be cautious. How long will it take you to make a living from the practice? If the price is too high, if there is no strong patient base, or if you are going to have to start effectively from scratch, you might be better off going down the street and opening your own practice.
Finally, trust your instincts when coming out of the chiropractic schools system into the “real world.” If everything looks great and you have a good feeling, it could be a wonderful lifelong investment.
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