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Saving Pennies Will Cost You Dollars, Part One

by Jason P. Wood, B.A., J.D.

Exhausted from another long day slaving away working for someone else, you slowly sink onto your couch. An unexpected but welcome sense of joy, bordering on giddiness, envelops you as you think, “Only a few more weeks and then I will be my own boss!”

You finally found a practice that met all of your qualifications and the selling doctor seems to be an authentic person who cares deeply for his patients. The phone rings, pulling you out of your revelry, and you see that it is the selling doctor.“Hey, it’s Dr. Smith. I know you have been concerned about the costs involved with purchasing my dental practice but I think I found a solution. I found an attorney who has agreed to represent both of us in drafting a purchase agreement for the sale of my practice. We can split the cost 50/50. What do you think?” And STOP.

If you agree to do this, you have just jeopardized your future career. While you may have chosen this practice and this doctor from a long list of “potentials”, you are diametrically opposed to each other when you go to sign on the dotted line. The same also applies for the selling dentist. There are fundamental issues related to the business, patient care/treatment, tax issues, restrictive covenants, timelines, etc. which cannot be split down the middle. If they were split evenly, one side would end up being hurt more than...

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