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You just bought a dental practice – now what?

By October 13, 2020November 12th, 2020Buying a Practice

Except for buying a home, a dental practice is likely the largest and most complex purchase you will ever make. And while working with an experienced team, like DMC, will take a lot off your closing day to-do list, there are always a few steps that you need to take to kick-start the transition.

If you are like almost every purchaser we have assisted purchase a dental practice, then you will probably at some point want to ask: “can you give me a list of things to do on the closing day?”. Well, the answer is yes!

Although every dental practice and every transaction is different, we have compiled a great list for you. Below is a general to-do list of items that a buyer should be ready to do on the closing day once the transaction is closed (or as soon as possible after the closing).

1. Transfer the service accounts from the seller’s name to your name (or your DPC).

    • Internet services
    • Phone/Fax lines
    • Security/Alarm system
    • Service contracts (e.g. janitorial services)

When you move into a new home, your bare essentials are generally set up for you (plumbing, electricity, etc.). But there is still a list of items you need to set up before you really start to feel settled (cable, internet, etc.). The same is true for your new practice. You’ll want to transfer these accounts into your name as soon as possible, so you can start setting up your ownership of your new space.

2. Update ownership and details of any intangible asset accounts.

    • Website hosting
    • Google My Business
    • Practice email

Don’t forget all your virtual accounts. Whether you are taking over accounts from the previous owner or using previous ones of your own, you want to make sure these are all up to date. A lot of goodwill your new practice has with patients, and potential future patients, will be through your online presence and google reviews. It is best to take control of these accounts as soon as possible.

3. Have the door locks re-keyed.

The former owner has given you their keys, so you should be good, right? Not always. Sometimes an existing employee may have an office key, or the seller’s relatives may have a key for emergencies. So you may want to change the locks to be sure you know everyone who has access.

Note: you may have to speak to your landlord about re-keying the locks. Many buildings have key systems in place, or your lease could have a prohibition against changing keys. Check your lease first!

4. Register your x-ray equipment

In order to comply with the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act (HARP), all x-ray equipment ownership must be registered with the X-ray Inspection Service (XRIS) of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. So if you are taking over any x-ray equipment in your new practice, simply download a Form 1 X-ray Equipment Registration form, fill in your information, and email it to the XRIS.

5. Apply to the RCDSO for a facility permit

Facility permits are not transferable. So, if the practice you are purchasing has a permit and you want to maintain that status, or it doesn’t but you want one, you will need to apply to the RCDSO. As the approval process can take weeks, it is best to apply right away.

6. Update the practice management software details and passwords.

Your practice management program, amongst other things, tracks all the office billings. You want to make sure that everything going forward is attributed to you. Some programs have a ‘cut-off date’ option, which easily allows you to clearly note the date you took ownership of the practice. Essentially you want to ‘re-start’ the practice management software from the point you took over so the proper billing and practice tracking are applied to you.

7. Make sure you are set to accept and manage patient payments.

    • CDAnet

You need to have the seller invite you to be an owner of the practice within CDAnet so you can then have the practice’s CDAnet code applied to you. Also, have your provider code added to the practice. It can be helpful to be added to CDAnet as a provider at the practice before closing to speed up this process.

    • Merchant processing terminal(s)

Install in your merchant processing (credit/debit card) machine and disconnect the seller’s. If the machine is not a PnP (plug-and-play) device, the merchant processing company may send a technician to do this. Depending on the company, you may need to pre-book an appointment.

Updating CDAnet and installing your merchant processing machine(s) ensures that billings and payments, especially for hygiene, from the time of closing, go directly to you.

8. Transfer ownership of the practice payroll account.

You don’t want any payroll trouble or to cause any employee angst when your first payroll is to be paid to your new team.

Note: There are many different options when it comes to managing payroll. It is best to speak with your accountant about your options and the payroll takeover’s specifics in advance of closing.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, some anxiety on the closing day is perfectly normal and expected. But in our experience, having this list as a starting point will significantly lessen your stress. The sooner you can complete these quick wins, the sooner you’ll be to feeling at home in your new practice.

Although DMC is widely known for assisting dentists sell their practice without charging a commission, we also represent as many buyers of dental practices as we do seller. We are here and ready to answer any questions you may have, no matter which side of the deal you are on. Send DMC an email at any time, and we will be happy to help.

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