Buying a dental practice is a significant step in your career as a dentist and will probably be one of the biggest financial transactions you will ever make. At Goodman Grant solicitors, we recognise it is an exciting but challenging process and have a wealth of experience to guide you through the requirements so that you can buy your ideal dental practice.
To give you an idea of how we work and our approach to the acquisition process, here is a brief overview of the steps that we undertake:
1. We start by making sure you know exactly what you are buying
Firstly, we contact the seller’s solicitors and raise an extensive amount of enquiries about pretty much every aspect of the dental practice and the premises that you wish to buy. Some critical points include:
Reviewing commercial contracts linked to the target practice
Checking equipment certification
Reporting on UDA performance levels (If an NHS practice)
Reporting on the title to the property or advising on the terms of the lease
Reviewing employment contracts in respect to practice personnel
These investigations help us to advise you in the best possible way throughout the rest of the purchase.
We also raise enquiries with the local authority, the environment agency and the water and drainage agency, in respect to practice premise and report to you on our findings.
There may be other questionnaires that we send off, depending on where the property is situated. For example, if the property is situated in old coal mining area, or still takes place then we carry out additional checks to ensure that the practice is not going to disappear into a big hole in the ground!
2. We keep you informed at every stage
Once we get all the questionnaire responses, our team will go through them very carefully and if necessary, raise further questions to gain clarity on certain matters. We will provide you with a full report on the information we receive. We always aim to make this process run as smoothly as possible, starting by sending you this information in a language that you’ll understand, despite its large volume.
3. We know how to negotiate well
We negotiate with the seller’s solicitor to ensure that the terms of the sale agreement are exactly what you want and need. Be warned, these agreements are at least 50 pages long and are an excellent cure for any sleepless nights you might be having!
If the property has a lease, rest assured that we liaise with the landlord, who will almost certainly want references and/or accounts in order to approve you as a new tenant.
4. We guide you through CQC registration
There is a legal requirement for you to be registered correctly with the CQC. You will need to submit your own application for registration at the practice, liaising with the seller.
You should know that timing is everything when dealing with the CQC:
Submit the forms too early and they will be rejected
Submit the forms too late and they will be rejected
Submit the wrong forms and they will be rejected
Submit the forms incorrectly and they will be rejected
If you use our specialist CQC service we will do everything from completing the appropriate application forms to communicating with the CQC to ensure that everything is in place for you to work from the date the purchase is completed. We do not want you committing a criminal act by owning a practice and not being registered with CQC!
5. We ensure finance is in place in readiness for completion
Most buyers need funding to purchase a practice and another aspect of the service we provide is to talk to your bank (and sometimes their solicitors too) to make sure the financing will be approved and in place in time for completion.
6. We enable you to exchange contracts and pay the deposit
This is the exciting bit when everyone becomes legally committed! It’s time for us to ‘exchange contracts’, when both you and the seller sign your own copy of the agreement and we, the solicitors, send them to each other. At this point, there’s no turning back, so you pay over the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) and we set the date when the balance is paid and the practice is yours.
7. We arrange the transfer of the NHS Contract
If your new practice has a contract for NHS work, we send a notification to NHS England informing them that you and the seller will be going into partnership for the purpose of transferring the NHS contract.
8. We ensure everything is moving forward
At this stage of a purchase, most of the work is done, but we continue to liaise with the bank to make sure that the financial side is completed on time. We will also be working on the property side and ensuring that CQC registration goes forward without any delays. If you’re buying stock separately then a few days before completion you will meet with the seller and agree how much it’s worth.
9. We take you to completion
At completion, we transfer the balance of your purchase price to the seller and the practice is now yours – congratulations!
10. Is that everything done and dusted?
Even though the legal side is officially complete, we still tie up all the loose ends such as registering you as the new property owner, arranging for the seller to retire from the NHS contract or applying to the CQC to register you as the owner.
Remember that we have a large team with the expertise to help with the many different legal aspects of running your business and who will be delighted to assist. Whatever you may need, we are here to help.
We want to remove any headaches when purchasing a practice and help you make the process as smoothly as possible. Contact us today for a chat if you are thinking about buying a dental practice.
"I can genuinely say that John Grant and Ray Goodman and their team provide a great, specialist legal service to dentists. Many of our clients have worked with them, and we have also experienced the joys of employing John who is enthusiastic and has the necessary skills, diligence and occasional wit. They have proved they know their way around the various NHS organisations and CQC bodies, are familiar with all the quirks in buying/selling dental practices and have sufficient dental experience to write contracts and partnership/share agreements as watertight as they can reasonably be. There are other lawyers but there’s only one Goodman Grant!"
Thomas Dickson, Essential Money