In my last post, I offered you some food for thought as you ponder selling your practice—specifically, the need to find a buyer. Regardless of your reasons for moving on from private practice (increasing expenses, reduced compensation, ever-changing regulations, administrative headaches, retirement, or perhaps a lack of passion), you have a number of options for getting out:

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Succession Planning

Why it Works

An important part of selling is withdrawing yourself from your clinic—a particularly emotional process, even if you’re more than ready to step down. Make it easier by choosing someone who shares your vision and passion for physical therapy—and for the business itself—to take the reins after you leave. This helps ensure the practice you built from the ground up is in good hands. That way, you can walk away with a profit and without sacrificing your legacy.

Why it Doesn’t

Selling to someone you know and love—or even just like—may cause you to unwittingly undervalue your business or to negotiate poorly. Plus, this option requires you to have a long game because you’ll need to take the time to assess and prepare your employees as well as cultivate your successor—not to mention break the news to your patients—before handing over the keys to the kingdom. Through this process, you may determine that you don’t even have anyone at your practice interested in—or appropriate for—stepping into your shoes, which means you’ve not only wasted time that you’ll never recoup, but also must invest even more precious hours into recruiting external candidates. If you want to get out now (like, ASAP), then this probably isn’t the option for you.

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Liquidation

Why it Works

You’ve probably seen street-corner signs and TV advertisements for liquidation sales at companies that are going out of business. It may not be the obvious choice for physical therapy clinics, but this option isn’t just for Circuit City. If you’re ready to get out of the biz altogether, liquidation is a relatively easy exit strategy: sell off everything and call it a day. No negotiations, no contracts, no problem.

Why it Doesn’t

You likely won’t make much of a profit selling your assets piece by piece, especially if your practice isn’t solvent. And you may permanently damage your relationships with business partners, employees, and clients, so be sure you’re absolutely done practicing (at least in your current location).

Buyout

Why it Works

With this option, you allow an investor to formally take ownership of your practice by purchasing 100% of the company (not to be confused with a majority investment, which only requires you to sell at least 51% of the company). In this scenario, you’re free to negotiate price and compensation, which could leave you with a tidy profit if your practice offers unique value to the buyer and aligns with his or her growth strategy. Plus, it could allow you to stay on as a practicing PT—a role that typically comes with a steady salary, long-term contract, and regular hours. This might be a nice change of pace from the stresses of ownership—like financial uncertainty and long hours.

Why it Doesn’t

If you don’t properly position your practice, you may not receive compensation in line with its true value—or its goodwill. Additionally, the transition from owner to employee can be rough. You’re dealing with a total loss of autonomy: decisions about your pay, benefits, and (sometimes) staff are out of your hands, and you no longer play a role in business decisions. Don’t want to use the software the owner selects? Too bad. Think that new equipment is a bad investment? Your bosses might not ask for your opinion. If that doesn’t sit well with you, your relationship with the new ownership may become strained—or worse.


As you can tell, getting out of private practice is a bit complicated. The exit process comes with a lot of variables, benefits, and pitfalls. Thus, it’s crucial to set your priorities and stick to your guns so you can make the best decision for you and your practice. All good things must come to an end, but when they do, make sure it’s on your terms.

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