The start of a new year typically inspires resolutions, and you want to make it the year you tackle that list of things you’ve always talked about doing—joining a gym (and actually going), watching less TV, spending more time with loved ones, or finally taking that trip to Europe. If your list includes selling your physical therapy practice—or if you’re just starting to consider it—you’ve got a lot to think about. You probably thought long and hard before starting your clinic—and selling requires just as much careful planning. As you contemplate your options, it may be helpful to review these pros and cons:

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Pros:

  • Interest in PT clinic acquisition is on the rise. Thus, the market seems primed for selling. That means you’re likely to find a buyer—another rehab therapist, an investor, a rehab therapy chain, or even someone within your clinic—willing to pay top dollar for an established, well-organized, and profitable practice.
  • You may be able to structure the sale in a way that provides you with financial freedom, but still allows you to stay involved without getting burnt out on administrative work.
  • Reducing or eliminating your responsibility and time commitment to the business side of the practice means you can cut back on the crazy hours you’re putting in to manage it all, thus allowing for more personal time—and, hopefully, improving your quality of life. Plus, you’ll be able to focus exclusively on doing what you love: treating patients.
  • Alternatively, if you’re ready to do so, you can retire—with money in your pocket—or parlay your entrepreneurial spirit and newly liquidated assets into a brand new venture. Talk about a fresh start.

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Cons:

  • Even with a strong seller’s market, you still have to find a buyer, which requires marketing your business as a valuable acquisition. If your practice isn’t particularly desirable due to issues like poor cash flow, weak client base, old equipment, inadequate or poorly designed space, or unresolved debt—or if you’re in a smaller city—it could take some time to find someone willing to buy your clinic.
  • On the flipside, if you have a healthy business, it could take no time at all to sell—which is great if you’re looking to immediately relieve yourself of the responsibility of owning and running your practice, but not so much if you expect to have a little bit of a time cushion to tie up any loose ends (e.g., notify your patients of how the sale will impact their care, if at all).
  • Changes to the name of the clinic or its business practices may result in a loss of patients, which could impact you negatively should you stay on as a practicing PT or maintain any financial stake in the business.
  • You lose control over business decisions. If you aren’t ready to let go, extricating yourself from an ownership role might become unnecessarily complicated and painful.

While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it should help you get a clearer picture of the advantages and disadvantages of selling. Even if the pros outweigh the cons for your particular situation, keep in mind that selling your business is a tough process that requires a lot of lengthy tasks—like getting organized and determining your value—as well as making some very weighty financial decisions, grappling with lowball offers and tax consequences, and cycling through the full gamut of emotions. After all, you’re selling the business into which you’ve poured your heart and soul. Make sure you understand the commitment required to sell—and know for sure whether you have it—so you don’t jump in before you’re actually ready to get out.

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