4 Tips for Finding the Right Practice to Purchase

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Publisher's note: This article is written by Bill Nolan, President of Practice Transitions at Williams Group. We're delighted to host Bill's post that shares solid insights on purchasing optometry practices. Read more about Bill in his bio at the end of the article. Also, please check out our current practice for sale listings, or list your practice for sale today.

Every new optometrist who graduates wants to be successful. No young doctor looking for their first practice ever says they want a “fixer upper.” So, if everyone wants to find the perfect practice where they can be successful, why do some fail at that effort? Let’s look at the core elements that go into finding the right practice to purchase.

The four main issues in the search for the right practice are: location, location, location, and location! Seriously, location is important, along with three other key factors: economic characteristics of the community, the state of optometry in the locale, and demographics. It is worthwhile looking in depth at all four.

Tip #1: Location

Location and demographics are tied together and the demographics of an area contribute to the desirability of the location. It is important not to consider these in a vacuum. Do your homework on the makeup of different areas and neighborhoods, and purchase as much outstanding location as you can afford. When looking at a specific practice, consider visibility and ease of access from the street or mall, signage, parking, traffic, and surrounding enterprises.

Tip #2: Economic Characteristics

It is important within a broader geographic location to look at key economic indicators. In mid-size or larger communities, you’ll often see an economic shift over a 25 or 30-year period. What was once a vibrant and growing part of the community may find itself in a slow decline or stuck with a stagnant economic base. There is plenty of useful and accessible information from both your local Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council on the economic stability and viability of the community. Information such as major employers, workforce characteristics, and developing industrial economic zones are all important when choosing a location to purchase your practice.

Tip #3: State of Optometry

The demographic profile in the ten-mile area surrounding the practice is another critical consideration before purchasing. Demographic characteristics such as median age, median household income, and gender breakdown as a percentage of the population are all important factors. Recent surveys indicate that 80% of all household healthcare decisions are made by women. The gatekeepers to the medical and optical sides of your practice are most likely the women spending twenty-four billion dollars annually on healthcare for their families.

Tip #4: Demographic Profile

As we look ahead to the future of optometry, it is arguably moving towards a medical model with optical sales being a smaller part of the revenue stream than in the past. Optometry’s place in the medical healthcare delivery system is an important part in choosing where to buy a practice and what type of practice to purchase. I would encourage any young optometrist to thoroughly research the state of optometry and the future of the profession in a particular area. It is important as you look out at the next 30 years to be a full player in the medical healthcare delivery system within the scope of your licensure.

If you carefully consider these four important factors in your search for the right practice to purchase, you will significantly increase the odds of finding the perfect fit for you, and ultimately achieve successful practice ownership.


Bill Nolan is President of Practice Transitions at Williams Group, a vision practice consultancy. A graduate of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Bill’s areas of expertise are in finance and accounting. He has lectured at every major optometric venue in the U.S. and abroad including Australia, England and China. Reach out to the Williams Group Transitions Team at 1-800-676-9076, or transitions@thewilliamsway.com. If you are interested in purchasing a practice, Williams Group has new listings monthly at http://www.thewilliamsway.com/practice-listings/.

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