Preparing your practice for your transition to retirement is a long-term process. If you are seeking a qualified partner to take over when you leave, register for the AAO Career Center to look for suitable candidates. Or, if you will soon be ready to sell, you may be interested to know that at any given time an average of 366 registered seekers on the site are looking for practices for sale.
The AAO Career Center is a free service for AAO members.
Dr. John Ford, who sold his Winnetka, Illinois-based practice in 2016 through the AAO Career Center, said the ease and simplicity of using the service to seek purchasers was key in accomplishing the sale of his practice.
“This is a third-generation practice going back to 1914,” says Dr. Ford. “My grandfather, Dr. James W. Ford, had his office in Chicago and served as AAO President from 1953-54. My dad, Dr. William Ford, moved north to the suburbs in 1947. I entered the practice with my dad in 1984.”
As Dr. Ford matured in his practice, he says he “saw the handwriting on the wall” and knew that not one of his four children would follow in the family’s orthodontic career tradition. He began working on succession plans with the presumption that it would take several years to accomplish this task.
“It was an emotional decision to transition my practice, which was associated with a name that had influenced so many people – including generations of families,” says Dr. Ford. “It had to be to someone who would not only respect the history, but also carry on a legacy of trusted care and successful outcomes. The task seemed daunting.”
The AAO Career Center became a large part of the solution to Dr. Ford’s dilemma. The possibility of listing a practice for sale confidentially is a key reason that he recommends the service to colleagues.
“It’s just such a great matching site that should be promoted – it’s a natural,” he says. “I worked with Chris Bentson of Bentson, Clark and Copple, who assisted with the process. I forwarded him CVs of possible matches from my anonymous email and he vetted them. He then had recommended prospects sign a non-disclosure agreement. I could engage in conversation with a candidate without the worry that the word would get out that I was ‘looking to retire.’ That is not the message you want out, so it worked.”
Dr. Ford is now working for Dr. Patrick Brady, who bought his practice. The two doctors have worked synergistically to convey a message of the positive strengths of Dr. Brady’s skillset coming into the practice, and the reality of Dr. Ford’s retirement sometime in the future. Dr. Brady has exceeded Dr. Ford’s expectations as regards his confidence, adaptability, respect, and abilities.
“Our patients and community have welcomed him and I am very grateful in so many ways,” says Dr. Ford. “I am confident in his continued success and will enjoy vicarious fulfillment for years to come. I strongly recommend to colleagues to start the transition process early and use the AAO Career Center, which I feel is one of our better member benefits.”