If you’re in the market to transition a practice—whether it’s selling one, buying one, bringing in a partner, or taking on additional associates—it can be difficult to find the perfect situation. Enter practice matching services to help find the right opportunities by identifying orthodontists who share the same goals.

Ziegler Practice Transitions Ltd, Cincinnati, has created a successful Practice Matching Program that eliminates the middleman and enables buyers and sellers to communicate with one another directly, while maintaining the seller’s anonymity.

Steven M. Ziegler

Steven M. Ziegler

To learn more about the program, Orthodontic Products talked to vice president Steven M. Ziegler.

Orthodontic Products: Can you describe the Ziegler Practice Matching Program for us?

Steven M. Ziegler: Our Practice Matching Program is a completely web-based system that allows Sellers to list their practices safely and anonymously and Buyers to search listings at their own pace and reach out to the Sellers directly, without the need to go through any middlemen or brokers. The program is completely free for both Buyers and Sellers and without any obligation to use our transition services, which include appraising practices and drafting the necessary legal documents to facilitate a transition.

Buyers can register online, and once our staff has reviewed and approved their registration, that Buyer can log in and review short descriptions of every opportunity throughout the country. If they’d prefer, they can refine the list based on state and/or type of opportunity. When the Buyer is interested in a particular opportunity, he or she can expand the short description to reveal a more detailed description, which also contains a link to send that Seller a private message.

Sellers also register online, but work closely with our staff to create both the short and detailed descriptions that Buyers will eventually see. No other information is shared through the system, and when a Buyer messages the Seller, the Seller receives all of that Buyer’s registration details and contact information so they can begin discussions.

OP: What are the program’s benefits?

Ziegler: The Program provides Buyers with a free, easy way to locate an opportunity at their own pace and to reach out directly to any Seller they choose. Buyers are informed via email of any changes that are made to the practice listings, too—additions, changes, or deactivations—so there is no need to constantly check in with the website after initially seeing what is available.

For Sellers, the benefits are quite remarkable. This is the only truly anonymous, free matching program out there that also screens Registered Buyers to guard against competitors and/or referral sources from gaining access. Sellers share only the information they want to share, yet they have the ability to present an opportunity to a large pool of potential Buyers, partners, or associates, all of whom have already signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

In addition, Buyers are also automatically deactivated 1 year after completing their registration (they can renew their registration for another year at any time), which ensures the Buyers are actively seeking opportunities and not simply on the list because they registered at some point in the past.

OP: Why should orthodontists use the program?

Ziegler: From a Buyer’s perspective, there is no better scenario than purchasing an existing practice. The long-term income derived from ownership far surpasses even the highest-paying associateship in a corporate dental office where there is no possibility of ownership. The immediate income afforded by purchasing “a going-concern” with staff, equipment, patients, and money coming in from day one will always grant more income over a career than starting from scratch with no staff, no equipment, no patients, and no money. Our program enables young orthodontists to quickly and efficiently see what opportunities are out there and then directly initiate contact with the Seller on their own.

From a Seller’s perspective, selling the practice he or she has spent a career growing is far better than simply winding down to nothing, finishing all of the patients, and walking away. A practice sale not only brings in a considerable amount of money right at the end of one’s career, it also allows for a legacy to be left with a continuum of care for patients, ongoing employment for staff, and continued services made available for referring dentists.

For the senior orthodontist who isn’t ready to retire, but who either wants to take more time off or who is growing wildly and needs help, bringing in a partner or hiring an associate are both attractive and financially wise moves. Our program gives existing orthodontists a safe and secure way to get the word out and find that Buyer, partner, or associate at no cost and with no risk.

OP: What other services do you provide?

Ziegler: We are an orthodontic practice transition consulting firm that works with Buyers and Sellers together, or individually to either prepare or review Practice Appraisals, Employment Agreements, Purchase & Sale Agreements, and various other transition-related documents necessary for hiring an associate, bringing in a partner, or selling a practice entirely. Remember, our Matching Program is available to Buyers and Sellers at absolutely no cost and with no obligation to utilize our firm for any of our billable services.

When the time comes, we can work with the Buyer or Seller independently, or we can work with both parties together in a fair, nonpartisan role as a mediator/consultant/educator. We call this dual representation, but it’s really deal representation, because we don’t represent either party; we instead represent the deal. We have had a great deal of success utilizing this fair and balanced approach in thousands of orthodontic practice transitions throughout the country over the past 20 years.

Our firm can handle every aspect of the practice sale (except real estate, which needs to be handled locally), and our approach to transitions benefits from an intimate knowledge of both law and orthodontics. Whether an orthodontist is looking to hire an associate, bring in a partner, or sell his or her practice entirely, we can help accomplish that goal quickly, fairly, and affordably. OP