We’re often asked by chiropractors who are considering a purchase – Should I buy a chiropractic practice that uses a different technique? Or is this something to avoid? 

While it’s a good idea that your technique is reasonably similar to the Sellers, practically speaking, it’s also not necessary (and may be impossible) for you to be an absolute clone of the Seller of the practice you are purchasing. 

As we all know, chiropractors who were taught the exact same techniques in school can still practice very differently. 

So, how does one accurately answer the question: should I buy a chiropractic practice that uses a different technique? 

In our experience working with Buyers and Sellers to create win-win situations, there are three things you need to avoid and four “shifts” that need to be made to successfully navigate this. 


The difference in technique alone may not be enough to make a difference, but avoid buying a practice with these three “Red Flags” present: 

Teachability – if you, as Buyer, are not willing to learn the basics of the Sellers technique, this may be a good sign this practice is not for you. Again, you don’t have to be a clone and you don’t have to spend years attempting to master the technique to the same degree as the Seller, but you should be willing to learn the basics. If not, move on to another practice. 

Transition – if the Seller is not willing to stay for an extended period of time in transition AND your techniques are significantly different, then it is likely that you will not be able to learn enough about their technique to meaningfully apply it in practice. As a result, you will likely lose many patients who do not necessarily expect you to be the same; but who are also obviously comfortable with the doctor’s technique – and may even prefer it. In that case, if you cannot learn enough about how the Seller applies his or her technique in a post-sale transition period, you are going to end up guessing a lot on how it’s done – and likely losing patients in the process. 

Polar Extremes – it is challenging for doctors who do one extreme to buy a practice that utilizes the other, in terms of technique. For example, a practice that is 100% Instrument Only would not likely be a good fit for a Gonstead doc who wants to do only manual adjusting. And the reverse is true as well. Most practices do a blend of both manual and instrument adjusting and the exact percentage of that blend doesn’t matter much until you get to the extremes. So if the Seller does 60% Manual and 40% Instrument, it won’t matter whether your numbers are reversed or skewed more in the other direction. But if the Seller does 95% Manual and you do 95% Instrument adjusting, that’s a polar extreme that is significant (and one to avoid). 

 If any of these Red Flags are present, the answer to the question Should I buy a chiropractic practice that uses a different technique? should be NO.  


On the other hand, if you don’t have the three Red Flags present, it is quite possible to have a YES as the answer to the same question of should I buy a chiropractic practice that uses a different technique? 

Here are a few reasons why: 

Most patients are less loyal to the technique than you are – what they want is results.  

Patients are ambivalent to analysis as well. The fact that you can be someone who palpates to find where to adjust and another DC will use xray analysis, others muscle testing, posture or leg length is also lost on most patients. Most probably don’t care how you arrive at what you’re doing as long as you can get them better.  

Patients prefer a practice for many reasons – the practice may be conveniently located, they love the staff, they want their insurance accepted (or like the cash prices). None of these change with a change of technique. 


With that, here are four shifts we observed that are common to successfully transition a practice over to a different technique: 

Gradual Shift for Existing Patients – initially it makes sense to adopt the Seller’s technique as closely as you can in the beginning stages after a sale and gradually shift them over to your technique. That way, they don’t feel that you’ve completely changed styles on them. And over time, just incorporate less of the Seller’s technique and more of yours. 

Opportunity Shift – if a patient is not getting better or making the progress they’d like, this is a perfect chance to introduce your technique in a matter that will serve them well. Re-Exams are another perfect time to introduce a switch of technique. 

New Patients Shift – if a patient is being referred to the office for a specific technique, then it’s wise to at least incorporate some of that technique. But the fact of the matter is that they are a NEW patient and so they will not know the extent of the technique or how it is applied. So here you can immediately begin to incoporate some of your techniques along side the Sellers. Pro Tip – during the initial exam, if you ask the patient WHY they chose your office, you may immediately find out that it’s just because the office is in a great location or on their insurance. If that’s the case, it has nothing to do with technique at all, feel free to start that New Patient with your technique from the beginning. 

Time Shift – One of the most challenging shifts for some doctors to make is in respect to the TIME it takes them to employ the technique and not necessarily the technique itself. If the time it takes for you to adjust a patient is reasonably similar to the Seller’s, then you’ve got this challenge conquered. But if the times are significantly different, then you may need to employ a gradual “Time Shift” to retain the patients. 

For example, if the Seller routinely sees a patient in a 30 minute adjustment visit and yours takes 10 minutes, then it makes sense to gradually speed the visits up so that you avoid the patient thinking that you do not spend enough time with them (like the Seller used to).   If you are going the opposite direction and the Seller’s time intervals are a lot shorter than yours, that’s typically easier because most patients appreciate the extra time with their doctor. But you’ll also need to be sensitive to those busy patients who did not plan to park it in your office for 30 minutes, when the Seller had them in and out in 10 minutes. For these patients, you’ll need to prepare them in advance that the next visit will take a little longer, as you want to check a few more things. And if you can alternate that with the shorter visits that they are used to – even better. 


As you can see, with the right strategies in place, you can positively answer to the question should I buy a chiropractic practice that uses a different technique? 

One final note – don’t forget Newton’s First Law Of Motion – which plays a big factor in practice sales.  

As you may recall from your science studies, Newton’s First Law stated that “ a body at rest tends to stay at rest.”  

Here, the patient is already in the practice. Most patients in most practice sales will simply stay and continue to see the new buyer of the practice just because it’s easier than finding a new doctor, a new office, having to go through all the new and unfamiliar procedures somewhere else, etc.  

You could call it “convenience” but sometimes it’s not, especially if a patient travels quite a distance to get to the office. The momentum is in your favor thanks to Newton’s First Law.  

So given the above strategies and avoiding the red flags, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you can change the technique and the patients continue to stay with you after the sale. 

Need to Learn More about Buying a Chiropractic Practice? click the link here to check out our –> FREE ON-DEMAND videos and webinars

Need to FIND a Practice to Buy (Or an Associate Job or Ownership Opportunity)?  Our FREE Practice Match service will help you do exactly that! Just fill out the form, tell us your interests and let us find you a great fit!