Are you thinking about buying a chiropractic practice rather than starting as an associate or starting from scratch? You’re not alone! The number of chiropractors looking to buy a chiropractic practice has been steadily increasing over the last several years — for a few good reasons. But there are also a few important things to know before you go down this road, so read on!
Why More Chiropractors Are Buying a Chiropractic Practice
In our experience working with docs looking to purchase a practice, there are a few good reasons this trend is growing.
First, most chiropractors have an end goal in mind to own their own practice as opposed to being an associate employee. So starting down that path makes sense.
Second, the potential salary that many chiropractic associate jobs afford does not sound as attractive as the potential compensation that owning a practice can bring you.
Third, some chiropractic students have heavy student loan debt that would essentially prohibit them from working as an associate for a minimum salary. For example, if your student loan payments are $2000 per month and an associate job is only offering $4000/mo salary, there’s not much left after taxes for all your efforts.
Fourth, while there are chiropractic associate jobs that have attractive pay scales, they are not all available in the places you want to live or practice. And, as you can imagine, the competition for some of those positions paying top dollar is stiff.
Fifth, while it may seem counterintuitive to take on more debt to purchase a practice (or startup), the advantage is clear: when you buy a practice, you will assume the owner’s salary. So, the business has a track record of performance that supports a certain compensation level. At that point, you can do the math and figure out that with many practice purchases, even AFTER the increased debt service, you can come out ahead because of the superior salary that you have as the business owner (which can definitely be higher than many associate salaries).
Finally, buying a chiropractic practice not only puts you in control as the business owner, it is more predictable and less risky than a startup. So, if you are looking to get ahead in the income department, you can certainly compare the salary that you would get as an associate to the salary that you would take over when purchasing an existing practice. But it’s difficult or nearly impossible to predict the salary you get from a startup – if you get any at all!
Additional Factors That Are Increasing the Number of Buyers
While all of the above provide solid reasons for why more chiropractors are buying a chiropractic practice than ever before, there are a few financing factors that are also contributing to this trend.
In decades past, bank loans for buying a chiropractic practice were difficult or non-existent. These days, a lot has changed. And more specifically, things have become exponentially better for buyers looking to finance a practice purchase since the start of 2018. (Consequently, these changes have also benefitted those looking to SELL their practice, as it is now easier for buyers to get money to buy!)
Before you get too excited about buying a practice, just because things are better, does not mean they are simple.
As mentioned above, many chiropractors have a high student loan debt so this means that bankers are not necessarily chasing you down to hand you more money to purchase a practice. But here is the good news:
Any banker that understands healthcare expects that you will have student loans to enter into the chiropractic profession. This distinction will separate the majority of the banks that will approve your loan from the ones who ultimately reject it.
If they understand or frequently lend to healthcare professionals, they will know how to handle your student loan debt. If they don’t, it will hurt your chances of getting a loan for buying a chiropractic practice.
You Can Help Your Chances Of Buying a Chiropractic Practice
In addition to choosing a lender that understands healthcare practice acquisitions, you can do a few more things to help your chances of getting a loan for buying a chiropractic practice.
For example, if your credit scores are good and you have money (or can be given some by family or friends) for a downpayment, you have a much better chance of securing a loan.
On the other hand, if you have high student loan debt, no money for a downpayment and poor credit, you’re probably not a great candidate to get a loan (at least right now).
In conclusion, here are a couple additional resources that may help you in your steps to buying a chiropractic practice.
Need More Help on Deciding Whether to Buy, Build or Break Up? Consider our FREE webinar on how to make your next best move to purchase a chiropractic practice, start one from scratch or get a new associate job!
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!