Step-by-Step Guide

Partner with or Buy an Optometry Practice

The partial or total purchase of an existing optometry clinic is a particularly intriguing possibility as it means you’ll be able to profit from the current clientele and clinic sales without delay. Better yet, you’ll benefit from the current owner's management experience, a winning combination for any entrepreneur in the optical industry. Start preparing your clinic project by following the steps below. If you are looking to make some changes to the clinic (such as to its website, leasehold improvements, vendors, and more) we strongly suggest you consult the Step-by-Step Guide: Starting a New Optometry Clinic.

The following sequence of steps to buy an optometry practice is provided by way of illustration only. Some of these steps must be completed concurrently.

1

CHOOSE YOUR EXPERTS AND IDENTIFY YOUR RESOURCES

Before starting a business, it is important to identify the right people and resources that will assist you in the development of your clinic. You first have to choose an accountant and lawyer. Professional associations and buying groups, such as OSI Group, can also provide you with valuable information and resources as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.

2

CHOOSE THE CLINIC TO ACQUIRE

There are various ways in which an optometrist can select the clinic they wish to acquire.

One of the most common methods is to acquire a clinic or to partner with the clinic where you practice. This method is quite advantageous since you have time to familiarize yourself with the clientele, the employees and the location before confirming your desire to purchase.

You can also consult your network of contacts to identify clinics that are looking to sell or partner up.

A group of independent optometrists such as the OSI Group is an excellent resource when looking to partner with or purchase a clinic. The OSI Group can put you in touch with clinics that meet your selection criteria.

3

EXCLUSIVITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT

This agreement ensures that the parties respect the confidentiality of the information exchanged.

It also guarantees the exclusivity of negotiations for a specific time period in order to eliminate the need to undertake research and incur costs while the other party is negotiating with a third party.

It further establishes the conditions to be met by both parties in order to reach a purchase offer. Take a look at Vision Entrepreneur Exclusivity and Confidentiality Agreement Template .

4

EVALUATE THE OPTOMETRY BUSINESS FOR SALE

There are various forms of clinic evaluation , usually performed by accountants. A professional with experience in evaluating optometric clinics will do a better job.

To correctly evaluate the clinic and establish a financial forecast, the selling clinic should provide you with at least the last three years of financial statements.

Beyond the financial evaluation, several aspects can also influence the value of a clinic. These aspects, however, cannot be calculated using a formula. For instance, it will be up to you to determine how the age of the clientele will affect the price of the clinic you wish to purchase.

5

PRESENT YOUR OFFER

The offer to purchase contains the essential elements of the sale (price, percentage, date, payment terms) as well as an outline of the transaction. This is when negotiations with the clinic can begin. Some may find it useful to involve their accountant, lawyer, and tax specialist at this stage. Note that this stage can often mean paying substantial professional fees. Accepting the offer to purchase is legally binding for the parties, subject to what may be discovered during the due diligence process.

6

DUE DILIGENCE

This step is crucial in the purchase of an optometry clinic. It requires the buyer to thoroughly review the financial statements, tax returns, debts, supplier relationships, employee relationships and more. This way, you will be thoroughly familiar with the business you are about to buy and know exactly what to expect. Again, your lawyer and accountant will guide you through the details of this important step.

7

CREATE YOUR BUSINESS AND FINANCING PLAN

Contact your bank and ask them what information you need to provide in order for them to propose a financing plan. You may need to provide them with your business plan or information about the clinic you wish to acquire. Use an existing business plan template as a guide in developing your own plan. Your accountant will also walk you through the various sources of financing available to you.

8

FINALIZE THE PURCHASE

This step consists of presenting the deed or contract of sale to the clinic in accordance with the offer to purchase and based on what the due diligence has revealed. The seller, your lawyer or your accountant may have a model deed that they wish to use. It is up to you and the clinic to agree on the best solution for all parties.

9

DRAFT A SHAREHOLDER AGREEMENT
(if more than one owner)

The shareholders’ agreement is a document that sets out the actions to be taken by the shareholders in specific situations. For instance, it could include clauses dealing with the acquisition of the clinic by a third party or the distribution of dividends among the shareholders.

This document should be drafted by a lawyer. However, if possible, it is best to come to a mutual agreement, outline the terms and work with a lawyer once the shareholders have agreed on the details of the agreement.