Buying your optical practice is exciting, but it can also be very stressful. Even when businesses look similar on paper, the buying experiences may differ wildly. There are several factors to keep in mind, and here, we look at some top tips to help you minimise the challenges that you face during the purchasing process.
Find Out Who Owns The Equipment
Is the optical equipment owned by the seller, or is it on lease or hire purchase terms? If you’re purchasing, you should never assume that the current practice owner owns the equipment outright, particularly if its new-looking and modern. Check purchase receipts, as you might need to investigate transferring the agreement into your name.
Have Employment Requirements Been Met?
Has the business’s seller complied with all their statutory obligations when it comes to their employees? Does every employee have a written, formal employment contract? Your process of due diligence should establish that the seller has been compliant with all relevant employment laws.
Are Locums Self-Employed?
If the business uses locums, are they actually self-employed? On some occasions, locums who work full-time in effect and who are then dismissed following the purchase completion, have been known to make an unfair dismissal claim against the new owner.
Do You Need To Consult Staff?
If you’re planning to change the existing working practices or employee employment terms, you may need to consult the business’s existing staff, and this can be costly and time-consuming.
If the optical practice is currently conducting NHS work with a General Opthalmic Services Contract, you’ll need to obtain a new contract. You’ll need to know how long it will take to get one, what will happen in the period in between, and whether you will, in fact, be able to get one without modifying the premises and potentially obtaining a licence from the premises’ landlord.
It’s vital to consider carefully whether your purchase will give you profitable returns on your investment. If you’re obtaining finance from a bank to buy your optical practice, the lease may need to have a minimum duration remaining. Even if you don’t need a loan, the premises’ lease report will be a vital component when it comes to assessing whether the business is financially viable.
The Exclusivity Agreement
It makes sense to ensure that an exclusivity agreement is arranged between you and the business’s seller to give you the confidence of knowing no negotiations with other parties can be carried on behind your back while you’re carrying out the process of due diligence.
Consider External Factors
It’s important to check that there are no external influences that could have a negative impact on the practice’s ongoing sustainability before finalising your purchase. You therefore need to consider the current economic climate as well as the sector’s current market conditions, and the location of the practice with regard to its competitors and demographics.
Since buying an optical practice is a significant commitment, it’s imperative to seek professional advice before diving in to your purchase.