Don't Let Loan Debt Strangle Your Practice
"Nine times out of 10 we'll find that any given doctor might have five to 10 debt sources they're paying on a monthly basis," Biro says. "I'll look at that and find a way to consolidate those debts and stretch them out a little further with a payment that is much more affordable."
The move to electronic health records is spurring a lot of capital expenditures for hardware and software, Biro notes. Many of the companies providing this equipment will offer a three- to five-year lease, but Biro says your bank probably will offer a 10-year loan that puts you in a better position to pay off the debt without a pre-payment penalty.
Another option to consider is incorporating real estate into your practice, Biro says. This is another advantage to opting for a loan instead of a lease-when you decide to sell the practice in 10 or 15 years, you will have real estate attached to that sale in addition to your patient base.
"That's part of a good exit strategy. You put all this blood, sweat, and tears into building the practice, and then you want it to be attractive to someone when you sell," Biro says. "Part of your practice being attractive to a buyer is having no debt and some real estate."
To take advantage of some of these financing options, Biro suggests seeking out a lender that specializes in working with the medical community, such as his division at Bank of America.
"Those lenders understand the pulse of the medical community, what they need, and they underwrite differently than small business lenders do," Biro says. "We know how to figure out what will make a doctor have a better cash flow position at the end of the month."
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