Dental and Medical Counsel Blog

How to Successfully Merge Optometry Practices

May 15, 2024
Optometry Lawyer, Optometry Attorney, Optometry Practice, Optometrist

Merging an optometry practice is a significant decision. It holds allure as it frequently diminishes expenses while simultaneously expanding patient accessibility. Methodical planning and preemptive resolution of potential conflict zones are essential for navigating this intricate process smoothly.

Two Ways to Merge Practices

Merging optometry practices typically occurs through one of two avenues: transition or collaboration. The chosen approach significantly influences the merger's objectives and the logistics of the transition process.

Transition-Oriented Mergers

In some cases, optometrists merge their practices as part of a transition plan. For instance, one practitioner might be seeking to retire or reduce their workload, while another aims to establish a long-term career path. In such scenarios, it's crucial for both parties to formalize their arrangement through an employment agreement, which could take the form of a partnership or a buy/sell agreement.

Collaborative Mergers

Alternatively, optometrists might opt to merge their practices to capitalize on mutual benefits, such as cost savings and revenue growth. This collaborative approach often arises when practitioners are at similar career stages and share a vision for the combined entity. They may seek the merger to explore investment opportunities, create a unified practice identity, or cultivate a collaborative work environment conducive to practice development and innovation.


optometrists, optometry lawyer, optometry attorney

The Pros and Cons of Merging Practices

Transitioning into a shared optometry practice presents numerous advantages and considerations that warrant careful deliberation before committing to such a significant decision.

The Advantages

Pooling resources with another optometrist can substantially reduce overhead costs, potentially halving expenses by splitting overhead like office space and equipment. Combining practices diminishes competition in the local area, potentially making the partnership more profitable than individual practices.

A merged practice can project a heightened level of professionalism and legitimacy in the community, potentially attracting more patients and facilitating practice growth. Introducing specialists to the practice can also enhance its appeal to new patients seeking specialized care.

Furthermore, merging practices can enhance liquidity by converting ownership into shares, offering a more straightforward path for succession planning and future investments.

The Considerations

Despite the benefits, merging practices entails relinquishing some degree of autonomy. Partnering means abiding by agreed-upon standards and consulting with the other practitioner on significant decisions affecting the practice as a whole.

While the advantages often outweigh the drawbacks, it's essential to carefully assess the implications and ensure alignment of expectations before embarking on a merger journey in the optometry field.


Optometry lawyer, optometry attorney, optometrists

Initial Merge Considerations

When merging optometry practices, especially if it involves established practices, conducting thorough appraisals and evaluations of each office is paramount. Understanding the relative value of each practice enables the involved optometrists to devise a compensation plan that aligns with their contributions to the merged entity.

Additionally, compatibility among all participating optometrists is essential for the success of the merger. This collaborative endeavor resembles a unique "work-marriage," necessitating mutual understanding and cohesion among all parties. Prior to committing to a merger, it's crucial to invest time in getting to know each member of both teams, ensuring compatibility and synergy long before formalizing the merger agreement.

Merging Process Logistics

While the concept of merging optometry practices may seem straightforward, navigating the intricacies of the process demands careful consideration of various logistical aspects.


Choosing the right location post-merge is crucial. Assess whether one practice's location holds an advantage over the other and if relocation makes strategic sense. However, weigh the impact on existing and potential patients. Will a move strengthen the brand or disrupt patient continuity? Consider the accessibility needs of your patient demographic, especially those who may face challenges with transportation.

Team Members

Early communication with team members about the impending merge is essential, although timing is critical to minimize disruptions. Evaluate whether restructuring the team is necessary post-merge to optimize efficiency. Transparency and clarity in communicating changes to team roles are vital to maintaining morale and productivity.

Logo and Practice Name

Deciding on a unified identity for the merged practice requires careful consideration. If rebranding is the goal, severing ties with previous identities may be necessary. However, if one practitioner is transitioning out soon, retaining the existing name may preserve patient familiarity.

Insurance and Fees

Anticipate changes in insurance, licensing, and fee structures as the practice evolves post-merge. Consult with professionals like brokers and attorneys to navigate these transitions smoothly, ensuring compliance and financial stability throughout the process.

Dividing Assets, Revenue, and Expenses

Establishing clear expectations regarding financial arrangements is paramount. Discuss equitable distribution of income and expenses, considering factors like workload and part-time arrangements. Drafting comprehensive agreements addressing these financial aspects beforehand mitigates potential conflicts down the line.

Practice Philosophy

Alignment of practice philosophies is fundamental to a successful partnership. Discussing both short-term and long-term goals enables partners to gauge compatibility and ensure a harmonious working relationship. Whether focusing on profitability or community outreach, shared values foster a cohesive and enduring partnership.

Going Through a Successful Merge

Combining your optometry practice demands meticulous planning and thoughtful consideration of various practice elements. Partnering with a trusted advisor can greatly facilitate this process. Reach out to optometry attorney Ali Oromchian for a complimentary consultation to explore how he can streamline and enhance the transition for all stakeholders involved.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the main considerations when merging optometry practices?
A: Key considerations include location, team dynamics, branding, insurance and fee changes, financial arrangements, and alignment of practice philosophies.

Q: How should I decide on the location for the merged practice?
A: Evaluate which location offers strategic advantages and consider the impact on patient continuity and accessibility. Assess whether relocation strengthens the brand or disrupts patient care.

Q: When should I inform my team about the merger?
A: Early communication is crucial, but timing is essential to minimize disruptions. Discuss potential restructuring of the team post-merge to optimize efficiency.

Q: What should I consider when rebranding the merged practice?
A: Decide whether to sever ties with previous identities or retain familiarity for transitioning practitioners. Aim for a unified brand identity that aligns with the practice's vision and values.

Q: How will the merger affect insurance, licensing, and fees?
A: Anticipate changes in insurance, licensing, and fee structures post-merge. Consult with professionals to navigate these transitions smoothly and ensure compliance.

Q: How should financial arrangements be handled in a merger?
A: Establish clear expectations regarding income distribution, expenses, and workload division. Draft comprehensive agreements addressing these aspects beforehand to mitigate conflicts.

Q: What role does practice philosophy play in a merger?
A: Alignment of practice philosophies is vital for a successful partnership. Discuss short-term and long-term goals to gauge compatibility and ensure a harmonious working relationship.


About the Author

At Dental & Medical Counsel, PC, we understand navigating the legal process can be tricky. We believe every optometrist deserves the best advice and service so optometrists can do what they do best, treat their patients. We make their lives easier by providing expert guidance, so they can focus on their personal and professional aspirations. We are optometry attorneys.

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About Ali Oromchian, Esq.

Ali Oromchian, JD, LL.M. is the founding attorney of the Dental & Medical Counsel, PC law firm and is renowned for his expertise in legal matters

In addition to being a optometry lawyer for almost 20 years, Ali is also a renowned speaker, throughout North America, on topics such as practice transitions, employment law, negotiation strategies, estate planning, and more! Ali has helped hundreds of optometrists realize their professional goals and looks forward to aiding you in navigating the legal landscape.


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