8 Things You Need to Know Before Opening Your Own Dental Practice

August 18, 2016, Dento Clinic

8 Things You Need to Know Before Opening Your Own Dental Practice
8 Things You Need to Know Before Opening Your Own Dental Practice
So, you have finished your studies, got your degree in dentistry and are now considering opening your own dental practice. Whether you are considering opening a new practice, purchasing an existing dental practice or starting a dental business from scratch, getting started in this line of work can, in many cases, be quite overwhelming.

A lot of work needs to be put into establishing a dental business, from deciding whether you will have a partner, to determining how many employees you are going to need and how you will market your new dental business. This is why we are writing this article, to cover all the important things you need to know and help you in setting your new business up for success.

When you are starting a business, you need to be properly prepared, meaning that you need to take time to explore all the options before you settle for one. A dental practice also involves a lot of financial planning, so it is very important to perform some research and include all the important financial information in your business plan. This includes equipment, licensing fees, salaries, building a website and various other costs. So, let’s get started.

A Business Plan

The first step you need to take when you are opening your dental practice is to create a business plan. It represents a detailed description of your business and includes your overall strategy, costs, operating procedures, earnings and other important financial information. If you want to obtain a loan for your dental practice, you are going to need a good plan.

There are many online resources that can help you in creating a business plan, and you can easily find templates by doing a quick search. Before you set aside your time for researching, create a general outline of the information you want to include in your plan.

Another important thing when you are creating your business plan is to have an exit strategy. Yes, we know that you have not even set up your dental practice, but you need to think about the long-term. For instance, if you purchase a dental practice that is known for one thing and you want to make it known for something else, or if the name of the practice has a specific word in it that you do not really like, then you need to think about rebranding to get your dental practice where you want it.

A Partner

This is the time where you need to decide whether you are going to open a dental practice on your own or are you going to have one or more dentists as partners. Teaming up with another dentist can help you offset the costs of opening the practice and acquiring the loan. A potential downside of opening a practice with another dentist is that it can be difficult to find a person who will share your vision.

This is a major consideration on your hand and a big commitment if you decide to go into business with a partner, so make sure that you put in some careful thought into this. Also, don’t forget that if you cannot envision yourself with a partner when you are creating your business plan, you can always come back to this later if you experience difficulties when gathering finances for your new business.

Location

Another crucial decision you need to make is deciding where the location of your dental practice will be. This particular step requires a lot of research, so before you even begin looking for office spaces, find out how many dental practices are already there in the area you want to set up your business. We hope that you have already chosen the city where you want your business to be, and if you haven’t, then ask yourself where you want work and live and do some research on the best places for you.

Once you know where you want to open your practice, research the competition and the population of the area you want to practice in. The average number of dentists on every 100 000 citizens is approximately 55, but this number tends to vary from state to state.

When you are choosing a location for your practice consider the potential for walk-ins. It would be great if you can be on the first floor or on some of the upper floors of a commercial property. If your business is located on the ground floor, your construction will be more cost-effective, but on the other hand an upper-level floor has more affordable leasing options. Another thing you need to consider when choosing a location is the number of parking spaces and general convenience.

Licenses and Permits

Another thing you need to do before you open up your dental practice is to have all the necessary licenses, permits and other things that are required to practice dentistry in the area you have chosen. Consider joining professional memberships if you believe that they are necessary or will benefit your dental practice. Regulations and laws vary from state to state, so research this step carefully in order to leave yourself sufficient time and budgeting to obtain all the required permits before you open your practice.

Equipment

Perhaps one of the biggest expenses in opening a dental practice is the cost of the equipment, and in addition to that you will be needing furniture, medical billing software, computer systems and many other items. Find a reputable salesperson to help you with the equipment, someone who can help you obtain quality and affordable equipment, and do the research before you make any large purchases.

In addition to the dental tools, you will be needing business management software, instrument management software, call tracking system and other, so to choose the best software you can take a look at some of the best dental practice management software reviews and also test out some of the programs before you decide which one you will use.

Financing

Unless you already have funds, you need to gather finances to open your dental practice. After reviewing your business plan, you can apply for a loan from a lender or a bank. If you are not able to obtain the finances you need, then you need to consider teaming up with another dentist, even if you have planned to open a dental practice on your own. Depending on what your situation is, you need to wait because obtaining the required finances is a slow process. The average upfront costs for a dental practice are $500 000, so start talking to different lending institutions to see how willing they are to lend to dentists.

Personnel

Since you won’t be able to do everything on your own, you need to think about the staffing needs, and it is better to do it sooner than later. You will be needing a receptionist, IT staff, dental assistants and perhaps even an office manager.

Decide how many people you will need for your practice to operate properly, and finding employees is not an easy task, so if you want to set yourself for success, plan ahead. After that, determine an average salary for each position, and put that information into your business plan to determine your financial projections.

Dental Marketing Strategy

Every business needs a website because a presence on social media is not enough. Having a website for your business will help you attract new patients, make your dental practice recognizable and serve as your primary marketing tool. There are a couple of different ways to build a website, you can do it by yourself with a website building platform like WordPress, or seek the help of an online marketing firm or a web designer.

In addition to having a website, it is advised that you employ the services of an SEO firm so that your dental practice can attract more potential patients and become more profitable. If you get started early, you will attract the attention before your dental practice is operational. So, make sure to invest in SEO and other online marketing efforts.

The process of opening a new dental practice is not an easy venture, there are many decisions you need to make, but you can use this article as your starting point. Many decisions you will make will be crucial for the success of your business, so it is important to make sure that you have done everything right. Take enough time when you are planning your new dental practice, and do not be afraid to ask for help.

We hope this article will help you in discovering some beneficial details you need to pay attention to when you are opening your own dental practice, and remember, despite all the hard work you need to put into, having your own practice is a very rewarding experience. You are your own boss and are doing something you love. So, we can only wish you luck on your journey, and hope that you will run a successful dental practice. 

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