When starting a new dental practice, you will either be buying an existing location or setting up a practice from scratch. Before you make any decisions make sure you go through my dental clinic location checklist to ensure you’ve considered everything.
Buying or acquiring an existing practice means you will already have patients. The most cost-effective and successful acquisitions occur when the buyer and seller each hire a CPA and an attorney to represent them to agree and come to terms on the deal. Having this team of experts on your side with add some time and cost but will pay off in the long run.
With a start-up, the space usually is not built out yet, and there are no patients. At face value, the acquisition might seem like the wise choice. But there’s always a risk that you may not get what you expect.
Here are a few factors to include on your checklist to help you make an informed decision. You can also complete a SWOT analysis to help make a more informed decision.
The entire list can be found in my previous blog post or my new book, DentalEase: The Essential Guide to Building the Stress-Free and Profitable Dental Practice of Your Dreams.
One of the most critical factors to evaluate when looking at locations of dental offices is making sure your practice is easy to find.
Will your practice be easy to see from the street? Will patients be able to read your signs? Making it easy for your patients to find your location is the first step to ensuring your patients have a good experience before they even step foot in the door.
Parking remains one of the most important aspects to consider when opening a new practice. Whether it’s parking in a designated parking lot or on the street, make sure there are enough parking spots for your patients throughout the day.
Your landlord will likely assure you there is more than enough parking, but do your due diligence and ask other businesses in the area what their experience with this has been.
If the location you’re considering isn’t ideal, you will likely have to spend additional money on marketing so people know where you are located.
Consider whether this is a trade-off you’re willing to make and how much it will cost you. In many cases, it’s often cheaper to pay for a better location than rely on expensive marketing campaigns to compensate for a less-than-ideal location.
If you do need help with marketing read our article ‘8 dental practice marketing ideas you can start today‘.
As part of your site inspection, make sure you also consider signage allowances for your practice. Proper signage will help patients find your office and attract new patients looking for dentists in their neighborhood.
Before deciding to set up shop, make sure there aren’t too many dentists already in the area. According to the American Dental Association, a good competition ratio is one dentist for every 1,500 patients.
When considering your competition, consider whether your competitors are actually your competition or whether you offer different services.
One of the most critical factors to evaluate is the patient base or the demographics in the area. Demographics is an essential factor to consider because it will determine the type of patients you attract.
For example, if you set up your practice in a wealthier neighborhood, chances are you will attract patients covered by private insurance plans. The same thing goes if you open your practice in a new community. You will likely attract young families.
When you are considering a location, take a moment to research to find out if there are other professional businesses in the area.
Setting up a dental practice close to other professional businesses is a great way to help your practice grow because it makes it easier for your patients to schedule an appointment.
This includes appointments before nearby offices open for business for the day, so make sure you open early.
When considering a location, step back and ask yourself if there is anything special about the location or the area that will help your practice succeed. Influences could be something like a school across the street if you are an orthodontist or a popular shopping mall.
Consider looking for stores that attract your type of clientele. Are there businesses in the area that your patients are likely to use? Opening a practice near a popular service or location will increase your visibility and help your dental practice grow.
While your practice’s orientation might be the least of your concerns, renting or owning a practice with operatories that face north is the most desirable.
North facing operatories will ensure plenty of sunlight, which has been proven to improve patients’ moods and overall experience.
Once you’ve reviewed your potential location’s primary attributes, it’s important to consider the difference between acquiring an existing practice or starting a new one.
Here are few things other factors to include on your checklist.
- Architect and municipality permit fees
- Professional services
- Utility fees
- Start-up funding
- Dental equipment
- IT and miscellaneous items
- Office equipment and furnishings
- First-time versus seasoned owner
- Monthly payments plus operating expenses
- All costs and compare
- Patient files
- What is the true value?
- Office status in the community
- Why selling?
- Hidden costs
- Employee satisfaction
- One broker to represent each side
To learn more about what to include on your dental clinic location checklist, make sure to download the first chapter of my book DentalEase: The Essential Guide to Building the Stress-Free and Profitable Dental Practice of Your Dreams.
The first chapter is free to download and will give you even more insight into creating a successful dental practice.