Start Up of a New Dental or Medical Practice?

If you are a dentist, a doctor, a chiropractor, or a veterinarian and you have the entrepreneurial spirit that helps you thrive in business settings and dealing with the business aspects of running of a practice, then there is little downside to owning your practice. Once you answer that threshold question, the next question is whether you should buy an existing practice or start a new practice of your own. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and this article will discuss the most important factors in deciding whether you should start a new practice from ground up.

Starting up your new medical or dental practice provides you the opportunity to implement your own vision of how you would like to run your practice. This includes creating the work environment that you always envisioned, hiring and training employees that you believe will best suit your future practice and patients, the type of services that you would like to offer to your patients, and whether you want your practice and patients to be more insurance or out-of-pocket oriented.

Another obvious advantage of starting your own dental or medical practice, as opposed to buying an existing practice, is that you have the option of picking the location of your new practice as well as the demographic of your patients based on business surveys and analysis that include the population growth and other trends in your desired locations, the cost of leasing or buying office space, and a location that is both more convenient for you and fits the vision of the practice that you plan to run. If you decide to buy an existing practice, your options with regard to the location of your future practice is limited by the practices that are in the market and then further limited if you find a location that you like but the purchase price is overpriced or simply above the range that you are willing to pay to purchase a medical or dental practice.

Another advantage of starting up a new medical or dental practice is owning new equipment, software, furniture, etc. You will be spending a substantial amount of your life in your office so it will be much more rewarding if you feel at home and are comfortable there, not to mention that with brand new equipment you will not have to worry about fixing and repairing older equipment and the cost and headaches related to them.

The biggest disadvantage in starting up a new practice is obviously having significant overhead and paying the costs and expenses of running your office and practice while you don’t have any patients on the first day you will open for business or not having enough patients for months after your grand opening. You should therefore anticipate that and have enough funding in place to survive between 6-18 months. In my opinion, this is not as significant of a factor as it once was because more and more dentists and doctors build up their practices and patient-base by signing up with various insurance companies and becoming part of networks where patients find you or are referred to you. Due to the dental and medical industry becoming more insurance-oriented, the length of time that you need to survive with fewer patients is therefore shortened; of course, this also depends on your field of practice and the more specialized you are the longer and more difficult it becomes to be fully booked.

The other concern that I don’t necessarily consider to be a disadvantage is the flip side of the coin in that whenever you start and embark on a new project or business, you lack experience in various aspects of running that business even though you were well trained in school for treating patients. Depending on your personal preferences, however, there are a lot of material that you could study and learn how to develop business systems for billing and communicating with patients, hiring and training employees, and other aspects of practice management. If you are not one to do your own research and learn from books and videos, you can certainly hire practice management consultants that are experienced and can help you catch up in these areas; you just have to consider that as part of your budget and funding.

If you are considering starting a new dental or medical practice, I can help you with all aspects of starting your office whether it is obtaining your permits and licenses, negotiating a lease or purchasing office space, purchasing new dental equipment, introducing you and/or supervising contractors with expertise in building out dental and medical offices, and companies that will assist you with your insurance credentialing, and other aspects of starting a new practice and establishing a patient-base that will help you grow and succeed. Feel free to contact me (301-309-9002; if I can be of assistance in reaching your professional goals and objectives.

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