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If you are opening a dental office, you might be wondering what things you need to get right. The task is hard in and of itself, but if you go in unprepared, you might stumble and lose direction quickly. That is why this article was written to help you create the ultimate checklist that can help you get that dental office up and running.

  1. Decide whether you want to purchase an already existing practice or start one from scratch
  2. Review the pros and cons of each option
  3. Consider having a partner
  4. Do some research
  5. Make sure you are committed
  6. Have an attitude for success
  7. Come up with a work schedule for yourself
  8. Determine the opening and closing hours
  9. Building your business skills by getting trained by a successful business owner
  10. Have a vision for what your practice should be
  11. Set realistic goals
  12. If you’re not going the general route, make sure you find the perfect niche for your area
  13. Make sure you have a business plan
  14. Decide on your fees
  15. Set up patient financing programs if you can
  16. Choose a credit card processor for payments
  17. Contact employers in your locale and ask them what dental benefit plans they offer their employees
  18. Think about how your company will help patients who are under a dental benefit plan
  19. Before agreeing to the terms and conditions of any dental benefit plan, make sure you review it carefully
  20. Learn to prepare some of the important financial statements for yourself, such as a cash flow statement or income statement
  21. Decide how much you are going to be paying yourself
  22. If purchasing an already existing dental office, make sure you are purchasing a successful practice
  23. Also, hire a lawyer to help you sort out the legal aspect of the purchase
  24. Find the right location
  25. Prove to the landlord that you are financially capable of handling the lease
  26. Fill out all the paperwork for the lease
  27. Negotiate a better prince on the lease
  28. Sign the lease
  29. If there is some renovation work that needs to be done, negotiate a better price on the construction (save at least 10-40%)
  30. Make sure all your licenses and permits are in order
  31. Choose a bank or any other financial institution you want your company to deal with in regards to money
  32. Make sure you have enough money to start the practice
  33. Get pre-qualified for a loan
  34. Secure financing from banks, alternative lenders and/or investors
  35. Make sure you are creditworthy
  36. Determine your working capital needs
  37. Stick to your budget no matter what
  38. Set aside a rainy day fund
  39. Find out what equipment you need
  40. Purchase or lease the latest, state-of-the-art dental equipment
  41. Negotiate on the prices of the equipment (make sure to save at least 10-20%)
  42. Purchase office stationery and furniture
  43. Purchase a practice management system
  44. Set up a phone system
  45. Set up an inventory management system
  46. Set up a system for managing patient records
  47. Develop a privacy policy for what the dental practice will do with the personal and financial information of patients
  48. Make sure all clients have read, understood and agreed to the privacy policy
  49. Get consent from clients in regards to calling, emailing or texting them
  50. Locate dental laboratories you can utilize in the area
  51. If you are a general dentist, find specialists in the area to refer clients to
  52. If you are a family doctor, have a play area for parents to leave their children
  53. Identify service providers that can dispose of your dental waste
  54. Arrange for them to pick up the waste at scheduled times
  55. Get acquainted with all the federal and state laws
  56. Have all the forms a patient would need ready (form letters, informed consent forms, new customer forms, etc.,)
  57. If the practice was purchased, contact all inherited patients to let them know of the change of ownership
  58. Also, obtain their authorization before accessing their patient records
  59. Start networking for the general public to know your business
  60. Advertise the opening of the offices on TV, radio and print media in the area
  61. Make sure you’re advertising to the right people
  62. Publish a press release announcing the opening of the offices
  63. Have business cards printed out
  64. Have a website that patients can visit for information and book appointments
  65. Market your practice using rolling billboards
  66. Create Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to interact with customers and other businesses
  67. Have share buttons of your social media pages on your website
  68. Include a blog on your website to share useful tips, guides and latest dental news
  69. Make sure the about page of the website has enough information for people to know your business and you as a person
  70. Have some brochures printed out for distribution
  71. Use paid ads on Facebook to get in front of a larger audience
  72. Get listed in an online directory, such as Yelp, so that people looking for local dentists in the area can find you easier
  73. Have a logo for your dental practice
  74. For tax purposes, decide if you will use your Employee Identification Number or Social Security Number when registering with the IRS
  75. Hire an accountant to handle your finances
  76. Have the accountant prepare measures to prevent embezzlement and fraud
  77. Determine your staffing requirements
  78. Advertise job openings
  79. Determine the salaries, roles and benefits for your employees
  80. Make sure they have human resources support
  81. Hire experienced workers
  82. Make sure all employees have an Employee Identification Number from the IRS
  83. Have an employee manual for which all employees should abide by
  84. Make sure each employee has his or her own record
  85. If you have inexperienced workers, make sure they are trained
  86. Develop a safety policy for all employees and patients
  87. Hire a receptionist to greet and tend to the needs of patients at the front desk
  88. Put some reading materials in patient areas
  89. Have TVs in the waiting areas with a cable subscription
  90. Have an answering machine
  91. Offer your patients some amenities
  92. Ask for feedback from clients on how you are doing
  93. Ask happy clients to review you on business review sites
  94. Acquire the appropriate dental posters to plaster in the office
  95. Obtain malpractice or liability insurance
  96. Don’t forget about life insurance
  97. Also, have data breach insurance
  98. Make sure your equipment and building is also insured
  99. Make sure you have worker’s compensation in case one of your staff gets injured while on the job
  100. Make sure there is a sexual harassment policy in place

Now that you have the ultimate checklist handy, you can start working on getting your dental office off the ground. As you can see, it is hard work. However, if done right, it can be completely worth it.