Buying a Ready Dental Practice vs Starting Your Own from Scratch
Get Started the Right Way
When it comes to being the owner of a dental practice, people boil it down to two choices: buy a dental practice or start one from scratch. After all, not everyone wants to work for someone else in a dental office forever. Eventually, they will start to crave to be their own boss. That way, they get to have more control of the operation and make more income in the process. To them, there’s nothing more personally and professionally satisfying than owning their very own successful dental practice.
That's where the question arises: buy or sell? There’s no right or wrong choice since many dental practitioners have found success in both avenues and have never looked back. If someone was to claim one is better than the other, you’d be wise not to listen. What ultimately determines the option you pick is what you are looking for.
With that said, there’s no doubt that each option has its own pros and cons. Maybe by looking at each option, your decision can be swayed in one direction or the other.
Buying an existing dental practice
When you buy a dental practice, you are already purchasing something that is already established. It already has well-trained staff (at least the good ones do), modern equipment, established systems and a pre-existing patient base. Your hope for purchasing such a practice is to purchase a business, one that can make you enough to pay yourself a salary and has the opportunity for growth.
The first thing you need to know about the acquisition route is that just because you buy a dental practice, it doesn’t mean it was or will be successful. When purchasing, you need to make sure that you are buying a successful practice, meaning it is an actual business. Don’t just settle for buying a practice and say you own a business. Many doctors have made this mistake only to find themselves owning something that needs a lot of work and that they can’t even pay themselves a salary with.
The second thing you need to know about acquiring a practice is that buying a big one is usually less risky than purchasing a smaller one. With a big practice you are more likely to have everything you need to make yourself an income. You can be more confident that you acquiring a business.
On the other hand, buying a small practice is more likely to be a mistake. Many doctors opt to go for this option because it is cheaper than purchasing a large one. They quickly come face to face with unexpected challenges. They have to do things like renovate the place to make it look nicer, buy dental practice equipment since the current one might be outdated, train or retrain the staff and/or find new providers.
And perhaps the most taxing (timewise and moneywise) thing they might have to do when they buy a dental practice that small is advertise. This is so that they build a large enough client base to turn a profit. Also, the patients that they inherit may be from an older, aging demographic. But this is not true about all small practices. Basically, you just need to be careful when you decide to by a small-scale dental operation.
- Less hassle than a startup
- Pre-existing patient base
- Equipment is already there
- Provides profit if the practice is successful
- Already has systems in place
- Inherit experienced staff
- Renovations needed
- Equipment might be outdated
- Staff may need training or retraining
- Inherited patients might be old
Starting your own dental practice
An excellent alternative to buying a practice is to start one from scratch. This is where you have to do everything yourself, whether you want to buy dental office equipment or hire staff. Although this is not an easy thing to do, it is doable nonetheless, and many doctors also go for this route. To get it right, there are a couple of factors that need to be perfect in order to set yourself up for success. These factors include location, financing, vision, equipment, advertising and staffing.
Doctors who have chosen to start their own practice have reported that it offers them one benefit that can’t be beaten. They say starting from scratch allows them to set up a framework that can rapidly propel the practice towards success. Plus, they have said that the clinical freedom, ability to pay themselves a salary they feel they deserve and take on the kind of patients they want are also nice perks.
However, it is all not roses with getting a startup up and running. As mentioned earlier this can be tough, as it is with starting any business. For example, it might be a struggle to find the seed money to get the practice going. Also, choosing the right location is key to success, and many doctors get that wrong too by just settling for the nearest location. And there is also a struggle involved in building up a patient base from scratch since people might be reluctant to try out a new practice.
These are just a few examples of the challenges that one might face when starting their own dental practice from scratch. Ultimately, doing this hinges on getting everything right to create a dental experience that patients will love. There is a lot of time and commitment involved in this, but once it hits the ground running, the results can be truly amazing.
- Build the dental practice you want (from your vision)
- Buy dental gear that is new
- Create own framework for rapid success
- Clinical freedom
- Can pay yourself the wages you deserve
- Greater job satisfaction
- More difficult to get up and running
- Requires more money than purchasing
- Might have to get into debt to find financing
- The patient base needs to be built from scratch
As mentioned earlier, whether you buy or start a dental practice ultimately depends on you. What are you looking for? If you are more of a fixer, then you are better off going the acquisition route – after all, building a startup just isn’t for everyone. If fixing is not your thing, and you are more of a creator, then start your own from scratch.