become a dental entrepreneurBy: Joyce Kahng, DDS •June 7, 2023
As a dental professional, you might harbor ambitions of owning your own practice one day. Such a decision is a significant milestone that marks the transition from dental practitioner to a healthcare entrepreneur.
If you’re ready to take the leap but you’re uncertain about where to start, you’ll want to consider the step-by-step guide below to achieve your dream. By the time you are done, you’ll understand all of the basic steps that you need to take to buy your own dental practice and become an entrepreneur!
Owning a dental practice is a major business venture, so you need to become fluent in business ownership. This means understanding operational costs, profit margins, gross revenue, patient acquisition, and more. Get yourself up to speed by reading up on the business aspects of owning a dental office, joining business-owner online forums, and taking part in entrepreneurial workshops.
Buying a dental practice is a major investment and it’s easy to get lost in the details of the purchase. But don’t forget to keep your long-term vision in mind. Consider how this practice will look in a few years and even decades from now. For instance, you might want to grow the practice and/or specialize in certain treatments in the future.
Having a long-term plan can guide your decisions and keep you focused on the bigger picture.
What does your dream dental practice look like? Is it a high-paced practice in the heart of the city? Or a cozy, family-friendly one in a small town? How many patients do you want to see each day? What kind of services do you want to provide? By answering these questions, you’ll be able to better define your goals. And once you’ve got your goals, you can start making them happen.
Buying a dental practice is a big investment. You need to figure out your financial capacity. Start by meeting with a financial advisor experienced in dental practices. They’ll guide you in understanding your financial standing, help set a budget, and explain various financing options. Remember, you need to plan not just for the purchase, but also the operating costs that come afterwards.
You’re not going into this alone. You need a team of experts who know their stuff. Find yourself an experienced accountant who knows the dental industry, an attorney who can navigate the legal side of things, and a dental practice broker to help you find the right practice. Your team will be your eyes and ears throughout this process, providing expert advice and steering you away from potential pitfalls.
Armed with your dream, your budget, and your team, it’s time to start the hunt. There are plenty of places to look: online listings, dental trade shows, and even through networking in the dental community. Look for practices that align with your goals and your budget. Remember, it’s okay to be picky—you’re looking for the best fit for you.
So, you’ve looked around and found a potential practice that seems to meet all of your wants and needs…great! Now it’s time to delve into the details.
Look closely at the financials. How’s the practice doing in terms of profit? What’s the patient turnover rate like? What about employee satisfaction? Review the practice’s records thoroughly to make sure the numbers add up and the practice is a sound investment.
While financial records and business stats can tell you a lot, there’s no substitute for seeing a practice in person. By visiting, you can assess the state of the facility, see the staff in action, and get a feel for the patient experience. Check out the condition of the equipment and the overall vibe of the place. If something feels off, trust your gut.
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to negotiate. This is where your team really earns their keep. They’ll help you hash out the terms of the purchase, from the price to the contract details. This might involve some back-and-forth, but remember, you’re aiming for a deal that benefits you.
Congratulations, you’re almost there! Once the negotiations are done, it’s time to close the deal. But before you sign anything or hand over any money, have your lawyer give everything one last check. When it comes to a purchase this big, you want to make sure all your bases are covered.
Once the deal is closed, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
Even after you close the deal, the journey isn’t over. There’s the transition phase to consider. It’s a big change—not just for you but for the staff and patients too. You may want to work out a transition plan with the previous owner to ensure a smooth handover. This could involve them staying on for a period to introduce you to patients and staff, or they might provide advice and guidance behind the scenes.
With careful planning, a solid team, and a clear vision, you’re well on your way to building a thriving dental practice. With that said, you need to actually take the first step to becoming a dental entrepreneur. It takes quite a bit of courage and time but, before you know it, you’ll own a thriving dental office that you can be proud of.
Here’s to your success in the field of dental practice ownership and countless bright smiles ahead!
DOCTOR + FOUNDER