According to statistics, there were over 201,117 dentist office establishments in the U.S. by the end of 2020. This number is expected to go up as more dentists prefer launching their own dental offices.
Are you wondering what it takes to start a dental practice? Most dentists prefer starting their own practices after gaining enough experience in dentistry. While this is a significant step, you may be wondering where to start.
Starting any type of business requires thorough planning. You will also need to make essential financial decisions. Remember and fulfill all legal requirements. If you are ready to start your own dentist office, check this article for the ultimate checklist to starting a dental practice.
1. Write a Business Plan
An ideal business plan acts as a guide or a roadmap to help you through each step of launching and managing your dental practice. The business plan will guide you in structuring, running, and developing your new practice. This includes the type of dentist office equipment you require and how many employees you should hire.
Your business plan can also help you bring in another dentist as a business partner or get the additional funding you need from investors. Ensure it’s in line with your practice’s bottom line and objectives.
2. Consider Your Dentist Office Design
Most patients determine the quality of care you offer based on your office’s overall design and appearance. A patient’s first impression is essential as it influences their decision to bring return business. Thus, ensure you customize and design your office in a way that reflects your personality, makes patients calm without losing the “Wow” factor.
3. Decide Your Dental Practice Structure
A dental practice is a business; thus, you should decide on a business structure. Is it an S-corporation, Professional Association, Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?
Choosing the right structure for your dental practice will help you save thousands of dollars on dentist taxes every year. It also enables you to run the business smoothly and impacts how your employees are compensated.
4. Purchasing Your Office Equipment
Patients want to visit dentists who use state-of-the-art equipment. High-quality, modern equipment sends a message to clients that your practice is committed to giving them the best possible care. Running a fully-equipped office will provide patients the convenience of having all their needs taken care of in one place.
Imagine attending to all your patients’ needs in one single visit. Having a fully-equipped dentist office can help you offer single-visit restorations, immediate diagnosis, and reduced radiation exposure. You can use readily available images, charts, and videos to educate or diagnose your patients.
The most significant benefit of having sophisticated tech is the time and money it saves you. It simplifies all your processes allowing you to spend more time and effort caring for patients.
5. Consider Your Financing Options
Launching a dental practice is capital intensive. You will need money to purchase dentist office equipment, set up the office, and pay professionals to help you through the process. While having savings is excellent, you may still need additional financing.
Consider the different dental practice financing options, such as having a partner, getting investors, or getting a loan from a financial institution. If you want to have complete control over your business, consider getting a small business loan instead of a partner or an investor.
To increase your chances of getting financing for your practice, ensure you have a well-written business plan, financial projections for the next five years, and an expense sheet. The above tools will help you know how much loan you need to launch your business.
After getting all these materials, send in a request to your chosen bank or credit union. Remember to compare different loan fees, interest rates, and loan terms before choosing a lender.
6. Pick the Right Location for Your Dentist Office
Your dental practice location will determine your zoning laws, taxes, and licensing regulations. Ensure you choose a strategic location based on your license, target market, government restrictions, and personal preferences.
Picking a location also involves deciding whether you will build, rent or purchase your office property. Whatever decision you choose, remember to check out the zoning ordinances of your state and local area. Contact your department of city planning to find out about your city’s zoning laws and requirements.
Running a dental practice means you are responsible for obtaining different insurance policies to protect your property, assets, and the well-being and health of your staff members. The federal government requires all businesses to have specific insurance policies such as workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.
Depending on your state, you may also be required to have other types of insurance coverage. Check with your state to know more about the mandatory insurance requirements.
8. Consider Outsourcing Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Services
Businesses have different reasons for outsourcing some services. Commonly outsourced services include finance and accounting, IT, Marketing, transcription, and human resources.
Outsourcing dental CPA services will help you keep your accounting department updated. Ensure you hire the right CPA company to handle all your accounting needs.
Accounting firms offer financial services such as:
- Tax and payroll management
- Financial reporting
- Bookkeeping and bill payments
- Offer financial advice to invests and business management
- Manage sales and returns
- Set up the right accounting systems and software
- Manage financial audits of the business
When looking for financial services for your dental practice, remember to consider your business needs and personal preferences. Outsourcing will save you money, time and increase employee efficiency.
Are You Ready to Start Your Dental Practice?
While starting a business is exciting, the process can be daunting and overwhelming. Create a checklist of everything you need before getting started to make the process easier.
There is a lot of conflicting information online about what you will need to launch a dentist office. Ensure you vet everything you read.
Remember to also research the legal and regulatory requirements before launching your practice. This will help you make the right choice for your future career and business.
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