So, You're Thinking of Starting Your Own Dental Practice...

Start Own Practice

Entering into a new business venture of any kind requires skill, patience, and a great deal of preparation (not to mention money), and opening your own dental practice is no different. Nerves, in other words, are to be expected.

There are, however, multiple benefits to opening your own practice, and with the right amount of planning, you can avoid much of the stress and many of the sleepless nights.

Location vs Costs

Broadly speaking, the hotter your location, the bigger the price tag. That means if you want to save money, you should aim for a low cost area. At the same time, it’s important to plan sensibly for the future. A good dental practice doesn’t have to be in the center of town to bring in business – but if it’s very hard to get to, or situated in a "bad neighborhood" it’s likely to deter new patients. In the long run, that initial saving you made won’t compare to the money you’ll miss out on from losing new business.

The same goes for the size of your practice. The more square footage, the more you’ll pay – but just remember that opting for an office the size of a closet isn’t a recipe for happy patients!

Funding Options & Interest Rates

Unless you’ve just won the state lottery, it’s likely that you’ll need a business loan. Overall costs will vary hugely, but most new dental practices require $300,000 to $500,000.

When dealing with sums this large, it’s crucial to read the small print and make sure you’re getting the best interest rate. The smallest difference in percentage points can end up saving (or costing) you thousands of dollars in the long run, so take some time to shop around with lenders and don’t let anyone pressure you into a contract you’re not happy with.

Be Smart About Tax

One the main incentives offered by the American government to business owners is a piece of IRS tax code known as Section 179. This makes all property, equipment and software purchased for your business 100% tax deductible (up to a limit of $500,000).

That means from the moment you start making purchases for your practice, you’ll want to keep a record of everything – down to that last box of paperclips.

Spreading the Word

The hardest thing about setting up a new dental practice is drumming up new business. Most of us are set in our ways when it comes to health, often opting to stay with the same doctor and dentist for years. That’s why it’s so important to channel a good chunk of your start-up costs into an effective marketing strategy.

If you’re clueless about copywriting and social media, consider hiring a full-time marketing assistant who can help you reach new patients via email, Facebook and Twitter, search engines and paid ads.

Lastly, remember that your new practice might take time to build up – but don’t lose faith! Keep working hard, and in a couple of years you’ll be pleased you took that leap.

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