A guide to launching a dental practice

Ads Thanki – When should you start your own dental practice? – part one

Opening a new dental practice involves crucial decisions – Ads Thanki shares a comprehensive timeline to help with the launch.

Unsure about the optimal timing for each step in your dental practice launch? Here’s a timeline detailing when to complete various tasks, including smaller steps in between and final pre-opening activities leading up to your grand opening.

As previously mentioned, feel free to adjust the order of steps to align with your specific needs. Each step is placed where most practice owners typically find it suitable.

Zero to 12 months before opening: steps one to three

  • Develop your practice philosophy and detailed business plan
  • Create a budget, estimating major expenditures
  • Decide on a potential partner
  • Secure the services of a dental solicitor, finance broker and a practice broker
  • Choose a general area for your practice
  • Evaluate locations with your broker.

Seven to nine months before opening: steps four to five

  • Define your space and layout requirements
  • Narrow your site search to one to three locations
  • Obtain contractor estimates for remodeling
  • Compile a list of equipment and major expenditures
  • Begin reviewing software systems
  • Assess lending institutions
  • Create a preliminary loan package
  • Get bids on leasehold improvements.

Six to seven months before opening: steps six to seven

  • Finalise your loan package
  • Choose and confirm the site after legal and zoning review
  • Sign the lease
  • Develop your floor plan and equipment layout
  • Select a contractor and initiate remodelling.

Five to six months before office opening: step eight

  • Develop an office policy/procedure manual
  • Set practice hours
  • Finalise interior finishes
  • Decide on software for various needs
  • Review personnel requirements.

Four to five months before office opening: steps nine to 10

  • Consult dental SEO firms for a marketing strategy
  • Explore telephone and answering systems
  • Test patient management software
  • Obtain a telephone number
  • Review state dental regulations
  • Obtain provider numbers
  • Create a business website.

Three months before office opening: step 10

  • Monitor leasehold improvements
  • Apply for licenses and permits
  • Apply for a tax ID number
  • Acquire dental society memberships
  • Apply for staff privileges
  • Place equipment and supply orders
  • Set up utilities.

Two months before office opening (final pre-opening steps)

  • Advertise staff positions
  • Finalise dental fee schedule and payment policies
  • Make arrangements for laboratory work and pharmacy services
  • Arrange janitorial, maintenance and uniform/linen services
  • Join a local credit union or bank
  • Set up credit card payments
  • Apply for insurance provider plans.

One month before office opening (final pre-opening steps)

  • Monitor completion of leasehold improvements
  • Install and test equipment and computer systems
  • Hire and train employees
  • Set soft and hard launch opening dates
  • Announce opening on website, online platforms and print publications
  • Conduct necessary inspections
  • Open your dental practice for business!

Opening a new dental practice involves crucial decisions. Ensure careful planning to avoid costly mistakes and seek advice from contacts in the dental industry for valuable insights.

Essential tips

Running a dental practice is a multifaceted role. Consider these pointers:

  • Cultivate an intentional practice culture
  • Select team members with the right skills and attitude
  • Make training an ongoing priority
  • Differentiate your practice from competitors
  • Automate tasks with practice management software
  • Prioritise a positive patient experience
  • Communicate effectively with your staff
  • Embrace digital marketing for efficient campaigns
  • Choosing the right team and partners is key to successful practice management.

Tips from seasoned dentists

  • Avoid upfront payments for construction/interior design; negotiate milestone payments with contractors based on completed work
  • Tailor marketing and advertising campaigns to your target patient base; consider the preferences of demographics, such as young families, to align with their needs
  • Regularly revise your business plan and procedures, adapting based on effective strategies and lessons learned. Continuously assess processes, systems and employee performance for optimal adjustments that contribute to a thriving practice
  • Prioritise patient retention over acquiring new patients; enhance retention through a welcoming atmosphere, exceptional patient experiences and a system for re-engaging those who missed or cancelled appointments.

We trust that perusing this post has provided valuable insights into the steps involved in launching your dental practice. Despite the challenges, running your practice can be fulfilling as you enjoy the autonomy of being your own boss while engaging in a profession you love.

Best of luck on your journey!

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