What to Consider Before Starting a Dental Practice

Updated on April 1st, 2022
What to Consider Before Starting a Dental Practice

Starting a dental practice can be a daunting and stressful task. 

Between securing the staff and medical supply, determining a solid business model, and even figuring out initiatives that will reel in clientele, among other things, launching a dental firm can feel like an overwhelming challenge.

If you’re in this current position, undoubtedly there are many factors before you bear in mind before you take that step. This blog post discusses what to think about when starting your practice, including different finance options and practices that you can implement to acquire more customers. 

Understanding Your Customers

Perhaps the most important thing you ought to remember when planning to launch a dental practice is your customers.

Dental patients are the heart of your dental practice, and you'll want to be sure that they're getting a consistent experience with your services.

If you can find the right balance of outstanding service for patients while also being mindful of costs then it's likely that you will have success in your future dental practice!

For that reason, your focus should be on understanding your prospective patients. This entails studying their needs and expectations, as well as any potential obstacles.

It's also important to consider the demographics of your prospective patients, what they wish for in a dental practice, and how you can provide that experience to them. Doing this will not just make it easier to attract new patients but ensure that current ones stay with you!

Deciding On Your Initial Services

Any dental practice starting to make its presence known in the niche has to decide on the services they are going to offer to customers. This decision should be informed by the needs of your prospective patients.

For example, if you want to focus on children's dentistry then it would make sense to include pediatric dental services in your practice. The downside is that these types of treatments can cost more than other procedures so this might not work for everyone.

Similarly, if you notice a demand for cosmetic dentistry, then you might consider including services such as teeth whitening or a veneer. If oral health is a priority, then you might decide to include services such as tooth implants and dentures.

In the end, it is up to you to determine what will work best for your patients. The decision on what services a dental practice should offer rests with that practice's owner or operator.

However, when deciding on these services, they should be made with the best interests of the business in mind. In other words, from the business side of things, startup dental practices should implement a solid business plan and stay focused on offering services that clients will leverage.

Then, as the business grows over the next three to five years, dentists can then branch off into additional services that may not be in high demand.

Estimate Startup Costs

Needless to say, a dental practice owner has to stay on top of their finances. For that reason, anyone interested in starting a dental practice has to estimate the amount of money they will need to cover their expenses.

These include equipment costs, office supplies, staff salaries, and so on.

In the United States alone, startup costs for a dental practice average at over $250,000.

When you consider that in many cases new dentists can't charge enough to cover all their expenses from day one or two of business operations, it's no wonder why there is less than ten percent of new practices left standing after five years.

For that reason, dentists usually need to access some sort of financing that provides them with the working capital needed to offset their costs. After all, it can take years to build enough income from patients' fees alone to cover all expenses.

Determining A Location

Another important factor to bear in mind when starting a dental practice is location.

Not all locations are created equal, and some areas might be far more profitable than others.

When you're looking for a location to set up shop in, it's important to consider which area will provide the best return on investment given the time and money invested into starting your practice.

In doing so, it's important to also focus on where exactly you will be operating from. In other words, will you be leasing office space and pay rent every month or will you buy out the property?

This is a question that will depend on the individual and their goals.

If you're just starting, leasing office space may be the best option for you to avoid potentially expensive upfront payments.

However, if one of your professional goals is to own an established practice one day or work remotely (mainly in dental consultancy) then this might not be such a good idea at all as it could lock you into location restraints.

Creating a Team

As a small business, dental practices need to have a clear idea of the type of team that will be needed to man the operations.

This includes the dental professionals (i.e., dentists, hygienists, and assistants) as well as administrative staff members such as receptionists, billing specialists, and schedulers.

For example, if your practice is a family-oriented one then you may need someone to manage appointments or meetings with parents of patients to keep them informed about their children's progress.

It is also important for this person to have experience working within an office setting so he/she can do things like run detailed reports on work productivity metrics or ensure that everyone follows company policies without having any problems doing so.

In contrast, if people are mainly coming into your clinic because they're experiencing pain from cavities or other ailments, then you may not need to hire an office manager.

The work environment of your dental practice can also affect the type of person you want in this position, so you must consider what type of atmosphere will be appropriate for someone occupying such a role.

For example, if your clinic has a relaxed and comfortable feel then you would most likely prefer hiring somebody who doesn't mind answering phones or scheduling appointments while they are sitting at their desk.

Study Your Competitors

As a dental practice, you need to bear in mind what other dentists are doing.

To make your dental practice stand out, you will need a bit of an edge.

When looking at what the competition is doing, the first thing that you want to do is study them and see where they may be lacking in their practices.

A good example would be if they have limited hours or don't offer certain procedures due to not being properly trained on those particular treatments. This can be something that you take advantage of by offering extended hours or extra services such as digital x-rays for patients who might find it more convenient than conventional ones.

Similarly, you may spot gaps in their customer service or marketing programs or the ease with which their customers can access their services. This is something that many dentists fail to perfect in their practice.

These are areas that you can capitalize on by way of improving your services and increasing the chances that customers will want to use you as a dentist instead of your competitors for their dental operation.

It's also important to know which areas are popular among people seeking treatment so that you can focus on those regions while opening up new clinics with an eye as you eventually rise and experience growth.

The Golden Rule When Starting a Dental Practice

As you can tell, there are several moving parts that dentists need to take into account during the startup phase of their practice.

However, two factors form the crux of what should drive the decision-making process for dental practice startups: namely the need for startup funding and compelling customer-centered solutions respectively.

As mentioned previously, dentists often need a loan or loans to begin operations. To source funding, business plans will require the intervention of a lender. The lender will review the plan and, if satisfied with its content (and your credit score), they will offer a loan.

However, when requesting a loan to start a dental practice, a dentist is usually at the mercy of the creditor.

To illustrate the point, a dentist could be denied an offer for funding because their credit score is too low or they are deemed to have insufficient collateral.

If this happens, it will not only be difficult but also expensive and time-consuming to find another lender who is willing to give them a loan.

On the other hand, starting a dental firm requires attractive customer-centered solutions that satisfy pain points and draw them in to use your services.

Therefore, for a dentist starting a practice to secure the employees needed, launch a successful business, and meet the objectives set, the right financial provider is required.

Here's how Time Investment Company can help you crush both.

Time Investment Company for Dental Practices

Time Investment Company (TIC) is a US-based financial company that develops made-for-you finance solutions that meet business objectives while satisfying the needs of clientele. To be more concrete, among the host of solutions we offer, we provide lines of credits to startups, businesses, and enterprises along with flexible finance plans for point-of-sale financing for your business' customers.

For decades, we have assisted companies across a myriad of niches in delivering these solutions. During that time, we have specialized in aiding dentists, both experienced dentists and startup companies in crafting solutions that make sure you come out on top.

When it comes to business loans, we work directly with you to come up with customized terms and conditions surrounding the release and repayment of the loan. In doing so, we understand that every dental firm has its unique financial situation. For that reason, we craft a personalized solution that grants you the funding you need at reasonable interest rates and repayment terms.

While banks and traditional lenders force you to accept non-negotiable loan terms and conditions, we at TIC value your input and empathize with dentists with their practice. Therefore, we work together to make sure you are granted an all-around winning solution.

Our flexible finance plans are no different. These are lines of credit awarded to your customers who seek point-of-sale financing. By their very nature, flexible finance plans afford customers much more liberty with their payment schedule, interest rates, and repayment terms and conditions. A TIC-approved flexible plan has all of this and more. Being customer-centric, we devise finance plans that take into account your customer's needs, financial situation, and general profile. That way, they are more inclined to use this method of financing, thus encouraging them to use your business.

Once a patient has confirmed their use of your services, we pay you the full sum of the operation or procedure upfront. We get that dentists need to have working capital. That is why when other lenders fall short, we provide.

Throughout our career, we have financed over $775M in loans across more than 250K businesses.

Take advantage of the expertise of a seasoned veteran in financing to take your dental practice to the next level.

Partner With Time Investment Company For Startup Dental Practices

As a new dental firm looking to step into the market, you need to launch with a bang.

You can't afford to let your business get weighed down by rigid finance plans offered by banks, credit unions, and traditional lenders that strangle your cash flow and prevent you from soaring.

You also need to offer attractive financing options that encourage your prospective customers to use your services so you can pull in as many patients as possible.

TIC is prepared to deliver the financial solutions you need.

Schedule a one-on-one call with one of our dental financing experts today.

Or, give us a call at (800) 236-1177 to find out more about how you can access the solutions that your patients are looking for.


Sara Hafeman

With years of experience in the consumer financing industry, Sara Hafeman currently leads marketing and partner development at Time Investment.