Opening your own dental practice can be an exciting and overwhelming endeavor. Rather than start completely fresh, many dentists will want to consider the available dental practices for purchase in their desired area. Purchasing a dental practice that already exists can allow younger dentists to gain access to patient rosters, reduce necessary work prior to opening, and even benefit from name recognition or reputation within a community.
That said, not all available dental practices are created equal. And often, the key to their success comes down to a traditional real estate adage: location, location, location. When evaluating dental practice sales, this is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind. You might have an amazing staff, state-of-the-art facilities, and an immense amount of experience — but if patients struggle to find where you’re located or you’re limited by zoning regulations, your practice won’t be able to thrive in the way that it should.
When it comes time for you to buy a dental practice, you’ll want to keep several location-specific factors in mind. This post can serve as a helpful reference guide during this time and ensure you won’t miss something major when determining the ideal location. Here are some important points to consider.
In order for your practice to be a true success, it needs to be situated in an area that aligns with your target demographic. You’ll need to consider whether the available dental practices on your list will help you achieve your patient acquisition goals. Although the practice may have an existing patient roster, there’s no guarantee that these patients will automatically want to continue coming to a practice that’s under new ownership. What’s more, you’ll need to continue adding patients on a consistent basis if you want your practice to grow. A practice that’s located in an area known for its good schools is going to attract young families, while other practices may be located in spots that are perfect for middle aged and senior patients. You’ll also want to consider the median household income and whether the area is more prone to buyers or renters, as this may impact your practice’s ability to acquire new patients who can afford these services. Make sure to do your homework here. Once you know more about the demographics of a given area, you can narrow down the options to ensure the practice you choose will help you reach your goals, rather than acting as a hindrance to them.
When you zero in on a dental practice for sale, you’ll probably observe one of a few different scenarios. The practice might be a stand-alone building, be part of a shopping center or plaza, or be located in a larger medical building community. There are pros and cons to each of these choices, so it’ll likely come down to personal preference and practice goals when making a final decision. For example, having an independent building for your practice can make the business a bit more distinctive, ensure you have a unique address, and allow you to have more control over your signage options. But being located in a shopping center offers opportunities for advertising and may allow your practice to stand out amongst retail locations and restaurants. Being situated in a medical building can offer a sense of community and even increase your referral potential; it can also help you reach certain patients and gain some locality recognition. Keep in mind that the type of building you choose may also influence how visible your practice is from a main road, what kind of marketing you may need, and how convenient parking will be for patients.
Certainly, the dental practice for sale that you choose should be a good fit for the current needs of your staff and patients. But when you purchase a practice, it’s important to keep your long-term plan in mind. Rather than focusing solely on what you need right now, you’ll also need to consider what you may need in the future. The space within the office itself matters just as much as where it’s physically located. If the lot is small or the office has no possible way to expand down the line, it may not be the best choice for your investment — particularly if you’re just starting out in this field. You’ll want the option to be able to expand your services and to ensure that all patients can comfortably wait and be treated within your practice. If space already feels tight and the location leaves no room to grow, this choice could be detrimental to your success.
In 2017, nearly 127.6 million adults visited a dentist throughout the United States. When you’re evaluating available dental practices, you’ll want to consider which areas are currently being over-served or underserved. The American Dental Association reports that a healthy competition ratio involves one dentist for every 1,500 patients, but there are other competitive factors to keep in mind. Fast-growing areas, for example, may have dental practices that aren’t actually keeping up with patients’ needs. They may have outdated equipment or may not be offering the services that patients are looking for. Of course, if there are already several well-regarded dentists operating in a relatively small area, that won’t help your practice to thrive. Be sure to crunch the numbers and assess how existing practices are functioning; this can illuminate the best opening for your business.
When it comes time to take a closer look at available dental practices for sale in a given area, you’ll want help from an expert team to ensure the location and price align with your goals. To learn more, please contact our dental practice transition consultants today.