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Opening Vs. Buying a Dental Practice: Pros and Cons to Consider

By December 19, 2019March 25th, 2022Resources
dental practice for sale

Over the last five years, the U.S. dental industry has grown by 2.5% and was predicted to reach $135 billion in revenue this year. That means that there are more opportunities than ever for dental professionals to operate successful practices. But if you’re just starting out, you might be wondering whether it’s better to buy a dental practice that’s already been established or to open a brand new practice and make it completely your own. Undoubtedly, there are considerations to keep in mind with both options. In many cases, you may find it beneficial to explore the available dental practices in your optimal location and weigh your options. However, you’ll certainly have your own list of priorities that can help determine the right decision for you. Let’s discuss some of the main pros and cons of each choice in today’s post.


Opening Your Own Dental Practice

When you start your own practice from scratch, you’ll have total control over virtually every decision. From the location and design of the offices to the equipment used and how the practice is run, you’ll get to put your stamp on every detail. You’ll also have the opportunity to hire your staff, solidify your branding and marketing, and cement your own reputation within the community. If you’re the sort of person who needs to maintain control and you’re determined to forge this path on your own, you may want to go ahead and open your own practice.

That said, opening a practice yourself isn’t easy. Yes, you’ll have a lot of freedom — but that freedom comes with a cost. You’ll likely need to take out some kind of loan to get your practice off the ground, which can add financial stress to your life. It can take at least a few years for a new practice to start turning a profit, as well.

That means you won’t have the chance to start paying back those loans or to even earn a salary when you’re first starting out. You’ll also have a lot more responsibility for decisions like purchasing, marketing, staffing, and increasing your client base. While being able to make those decisions sounds good in theory, many dental professionals find the pressure to be more than they anticipated.

You’ll likely end up spending long days and even longer nights at the office in an attempt to build your patient roster and stick within your budget. Budgetary concerns will be huge at this stage, as there’s a substantial risk your venture could fail if you aren’t able to secure the funding you need. In order to afford your new practice, you may have to work elsewhere in the meantime — which will translate to big sacrifices in both your professional and your personal life.


Although starting a practice from scratch can allow you to build something new that you can eventually consider your legacy, there are a lot of drawbacks involved. You’ll definitely want to consider how this decision will affect you (both in the present and in the future) before you move forward with this option.


Buying a Dental Practice For Sale

Purchasing a dental practice might sound like the “easy way out” for some. If you’re determined to make it completely on your own, dental practice sales might not appeal to you in the same way that opening a new practice will. When you opt to buy a dental practice for sale, you’ll inherit quite a lot from the former owner. Not only will you have to make do with the existing location, much of the staff, and the majority of the equipment already in use, but you’ll also be inheriting the reputation of the dentist who came before you. This can be a colossal advantage if the dental practice is well-regarded in the community, but it can also be a major obstacle that you’ll have to overcome.

You may have to work hard to convince residents that you’ll provide them with better care or that new ownership won’t translate to a poor experience. In addition, it may also take time for you to get into the groove with the existing staff (who may or may not stay on when the dental transition takes place), which can be a source of frustration or confusion for everyone involved.

However, many professionals find that buying a dental practice for sale comes with far more benefits than drawbacks. For one thing, having an established foundation of loyal patients may be worth its weight in gold. Because these clients are already familiar with the staff, the offices, and the way the business is run, they’ll be more likely to stay even with new ownership for sheer convenience. After all, it’s often preferable to stay with what you (mostly) know than to find another dentist. And even if it takes a little while for your staff to get used to these changes, having knowledgeable employees already in-house will be a great advantage.

These individuals will already know how to do their jobs and how to interact with patients, which means you won’t have to waste time on training or acclimating these staff members to their surroundings. Another reason to look for a dental practice for sale instead of starting anew? You’ll have more information available about your profits and losses. When you open a new practice, you won’t know much about your ability to succeed; when you buy an existing practice, you’ll increase your chances of turning a profit within your first year of ownership and will already know how likely it is that your practice will continue to thrive.


Ultimately, the decision about whether to buy an existing dental practice for sale or to open a brand new practice will come down to financial aspects and personal preference. But in the majority of cases, purchasing a dental practice for sale will come with more monetary breathing room and the support you need to succeed in a given location. To learn more about buying a dental practice and how our dental transition consultants can help, please contact us today.

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