Buying a Dental Practice vs. Investing in a Start-Up

Weighing the Costs of Something Borrowed vs. Something New

By: Dr. Hannah Crowell

Deciding to embark on a career in dentistry is an exciting journey, and one of the pivotal decisions you’ll face is whether to acquire an existing dental practice or build one from the ground up.

Both options come with their own set of costs, risks, and rewards.

Exploring the various financial considerations associated with each path will help enterprising dentists make informed decisions that align with their goals and financial capabilities. 

Acquiring an Existing Dental Practice

Initial Purchase Cost

Acquiring an established dental practice involves purchasing an existing business, which typically includes the patient base, equipment, and goodwill.

The initial purchase cost can vary widely based on factors such as location, patient demographics, and the practice’s financial performance. 

Facility and Equipment Upgrades

While an existing practice may already have dental equipment in place, you might need to invest in upgrades or replacements to meet your standards or comply with industry regulations.

Renovations to the physical space might also be necessary. 

Staff and Training 

Transitioning into an existing practice often involves retaining or hiring staff. Training costs may be incurred if there is a need to update skills or integrate new technologies. 

Legal and Professional Fees

Engaging lawyers, accountants, and other professionals to navigate the acquisition process incurs additional costs. This includes due diligence, contract negotiations, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Working Capital

Acquiring a practice might require sufficient working capital to cover operational expenses during the transition period and potential fluctuations in revenue. 

Building a New Dental Practice

Construction and Build-Out Costs 

Constructing a new dental practice involves expenses related to designing, building, and outfitting the facility. This includes construction materials, interior design, and installation of dental equipment.

Equipment Investment

Purchasing new dental equipment can be a significant upfront cost. This includes dental chairs, X-ray machines, sterilization equipment, and other tools necessary for providing comprehensive dental care. 

Marketing and Brand Establishment

Building a new practice requires investing in marketing and advertising to establish your brand and attract patients. This could involve costs related to a website, signage, and promotional materials. 

Staff Recruitment and Training

Hiring and training a team from scratch involves costs associated with recruitment, salaries, and training programs. Ensuring that your staff is skilled and aligned with your practice’s values is crucial for success. 

Regulatory Compliance and Permits 

Meeting regulatory requirements and obtaining necessary permits for a new dental practice can incur additional expenses. This includes compliance with healthcare regulations, building codes, and licensing fees. 

In Conclusion 

Both acquiring an existing dental practice and building a new one have their unique financial considerations.

It’s crucial for aspiring practice owners to carefully assess their financial capabilities, risk tolerance, and long-term goals before making a decision.

Talking to a lender such as Provide will help figure out which choice will be right and make financial sense for you.

Whether opting for the stability of an established practice or the freedom of starting anew, a thorough understanding of the associated costs will pave the way for a successful and fulfilling dental career.

Keep Reading: Don’t Let The “What Ifs” Deter You From Success In Your Career!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Dr. Hannah Crowell

Dr. Hannah Crowell

Dr. Hannah Crowell is a graduate of The Ohio State Dental School and is practicing as a general dentist in Houston, Texas. She happily lives there with her husband (also a general dentist), their three young children, and their pup. She is kept busy with her work and family, but enjoys hanging out with family and friends, road trips (with many necessary pit stops due to feisty toddlers), and exploring new cities and the great outdoors whenever she gets the opportunity!