Starting a new dental practice is similar to starting a new business in any other industry. There are many activities involved before your dental practice can be functional; you have to make some decisions to ensure that your practice will thrive once it begins operations.
The following checklist can offer helpful insight into the processes involved.
Your Checklist to Start a Dental Practice
Step 1: Business Plan
Before anything you’ll need an effective business plan. Like any new business, a dental practice needs a business plan for long-term growth and success. A detailed and thorough business plan is an important first step in helping you set clear goals and articulate a strategy for your business.
Be sure to include the following in your business plan.
- Executive summary
- Marketing plan
- Financial plan
- Competitive analysis
Be sure to start here when launching your new dental practice.
Step 2: Budgeting, Financing, and Planning
The next part of the checklist to start a dental practice is finding or deciding on a source of capital.
- After coming up with a business plan, draw up a budget and outlining the sources of significant expenditure.
- Review best financing options for your dental practice. There are several different types of loans and financing options available for new small businesses and commercial real estate. The right choice will depend on when you need the money and exactly what you need it for as your start your dental business.
- Secure a loan! Once you have an idea of the financing option to move forward with, it’s time to apply for a loan. Consider a lender that specializes in dentistry lending!
Step 3: Site Selection
The next step in the checklist is to decide on the location for your practice. Site selection is an important part of the process. Here’s what to know.
- Do your research before you narrow down locations. Consider demographics, population density and competition in an area.
- Know the real estate data of the prospective area.
- Scouting various feasible locations where you think your practice will thrive.
- Surveying the feasibility of your top location picks.
- Deciding on the location for your practice.
- Have your lawyers and financial advisers look at your preferred location’s lease or purchase agreement.
- Purchase or obtain the leases for your practice’s location.
Step 4: Space Design
Now comes the time to start designing your space. This is the point of the checklist when you start thinking about the vision of your dental practice office and it’s design. Whether you’re building a new office, or moving into a lease space, here are some considerations.
- Decide on what kind of office layout will suit the needs of your practice.
- Finalize the interior and exterior designs of the offices.
- Hire trusted contractors.
A well designed office can play an important factor in improving dental patient experience.
Step 5: Construction
Next on our checklist is construction work. When starting a dental practice, you’ll want to hire a team to complete construction as quickly as possible.
- Get estimates of the work to be done by your contractor.
- Communication your vision and design of the dental office while choosing contractors for hire.
- Pick a contractor for the construction or remodeling to begin.
- Create an office layout and design that is welcoming for your patients.
- Make sure your contractor (or the subcontractor they hire) understands plumbing issues. While plumbing is expensive, poor installation or faulty pipes can be costly and dangerous.
- Make sure your dental office is ADA compliant. If it is not compliant you risk being sued or fined, and you may not be able to see patients until the space is remodeled.
- For emergency situations like natural disasters like snow storms, have backup power source.
Step 6: Insurance
Having the proper insurance when starting your dental business can be very helpful. Here are some steps to ensure you have the right insurance for your practice.
- Decide what coverage is needed for your dental business and staff, including workers’ compensation, business insurance, and liability insurance.
- Acquire insurance for your practice.
Step 7: Equipment & Software
Dentists need reliable equipment and software to make sure the dental practice they own runs smoothly. This includes x-ray equipment, sterilization equipment, computers, and much more. Having the right equipment and software will help your dental business grow.
- Create a list of the equipment you’ll need to run your practice successfully.
- Get the estimates of the equipment needed.
- Purchase the equipment needed to run the practice smoothly.
- Review the software systems that your practice will need.
- Decide on software for recordkeeping, business management, and customer relationship management.
- Put together your fee schedule and payment policies.
Step 8: Marketing
With a great marketing plan, you’ll be able to bring in new patients to your practice. Your plan will include everything from your website to social media to branding. A solid marketing plan will help you grow your dental practice long-term and get customers that will continue to come back.
- Establish your marketing goals.
- Create a marketing strategy to follow.
- Employ a marketing firm (or multiple firms) responsible for marketing your practice and following your strategy.
- Create a website, and leverage SEO for your dental practice to be found online in Google searches.
- Be active on social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram.
- Set up review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and other directories and get great online reviews for your dental practice!
Marketing is an important part of this checklist because it will help you scale and grow your new dental business.
Step 9: Hire a Team
The next step in the dental practice start-up checklist is to hire a team. You will want to hire and recruit a dependable team that you can count on. Here are the steps to follow to hiring your dental team:
- Review the information of the personnel that the practice will need.
- Create job descriptions and expectations for positions.
- Conduct interviews for staff.
- Hire employees.
- Have the right HR system in place moving forward.
- Train your staff prior to launch.
Step 10: Opening Your Practice
Finally, it’s time to open your practice! Here are a few final things on the checklist to finalize before the grand opening of your dental practice.
- Put together your fee schedule and payment policies.
- Set your opening date.
- Promote your grand opening on social media and through press releases, local news outlets, etc.
- Grand opening event for members of the local community.
Following This Dental Start-Up Checklist
Starting a dental practice is not easy since you’ll have many decisions. We hope this dental practice start-up checklist will be beneficial during the entire process, from the business plan to the grand opening and beyond.
Our dental coaches are here to help you every step of the way for those starting a dental practice. Learn more.