Business Tips in an Economic Crisis

In this Facebook live recording Arun discusses his tips to manage your business in this economic crisis. – Approx 23 minutes in duration.

Click here to read our blog on How to finance a healthcare business.

Surviving a Financial Crisis

Our healthcare business consultants are experts at helping medical health providers and their businesses survive a financial crisis. We can help with cash flow management, raising finance and optimising your accounts and tax structure.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team to find out more about how we can help you and your business.

For more information financial crises and your business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Dealing With Your Landlord

I know many dental practices will be concerned about their rent payments due to their landlords.

Naturally, every landlord will differ, but I do think it is worth asking your landlord for some leniency in payments.

For instance, rather than paying a whole quarter in advance, ask if you can pay monthly just for this uncertain period. They may say yes, they may say no, but no harm in asking.

I attach a template of an email I sent to one of our landlord’s for one of our dental practices today, and it certainly did the trick!

Just change the amounts and names.

Give it a go – you have nothing to lose!

Click here to read our blog on How to finance a healthcare business.

Surviving a Financial Crisis

Our healthcare business consultants are experts at helping medical health providers and their businesses survive a financial crisis. We can help with cash flow management, raising finance and optimising your accounts and tax structure.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team to find out more about how we can help you and your business.

For more information financial crises and your business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Free Cash Flow Spreadsheet Template

Please find below a very simple cash flow statement tool which I urge you to use to help you manage your cash flow.

There are some made up numbers in there currently. Clear them all out and enter your own figures.

Use this tool as a starting point to plan your cash needs.

How does the tool work

  1. The light pink cells require you to enter your monthly income and expenses each month. If you close for a period of time, you may have ZERO income in those months BUT still have the expenses.
  2. Cell B34 (green colour) details your approximate current bank balance in your business.
  3. Once you have entered these key figures you will then see in row 34, your cash bank balance based on your forecast scenarios at differing time points.
  4. You may also need to take into account tax payments too, the spreadsheet can be adjusted by you for your needs.
  5. The tool will then say in row 34 your funding shortfall, if you have one, and the approximate cash you will need to raise.

Personally, I suggest you plan for the worse case scenario and work out the cash you actually require to keep your business in the black.

If using spreadsheets is not your strong point, let us know, we can help you, but we are dealing with these on a first come first served basis.

What Next?

Once you have worked out a projected cash flow for your business, you will be better able to plan the growth of your practice.

If you need finance for your business then book a call with Nigel or Dan to find out the best options for you.

Book your call with Nigel or Dan here.

Commercial Loans for Healthcare Businesses

We’ve been helping to fund the future of British healthcare businesses for over 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

For more information on raising finance for your healthcare business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles and webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

For all our previous webinars and video updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

How to Sell Your Dental Practice in 9 Steps

Sell your dental practice while maximising its value, and minimising your tax

No dental practice sale is identical to another. It usually takes at least 6 months for the process of selling a dental practice to be completed, but this varies depending of the type of practice that is involved and the support structure that is in place. The process itself should always involve certain important steps.

If you are wondering what the proper steps are to sell a dental practice, keep these 9 points in mind. If you’re ready, contact us today and our expert dental practice sales agents will help guide you through the process.

Step One: Work out your timeline to sell your dental practice

When are you looking to sell your dental practice? Is it in the next 12 months, or is it in 3-4 years time? Are you thinking of staying on working at the practice or are you looking to make a clean break when you sell?

We have often found that it takes around 6 months to sell a dental practice. However, all deals are different, they all present their own challenges and they can all take varying lengths of time.

When you plan on selling your dental practice, and how far ahead in the future the sale will be, is crucial to making sure you get the best possible price.

Once you have a clear idea of when you are thinking about selling, work backwards and plan what you think needs doing. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the financial performance of your dental practice like?
  • How profitable is the dental practice?
  • Does it show a steady improvement or decline?
  • If in decline, what needs to be done to turn the situation around?
  • How dependent is the practice of your income generation?
  • How dependent is the practice of any key income earners?
  • If you fell ill at the practice, would it still be profitable?
  • If not, what would need to be done to make it profitable in such a scenario?

If you have no idea what the answers are to these questions, then you have your work cut out, and you really need to get your house in order to ensure you achieve the sale you want in the timeline you want. Otherwise, you will struggle to get a qualified buyer with the right money for your dental practice.

Action Points

  • Determine your desired timeline for selling your dental practice, considering whether it’s within the next year or in 3-4 years.
  • Decide if you plan to continue working at the practice post-sale or if you prefer a complete departure.
  • Understand that selling a dental practice typically takes about 6 months, though timelines can vary due to unique challenges each deal may present.
  • Assess the current financial performance and profitability of your dental practice, noting any trends of improvement or decline.
  • Identify necessary actions to improve the practice’s financial health, especially if it’s currently in decline.
  • Evaluate the practice’s dependency on your personal income generation and its capacity to remain profitable in your absence, such as during illness.
  • Develop a plan to address any issues identified in the financial performance and operational dependency to ensure the practice’s profitability and appeal to potential buyers.

Click here to watch our webinar on selling a dental practice.

Step Two: Raise the profitability to sell a dental practice

The times of using a % of your revenue figure as a metric for valuing a dental practice are truly gone. Whilst revenue may inflate your ego, it will be your profit that will determine your valuation and the price you sell your practice. A valuation of your goodwill will more than likely be based on profitability, whilst using turnover purely as a secondary indicator.

Click here to read more about growing a dental practice.

EBITDA (Earnings before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortisation) is a term you may have heard about. This is a common measure used to determine the “cash” profit of the business and is increasingly used to value dental practices, especially by the cash-rich Dental Corporates. Focus on increasing your EBITDA to maximise the value of your practice goodwill and other assets.

Click here for more information on EBITDA.

Action Points

  • Shift focus from revenue to profitability as the key determinant in valuing your dental practice.
  • Understand that goodwill valuation will primarily be based on profitability, with turnover serving as a secondary metric.
  • Familiarize yourself with EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization) as a crucial measure of “cash” profit.
  • Aim to increase your practice’s EBITDA, as this metric is commonly used by Dental Corporates and others in the industry for valuation purposes.
  • Implement strategies to enhance the profitability of your dental practice, thereby maximizing the value of your practice’s goodwill and other assets in preparation for sale.

Step Three: Get your financial house in order to sell your dental practice

Whilst high-quality clinical dentistry is essential in order to sell a dental practice, it is critical to have accurate and up-to-date financial information about your dental practice as well. Why? Well, the reasons are two-fold.

  1. If you are serious about improving your financial performance, you will need to know where things are working, but also where problems lie. Not knowing the figures means you don’t really have your finger on the pulse with respect to your practice performance and, therefore, its valuation. Knowing your financial performance, and adjusting it accordingly, is imperative to maximising the sales value of your dental practice.
  2. When it comes to showing off your financial performance to prospective buyers, having an up-to-date set of accounts (last 3 years), plus recent management accounts (last 12 months) really are essential. These can be a deal breaker if not available, as a serious buyer is only going to buy your practice if they have accurate financial information about your practice in the first place.

If you have up-to-date financial information, it is then imperative to ensure your cost base is managed well, whilst your revenue is strong – Why? So you are maximising your EBITDA.

Contact us to find out more

For instance, look at your staff costs; have you got too many staff for the revenue you are generating? Are your laboratory bills carefully managed? What about your materials, have you sourced cost-effective suppliers? And do you have a tight control over ordering each month? How much are you spending on marketing? It’s very easy to spend on marketing, but are you getting a good return on it?

Click here to find out more about accounting and managing finance in a dental practice.

Run through each line of your accounts and see where you can make potential savings, then act on making the changes needed. Why? Because every £ saved increases your profit, which increases your EBITDA, which increases your practice valuation.

In summary, if you want to get top whack for your practice, make sure you have up-to-date and accurate financial information for any prospective buyers, but have also ensured your cost base is well managed, and your revenue is maximized.

Action Points

  • Ensure your dental practice’s financial information is accurate and current, as this is crucial for both valuation and sale preparation.
  • Conduct a thorough financial analysis to identify strengths and areas for improvement within your practice.
  • Maintain a clear understanding of your practice’s financial performance to effectively manage and adjust operations for maximum sales value.
  • Prepare and organize the last 3 years of financial accounts and the most recent 12 months of management accounts for prospective buyers.
  • Recognize the importance of these financial documents in providing transparency and building trust with serious buyers, potentially influencing their decision to purchase your practice.

Click here to listen to our podcast on how to structure your dental practice finances.

Step Four: Find or build a team that will help you get maximum value when you sell a dental practice

Running a dental practice is one thing, selling it successfully is something completely different. To maximise the sale of your practice, getting the right advisors early on can significantly add to the ultimate sales price.

Creating a power team makes it far more likely that a sale will be secured at the right price. Accountants, brokers and lawyers with significant dental experience, are essential to getting an excellent deal.

Our experience has shown that it really is essential to have people who know and understand your practice before it is even put on the market for sale.

A few tweaks in the business in the right place can optimise its performance, which will ultimately improve the practice sale value. So, make sure you have thought through your timeline for sale, then work with expert dental accountancy, legal and marketing advisors that can recommend a course of action.

Specialist Dental Sales brokers

Making sure to engage a specialist dental sales broker is important. It provides far more value than trying to sell a practice without professional assistance.

Specialist dental sales brokers have access to a long list of active, interested individuals and corporates that want to buy your practice, who they can introduce to clients. They can also professionally value practices, create sales brochures and deal with questions about, and interest in, a practice. The normal cost of using this service is around 2.5-5% of the sale price.

In other words, a dental practice sales broker can get you a much better price for your business.

Click here to read our 8 things you need to know when choosing a dental practice sales agent.

Specialist Dental Accountants

A specialist dental accountant and tax advisor helps a seller to get the most from the sale of a dental practice. They know how to present accounts in a way that is attractive to buyers. They can also provide advice on aspects such as ownership of the business and how to optimise the tax position of the seller.

Seek advice early from your Specialist Dental Accountant, as before selling a dental practice there maybe tax structures that could be considered before the final sale, which could save tax.

Click here to find out more about our dental accountancy services.

Specialist Dental Solicitors

It’s never a good idea to use the services of a solicitor who has no experience of the dental practice market when selling a dental surgery. They may be an excellent solicitor when it comes to dealing with the sale of a home, but without the required specific experience of the dental industry they could cause serious delays with the sale, or it could collapse altogether.

Do not forget, the solicitor that is chosen will be advising on vital aspects of the sale such as the contract, due diligence and property transfer, so expertise is essential. The normal cost of this service is around £5,000 – £10,000 for a sole trader or partnership and around £10,000-£20,000 for a limited company.

Click here to listen to our podcast on the 7 legal pitfalls of dental practice sales.

Action Points

  • Assemble a team of advisors with extensive dental industry experience to aid in selling your practice.
  • Partner with accountants, brokers, and lawyers who specialize in dental practices to ensure a favorable sale outcome.
  • Implement strategic business adjustments recommended by your advisory team to enhance your practice’s performance and sale value.
  • Engage a specialist dental sales broker to access a wider pool of potential buyers and benefit from professional valuation and marketing services.
  • Consult with a specialist dental accountant for tax optimization and financial presentation advice tailored to attract buyers.
  • Retain a solicitor with dental market expertise to handle legal aspects of the sale efficiently, avoiding potential delays or deal collapse.

Step Five: Practice visits and information disclosure

From our experience, no-one sells a dental practice better than the owner. They are the best person to answer any buyer questions, honestly and thoroughly. This is why I would always recommend the seller is present when buyers view a practice.

If you are the owner, try and arrange visits when you are around. This will enable you to sift through the serious buyers, but also provide you with the opportunity to sell the key benefits of buying your practice.

Remember, you may end up working at the practice for some time post-sale, it is imperative you understand and (maybe even like) the incoming party!

At this stage, the prospective buyer may well request certain information from you too, such as accounts, management accounts, details of the property lease, CQC registration details, details of the dentists working in the practice etc.

If you have your house in order, as detailed in step 3, you will have no problem in collating and providing this information to them. However, make sure that non-disclosure agreements have been signed, which will protect both parties.

Click here to read more about associated costs that buyers will scrutinise.

Contact us to find out more

Non-disclosure agreements

Non-disclosure agreements are an essential feature of a dental practice sale. They prevent potential buyers from discussing the sale with anyone except their own financial advisors. This is important as you do not want any details of the sale to leak out prior to completion.

It’s not even a good idea to disclose any information to people working in the practice. There is no certainty that a deal will go through until completion actually happens. It’s not worth creating stress and uncertainty amongst the dental practice team when there is no valid reason to do so.

Click here to read more about retirement and transition planning.

Document Other Agreements

Another important point to remember is that you may have verbal agreements with your support staff. When you’ve been running a business for so long, sometimes it can be easy to let certain things become purely verbal or even unspoken agreements.

When you’re selling a dental practice, it’s essential to make sure that all verbal agreements you may have with support staff, contractors or suppliers are documented properly. Make sure your agreements are in the form of a written contract to ensure a smoother transition.

Action Points

  • Ensure your presence during practice visits to effectively communicate the value of your dental practice to potential buyers and answer their questions directly.
  • Organize viewings for times when you can be present, allowing you to assess buyer compatibility and sincerity while showcasing your practice’s key benefits.
  • Be prepared to provide detailed information such as financial records, lease details, and CQC registration to interested buyers, ensuring all documentation is in order.
  • Require non-disclosure agreements to be signed by potential buyers to maintain confidentiality and protect sensitive information about the sale.
  • Document all verbal agreements with staff and suppliers to formalize arrangements and ensure a seamless transition to new ownership.

Step Six: Consider ALL offers before you sell your dental practice

When you put your practice out for sale you may well receive various offers. The key is to ensure you review each and every offer in detail.

Whilst an offer from your Associate may be the best one financially, they may struggle to raise the money from the bank, especially in this climate. Whilst a Dental Corporate may well offer you a slightly lower price, they can typically move quickly and get the deal done, whilst your Associate is still filling in forms for the bank!

Always assess each offer you receive carefully, knowing the full facts and the exact conditions of purchase, such as a tie-in to continuing to work at the practice for a few years. In addition, you may be requested for key personnel to stay on if you accept the offer, so the offer made may need to satisfy some of the existing team by getting them to sign and stay for a period too.

Details of the offer and knowing the buyer has the economic power to actually buy the practice are critical at this stage, or else you really will be wasting your time on offers from keen buyers who actually have no substance behind them.

An offer that guarantees a large sale price may seem like the best choice, but it’s not a great deal if the buyer making it is going to struggle to secure funding. There are many things to consider when looking at offers that have been made. Here are a few which are fairly common.

  • Can the buyer secure funding easily and quickly?
  • Is a lower offer the best choice as a quick sale is guaranteed, so associated costs will be reduced.
  • Is staying on as an associate part of the offer?
  • Are any of the current team part of the offer, do they need to agree to stay in order for the deal to progress?
  • Does the buyer have the substance for the sale to be successful?

It’s never as simple as just picking the highest offer and running with it.

Click here to read our 5 mistakes to avoid when selling to a dental corporate.

Step Seven: Negotiating a deal and due diligence

Once an offer comes along which looks interesting, it’s time for the dental specialist sales broker to structure the right deal for the seller, taking into account what the seller expects from the sale and what their tax situation is. There are several different arrangements for payment that can be put into place.

  • Upfront payment transfer for NHS driven profits.
  • Deferred payments when performance based criteria comes into play.
  • Earn out agreement when a buyer is not willing to meet the sale price now but payment of an additional amount based on profits can be made at a later date. This can mean that the seller achieves more than the original sale price at the end of the day.
  • Negotiated UDA rates for a seller who is going to remain working at the practice after the sale.

Once the deal has been negotiated and agreed, Heads of Terms should be put in writing so that there is no room for misunderstanding. These terms will normally be written by the buyer’s solicitor but they should be scrutinised by the seller’s expert dental solicitor. They should always be marked as “subject to contract”.

Do not sign these without taking legal advice.

A timeline for exchange and sale can be agreed at this point, but is subject to due diligence being completed successfully.

Once the heads of term have been signed and agreed, the buyer will now want to carry out due diligence on what they are buying. This will include due diligence in the 3 key areas of legal, clinical and financial.

Depending on the type of buyer, this can be quite a thorough and exhaustive process which requires you, the vendor, to be organised and quick in providing the information by key dates.

INFORMATION THAT WILL BE REQUESTED INCLUDE:

  • Historic Accounts and Financial records
  • Clinical patient records
  • CQC registration details
  • Employment contracts
  • Associate agreements
  • Supplier contracts
  • Hire purchase and lease contracts
  • Property lease agreement
  • Details of the performance of the practice
  • Loan agreements
  • Complaint details
  • Patient list details

This list is not exhaustive. Due diligence can be a complex process and sellers always need to be prepared to provide any requested information and to answer buyer’s questions in a transparent manner.

Click here to read more about due diligence.

Standard Purchase Agreement

Both parties should be protected as part of a Standard Purchase Agreement. The buyer’s solicitor will normally request a warrant from the seller to state that all contractual and financial information provided is accurate. The seller’s solicitor should negotiate to ensure that any inclusions in the warrants minimise the risk of any potential future claims.

A Standard Purchase Agreement will normally include:

  • Sale of the practice and assets.
  • Handover.
  • Post completion considerations.
  • Partially completed treatments.
  • Employees of the practice.
  • Non-Solicitation and restrictive covenants.
  • Warrants.
  • Guarantees.

Step Eight: Exchange and completion

Once the due diligence has been completed, and the buyer is satisfied with what they are buying, then it is down to finalising the transaction. If the buyer is using a bank to finance the transaction then they will need to have satisfied all their necessary criteria too.

If all parties are happy, the deal can then be finalised by the solicitors of both parties.

Click here to read the 7 things we wish we’d known before selling our first practice.

Step Nine: Banking the money and paying the tax man!

Your solicitor will more than likely receive the funds due electronically. These will then be wired to your bank account, but don’t spend it all too quickly!

If money is being paid up front, this will normally be transferred into the bank account of the seller’s solicitor on the date of completion.

Enjoy it, but use it wisely and remember it is more than likely you will have a capital gains tax bill to pay.

Under current tax legislation, you may be entitled to Entrepreneurs relief against the Capital Gains Tax payable. If so, this may reduce the effective Capital Gains tax rate to just 10%. There are various criteria that need to be met to ensure you achieve a rate of just 10%, so seek professional advice before you sell.

Action Points

  • Anticipate the receipt of funds electronically through your solicitor, who will then transfer them to your bank account.
  • Understand that upfront payments are typically transferred to the seller’s solicitor’s bank account on the completion date.
  • Exercise financial prudence with the newly acquired funds, keeping in mind the potential capital gains tax obligations.
  • Explore the possibility of qualifying for Entrepreneurs’ Relief, which could reduce the Capital Gains Tax rate to 10%, and ensure you meet the necessary criteria.
  • Consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to navigate the tax implications effectively and to make the most of any available tax reliefs.

Click here to read the 7 essential things to consider before selling a dental practice.

Contact us to find out more

What is Samera’s Process for Selling a Dental Practice?

We like to simplify the process to 8 major steps when we help dentists sell a dental practice.

  • Initial enquiry – The vendor sends the completed data collection form to Samera and initial discussion with our team takes place.
  • Valuation and practice visit – This is when we confirm the key variables and arrange a visit at the practice and our report is discussed with the vendor(s). Phase one of Samera marketing process is explained and begins straight after the meeting.
  • Viewings – Phase 2 of Samera marketing process consists of appointment making with potential buyers who have already been screened and viewings.
  • Offer stage – We negotiate the best financial package and best terms, then Heads of Terms are negotiated and agreed.
  • Due diligence – Key information and documents are reviewed by legal teams.
  • Ongoing Support – We are there at every step of the way, supporting sellers during the financial and legal due diligence for a smooth completion.
  • Completion – Sales and transfer of funds to the vendor’s bank account.

Click here to find out more about selling a dental practice with Samera.

Selling a Dental Practice FAQs

How Do I Value My Dental Practice?

If you want to know how to value a dental practice, you firstly need to know that every single practice is unique, and every single dental practice has a range, where a lower range and a higher range. Of course, this will be determined by the financial accounts, so we always ask for at least the last 3 years’ sets of accounts, and the most up-to-date management accounts.

We analyse the potential value of a practice by visiting the practice and using a comprehensive questionnaire we have tailor made for dental practice valuations. We then create a valuation report and discuss with you the exact market value of your dental practice. If you are selling a practice and want to know what it is worth, please do get in touch.

You can find out more about determining the value of a dental practice here.

How Long Does Selling A Practice Take?

The length of time that it takes for selling a dental practice in the UK varies subject to several factors, such as the type of practice. However, the dental practice sales process averages to 5 and a half months from beginning to end, (from the initial inquiry to the completion of the deal).

You can find out more about selling a dental practice here.

How Do I Maximise The Value Of My Practice?

In order to maximize the value of your dental practice, you need to know that every single dental practice has a price range. In order to maximize the price, the first and most important thing to do is to value the practice properly according to market value. Generating a loss of interest, creating a successful and strategic marketing campaign.

At Samera Dental Practice Sales, we have a huge database of active registered buyers. Most importantly, we have a personable and sustainable relationship with our buyers that keep coming back and buying practices from us. We had a very successful year last year. We sold all valued in excess of £100 million worth of practices, with most of the practices achieving above asking price. If you are selling a dental practice and want to know how to maximize its value, please do get in touch.

What Do I Need To Sell My Practice?

If you are selling a dental practice, there are a few documents and contracts that you should have prepared for any potential buyers to look at. For example, any buyers would want to have visibility of their last 2 years’ sets of accounts, as well as the latest 12 months of management accounts. Also, if you have a verbal agreement with any of your support staff, do make sure that these agreements are documented and written down in a contract, so that any potential buyer will continue to pay and remunerate your staff as you currently do.

Most importantly, if you are thinking of selling a dental practice, perhaps you should think that if you were a buyer, what would you want to know about your practice? This is always a good question to ask yourself, alongside the reason for selling your practice. If you want to know more about what documents and what contracts should be prepared ahead of selling a dental practice, please do get in touch.

Why Do Some Buyers Choose To Pay Over A Deferred Period?

A deferred payment on the completion of a dental practice sale is when part of the agreed price is paid over billable time, over a number of years. That is always subject to either target for personal target achieved in terms of income, or practice turnover. We see more and more deferred payments applied to some of the deals completed over the years.

This is usually done by some corporates, and often some individual buyers, where they think that there might be an element of risk associated with the full price. They might want to protect themselves by applying for the deferred payment. If you want to know if your practice qualifies for deferred payment, or it might be subject to a deferred payment negotiation, and how to negotiate a deferred payment, please do get in touch.

Should I Get A Practice Evaluated When Selling To An Associate?


If you’re thinking about selling a dental practice, and even if you’re thinking about selling to your associate, you should always have a valuation carried out of your practice. Imagine if you’re selling a practice to your associate, and perhaps you decide to stay and work together for a number of years. Perhaps you sell below market value, and you realize a year or two year later you are above market value; clearly, it’s going to create some animosity with you and your associate.

However, even if you don’t decide to stay, it’s always advisable to achieve the best available price, and the best deal structure. If you want to know what your practice is worth and if you want any support in how to negotiate with your product associate, please do get in touch.

Why Should I Use A Broker For Selling My Practice?

A broker will help you to achieve the best price and the best possible deal structure available on the market by engaging with as many buyers as possible to create a loss of interest and examine the practice you’re thinking of selling.

Click here to find out more about finding a dental practice sales agent.

Why Should I Use Samera As My Broker?

We have a huge database of active registered buyers, corporate buyers or an individual buyer looking to purchase a practice. Most importantly, we have a personable and sustainable relationship with all of our buyers. We always match the right buyer with the right practice for the best price and for the best deal structure available in the market. We work on success. Your success is our success.

Click here to book a consultation to find out more about how we can help.

What Is EBITDA?

EBITDA is (E)arnings (B)efore (I)nterest, (T)axes, (D)epreciation and (A)mortisation it is an industry-standard way of determining a business’s profit and overall financial performance.

It is one of the key metrics we use to valuate dental practices.

You can read more about EBITDA here.

What Should I Consider When Buying A Corporate Practice?

I think you should consider buying an ex-corporate practice. With corporates, they always have a good marketing strategy and they are usually very CQC compliant. They’re great with their policies and procedures. They really know how to run a day-to-day dental practice. The cons that you should consider are why are they selling their practice in the first place? Consider it just might not fit in their strategy or there might be other reasons, and that’s something we could help you with to see whether this purchase would be suitable for your needs.

What Do I Do With My Equipment Still Leased?

If all or part of your equipment is leased you could either transfer the arrangements to the buyer, if they are in agreement or paying it off, which is usually most buyers preferred choice.

What Are The Legal Warranties?

Most solicitors acting on behalf of their clients as buyers will advise their client to include in the Standard Purchase Agreement ( SPA ) document, a warrant from you as a seller that all information provided including any financial and contractual aspect of the practice is true and accurate.

On the other hand, the seller’s solicitors should negotiate and deal with the warranties in a way that protects the vendor and minimise their risks against potential claims in the future.

Will The Dental Sales Process Trigger A New CQC Inspection?

The Care Quality Commission is another potential reason for a delay in practice sale, even sometimes 3 months delays if either the buyer or the seller don’t have their DBS check ready and available to submit, or the practice has not been inspected lately.

The process of selling a practice will involve deregistration of the seller and registration of the buyer to work at the practice, and this process will likely trigger a new CQC inspection unless one was carried out recently. So have everything ready and DBS not older than 6 months when planning to sell a practice.

Do I Need To Have All My Certificates Ready And Available?

During the due diligence process, you will be asked to provide and show your certificates such as the GDC registration for you and your qualified staff, professional indemnity insurance, employer’s liability cover, autoclaves, compressors and X-Rays.

Have all those ready and it will save you time when selling a practice.

What If I Have A Lease On The Property?

If there is a lease on the property and the lease is less than 15 years to the expiry date, it is advisable to talk to your landlord about a potential extension and engage the landlord at an early stage.

Any buyer would want at least 15 years lease or more if possible and the likelihood is that the landlord would ask for his legal costs to be covered.

What If I Own The Property?

The options are either selling the property, or have a lease in place with the buyer. If you are selling to a Corporate, you should know that the property aspect of the deal is not their main interest. However, they may acquire your property if you wish to sell it. The property will be valued as a commercial property and not on a residential basis, so this is a point to consider when thinking about selling or not.

What Issues Do You Come Across When Selling A Practice?

We have never encountered an issue that we cannot resolve.

No practice is the same but we have never encountered an issue that we cannot resolve, sometimes it just takes a little longer. Any problems usually come to light at the due diligence stage when all documents are thoroughly inspected.

You can find out more about issues in the selling process here.

What Is The Sales Process Of A Dental Practice?

We like to simplify the process to 8 major steps.

Initial enquiry – The vendor sends the completed data collection form to Samera and initial discussion with our team takes place.
Valuation and practice visit – This is when we confirm the key variables and arrange a visit at the practice and our report is discussed with the vendor(s). Phase one of Samera marketing process is explained and begins straight after the meeting.
Viewings – Phase 2 of Samera marketing process consists of appointments making with potential buyers already been screened and viewings.
Offer stage – We negotiate the best financial package and best terms, then Heads of Terms are negotiated and agreed.
Due diligence – Key information and documents are reviewed by legal teams.
Ongoing Support – We are there at every step of the way, supporting sellers during the financial and legal due diligence for a smooth completion.
Completion – Sales and transfer of funds to the vendor’s bank account.

You can find out more about the selling process here.

When Should I Inform My Staff Of The Sale?

Selling a dental practice is a very emotional and challenging time in any dental owner’s life.

Informing your staff is a crucial step in the dental practice sales process and this must be done at the appropriate time.

If the timing is wrong, it could create unnecessary stress and uncertainty amongst your loyal and faithful staff, and what if the sales are not completed? The risk is ending up with creating disruption, loss of trust, loss of revenue and more costs.

Your solicitor will be able to advise you when the right time to inform your staff of the sale is.

You can find out more about transition planning here.

What If I Have An NHS Contract?

If your contract is time-limited (PDS) instead of open-ended (GDS), it may be worth considering a conversion, as a GDS contract (if possible) may attract more buyers. There are risks when converting the contracts, so it is always advisable to seek legal and financial expert support.

Regarding the sale of the dental practice with the NHS contracts, there will be 28 days’ notice between exchange and completion to add to the NHS element of the deal.

Do I Need To Prepare An Inventory?

Yes most certainly so, it takes some time and is boring but it will create clarity with regards to the items you are leaving at the practice and the items you are taking with you, also it will avoid any potential arguments and dispute further down the dental sales process.

What Do I Do After Selling My Practice?

Consider accurately life after selling your dental practice, and make plans ahead of marketing the practice.

Whether you are retiring and want to cash in, or want to continue working in the practice or wish to set up a new practice, consider your options prior marketing your practice, and talk to a professional advisor who has helped others make the best choice before.

Do I Need A Specialist Dental Lawyer?

Never consider the services of a solicitor or a firm with no experience with dental practice sales.

It’s that simple, but occasionally we have experienced some dental principals going down the route of a solicitor who may be brilliant dealing with selling houses but could slow down the process of selling a practice.

Using an expert dental solicitor will ensure you get the right advice at the right time within budget.

What Is Due Diligence?

Due diligence is a very important exercise carried out during any dental sales and acquisitions process.

It is divided into legal and financial due diligence. It is an exercise to confirm that all information provided at the time of discussing and agreeing on offers is accurate and precise. Information such as accounts, management accounts, patient numbers, staff contracts, NHS contracts and any legal issues such as change of control clauses, lease and property contracts, just to name a few of the documents are usually checked at this stage. An expert legal and financial team will know what to look for in a professional and time-effective way.

Our Expert Opinion

“I have learnt that to sell your practice for the best terms available is it should always be ready for sale. Instead of thinking you can pick up the phone and ask someone to sell it, you should have everything prepared in advance to stand a chance of getting the best terms available. This means all contracts in place, all accounts up to date, and of course ensuring it is firing on all cylinders, this way you will always get the best available terms out there, as you will then have a wider pool of buyers.”

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Financial Tactics During a Cash Flow Crisis

In this webinar, filmed during the first lockdown, Arun discusses vital financial tactics that you need to be taking to manage your cash flow in a crisis.

Click here to read our article on How to finance a healthcare business.

Surviving a Financial Crisis

Our healthcare business consultants are experts at helping medical health providers and their businesses survive a financial crisis. We can help with cash flow management, raising finance and optimising your accounts and tax structure.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team to find out more about how we can help you and your business.

For more information financial crises and your business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Dental Practice Valuations

In this webinar, filmed during the first lockdown, Arun discusses how the valuations of dental practices in the UK have been affected and why now is the time to capitalise.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Managing Your Cash Flow in a Crisis

In this webinar, filmed during the first lockdown, Arun discusses tough decisions every business needs to make in a crisis to manage their cash flow.

Click here to read our article on How to finance a healthcare business.

Surviving a Financial Crisis

Our healthcare business consultants are experts at helping medical health providers and their businesses survive a financial crisis. We can help with cash flow management, raising finance and optimising your accounts and tax structure.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team to find out more about how we can help you and your business.

For more information financial crises and your business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

3 Most Important Questions to Ask

In this video, Arun discusses the 3 most important questions you need to ask yourself when buying a dental practice.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Buying a Dental Practice: Get Started

When buying a dental practice (especially if it’s for the first time), you need the competent hands of qualified professionals. Not only have we been helping the UK’s dentists to buy, start and sell dental practices for over 20 years, we are dental practice owners ourselves! We know what it takes to buy the right dental practice, we can help you find it, buy it and get it up and running.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help buy your dream practice.

With Samera Business Advisors you can rest easy knowing that your investment is secure and your future is brighter. Contact us today so we can help plan for your tomorrow.

Learn More: Buying a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the buying a dental practice section of our Learning Centre like the Guide to Buying a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

7 Learning Points I Wish I Had Known Before Selling My First Dental Practice

Back in 2013, I was in the process of selling my first dental practice. Since 2004, we had built 3 private dental squats from scratch and then in 2013 sold one of our practices.

This post is about our experience and details 7 points we wish we had known before selling our first dental practice, and how we would do things differently now.

Learning Points

  1. Whilst it maybe flattering to get someone out of the blue wanting to buy your practice, understand their motives.
  2. Get an independent valuation of the practice, don’t entertain direct offers until you get an independent valuation done.
  3. Looking back, whilst we would have had to pay a broker a fee, if they had been any good, we still would have walked away with a price much closer to the offer price.
  4. Provide sufficient information up front to the buyer so there is a reduced likelihood of them chipping away at the price. In addition, make sure the Heads of Terms offer some protection to you if such a situation arises.
  5. Ideally prepare your practice for sale. Improve the revenue and profits and then go to the market.
  6. Don’t entertain just one buyer, see who else is in the market that may want to buy your practice, therefore, use an experienced broker.
  7. Get in touch with Samera Practice Sales, we will help you exit your business on the best available terms in the market, whilst dealing with a professional and friendly team.

Flattery from the buyer

For the clinic in question, an approach was made directly to me from an acquirer. I had spent several years building it up with a great team and now was considering my options what to do with the clinic. In addition, with a young family I was considering my options at the time.

Via Linkedin an approach was received and before we knew it we had them meeting with us.

It was one of our first practices, so much of the team were very close to us and we felt it was important that the team were cared for post sale.

All the right things were said by the buyers, which comforted me.

In hindsight, we were flattered that someone wanted to buy our practice, so we went with the flow, not really knowing its value at the time.

Learning Point 1: Whilst it maybe flattering to get someone out of the blue wanting to buy your practice, understand their motives.
Learning Point 2: Get an independent valuation of the practice, don’t entertain direct offers until you get an independent valuation done.

The Offer Price may differ to the Actual Price Paid

Whilst a good-looking offer was made to us, little did we know that would not be the price actually paid.

After due diligence, the price was chipped down, and a “new price” was agreed. We had already committed sizeable amounts of money to solicitors, so being a little vulnerable we accepted the revised price. Since the buyers had come to us directly, we had no middleman to support us and broker the deal.

Again, in hindsight, having a dental broker working on our behalf at the time would have been a very good idea, but at the time we thought we could do it ourselves.

Learning Point 3: Looking back, whilst we would have had to pay a broker a fee, if they had been any good, we still would have walked away with a price much closer to the offer price.
Learning Point 4: Provide sufficient information up front to the buyer so there is a reduced likelihood of them chipping away at the price. In addition, make sure the Heads of Terms offer some protection to you if such a situation arises.

Being Prepared

As I mentioned the approach to buy the practice came out of the blue, so we weren’t performing at our optimum. A couple of years earlier the practice was performing well but with a few team changes, the revenue had dropped a little so the practice was not working at full steam.

Again, in hindsight, we all know the best time to sell a practice is when it is doing its best year. You can command a higher price and dictate the terms, on this occasion we were on our back foot a little.

Learning Point 5: Ideally prepare your practice for sale. Improve the revenue and profits and then go to the market.
Learning Point 6: Don’t entertain just one buyer, see who else is in the market that may want to buy your practice, therefore, use an experienced broker.

Contact us to find out more

Selling my First Dental Practice: Summary View

The market for dental practice sales continues unabated, with more and more buyers entering the market, both individuals and corporates.
Five years have past since we sold our practice but the points we have raised are even more relevant in today’s competitive market.

At the time, we never used a broker, but this experience was the impetus for us to start up Samera Practice Sales, a new Dental brokerage firm.
Since then, we have been trusted brokers to many dental practice sellers. Our team work hard to understand your practice, so they can then best position it with buyers.

Many owners are turning to Samera Practice Sales, with our unique, professional and friendly approach to helping sellers maximise their Dental practice value.

We certainly don’t aim to be biggest, just the best at what we do.

Learning Point 7: Get in touch with Samera Practice Sales, we will help you exit your business on the best available terms in the market, whilst dealing with a professional and friendly team.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Sell a Dental Practice

Click here to read our articles Samera learning centre.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Doing a Start-Up During a Pandemic

In this webinar, Arun explains what has changed since the beginning of the pandemic and what dentists need to do differently if they want to successfully start a practice now.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Selling a Dental Practice to a Corporate – 5 Mistakes to Avoid

In the ever increasingly busy world of selling a dental practice, we have noticed how there is a newcomer on a weekly basis claiming to be your new best buddy, tax advisor, selling agent, and “yes sign here and I will protect your interest and save your soul from the evil of corporate world”.

Here’s a thing:

Corporates are not that evil (generally).

I became involved in dentistry 8 years ago and yes, I worked in the acquisitions side with several corporates, so I know what they want and how they operate.

When entering the Dental world I felt like Christopher Columbus when discovering a new world, or even better this reminded me of that day when my wife and I were in Grand Cayman, sitting on a boat and admiring the sea, but when we dived and started snorkelling we saw a world full of colours, with beautiful animals and fishes of different sizes and beauty, some looking friendly some rather scary.

Fast forward from the Caymans to planet Dentistry, and they are actually not that dissimilar.

During the years I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of dental principals up and down the Kingdom willing to sell their practices, and I know first-hand how this could be challenging and emotional , but also rewarding when following the correct steps with the right people helping you.

But you have to follow those steps! And you have to choose the right people to help you!

It can be potentially very very stressful!

If you like to cook, you will know that even something as easy as making a tiramisu (I know I am showing off my Italian origin and cooking skills here) could turn into a disastrous kitchen experience if you don’t follow the correct steps in the recipe and don’t buy the right ingredients.

With a tiramisu, the worst that could happen to you is that your guests never come to dinner again, but if we talk about your dental practice, then it could be a lot worse , with emotional and financial implications for you and your family.

Action Plan

Navigating corporate involvement in dentistry is like snorkeling in a vibrant sea—exciting yet potentially daunting. Just as a recipe requires the right ingredients and steps, success in the dental business hinges on following the correct procedures and working with the right partners. Here are some golden tips to help you navigate this terrain effectively.

So, if you can keep a secret, I will give you my very own golden tips from my many years of working in the sector.

Contact us to find out more

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a Dental Practice to a Dental Corporate

Doing it alone

Like it or not, all the greatest achievers have never done it alone, so if you want to achieve your goal, which is successfully selling your practice as smoothly as possible, always ask for professional help, someone that will help you with the valuation of your dental practice, even if it is a second opinion, get tips on negotiating your terms, and even help and suggest the best people for the legal and financial due diligence.

Action Plan

Seek professional assistance for valuation, negotiation, and due diligence when selling your dental practice for a smoother transaction.

Solicitor

Never consider the services of a solicitor or a firm with no experience with dental practice sales. It’s that simple. Occasionally I have experienced some Dental Principals going down the route of a solicitor who may be brilliant when purchasing your house, but could slow down the process of selling your practice, potentially increasing your legal fees or asking unnecessary or more than unnecessary due diligence documentations to complete, ending up wasting precious time.

Action Plan

Choose a solicitor experienced in dental practice sales to avoid delays, excessive fees, and unnecessary documentation, ensuring a smoother process.

No clear exit plan

You may want to take the money and sail into the sunshine, or you still have some degree of madness in you and want to open up a new practice, the choice is yours.

Consider accurately life after selling your practice to a corporate, as time after time I have met with principals without a clear idea on what to do after completion. You may own the property, so may be best to consider that a Corporate’s main interest is not buying your property, and it is also in your interest most times to keep the property, as the yield you generate as an independent trader is completely different from the yield you have once part of a large group.

Clearly you want to be the one setting your own plan, don’t let others tell you what to do.

Whether you are retiring, or want to capitalize, or want to continue working in the practice or wish to set up a new practice, consider your options prior to marketing your practice for sale and not during , and talk to a professional advisor who has helped others make the best choice before.

Action Plan

Before selling to a corporation, ensure you have a clear post-sale plan, considering property ownership and future goals, and seek advice from a professional advisor to make informed decisions prior to marketing your practice.

Dental Sales Agency

Well, if you want to utilize the services of a selling agent, I advise you to meet and speak with more than one, some will charge you a fee on completion, some others will charge the corporate buyer a fee, but this is almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, as you want to follow your gut and your brain when making the decision of what agent you want to represent you.

All I will advise you at this stage is that you want someone who has done it before, with a good reputation, ideally and preferably someone who has sold, bought and also managed dental practices. You want help coming from every angles, or the best accountancy and valuers firm that incorporate all the above qualities. That’s Samera!

Action Plan

When selecting a dental sales agency, prioritize experience, reputation, and a comprehensive understanding of the dental industry, aiming for guidance from professionals who have a track record in selling, buying, and managing dental practices, like Samera.

Inform all your staff

Selling your practice is a very emotional and challenging time in any Dental Principal life’s.

Informing the staff is crucial in the selling process and this must be done at the appropriate time, especially when selling to a corporate.

If the timing is wrong, it could create unnecessary stress and uncertainty amongst your loyal and faithful staff, and what if the sales does not complete?  The risk is ending up with creating disruption and loss of trust and loss of revenue and more costs…..something you don’t want!

These are my pearls of wisdom in working in this sector for a good few years. If you are in the process of thinking of selling, I am more than happy to have a chat to see if I can help you with the big decision.

Action Plan

When selling your dental practice, ensure timely communication with your staff to minimize stress and uncertainty, particularly when selling to a corporate, as improper timing can lead to disruptions, loss of trust, and revenue, potentially jeopardizing the sale.

Contact Details
Arun Mehra
Group CEO
[email protected]
0207 100 8788

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

7 Survival Tips to the NHS Tendering Process

The NHS tendering process can often feel like something of a minefield. Use these 7 survival tips to make the process a little easier to navigate.

EBITDA Is the tender financially viable for YOU?

Do a high-level costing; consider a number of patients you will see, the type of service you will provide, what’s the average number of UDA per patient, location needs and how far is it away from where you live, will it be associated/principal-led, research any recruitment issues and consider your mobilization plan.

Have a strategy and stick to it.

What’s your USP and what do you want to create for the community.
Agree your baseline EBITDA, UDA rate, profit generated and if the figures don’t work – reconsider your strategy, be realistic.

Get your ducks in a row

Inform your accountant well in advance and prepare them for possible information required in a short timeframe. Speak to financial advisors regarding loan affordability as most tenders require proof of cash/funding. Consider the company structure, partnerships, subcontractors or consortiums. All new legal entities may require business plans, cash flow forecasts and balance sheets.

Read the specification document

All your answers are in the document, go through each section and highlight main points and cross-reference with questions.

Answer the question

Use bullet points initially for your first draft and refer back to the specification document to ensure you have answered the question. Look at the weighting for each point, don’t waste energies writing war and peace for a ½ point! Don’t waffle!

Set realistic deadlines and adhere to them

Its imperative to manage your time effectively as you only have a short timeframe to complete your answers, create deadlines, milestones and use a project planner if necessary.

Contact us to find out more

Don’t wait until last minute to submit the tender

Understand the portal and its workings, read all the clarification questions as most likely someone has already asked your question.

Be ready to submit at least 2 hours before submission, clearly label all attachments and don’t cross-refer as usually different people read different sections.

We would strongly suggest submitting 6-12 hours before, just in case portal crashes (sorry, it can happen) you can still amend after submission.

Click here to read our article on Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

Happy tendering….Keep Calm and keep hydrated!

Speak to a member of the Samera team on how we can help you tendering process, we offer a tender review, bespoke full tendering service, we can also help you find new premises, financial funding and helping with business plans!

More on the NHS tendering process

For further information on our NHS tendering process support please visit here

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Dental Practice Retirement & Transition Planning

Are you ready to retire?

We all dream of living out our golden years as the captain of our own ship – free from the stress and frustration of managing a successful dental practice, and finally able to pursue our other passions. After decades of toil and service to the medical community, you deserve it.

Unfortunately, most dentists are woefully unprepared for the realities of navigating their retirement transition  – and it is easy to understand why. For the last couple of decades you have been preoccupied running your own business, while also providing essential health care services to patients who have practically grown into your closest friends and family. No one wants to think of the day that – for better or worse – it all comes to an end.

If you are like most healthcare professionals, you probably never even considered the idea of retirement until that one day you leaned over the dental chair and heard a few telling “pops” coming from your spine.
But, that’s okay!

If you are reading this article you are already on your way to executing a successful retirement transition as a dentist. You have proven that you have the will to gracefully “bow-out” of providing dental services – all you need now is for someone to help show you the way.

Action Plan

Transitioning into retirement as a dentist can be daunting, but with proper guidance and planning, you can gracefully navigate this significant life change and enjoy your well-deserved golden years free from the stresses of managing a dental practice and focus on pursuing your passions.

What is the right age to retire from your dental practice?

Most people fail to understand how physically demanding it is to be a dentist. The constant bending over, sitting down, standing up, cleaning, polishing, drilling – it takes a toll after 30 or 40 years!

Don’t forget to factor-in the stress of being in business for yourself in a field that can often be rather thankless. I mean, how many more articles must you read where people confess to being more afraid of the dentist chair than the grave?

The harsh reality of the dental field is that you cannot do it forever, even if you want to. Your body and/or mind simply won’t allow it. So, what is the right age to retire?

Most people want to be retired by their early-to-mid 60’s, and it’s no different in dentistry. However, the desire to retire is much less important than having the ability to follow through with it. That is why it is of the utmost importance to begin planning your exit strategy in your 40’s and 50’s.

Every day after your 60th birthday is practically a count-down until your back begins to falter, your knees become stiff, and the dreaded arthritis causes your skilled hands to swell and shake.

You neither have to burn out, nor fade away. By planning your exit strategy now, you can rest easy knowing that you can step away from your practice – still seemingly at the top of your game without having to deal with the inevitable ravages of time (at least not publicly).

Action Plan

Transitioning into retirement as a dentist can be daunting, but with proper guidance and planning, you can gracefully navigate this significant life change and enjoy your well-deserved golden years free from the stresses of managing a dental practice and focusing on pursuing your passions.

How to handle your dental transition

Fortunately there are many options available for dentists on the verge of retirement. It doesn’t matter if you own and operate your own practice, work with a group of partners/associates, or are a member of a corporate group.

Of course, everything relies on your ability to plan ahead – so here are some quick thoughts about your options …

Sole Practice Owner

As the owner of a sole practice, you have the most “elbow room” to manoeuvre in regards to your retirement transition.

The most (financially) beneficial arrangement favoured by most dentists is a flat out sale of their practice to a corporate group – a transaction with which we are very familiar.However, another route might be for you to take on an associate dentist. After spending some time mentoring the new associate dentist, and training them on how to care for your patients, they should be able to buy you out of your own practice. Yet, this method does require a considerable amount of time and effort if you do not choose your associate wisely. For more information on choosing an associate – with retirement as your final goal – contact Samera Business Advisors.

Action Plan

Dentists approaching retirement have various options to consider, whether they own a sole practice, work with partners, or are part of a corporate group. One option is selling the practice to a corporate group, while another involves bringing on an associate dentist who may eventually buy out the practice. Planning ahead and seeking professional advice from experts like Samera Business Advisors can help navigate these transitions effectively.

Partnership

Transitioning management of your dental practice from you to your partners can be a mutually beneficial option for larger practices.
Through an equity buy-in, buy-out, contract you can arrange the “sale” of your practice, decades before you even need to. This saves you from dealing with a lot of stress and frustration further down the road. It should be noted though that transactions between people who have known / worked with each other for years can sometimes get complicated. If you wish to preserve the relationship you once had with your partners – and still get the best money for your practice – we highly recommend contacting a qualified Dental Practice Broker like Samera Business Advisors.

Action Plan

Transitioning management of your dental practice to your partners through an equity buy-in or buy-out contract can offer a smoother transition, but it can be complex. Seek guidance from Samera Business Advisors, experts in facilitating successful transitions.

Corporate Group

If you are already a member of a corporate dental group, your transition should be fairly straightforward. Meaning – it should already be more or less spelled out within the terms of your contract with the organization.
Yet, sometimes it is difficult to negotiate the final offer on your share of the practice. We here at Samera Business Advisors can help to mediate the transition, ensuring that you are paid what you are worth.

Action Plan

Transitioning from a corporate dental group is typically outlined in your contract, but negotiating the final offer for your share can be challenging. Samera Business Advisors can facilitate a smooth transition and ensure fair compensation for your practice share.

Letting your partners and employees know about your retirement

Informing your staff – or partners – about your imminent departure from the business is the most uncomfortable aspect of selling your dental practice. These people may have been with you since the beginning of your career. They have watched your skills develop and your business grow – and they have reaped the rewards along the way. Telling them that you will no longer be around to help or give advice could be a terrifying concept for them. Therefore, there is no easy way to go about it.

We recommend that you approach the subject with compassion and tact. Choose the right time to let people know about your retirement – do not do it when office stress is already high. Let them know what your plan is, and your timeframe. Take the time to talk with them privately about what their options are moving forward.

If you are concerned about how your staff will take the news, there are ways that you can make them feel involved in the process. For instance, there are some transactions where you can include terms that require the future-buyer of your practice to develop the original staff. Of course that is not always the case, and if you want terms such as those included in the sale of your dental practice, you should consult with a qualified Dental Practice Broker like Samera Business Advisors.

Action Plan

Informing staff or partners about your retirement requires compassion and tact, choosing an appropriate time to communicate your plan and timeframe. Consider involving them in the process and consult with a qualified Dental Practice Broker like Samera Business Advisors for guidance on structuring the transition.

Letting your patients know about your retirement

Similar to informing your staff/partners, telling your patients about your retirement can be incredibly stressful.
We recommend sending a personalized letter to your current patients – thanking them for their years of support and friendship. In the letter, you should comfort them by explaining what your transition means for them.

  • Do they need to find a new dentist?
  • Will a new dentist be provided for them?
  • Can you give them a referral to another qualified dentist in the area?

These are just some of the questions that will immediately come to their minds, so make sure to answer them in as much detail as possible – before they have to ask.

However, do not inform your patients of your transition until after it is fully planned, with a buyer already secured and an exit strategy in place. You do not want them to feel as though you are leaving them “high and dry” with no support for their healthcare needs.

Action Plan

Informing patients about your retirement involves sending personalized letters expressing gratitude for their support and explaining the transition process, including arrangements for their ongoing dental care. It’s important to wait until the transition plan is fully prepared before informing patients to avoid causing undue concern or uncertainty.

Contact us to find out more

Putting your dental practice up for sale

Although the specifics of your individual dental practice sale will be unique, there are a few “tried and true” things that every dentist should do when preparing to sell their practice to fuel their retirement goals.

The main objectives for preparing the sale of your dental practice is to build as much value as you can, and ensuring a smooth transition from you to the new owner.

Build your practices value

Many dentists think that the only way to build the value of their practice is by having as many active patients as possible. While that is certainly a big element to making your office look appealing to another buyer – it is not the only consideration.

You must take into account the kind of work that will be required by the new owner. Do you have fewer patients, but perform higher-value cosmetic treatments which prop-up your sales figures? That could be an interesting selling-point for “concierge style” dentists who prefer quality over sheer patient-volume.

You must understand what makes YOUR business model appealing, and then bolster that marketing perspective. In order to do this, we recommend receiving an in depth practice valuation, so you can understand more about your own business … What works, why it works, and who would be interested in taking the reins of a practice such as yours.

Action Plan

When preparing to sell your dental practice, focus on building its value by highlighting unique selling points, such as specialized treatments or patient demographics, and obtaining a thorough practice valuation to understand its strengths and appeal to potential buyers.

Build an active patient list

It practically goes without saying that – when preparing to sell your practice – you should be actively building your book of business. No one wants to buy a dental practice to just sit on their hands all day, hoping that a patient will eventually come in for a routine cleaning.

Try to fill in as many gaps in your daily appointment schedule as possible and keep it consistent. Make the potential buyer of your practice feel as though they are buying a “turn-key” business.

The goal is to make them feel confident that the day they sign the purchase agreement, they will have a steady source of income.

Streamline your Accounting

When a buyer expresses interest in your practice, you should be able to show them exactly where all of the money is coming from, and going. Every pound must be accounted for, and irregularities must be minimized at every opportunity.

Although “cleaning up your accounting” is important for the buyer, it is absolutely crucial for whatever lender is providing the buyer with their funds. If your books are not in order, the lender may put a stop to the sale – even if the buyer is still 100% on board.

Action Point

When preparing to sell your dental practice, focus on actively building your patient list to demonstrate a steady source of income for potential buyers, and streamline your accounting processes to ensure transparency and minimize irregularities, which is crucial for both buyers and lenders involved in the sale.

Choose Samera for Retirement and Transition Planning

You have so much to look forward to as a retired dentist. It is our goal to help you to achieve your financial goals, while safely managing your legacy (your practice). If you are even entertaining the thought of retirement, contact a representative of Samera Business Advisors by contacting us or booking a free consultation.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Language Of Communication

Smita and I were privileged to have Dr Barry Oulton share his expertise on the language of communication on a recent webinar.

Barry is a very experienced private dentist and an excellent communicator, in this webinar he shares his tips and tools on communicating in dental practice.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Should I Sell My Dental Practice to a Private Equity Backed Group?

Arun, the CEO of Samera Business Advisors discusses the Pro’s and Con’s of selling your dental practice to a Private Equity Backed Group.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

8 Things You Need to Know When Choosing a Dental Practice Sales Agent

If you have a dental practice for sale, you need to make sure that you choose a dental practice sales agent you can trust to ensure that the process progresses smoothly and that you secure the best possible price for your practice. You need to enlist the services of experts in dental practices for sale who can make sure that your practice comes to the notice of as many potential buyers as possible.

They should also be able to help you with all aspects of having a dental practice for sale, such as preparing your practice for sale, carrying out a valuation and dealing with the process of due diligence, before a sale is finalised. There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing a dental practice sales agent.

What size is the database of registered buyers?

A successful sales agent, who has experience in dealing with dental practices for sale, should have a significant database containing the names of potential buyers for your dental practice. Ask about the number of names that are in this database, so that you can get an idea of the number of people who will be made aware of the sale of your practice. Sales agents should also be able to market your practice outside of the names in this database.

What is the valuation process?

Getting an accurate valuation for a dental practice for sale is an essential part of the sale process. You should be able to access an easy to use valuation service. This should be followed by the provision of a sales pack containing details of the sales process.

Action Plan

A reputable sales agent experienced in dental practice sales should possess a sizable database of potential buyers, and you should inquire about the number of names therein to gauge the reach of your practice sale. Additionally, they should offer an accessible valuation process and provide a comprehensive sales pack outlining the sales process details.

What dental practice health check services are available ?

In order to secure the best price for dental practices for sale, each practice needs to be as healthy as possible, before the sales process begins. The dental practice sales agent you choose should be able to perform a comprehensive health check for your practice. Areas that should be covered include:

  • The performance of the practice.
  • The profitability of the practice.
  • Comparisons with other practices.
  • A breakdown of the valuation process.
  • Advice about how to improve the value and marketability of the practice.

This type of health check is vital when selling a dental practice.

Action Plan

To ensure optimal pricing for dental practices on the market, a thorough health check is essential, covering areas such as practice performance, profitability, comparative analysis, valuation breakdown, and recommendations for enhancing value and marketability. Engaging a dental practice sales agent proficient in conducting such assessments is crucial for a successful sale.

How good is the seller information that is provided?

Sales agents who are dedicated to providing a high standard of service when dealing with dental practices for sale should provide excellent seller information. This includes facilities such as a comprehensive website FAQ, so that sellers can easily see what the process of selling a dental practice involves.

Is there are a high level of availability?

Selling a dental practice is not something that happens at a certain point of each day or week. If you are selling a dental practice, you need to be able to contact your sales agent when necessary, and be sure that you will get a timely response. A reputable sales agent should respond to any queries within 24 hours of contact.

Action Point

Sales agents specializing in dental practice sales should offer top-notch seller information, including a detailed website FAQ, to clarify the selling process for clients. Additionally, accessibility is key, with agents expected to maintain a high level of availability and respond to queries within 24 hours to ensure smooth communication and transaction progress.

Are there any success stories?

Successful dental practice sales agents will have several dental practice for sale stories to tell. They should be able to provide evidence of satisfied clients. This information should help you to see how they could put the services involved in these success stories to use in helping you to complete the successful sale of your practice.

Contact us to find out more

Is there a good standard of communication?

Good communication is something that is essential to any successful sale of a dental practice. This communication includes all provision of advice and support, from sales process advice on the website to readily available communication systems, such as email and telephone. You need to make sure that you can easily communicate with the professional that you choose.

You also need to make sure that the communication you have is easy to comprehend. The sales agent should have well-developed communication skills that enable them to give you advice and support that you can understand.

Action Point

Effective communication is crucial for a successful dental practice sale, encompassing comprehensive advice and support provided through accessible channels like email and telephone. Furthermore, clear and understandable communication is paramount, requiring sales agents to possess strong communication skills to convey advice and support in an easily comprehensible manner.

Is there a high level of expertise with tax issues and due diligence?

It’s not just marketing a dental practice for sale, and engaging with potential buyers, that are important aspects of a dental practice sales agent’s work. They need to be experts at all aspects of the sales process. This includes dealing with any tax implications and ensuring that due diligence is successfully completed, before any sale is finalised. The due diligence process can be complex, so it’s important to have the right professionals in place to help.

These professionals can help you make sure that you have all the necessary documentation in place. This documentation includes:

  • Accounts and financial records.
  • Patient records.
  • CQC registration details.
  • Contracts of employment.
  • Associate paperwork.
  • Contracts with suppliers.
  • Lease and hire purchase agreements.

If you have a dental practice for sale, you need to make sure that you take all of these factors into account, when you are choosing a dental practice sales agent. Choosing an agent who can provide examples of previous successes means that they are more likely to be able to help you successfully sell your practice.

You also need to think about all aspects of the sale process including finding and engaging potential buyers, dealing with tax implications and ensuring that due diligence is completed with no problems. Sales agents need to be able to communicate openly and clearly with you, so that you understand what is happening, throughout the sale process.

The team of experts at Samera realise how important it is that you get a good price for your dental practice and that your finances and tax situation are optimised before, during and after the sale. Our success stories show that we have the experience and expertise to help you complete your dental practice sale advantageously. Contact us about how we can help with your dental practice for sale.

Action Point

When selling a dental practice, it’s crucial to work with a sales agent who possesses a high level of expertise in tax issues and due diligence. This ensures that all necessary documentation, such as financial records, patient records, and contracts, is in order. With the right professionals in place, like the team at Samera, you can navigate the complexities of the sales process successfully, optimizing your finances and achieving a favorable outcome for your practice sale.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Grow Your Dental Practice with Social Media

Should You Use Social Media in a Dental Practice?

The internet, especially social media, is a great way for businesses worldwide to talk to their customers and make their brand more popular. But some dentists still aren’t sure if using social media is a good idea. Well, it is! Social media helps dentists spread their brand awareness, talk to their current patients and attract new ones. Dentists can use social media to show how good they are, give helpful dental advice, and even talk to patients online. Since many people (especially the younger generations) use social media, dentists can reach lots of people and get closer to them.

Like any business, if you are running a dental practice then you cannot afford to ignore the strength of social media marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn provide you with the opportunity to connect with current patients, new patients and other dental professionals. This connection allows you to promote and help to grow your dental practice with social media.

In this post, we’ll explain why social media is good for dentists and give some tips on how to do it right.

The Power of Social Media in a Digital Age

In today’s digital world, social media has changed the way people connect and find information. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a big part of our daily lives, connecting lots of people worldwide.

For dentists, using social media has many benefits. It lets them talk to their current patients, get new ones and show off their dental skills, which builds trust and spreads their practice’s brand. Social media can reach a huge audience, making it easy to share dental advice and updates with both current patients and people looking for dental care.

It also lets patients ask questions and share their experiences, making existing relationships stronger. Plus, it’s a cheap way to advertise and reach specific groups of people, getting more for your money. Social media also gives dentists info about how well their online presence is working. So, in short, social media is a must-have for dentists in the digital age. It helps them connect, engage, and look good online.

Benefits of Social Media for Dentists 

It’s important to note that you cannot just rely on social media. Using social media platforms should form a significant part of your marketing strategy, but not all of it. Having said this, you can get some impressive benefits from using channels such as Facebook, if you do so in the right way. These benefits include:

  • Making it easy for people to find your practice.
  • Telling people what you can help them with.
  • Targeting your presence at local people.
  • Maintaining relationships with current patients, to keep them engaged.
  • Allowing you to build positive relationships with other professionals.
  • Giving audiences the chance to contact you easily.

Which Platforms Can Grow Your Dental Practice 

In order to make sure that your practice benefits as much as possible, you need to plan your social media activity carefully. You need to think about who you are trying to reach. This list will usually include current patients, new patients and other dental professionals.

Once you have this information, it’s time to look at which platforms these people use and what type of content they are most likely to engage with. People are continuously scrolling on their phones for hours per day, with the right type of marketing, you’re going to get some people’s attention. There are some specific options you can consider, depending on which platforms you choose to use.

Facebook

Facebook is often first on the list when it comes to using social media for dentists. This is because more than 3 billion people use Facebook globally; in the UK around 78% of Internet users use Facebook. Quite simply, it’s a potential market place that you cannot ignore. If you are wondering what to post on Facebook; here are some tips:

  • Advice about oral hygiene routines.
  • Comments and advice about new dental techniques.
  • Community announcements, especially details of any community work you are doing.
  • Special offers; although this type of content should not be used too often as you do not want your Facebook page to look too sales orientated.
  • Videos and images that allow people to have a better connection with your practice.
  • Team videos and profiles – audiences want to know the people behind the business.

Aside from posting on your regular Facebook page, you may also want to consider Facebook PPC (paid advertising). You can target your Facebook ads at people in your local area or based on their interests, demographics or even simply by uploading your contacts’ emails addresses.

This means you are likely to get engagement from people who are actually looking for a dentist locally to you. Your Facebook Page will quite often be the first thing people find when they search for you. So make sure you keep it up-to-date and interesting!

Action Plan

  • Share oral hygiene tips.
  • Provide insights on new dental techniques.
  • Announce community involvement.
  • Offer limited-time promotions.
  • Use engaging videos and images.
  • Showcase your team.
  • Consider Facebook PPC advertising.
  • Keep your page updated.

Contact us to find out more

Instagram

Instagram is a hugely influential social media channel, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. It’s a great way of helping people to see inside your business, using images and videos. Connecting with people in this way helps them to see your practice as friendly and reliable. These are positive attributes that are sought by people looking for a dentist.

Set up an Instagram account for your practice and post video clips and images regularly. Instagram has a much younger audience on average than Facebook so take this into account when you post. 

The best kind of posts for Instagram are your more fun behind-the-scenes clips, team videos and your best photos. Instagram is all about image and aesthetics! Show off your successes and make sure you tell the story of your practice through your videos and images.

Action Points

Set up an Instagram account for your dental practice and regularly share behind-the-scenes clips, team videos, and visually appealing images to engage with a younger audience and showcase your practice’s successes.

Twitter

You should think outside the box when you are using Twitter to help your practice to grow. It’s fine to tweet about the latest goings on at the practice and include the occasional promotion. However, using Twitter should be more about displaying your expertise. Tweet about the latest developments in the industry, or local charity events, and include your educated comments. You may also want to think about setting up a Twitter Q&A session, when you can communicate with people in real time.

Action Points

Use Twitter to showcase your practice’s expertise by tweeting about industry developments, local events, and hosting Q&A sessions to engage with your audience in real time.

LinkedIn

Social media for dentists is not just about communicating with patients and potential patients. You can use LinkedIn to publish articles and show your expertise. You can also use it to develop relationships with other dental practices which can be mutually beneficial. For instance, if you do not provide orthodontic services, you can find a local specialist to refer your patients to. This helps you to provide a better service and provides more patients for the orthodontist, for whom you may receive a referral fee. 

Action Points

Utilize LinkedIn to establish your practice’s expertise by publishing articles, connecting with other dental professionals, and fostering mutually beneficial relationships, such as referrals for specialized services, enhancing patient care, and expanding your network.

Building a Strong Online Presence Through Social Media

With the younger, tech-savvy generations beginning to make financial decisions, it is essential for dentists to have a good online presence through social media. Nowadays, when people need a dentist, they look for one online to read reviews and get recommendations, this is known as social proof. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help dentists connect with the people they want to reach, and it lets them create a professional and interesting online presence.

This means they can show how good they are, share useful information, and even offer virtual appointments, which makes them look trustworthy and builds a personal connection with patients. The best thing about social media is that it can reach a lot of people organically, and they can choose who sees their messages through targeted ads. So, it’s easier to get the right message to the right people. If patients sing your praises on social media, it adds credibility to your brand. Additionally, social media lets dentists keep up with what’s new in their field and connect with other professionals, adding to their trust, authority and expertise.

But to do well on social media, dentists need a plan, regular posts, interesting content, and a way to answer patient questions and feedback. Being consistent and responsive is vital to keep up a strong online presence.

In short, social media is a great tool for dentists to improve their online presence, talk to patients, and grow their practice. By using social media, dentists can show how good they are, get new patients, and be seen as experts in their field. So, the answer to whether social media is good for dentists is a big “yes!”.

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Did You Know?


  • 70% of dentists in the UK use social media for professional purposes. [Source: Dental Economics]
  • 99.7% of patients stated that “Before and After” photos are very important when selecting a cosmetic dentist. [Source: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry]
  • The most popular social media platform for dentists in the UK is Facebook, with 80% of dentists having a professional Facebook page. [Source: Dental Economics]
  • Dentists who use social media are more likely to attract new patients and generate more leads. [Source: Social Media Examiner]

How to Get More Patients With Social Media

Using social media for marketing properly can transform your business. Social media is a place where billions of users spend hours a day scrolling and engaging with friends, brands and companies alike. These billions of users are not just users to your business, they are all potential customers.

If you haven’t done so already, get on every social media platform you can with a simple profile to start. It is then imperative to understand which platform is most likely to have your target audience. Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways of marketing a dental practice and can actually have a huge impact, if used correctly. Decide who your target audiences are (families, teenagers, people interested in health or cosmetics etc) and then figure out which platforms they are more likely to use and what they expect to see there.

Pick one platform to begin with 

It can be a lot to try to gain a following on so many platforms at once, try tackling one social media platform to start with, whether that be Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram or Linked in. Whichever one you choose, try to gain some momentum in that channel first before moving on to other ones.

In this day and age it often seems like all social media platforms are more or less all the same. They all differ though, which is why it is important to learn about the social media channels before choosing which one is best for you and your business. They all offer different features. Linked In is more popular in the business world but as the platforms are all evolving, Instagram has become a great way to promote businesses and also shop around on various different businesses on the app.

To begin your social media journey, our experts advise that you begin by making a business profile or a business account page on your chosen social media platform. Making this type of account will unlock many more features that will be useful when it comes to your business, ads, reach, engagement and most importantly, checking your audience insights, we highly recommend this especially if you are using Instagram.

Include as many options for contacting your practice as possible on your social media channels – website, email, phone numbers, WhatsApp, direct messaging (like Facebook messenger), your address.

You need to build your brand name, but the idea is not to plaster your name everywhere. You need to post consistently but you need posts with substance. People follow and like to engage with posts that they are genuinely interested in or keep them entertained. It is a great idea to place online ads on Google as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, they get a lot of reach. 

Let’s take Facebook for example. A car mechanic will surely see more visits and clicks on a platform like Facebook where there are people from every walk of life and every age range. But doing the same on Instagram or Snapchat often won’t net you the same result as the majority of the users are young teens that either just don’t own a car or simply aren’t interested in seeing anything related to your business.

That’s why although it’s a good idea to be present on every platform, focusing the majority of your efforts on one or two platforms that are going to be most beneficial and responsive to your efforts might be the better option, at least to begin with. We focus mainly on Facebook and Instagram, but you might find a different combination works for you.

Action Plan

To effectively leverage social media for marketing your dental practice, start by creating profiles on relevant platforms, focusing on one to build momentum. Understand your target audience and tailor your content accordingly, providing valuable information and engaging posts. Include multiple contact options and consider online ads for wider reach, focusing efforts on platforms most responsive to your audience.

Start with a social media plan

Just like your business plan, your social media plan should bear the same importance. Like any good business strategy, using social media for business success needs to start with a well laid out plan. Without a plan you will have no clear goal for what you are trying to achieve, which means your team (if you have one) won’t have any specific goals either – which results in no way to measure your results and sometimes no results at all.

Take some time to create a social media plan. Social media may seem less pressing in the list of tasks that you need to do for your business, but it is more important and harder to master than you may think. Creating an effective plan will ensure that all your social efforts support your specific business goals. 

Your social media plan needs to include all of the content you intend to produce for your platforms. This means planning the blogs and articles you’ll write, what kind of photos you need to take and what videos you need to create. You also need to specify which team members will be in charge of producing this content.

Action Points

To maximize the impact of social media on your business, start with a comprehensive social media plan. Define clear goals, outline content strategies, and assign responsibilities to ensure consistency and effectiveness across platforms.

Contact us to find out more

Be authentic when you post

With social media being as overcrowded as it is, the need to stand out is exponential. It sounds overrated and overused but be yourself, that is who you are selling. Don’t try and be what you think others may want you to be, in the long run that will not work in favour for your company. Dont work too hard to make everything perfect or seem perfect; if you do, you will either never put up anything or worse you will break trust with your clientele. 

Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, people on social media are bombarded with posts that seem to emit perfection, people really just want to follow pages that are ‘real’. Uploading posts and stories that are real and truthful that your audience can relate to and understand is what will get you those loyal followers that you aim to have. 

Remember that social media is all about trends. Keeping up with relevant trends, topics and hashtags to engage a wider audience is pivotal to growing your social media network. Make sure anything you post fits your brand.

Action Point

Maintain authenticity in your social media posts. Avoid striving for perfection and instead focus on being genuine and relatable to your audience. Embrace trends and share content that aligns with your brand while resonating with your followers.

ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE with your audiences

The primary goal for any business on social media is to build relationships and add value. This is the part where most people fall in their social media triumphant attempts. They work so hard to create content and will continuously protrude said content, but they then fail to actually engage with their audience. 

It’s anywhere from 5 to 20 times more expensive to acquire new clients than it is to keep old ones. That’s why focusing efforts to retain clients by increasing customer engagement through any number of techniques is advised at every stage.

Knowing who your target audience is great even if your target audience is a very niche group of people and thanks to the extensive targeting selections on social media, you are able to target people based on purchasing behaviours, interests and demographics.

If you know exactly who and what type of people are going to see your ads, you can cater the ads to that specific audience. The key is to make ads that resonate with your audience, rather than throwing a general ad up hoping it appeals to someone who randomly comes across it. 

The more you start using social media for marketing, the more data you will gather about your target audience. It is important to collect and learn from this data in order to streamline your target audience and spend ad budget where it makes the most sense. Don’t just focus on that streamlined audience, you can use tools within social media advertising that allow you to expand that audience. 

Simply looking at the number of likes on your post is not as strong of an indicator of its performance as you think it is. Today, businesses need to look further into their performance metric. This includes tracking comments, amount to saves, shares and story views to understand how their content performs. Talk with people and really engage with your followers, it is what will keep them interested.

Respond to comments and reviews and jump into communities, especially ones that are in the same industry as your business. Share your perspectives and point of view, if anything, it will gain you a lot more attention than you may think, especially if you are slightly controversial or especially contemporary. 

With a shift in how we measure engagement, it’s only natural that we also change how we try to improve audience/ follower engagement on our feeds. Trust us it’s not as hard as you may think. 

Engaging honestly should be just for that aim, do not dominate the conversation or push for sales. Simply getting involved with the conversation, trends or your chosen community, you will get the following you need naturally and organically. Giving advice and offering suggestions will make you seem helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy. No one wants false claims with the congested roads of pretending on social media, most people really engage when they see something they believe is genuine, use that aspect of yourself and your business to your advantage.

Action Points

Focus on engaging with your audience authentically on social media. Respond to comments, and reviews, and join relevant communities to share your perspective. Use data to understand your target audience and tailor your content to resonate with them, ultimately building trust and loyalty.

You need to commit and monitor 

Signing up to any social media platform is absolutely free. In a few minutes you can be up and running but to build your business as a brand on social media it is mandatory that you commit to staying active on that platform. In the beginning at least, spend a minimum of one hour per day during your launch of your page or business engaging with the community. Use this time to not only focus on your own page but to catch a glimpse of some businesses that are similar to yours and take inspiration for what they are doing and how you can do better. 

For some, it may be easy to spend hours a day on social media, but to run a business or build a brand on social media needs commitment and it is a lot easier said than done. Effective social media branding takes time and practice, in many cases it is worthwhile to hire someone who specialises in social media to help you. 

Writing down a strategy is a good place to start and having clear goals will set you a track to go on, but actually sticking to it is a whole different story. Your social media plans will always be changing. At the least you should have a good idea of the thing you would like to post daily. Strategy is key. If you are not committing to posting on a regular basis and creating new content then you will always struggle to hook your audience or build an engaged following. 

Contact us to find out more

During one hour a day, at no expense out of your pocket at all, you can build a community in no time. Committing to spending time on your social media accounts is step 1, step 2 is mentoring these accounts in the most effective way. Monitor other sites, feed and pages that discuss the industry your business is in, your products or services. Look for posts that mention your company, mentoring you growth will help you reach specific goals you have.

Your social media accounts are also the best place to respond to any comments or complaints, using them as opportunities to engage with your followers, grow your brand and collect market research. If you pay attention to the right aspects of your social media platform, you can get ahead of potential problems. 

Many may think that continuously pouring out content will get you more followers, unfortunately it is not that easy. Looking at social media and posting once a day should suffice enough to engage your audience, educate and potentially entertain you from other posts within your given industry and hopefully inspire you to make more content. 

You should definitely monitor your insights but what will help you a lot will be finding out what days and times most people visit to engage with your pages. This will help notify you when is the best time to post yourself to get the most engagement from your followers. Always check your insights!

Action Points

Commitment is key to building your brand on social media. Spend at least one hour daily engaging with your community, observing competitors, and refining your strategy. Monitor industry-related discussions and respond to comments and feedback promptly to grow your brand and gather valuable insights. Understanding your audience’s behavior through insights will help optimize your posting schedule for maximum engagement. Always stay proactive and attentive to maintain a strong social media presence.

Establish a team and get expert help 

Having a marketing team in place can prove invaluable, eleven if you own a small business. Having a small team can enable you to establish a strategy with the necessary specialities for social media management. Having a team can help you keep afloat all your media marketing. Keeping up with social media posts as well as website posts and blogs can be tiresome while you are also managing other important aspects of your business. This is where your team will prove to be beneficial. 

Hiring someone who will be able to manage your content for marketing will make it a lot easier for you and their expertise will allow you to rely on someone to do what they know will work and help you reach your goals. 

This isn’t an option for everyone, sometimes it’s employing the necessary help in only certain aspects. Samera has an expert marketing team from website developers, social media specialists to content writers. Employing third party specialists to help you when you need it can prove to be more helpful than you know. They are aware of what is necessary to get you recognition and can do it effectively without having to impose any stress onto you.

Action Plan

Establishing a dedicated marketing team, even for small businesses, can be invaluable for managing social media effectively. Having specialists in place can streamline content creation, ensuring consistency and expertise. Consider outsourcing certain aspects to third-party specialists when needed to alleviate stress and achieve your marketing goals more efficiently.

Tell them how to reach you 

This seems like such an easy one but it is often overlooked. Make sure your followers know how to get hold of you. Plaster your contact details such as your web address, email address, phone numbers and social media handles. If it is possible, have them hyperlinked on any web content such as emails or newsletters and everywhere on your captions, having those details at the bottom or in the corner of web pages so it is easy for people to find you and remind them that you are available on various platforms. 

Action Points

Make it easy for your followers to reach you by prominently displaying your contact details, including your website address, email, phone numbers, and social media handles. Hyperlink these details in emails, newsletters, and captions for easy access. Ensure they are easily visible on web pages, and remind your audience of your availability across various platforms.

Social media ideas for dentists to engage audiences

Contests

Online contests are a great way to boost your following without opting for paid advertisements. You will have to fork out a bit for the final prize but that’s still cheaper than buying clicks and views.

Use simple, cheap treatments such as a free tooth whitening session, a dental care kit or a treatment voucher as your prizes to encourage winners to have to come to your location. 

This not only directly promotes your own product/service but also saves you from spending on another item. It’s basically free publicity. As long as your customer service is handled well, you should be able to convert the prize winner into a long-term patient once they are in the practice.

Action Point

Host online contests to engage your audience without paid ads. Offer prizes like free tooth whitening sessions, dental care kits, or treatment vouchers to encourage participation and promote your services. Convert contest winners into long-term patients with excellent customer service and a welcoming practice environment.

Create Partnerships

No one can do everything by themselves. Sooner or later you will need help and teaming up with another business that is in the same field can help create a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit greatly.

Creating strategic partnerships has many advantages while doesn’t require as much work on your part. Your business is able to receive twice as much notice and partnering with an industry-relevant business will also introduce you to an entirely new audience that is looking for something in your area of specialties.

Continuing from the previous example once again, a car mechanic can partner with a car dealership and have access to an exclusive audience that would usually be out of reach. And you can even go a step further and give discounts or offer special pricing to the customers that are referred to you by the partner.

Certain businesses in the dental industry, like equipment suppliers and dental tech companies, are always happy to team up with practitioners to help grow their patient base (as this often translates into more revenue for them too). Reach out, share posts and see what opportunities are out there.

Action Point

Forge partnerships with complementary businesses in your industry to expand your reach and gain access to new audiences. Offer exclusive deals or discounts to customers referred by your partners to incentivize collaboration and mutual growth. Reach out to equipment suppliers and dental tech companies to explore potential partnership opportunities that benefit both parties.

Referral Programs

Speaking of referral programs, they should not only be limited to your partnerships. Under normal circumstances even if customers like what you have to offer, they still often wouldn’t just refer to your services without a reason. So why not give them one?

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to designing referral programs, but the one thing that should be kept in mind is the reward. It has to be enticing enough for your customers to consider actively referring new clients. What you’re looking for is someone that will stick around, even after the initial purchase.

Studies have shown that referred customers have much higher brand loyalty from the get-go and larger profit margins without much work from your side. Not only this, but it would also increase the loyalty of your existing customers once they have a more vested interest in your brand.

Plus, with the dozens of different kinds of software out there that are designed for the sole purpose of setting up and maintaining such referral programs, there really is no reason for you to not at least try it out.

Action Point

Implement referral programs to encourage existing customers to refer new clients to your dental practice. Design enticing rewards that incentivize customers to actively participate in the referral process. Utilize referral program software to streamline the setup and maintenance of your program, maximizing its effectiveness with minimal effort.

Measuring the Success of Social Media Efforts for Dental Practices

It’s essential for dental practices to monitor their online efforts to figure out what works, and what doesn’t and to direct their efforts. You can do this by looking at a few important things:

  1. Growth of Your Online Community: See if more people are following or liking your pages on social media.
  1. Website Traffic from Social Media: Check if social media is sending more people to your website.
  1. Likes, Comments, and Shares: Look at how much people are liking, commenting, and sharing your posts.
  1. Follower Demographics: Find out what kind of people are following you and use that info to make content they like.
  1. Clicks and Conversions: See if people are clicking on your links and taking action, like making appointments.
  1. Inquiries and Appointments: Check if people are getting in touch or booking appointments because of what they see on social media.

By keeping an eye on these things, you can tailor your social media strategy to what works best for you. Remember, not all strategies will work the same for all practices, you need to figure out what works best for you.

Action Points

To measure the success of your social media efforts for your dental practice, track key metrics such as the growth of your online community, website traffic from social media, engagement metrics like likes, comments, and shares, follower demographics, clicks, and conversions, as well as inquiries and appointments generated from social media. Tailor your strategy based on these insights to optimize your results and effectively reach your target audience.

Tips on How to Effectively Manage Your Social Media Accounts

Here are some easy tips for dentists to handle their social media accounts well:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Decide what you want from social media, like getting more people to know your brand or bringing them to your website. This will help you plan what to post and how to interact.
  1. Choose the Right Platforms: Not all social media is the same. Pick the ones where your audience hangs out. Facebook and Instagram are good choices for dentists because you can share pictures and useful info.
  2. Share Helpful Stuff: People like content that teaches them something or makes them interested. Share tips for taking care of your teeth, facts about oral health, photos showing changes, what patients say about you, and sneak peeks of your practice. This helps you become a trusted expert.
  3. Be Regular: To stay active, post new things often. Make a schedule for what to post and when. This keeps you organized and seen by your audience.
  4. Talk to Your Audience: Social media isn’t just for talking at people. Answer comments, messages, and reviews quickly and nicely. This helps you connect with people and gain their trust.
  5. Reach Local People: Since most of your patients are probably local, use social media to talk to them. You can use features like location tags, local hashtags, or targeted ads to make sure your content reaches the right people in your area.
  6. Work with Influencers: Team up with important people in your community or field. Find local influencers or dental experts to work together on content or host events.

Action Points

To effectively manage your dental practice’s social media, set clear goals, choose the right platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and share valuable content such as oral health tips and patient testimonials. Maintain consistency in posting, engage with your audience promptly, target local communities, and consider collaborating with influencers to expand your reach and credibility.

How we use social media in our dental practices

“I’ll be honest, social media is not my strong suit, so we do not use it as much as we should. We don’t feel like we are missing out on that many leads as a result, however. Social media can absolutely be a great tool to get leads in, but it can be very labour intensive. With SEO (our main tool), we can produce content fairly easily and quickly without too much reliance on anyone else.

Our SEO is good enough that we produce more than enough leads purely through organic searches. However, this approach won’t work for everyone.

With Social Media, you need multimedia content to make it work, you need engagement and you need a strong strategy. We have found it can be quite difficult getting enough images and videos to make posting effective. Dentists are focused (as they should be) on the day-to-day of delivering their services. They’re not thinking “how can I make a fun, engaging video out of this procedure.” They’re thinking about the patient, and the next patient.

You need someone in-house regularly producing visual content (photos and videos). Content production is the key to this.

If you have someone on the team who is social media savvy and is willing to put the work in then great! Otherwise, you’re probably going to find it difficult to produce enough engaging content to really get the leads you want in.

If you can, get someone dedicated to producing this content. Or, you can hire a photographer or videographer to come in for a couple of sessions and produce a mass of images and videos that you can then drip-feed into your social media.

If you know your audience is mostly made up of the younger generations, social media is going to be a lot more effective for you. At the very least, you need some sort of presence. Have a look at what your competition is doing and, if possible, you just need to at least match them.

However, with the social media generation now aging up to become the financial decision makers in the household, social media is going to become more and more important to get leads in. To be honest, it probably all depends on what Google are going to do in terms of search. If AI makes search as effective and useful as they hope, you probably won’t need any other medium. However, if it doesn’t revolutionise searching online, the rise of social media as a search tool may just snowball.”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

5 Quick Tips when Buying a Dental Practice

Consider How You Look to the Banks

You need to think about how you look to the banks as a possible borrower. Banks and other financial lenders need to know that you are a safe investment.

You have the qualifications to prove that you know your stuff when it comes to dentistry. You also need to be able to prove to the banks that you know your stuff when it comes to business.

Does your CV look like you are ready to buy and successfully manage a dental practice? Make sure you clearly show your dental and management experience such as courses, mentoring staff, training staff and dealing with CQC.

You also need to think about your personal and business finances.

Have a look at your financial track record, how you have managed your personal finances e.g. do you have high credit card balances? Have you demonstrated an ability to save?

How strong are your associate accounts, would they be strong enough to demonstrate that you can cover the workloads and UDAs at the target practice?

If you can show evidence of timely payments of debts, the ability to prepare cashflows and a good understanding of accountancy, you become a much safer bet in the bank’s eyes.

Find the Right Practice

It may sound obvious, but it’s worth pointing out that you need to make sure you are buying the right practice for your vision, goals and personal situation.

As the saying goes – location, location, location. Yes, a glamorous and famous street in Central London might have been your dream, but is it realistic, is it affordable, is it practical? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of setting up shop in the small village you grew up in, but is there enough demand to warrant it?

You may need to move further than you planned or maybe even to somewhere you’ve never heard of. Don’t rule anywhere out and make sure you consider the entire nation. There are some great practices out there!

Think about what services you want to provide too. NHS contracts might guarantee income, but they have their own drawbacks as well. Private dentistry requires a lot more effort in terms of marketing, but the financial rewards are potentially far greater.

It’s essential that you do your own market and demographic research before you buy any practice. What services does the area want? What kind of patients are you going to be attracting? Are there more families or young professionals locally?

Make sure you’re getting the right price for your new practice. Don’t pay over the odds because the practice has room to grow. Only pay exactly what the practice is worth.

There are many factors that you will need to consider when purchasing a dental practice and it can be difficult when you have finished a long day in the practice.

Our Buyer’s Advisory Service can provide you with the answers to these questions.

Be Diligent with Due Diligence

The due diligence is one of the most important steps when buying a dental practice. The better the due diligence, the more equipped you will be as a buyer to make an informed decision.

Remember that the selling agents will make the practice seem like the best option on the market. It’s the job of due diligence to figure out how much of that is true and to discover any issues or potential problems that you need to be aware of.

In most cases you are purchasing the goodwill of the business and this may have been undertaken by associates. Does the practice have a detailed drafted agreement in place with their associates?

Is the Practice Lease term as expected?  Banks usually match the lease term to the loan term. If the lease only has 2 years remaining, then the loan term will normally be for 2 years.

Leave no stone unturned and make sure everything is examined in microscopic detail. You cannot put enough time and effort into the due diligence!

There are so many different aspects that make up a business such as finances and accounts, staffing contracts, property agreements etc. It is essential that each one of them is examined in detail so you have the clearest picture possible of the business you are purchasing.

You can read more about due diligence when buying a practice here.

Hire a Specialist Dental Solicitor

Therefore, a good specialist healthcare solicitor is vital when buying a dental practice. Make sure your solicitor has specific knowledge and experience in the UK’s dental sector!

The healthcare sector has many nuances that are very sector-specific and you will need a solicitor with experience within this sector to make sure that they are dealt with correctly.

For example, if your solicitor has not completed the CQC and NHS contract transfer correctly then this can delay the practice purchase and may even result in you losing the practice.

The NHS require a certain timeframe in which to complete a transaction. For instance, they usually want notice within 28 days of the first of the month. If your solicitor is not aware of the notice periods and the particular days that the NHS want notices served, this could put your purchase at risk, or at least delay it.

Listen to our podcast with Kate Ford from Rudlings Wakelam Solicitors discussing the legal pitfalls of buying a dental practice.

Raise the Right Finance for Buying a Dental Practice

How are you funding the practice purchase?

When you’re buying a dental practice, most banks will expect a deposit of 10-20%, with the remainder of the purchase financed via a loan. There are several options available to you when it comes to acquisition finance. Shop around the different financial lending institutions, consider different funding options and choose the one that best suits your situation.

Just as we’d advise contacting an experienced dental solicitor, we’d also strongly advise you contact an experienced commercial finance broker.

Yes, you could go to the different banks and lending institutions yourself and get a range of finance offers. However, a commercial finance broker with experience and networks in the UK’s banking sector, like Samera Finance, will be able to source better deals and negotiate more favourable terms.

Finance brokers know what the banks are looking for in terms of a lending prospect. They know what banks want to see in an application. They know what a successful business plan looks like. They know how to make sure your application is approved for the best deal for your business.

You can find more articles and videos on financing a dental practice here.

Buying a Dental Practice: Get Started

When buying a dental practice (especially if it’s for the first time), you need the competent hands of qualified professionals. Not only have we been helping the UK’s dentists to buy, start and sell dental practices for over 20 years, we are dental practice owners ourselves! We know what it takes to buy the right dental practice, we can help you find it, buy it and get it up and running.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help buy your dream practice.

With Samera Business Advisors you can rest easy knowing that your investment is secure and your future is brighter. Contact us today so we can help plan for your tomorrow.

Learn More: Buying a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the buying a dental practice section of our Learning Centre like the Guide to Buying a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Financial Tips for Dentists

Arun’s 11 Financial Tips for Dentists that can lead to Financial Freedom

It shocks and saddens me when I see many young, energetic dentists excited about their careers but really managing their hard earned cash through poor advice.

It’s well known upon University graduation, Dentists are amongst the highest earners, but I have seen with my own personal eyes the poor judgement that many dentists use in managing their money.

A flash car, or a new fancy handbags may give short term satisfaction, but within a week or two, many wonder why they have bought the item in the first place and quite possibly regret trying to keep up with the Jones’.

My name is Arun Mehra, and for almost 20 years my accountancy firm has been working with Dentists. I married a Dentist, Smita Mehra (owner of the The Neem Tree Dental Group) back in 2001 and since then I have helped 1000’s of dentists across the globe with their business and finances.

I have been around the block a few times, and just like you, I do like to enjoy what life has to offer, but never at the cost of keeping up with the Jones’s. In this blog post I have put together some financial tips for dentists.

Financial Freedom for Dentists

The key to serious financial freedom is investing in opportunities that build you a passive income, and not wasting money on pointless things that have no real impact on your life. Earning money is hard work, so why waste it so frivolously?

This blog post is all about what you should be, and shouldn’t be doing in terms of your money. So, here are my top financial tips for dentists.

Rule 1 – Never try and keep up with the Joneses.

Who cares if your colleagues or friends have the latest car or newest piece of tech, don’t judge your situation on what they have or are buying. Look at your own finances, and then make the judgement of, can you afford it? And if you can, what will it bring to you?

Rule 2 – The curse of Instagram.

If we all believed what we saw on Instagram, it would appear that everyone is a billionaire, living the high life everyday.

They are not, it’s simply them trying to show off to others that they have made it. Some may have, but most haven’t.

Ignore what you see people buying on Instagram, or better still turn it off. If you do want to use it, don’t believe the hype, do your own research and take everything you read or see with a pinch of salt!

Rule 3 – Flash cars

There are various forums across Social media that show the latest flash car that your mate or colleague is buying.

Don’t be tempted unless you are a serious car dealer as buying the latest flash car is tantamount to financial nonsense.

Yes, the cars look lovely and shiny, but its not a financial investment and once you have driven it out of the fancy showroom it will lose at least 20% from what you paid for it.

I appreciate you may need a car, but does it need to be over £75,000 with all the trimmings? Probably not.

Rule 4 – Tax is inevitable

Don’t believe the hype that you can drastically reduce or eliminate your tax bill. My firm has picked up the remnants of many a dentist who has been easily persuaded to invest in various schemes over the years to reduce their taxes.

In truth, most never work, and be careful who actually advises on such schemes. Tax schemes very rarely work and often come back to bite – with a vengeance.

Contact us to find out more

Rule 5 – Pay for proper professional advice

You may find this difficult, but pay for the best advice possible from the right professionals – if you pay, you will get the right advice on most occasions.

I happily pay lawyers, tax advisors, surveyors and others when I need them, so I get the best result for whatever I am trying to do. If you need some support from our professional dental accountants click here.

If you don’t pay, and try and take shortcuts, it usually comes back to bite.

Rule 6 – Cut your coat according to your cloth

Yes this old Chinese proverb still stands today, with the free availability of credit to all.

Don’t get sucked in (see rules 1 and 2 above) and apply a degree of sense when spending your hard earned money.

Rule 7 – Save every month

Yes I know it’s boring, and interest rates are low, but always save something every month.

Set up a direct debit that goes into a hard to reach bank account so you cannot access it, and if you ever need cash for an urgent situation or say a deposit for a house or dental practice, you have it and you don’t have to go asking elsewhere for help.

Bottom line, start saving.

Rule 8 – Get onto the property ladder

If you can afford to, and assuming you have enough savings, try and get on to the property ladder, either as a homeowner or an investor. Over time, assuming the market is rising, you should build equity in your properties which can help in many ways over the long term.

Use your income to pay off the mortgage, whilst regularly re-financing every few years seeking a better deal.

Rule 9 – Pay off expensive debt

If you use a credit card pay the balance off EVERY month, DO NOT just pay the interest, pay the whole balance off.

Don’t get yourself into a situation where the interest keeps accumulating each month, this is a recipe for financial disaster as the interest rates charged are compounded each month increasing the amount you need to pay each month. At such high rates, the financial situation can get dire – so don’t’ get into such pickle in the first place by only spending what you need to spend (see rule 6)

Rule 10 – Tax Free Saving

Yes, again it sounds dull, but utilise you annual ISA allowance, it’s a great way to save in a tax-free wrapper and you should try to use this every year.

Rule 11 – Buy or build your own practice but be SMART

Many Dentists I meet entered the profession so they could run their own business. I strongly advocate becoming a business owner, but don’t rush it and most definitely seek advice from the right people (see rule 5 above) who can help you achieve your goal.

Keep your emotions at the door, and make a sensible purchase rather than one that is based on the emotion having to have a practice at any cost. I have seen too many dentists buy at too high a price and regret it for many years.

Be Smart.

Click here to our articles Samera learning centre.

Join the Samera Alliance Buying Group

The Samera Alliance is our growing network of dentists, practices and leading industry suppliers, designed to help you save money, grow your profits and build a better dental business.

Join today for free to be a part of our dental buying group, which gives you access to exclusive discounts and offers on the consumables, equipment and products you need to run a successful dental business.

You’ll also get better rates and terms for a wide range of services like HR, IT, utilities, insurance, legal services and much more!

Business Loans for Dentists

We’ve been helping to fund the future of the UK’s dentists for 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience and contacts in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera Finance and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

Dental Practice Finance: Further Information

For more information on raising finance for your dental practice, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles an webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

SEO for Dental Websites in 5 Steps

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for dental websites is the process of improving your website’s ability to be found online via a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. If you improve your SEO, you improve your rankings in search engines, you increase the traffic driven to your website and you increase awareness of your practice and your brand.  

SEO is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, however, it is also one of the least understood marketing strategies by many businesses. Dentistry is no exception!

Search engines use various metrics to determine how high your website or online content will rank in their search results. These metrics are used to decide how relevant your website is to any given searched term or phrase; search engines then match up the web pages they deem the most relevant or related to the search term or phrase.

The key to SEO for dental websites is to make sure your website and web pages are deemed as relevant as possible to the search terms most associated with your industry. Or, at least, more relevant than your competitors!

Your website doesn’t just need to be easily read by audiences, search engines need to be able to read them easily too. From user experience, such as header tags, page structure and layout to how many websites link back to your website, there are multiple tactics we can use to boost SEO for dental websites.

Action Plan

SEO for dental websites is crucial for improving online visibility and driving traffic. By enhancing your website’s relevance to search terms, you can increase your rankings on search engines like Google. This involves optimizing various aspects of your website, such as user experience, page structure, and backlinks. With effective SEO strategies, you can enhance awareness of your dental practice and attract more patients.

Keywords

One of the key metrics search engines use is known as Keywords. Keywords are specific words or phrases that act as tags, letting search engines know what topic, industry or niche any given web page relates to and linking them to the relevant search.

For instance, a typical dental website will have pages on topics such as implants, fillings and veneers. Each of these is a keyword. When these keywords are searched online, it is the search engine’s job to determine which of the millions of web pages online are most relevant to the search. It is your job to ensure your website is the one the search engines pick.

Keywords need to be optimised throughout your website to ensure the highest online rankings possible. This means targeting both the specific keyword and also all possible variations of that term or phrase. Of course, you can’t just make a page repeating the keyword over and over again. You need to be tactical with your use. You need to consider your page titles, your subtitles, the body of the text, the metadescription, the URL, the list goes on and on!

Use dedicated software, such as Ahrefs, to research both you and your competitors’ keyword rankings. This allows you to see which keywords search engines, such as Google, tag alongside your website and its pages, as well as your competitors. You can then examine how much traffic each keyword gets on average a month, which of your pages are linked to the keyword and how difficult it would be for you to rank highly for that keyword.

You could also perform a ‘keyword gap analysis’. This allows you to compare keywords for which your competitors are ranking highly, but for which you rank below them, or possibly not at all! Using this information, you can plan which keywords you need to create content for.

Action Plan

Keywords are essential for dental website SEO, acting as tags that signal the topics covered on each page. Optimizing keywords across the site helps search engines understand their relevance to specific searches. Strategic keyword placement in titles, subtitles, text, meta descriptions, and URLs is crucial. Tools like Ahrefs aid in researching keyword rankings and analyzing competitors’ strategies. Conducting a keyword gap analysis identifies opportunities to improve rankings by targeting keywords where competitors rank higher.

Keyword Pro-tips:

Make Use Of Long-Tail Keywords.

These keywords are more specific to you. They are more niche and less general, meaning that there should be less competition when it comes to ranking for them. Instead of just using ‘implants’ as a keyword, why not try to rank for long-tail variations such as; ‘costs of dental implants’ or ‘how to look after dental implants’ or ‘dental implants in Nottingham’.

Use Keywords In Headings And Subheadings

You should normally aim to use your main keyword in the page heading and at least once in a sub heading (h2/h3/h4 tags), in order to optimise its effectiveness. You should also make sure that the keyword appears in the URL of the page.

Use Location Keywords

If you want to feature highly in a search for dentists in your area, make sure that you include your location as part of your keyword strategy; for instance, “children’s dentist Clapham”. You probably won’t rank number 1 on Google for ‘Invisalign’, but you might rank in the top 10 for ‘Invisalign in Bristol’ if your page is good enough.

Make Sure That Content Is Fresh

It’s possible that your page ranking will improve if you simply post to your blog regularly. Regular posting means that Google reindexes your site more often. This could lead to an improvement in your ranking. However, never post content just for the sake of it. Anything that you publish should be relevant, engaging and informative.

Action Plan

  • Long-Tail Keywords: Opt for specific, niche terms with less competition.
  • Use Keywords in Headings: Incorporate your main keyword in page headings and subheadings.
  • Include Location Keywords: Integrate location into your keyword strategy.
  • Maintain Fresh Content: Update your blog regularly for improved indexing.

Backlinks are the SEO equivalent of referring a friend. If someone recommends a product, service or company to you then you are more likely to use that product, service or company. The more you trust the opinion of the person who made the recommendation, the better that recommendation seems. The more reputable the source, the more you’ll trust the recommendation. Search engines work in exactly the same way.

Websites regularly contain links on their pages to other, external websites. Whether it is a further information link, a promotional link or a link to an affiliate website, most websites link through to another in at least one place. Whether it is for the BDA website, a sponsor’s page or an NHS page, your website most likely already has links to external websites. These are acting as backlinks for that external site (because you are linking back to their website). If such external websites have a link to your site, then they are acting as backlinks for your website.

To improve SEO for dental websites in terms of backlinks, you need to have as many backlinks as possible to your website from reputable external websites. The key here is reputable. Just like with referring a friend, the more you trust that friend or the better their reputation, the more you will trust that recommendation.

In exactly the same way, search engines will judge your backlinks by how reputable or trustworthy they deem the external website to be. In other words, if the BDA, Gov.uk or NHS websites link back to your website, search engines will rank those backlinks higher than a website like obviouslyfake.co.uk or just4backlinks.net.

Action Plan

Backlinks are like referrals in SEO. Just as you trust recommendations from reputable sources, search engines prioritize backlinks from trusted websites. Aim to secure backlinks from credible sites like the BDA or NHS to enhance your dental website’s SEO.

On-Page SEO for Dental Websites

SEO for dental websites isn’t just a question of making Google happy, it’s also about making the patient happy. If your website is formatted poorly, if it is hard to read or navigate, if it takes too long to load or if your audience doesn’t find what they need quickly then your audiences are more likely to leave the website after a short span of time. Search engines know this.

If your audiences are spending no more than a few seconds on your website, this tells the search engine that your website is not fit for purpose. Maybe your website is not relevant to the searched terms, maybe it is relevant but presents the information ineffectively. Either way, search engines will conclude that your website is not what the audience wants to see. Even if it is!

On-page SEO is the process of building web pages in such a way as to optimise your online rankings and improve the user experience. Remember how Keywords affect your online ranking? On-page SEO is how you make sure your Keywords are targeting or referring to the most relevant content and how you let search engines know that you have the content they are looking for.

On-page SEO for dental websites is effected by dozens of criteria. How many keywords you use on each page, whether those keywords are in the body of the text or contained in Header tags, how many variations of those keywords are referenced, these all effect your SEO. Everything from the length of sentences to how many transition words you use can impact the readability of a web-page.

Action Plan

On-page SEO for dental websites is crucial for both search engine rankings and user satisfaction. By optimizing page layout, content structure, and keyword usage, you enhance your website’s relevance and readability. This not only boosts your search engine visibility but also ensures a positive user experience, increasing the likelihood of visitors staying on your site.

Local SEO

Local SEO for dental websites is the process of optimising your website for online searches by location. It is essentially helping audiences in close proximity to your business to find you online. There are several ways to improve your local SEO and make sure prospects in your area hear about you. Once upon a time you registered your business in the Yellow Pages and maybe the local newspaper.

Phone showing google maps and local seo

Nowadays, you need to get your business cited in as many local online directories as possible. From the big names such as yell.com and yelp.co.uk, to your local business directories, the more the merrier! We can source the best online directories for your business and ensure that you are cited in each and every one. The more local citations you have, the more visible search engines will make you to audiences in that area.

Your business’s Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) also has an effect on your online rankings. When you input your business details into Google My Business (GMB), it is this information that Google uses to match up your website to a given search. If your NAP does not match up across all your online citations, search engines will notice this. From incorrect addresses, varying business names to differently formatted phone numbers, there can be no difference between the information you have listed on Google My Business and the rest of the internet.

Action Plan

Local SEO for dental websites focuses on optimizing your online presence to attract local customers. This involves listing your business in online directories and ensuring consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information across all platforms, particularly Google My Business. Consistent NAP details enhance your credibility and visibility in local search results, increasing the likelihood of local customers finding and contacting your dental practice.

The Importance of a Mobile Responsive Website

More people now access online content using a mobile device rather than using a desktop or laptop. This means that any dental surgery which is looking to grow its patient base needs to have a website that is designed with mobile users in mind. Using responsive web design helps with this as it means that content fits to the size of the screen that is being used to view it. There are also other factors to consider including:

  • Flash should not be used.
  • Links should be easily accessible by clicking.
  • Pages should be easy to read without a significant amount of scrolling.
  • Page load speed should ideally be 3 seconds or less. According to Google, the bounce rate for a mobile website starts to increase dramatically as the load time goes above this level.

It’s a good idea to get professional help with creating a website for a dental practice. I know from experience that trying to do the work in house can be time consuming, and the end result may not be as effective as it needs to be. 

Action Plan

A mobile-responsive website is essential for dental practices to cater to the growing number of mobile users accessing online content. It ensures seamless browsing by adapting to various screen sizes and optimizing factors like link accessibility and page load speed. Professional help in website creation ensures effectiveness and saves time compared to in-house efforts.

Our Expert Opinion

“SEO is what I know most about, it’s constantly evolving and the rules change. However, the main idea remains the same – make your website and content as accessible, readable and engaging as possible.

There is too much go into here in any real detail so here is my practical advice. Download the Website SEO Checker extension on Google Chrome, as well as Google Lighthouse. Use these tools to analyse your website page by page and do what it tells you to do. That may seem simplistic but if you do what those tools tell you, you’ll be ahead of your competition in terms of SEO.

Some of the issues it throws up will need a developer to fix – if you don’t have one then you really will not regret paying for an audit or consult to get the technical problems solved. Otherwise, just go through everything those tools tell you to do.

Lastly, but probably most importantly, it is 100% worth paying for the fastest server and quickest website you can get.”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Bridging Loan Finance

Have you thought about purchasing a property at auction but were worried that your bank would not be able to get the finance in place quickly enough, and you would lose your deposit? Or you were unsure whether to bid due to uncertainty around what level of finance your bank could agree for you, as the process of credit assessment and valuation employed by the major banks is quite a slow process?

Well, there are now other options available to you in the marketplace apart from just the main high street lenders. Arranging a facility via a bridging loan company could mean no more missed opportunities at auction, and a lot less stress while waiting for the transaction to complete.  Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced property investor with a large portfolio, you can bid with the knowledge that you can complete your purchases in a timely manner. 

Purchasing a Property at Auction

When you are purchasing a property at auction you need to be able to move quickly to secure the purchase. Auction houses usually set a 28 days completion date from winning the auction to when the purchase needs to be fully complete.  If you are unable to complete the transaction within the allotted time, then you risk losing your deposit (normally 10%) that you paid at auction to secure the property.

These tight turnaround times can sometimes feel near impossible from traditional lenders. However, with the right finance company, with experience within the sector, these can be easily achieved as they have the appropriate systems in place to assist you. 

What Details will a Bridging Loan Company Need?

If you are unfamiliar with Bridging Loan Finance, a loan will normally be secured against a charge on the property that you are purchasing. The lenders will need the details of property that you are buying, such as type of property (i.e. Residential or Commercial), details of your income and expenditure, details of any existing facilities you have in place, what type of charge is being offered (i.e. first legal charge or second legal charge), the term of the facility that you are looking at and, if you are buying the property at auction, the lot number.

Providing this information in advance allows the bridging loan company to assess you prior to the auction and advise you what facilities can be made available to you

If you already have a property portfolio and you can provide the lenders with the details before the auction, then they may be able to get a full agreement in place before the auction. This will give you the buying power and confidence needed to bid for the property that you desire. Furthermore, you can take advantage of the fact that they borrow against the value of your existing property, not the new property’s purchase price; this will provide you with greater flexibility.

Benefits of Using a Bridging Loan Company

The benefit of using a bridging loan company is that they can act quickly. They will normally work with experienced valuers and solicitors that have experience in the marketplace and who are used to working quickly. This will allow you to complete on the property within the auction house’s 28-day timescales. 

Just to highlight the benefits of using a bridging finance company: –

  • Quick Decisions
  • No Property Chains – facility could be arranged quicker than standard mortgages
  • Have credit pre-approved 
  • Fast Completion
  • Able to purchase property at auction, secure a site at a lower market price.

Different Bridging loan companies will have slightly different terms, but to give you the basic outline of the terms that you could expect from a loan:

  • Minimum arrangement fee 1%,
  • Maximum LTV 75%
  • loan term 3 -18 months
  • Loan amounts from £100k 
  • No exit fees. 

As the name would suggest, a bridging loan is a short-term facility; the loans are normally agreed for between 3 and 18 months. This will allow you to purchase the property, but also gives you time to put in place an existing plan, such as selling the property for a profit after refurbishment or refinancing to a mainstream lender on traditional terms, as you will then have the time to do so.

What will Bridging Loan Companies Loan for?

Bridging loan companies are also willing to lend for reasons other than just purchasing a property at auction, they will also lend for things such as tax payments, buy to let investments, land acquisitions and business expansion or purchase. 

Bridging would also be useful if you were to purchase a residential property and wanted to convert it to business use. Planning permission would need to be granted on the site, which can take time and you could risk losing out on the property. By using a bridging loan you could purchase the site while you waited for the relevant permissions to be granted.

This scenario can certainly become a factor for dentists purchasing a freehold property when setting up a squat practice or an established principle, where they are hoping to move from their existing site.  You may have found the perfect location, on the high street, good parking and low competition, but if it doesn’t have the correct usage then the seller may not wait for planning permission. With a bridging loan you could secure the property and then re-finance the site onto a standard business loan once you have put the relevant D1 usage in place. 

The demand for more flexible/alternative finance options is ever increasing in an environment where banks continue to tighten their lending criteria. Funding is available to individuals and companies and the bridging lenders will release the funds quickly and on competitive rates and terms. 

Business Loans for Healthcare Businesses

We’ve been helping to fund the future of British healthcare businesses for over 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

For more information on raising finance for your healthcare business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles and webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.


Selling Your Dental Practice: 7 Essential Things To Consider

It’s that time of year when change is upon us, and you maybe considering hanging up the drill and selling your dental practice in 2020. If this is you, read on.

Banking Confidence

Despite the political shenanigans of 2019, it appears we have a hint of certainty arising across the UK which can only be a good thing for the Dental sector.

Dentistry as a whole is liked by the banking sector, but over the last couple of years, banks are slower, and question more before they make a firm commitment.

Arun’s Opinion:

With Brexit due to happen in a few weeks, we believe banks will feel increasingly confident in their lending which, can only be a good thing if you are seeking to sell your dental practice, as buyers have easier access to finance.

Growth Of Private Equity (PE)

PE is a growing trend in the dental sector, with more and more PE-backed groups emerging to acquire practices.

Despite the growth of PE there is a limit to the number of practices available to purchase, with many of the PE backed groups looking for the larger profitable practices.

Arun’s Opinion:

Tread carefully here, just because they have the money, doesn’t mean they will be a good fit for you and your exit strategy.  Seek help and meet with as many buyers as possible before you make a firm decision.

Check out our video on Selling your Dental Practice to a Private Equity – so you are fully aware of the pitfalls that can arise.

Contact us to find out more

Budget And Tax

Sajid Javid’s first budget is pencilled in for February, soon after the UK leaves the EU. In the budget, we can expect some significant changes occurring including Corporation tax remaining at 19%, rather than dropping.

More significant could be a change in Entrepreneurs relief (ER) for Capital Gains tax. This currently reduces CGT down from 28% to 10%, but if this changes, it could mean a significant rise in tax payable for anyone who does sell.

Arun’s Opinion:

Despite the rumours, my feeling is that the Conservative government will try and retain their pro-business stance, and don’t think ER will be abolished – but you never know in the world we live in today!

NHS Values

Values of NHS practices still remain strong, but now with a new government in place, the age-old question of time-limited contracts for NHS Dentistry coming into place could arise.

Arun’s Opinion:

Overnight, changes occurred in the Orthodontic sector, with many practices losing their NHS Orthodontic contract.

Could something happen with general dental contracts?  Possibly.  Bottom-line, make your own judgement and don’t trust anything a politician says.

Golden Handcuffs

For many of the larger transactions we deal with, there are usually a set of golden handcuffs put in place, to ensure that the transition from seller to buyer goes well.

In today’s climate, it’s less likely you will be able to walk away from any sale with all the money in one go, any serious buyer will want to ensure some protection for themselves, so be ready for some monies to be retained, whilst you ensure a successful handover.

Arun’s Opinion:

In such deals, since you will be working with the new owners for a while, make sure you like them and understand their philosophy! Not all buyers are the same!

Competition

Dentistry is a very competitive market. The cost to acquire a patient is increasing every year as the market becomes more and more competitive. This puts downward pressure on margins which can impact your practice value.

Arun’s Opinion:

Getting the branding and marketing is essential in Dentistry today. The cost of acquiring a patient is rising, so it’s imperative every practice cares for each patient appropriately and has the know-how in house to offer the patient the full array of services. See if you can bring specialists to you, rather than sending patients away from your practice.

Which Way Are Valuations Heading?

No-one has a crystal ball and if anyone who says they do, tread very carefully. I have just highlighted some of the macroeconomic factors that will effect the value of your practice in the coming year – some negative, others positive.

Dentistry is not immune to the changing economic climate and is heavily affected by government action.

The key to maximising your value is ultimately running a well-oiled practice, caring for patients properly, developing a stellar team, building a well branded business, which ultimately translates into higher profits and a higher valuation.

To find out our articles you can click here samera learning centre.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Dealing With Debt as a Dentist

The World Is Saddled By Debt

Debt to get an education. Debt to buy a house, Debt to buy a business.

The world, and individuals, are saddled with debt.

This cannot go on, in my humble opinion.  

However, debt can be good, it can even be great, but only for the right reasons and situations.

Following close on the heels of our American cousins, the UK student comes out of university with debt of £50,000, the average dental student comes out with even more!

People with strong degrees from desirable universities can get jobs, like young dentists, but the myth that is perpetuated is that to be really successful you must BUY a flash car and have your own dental practice, to show you have made it!

Really? Sadly, this is something I come across increasingly often. The flash car and the dentist who is saddled with debt after living the big life and having the big debt to buy a practice at an over inflated price.

Buying The Dream

Having been in the sector for almost 20 years and owned various private practices with my wife, a dentist, it chokes me to see young dentists borrowing to the hilt to buy their “dream practice”. Soon after buying, often at over inflated prices, the dream is not as rosy as they had hoped.

Of course buying a dental practice can be a smart move, but it has to be the right practice at the right price. Remember this saying by Warren Buffett:

“You make your money when you buy”

So in essence if you pay too much at the outset, you will struggle to grow its value further.

And at what cost to your life? Working endless hours to make the figures work, missing out on your children growing up just to fulfil the treadmill of an NHS contract.

Click here to read our articles on Samera learning centre.

Is It Really Worth It?

As an entrepreneur at heart, I am the hugest advocate of owning your own business, but the level of debt some dentists take on does concern me , especially when buying certain dental practices.

In truth, it’s beneficial to my business if you buy a highly-valued practice, as we assist clients to borrow money from banks. The larger the loan, the higher our fee. 

Straight Talking Advice

However, our team is all about being straight and honest to our clients. A wrong decision by our clients at the outset can be a noose for many years which is NEVER good for our clients nor us.

Our team have considerable experience (and grey hair) to advise if we think you are paying over the top. 

So when you are thinking about taking on debt, come and talk to us, we will guide you so you are aware of the pitfalls as well as the opportunities that await in this changing sector.

Debt is easy to acquire but it doesn’t have to be a burden, so the next time you receive the sales brochure for a dental practice, remember you don’t have to buy it at the price it is being quoted for!!!

Click here to read our article on Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Raising Finance for Property Development

Click here to read our blog on How to finance a healthcare business.

Business Loans for Healthcare Businesses

We’ve been helping to fund the future of British healthcare businesses for over 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

For more information on raising finance for your healthcare business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles and webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Transform your Dental Practice Profits

Click here to read our articles.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Marketing and Patient Care in your Practice

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Leadership Tips for Dentists

Webinar – Are you a Leader in your Dental Practice?

Podcast: The Importance of Leadership Skills in Dentistry

Arun Mehra: Hello everybody, this is Arun from the Dental Business Guide podcast and today I’m delighted to say we’re joined by Simon Gambold. Hi Simon, how are you?

Simon Gambold: Morning, Arun. Very well, thank you, really pleased to be here.

Arun Mehra: Great to have you today. Now Simon’s got a wealth of experience in the dental world, I’m not sure how many years but I’m sure he’s gonna tell you in a minute. And he’s held very senior roles at Henry Schein here in Europe, in the UK. And now he’s very busy coaching and helping clients with their leadership strategy. So Simon, give us a bit of a background about yourself.

Simon Gambold: Thanks, Arun. Yeah, I spent 25 years plus in the dental industry. Now, my background was business and marketing. And early, quite early on in my career, I realised that building and leading teams is what I was passionate about. And then I almost stumbled upon the dental industry. 

You know, 25 years ago, I also realised I love working with dental teams, that the passion of people who want to improve oral health and support their communities. So after a couple of decades with Henry Schein in leadership roles, I decided to stop flying around all the time, flying around Europe, and set up my own coaching business, engagetheteam.co.uk; which is really about adapting leadership skills to suit dental practice owners and dentists generally. 

How to improve their leadership skills, how to engage their teams to produce outstanding patient experiences, and long term sustainable growth for their practices. And I have a number of clients, I’ve been coaching and doing some webinars and you know, I’m really enjoying it.

Why is Leadership So Important?

Arun Mehra: Fantastic. So now, obviously, we’re in changing times as they say, I wouldn’t say difficult times, but they’re definitely challenging and changing times. Why is leadership so important in these times?

Simon Gambold: Well, it’s a fantastic opportunity for leaders and leadership as a skill set. It’s something that we never seem to find time to do. But right now is a perfect time because our teams really need us. And teams look to their leaders for guidance, or reassurance, or clarity. And many of us have learned in our practices, providing consistent clear communication both to our team and our patients is critical.

If we don’t communicate with people, they’ll step into the vacuum and make up their own story. And people get very anxious. So a key role now for leaders is to be clear and consistent and reassure people. And you know, some of the teams I work with – very strong teams, very proactive, work together really well and came back from the first lockdown and there were all sorts of challenges around child care and mental health and people were unsure. And a lot of practice owners who thought their team would just fall back in together working well found that, actually, there were issues and challenges. 

We’re seeing that in the lockdown now. So it’s more important than ever that we practice your leadership skills and the opportunity to improve the performance of the team. And as a result, the patient experience is there if we spend time on developing our leadership skills.

Contact us to find out more

Different Styles of Leadership

Arun Mehra: Sure. And I guess in this environment, as you said, leadership is paramount now. And we’ve seen various styles of leadership by various governments out there, some better than others. Okay, but it’s still that those same principles still apply to you, to an individual running a business. Am I right in saying that?

Simon Gambold: That’s right, yes. And that’s a very good way to look at leadership and the results of leadership, different leadership styles from different leaders around the world. Some are empathetic and sympathetic. Others are very much, you know, brusque, and ‘there’s no problem’, sort of ‘sort out for yourself’ kind of thing. 

So we can take those parallels when we look at our teams. And you know, being a leader is about influencing people in a direction. It’s the art and science of influencing people in a particular direction. But as leaders, what we’re trying to do is help our teams be more successful. And the opportunity for us is to support them, understand their concerns, look for their ideas, help them with the resources they need, and give them permission. And that’s about engaging with our teams. So it’s all about talking to our teams, engaging with them, and helping them be successful.

Arun Mehra: And there’s the phrase leaders are born or they can be taught, I guess. So what’s your view on this type of situation or this topic? 

You’re Not Born a Leader

Simon Gambold: That’s one of the first questions I usually get, you’re either born leader or you’re not. And of course, I say no, that’s not the case. And I’m an example, I think, of someone who by just practising techniques and sheer hard work, you know, you can master most things and leadership can be mastered.

But you need a lot of practice. And I liken it to when you’ve come back from a clinical course in placing a new direct composite, and you’ve done the technique, and you’re going to practice on a first patient, and you prepare the cavity and you etch it, and you bond it, and you place the composite in, you layer it and you do a very, very precise process, and you do it exactly the same way. 

And the second patient, you do it the same and the third patient. You don’t come in on the second week and go, ‘actually, I wouldn’t bother with the etching, I’ll just put the bond and the composite in’. You don’t come in a third and go ‘actually, I’ll just place the composite’. You don’t do that, because the failure rates will go up on the restoration. 

And leadership is like that, we have to have consistent behaviours, and repeat them and repeat them and repeat them. And what we do and what we say is really important. And the more we do it, the more successful we’ll be as leaders. So I think creating leadership behaviours that are consistent, is really, really important. And it’s just like practising a new clinical skill, very similar.

Arun Mehra: But if I just look at myself, okay. I’ve been in business almost 20 years, and I look at my leadership skills, what they were when I started out to what they are now. Now, I’m sure people will judge me differently. But if you talk to my team, but just looking at myself, I think I’ve, I suppose, I’ve practiced it, practiced it by just doing it, as you said, and you get better and better. And I think, in my mind, the best leaders are the best listeners. What would you say to that?

Listening is the Key Skill

Simon Gambold: Yes, totally agree. Listening is really important. But practice alone doesn’t work. You have to practice, reflect on what happens and adapt. So how did that interaction go? What went well? What didn’t go so well? What could I do differently next time? So by reflecting and learning, you improve your performance. And yes, listening is the key skill. So, you know, asking open-ended questions and listening to people’s answers. That’s the key thing.

Arun Mehra: True, very true. So okay, I’m a dentist, I’ve got a dental practice. I’m busy in the clinic every day. How are they going to practice this? What is one thing they could do to improve their leadership skills?

Find Time for Your Team

Simon Gambold: The key thing for me, I think, and the step, the first step for anybody is to have open, honest one-to-one conversations with their team to sit down with its members, and just talk to them and listen to what they say, really listen. 

And that’s how you find out what’s going on in the practice. You find out what people’s ambitions are, what their ideas are, what the obstacles are. And in many cases, you give them permission to do the things that they know need to be done. The big challenge when starting down this road is that dentists, like a lot of professionals, are the production engines of their business. Five days a week dentists are practising clinical dentistry. So when do they become leaders? 

The problem with going on a leadership course is most of them are designed for large organisations with full time leaders. So when I was running Henry Schein UK, I mean, I had 650 people in 13 locations, but that’s all I had to do. Okay, now, when I spoke a dentist last week, who wants to retain me and he said, ‘well, nine to five, five days a week, I’m doing clinical dentistry’. Now running the practice, I fit in around that. And that’s a very tough place to start. So you need a leadership programme that’s designed for that kind of situation. 

So the programme I put together is around if you have two or three hours a week, half a day a week, you can put a leadership programme together based on that time. Now you should be spending 20% of your time, if you’re a principal, running the practice. If you’re not, you’re not going to be effective. 

But for many dentists, it’s very challenging for them to put that much time aside. So, there are a number of steps you can take around digitising the processes in the practice. Outsourcing some like finance, for example, you should outsource the finance. Some sometimes it’s appropriate to outsource marketing. And then thirdly, delegating a lot of what the principals do, they shouldn’t be doing. And similarly when they’re billing clinical time, are they billing the top end cases or billing time that isn’t productive for them. 

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So by adapting what they do, they can make those two or three hours a week, and then use that time to start practising those skills. And it all starts with having those conversations with their team.

Arun Mehra: Sure. So a key learning point here is that if people haven’t, is to sit down and arrange those conversations, whether it’s virtually or in person, with their teams or individuals in their teams. And do that on a relatively regular basis. Correct?

Schedule Regular Meetings

Simon Gambold: Yes. And people are very nervous because they’re nervous about what they’re going to hear. But what I would say is, it’s worse not to hear it. Because you know, there’s an elephant in the room and just pretending it’s not there is not going to help you long term. 

So you’re better off having the conversation, finding out what the issue is. You don’t have to answer that issue, then. And then it’s very important to listen, make notes and say, you’ll come back to somebody. And it’s important to go away and reflect on what you’ve heard, talk to colleagues, find a mentor, another practice owner, maybe who’s more experienced, talk through what you should do, and then go back to the person.

You don’t have to solve the problems there and then. And a lot of people are nervous about having those conversations for that reason. 

Arun Mehra: It’s interesting just earlier this week, I had a conversation with a team member, a really good team member of mine, and we’re going down a certain route, okay. And perhaps I was blinded by my strategy. And he said to me, I think we’re doing the wrong thing here. We’re doing it completely wrong.

And he said, ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying that’. I said, ‘No, absolutely not. I do want you to say this. How am I supposed to know otherwise? Okay. That’s why you’re in the team’.

So I listened to him, heard him out, talked to him, talked about the issue to another team member. And now we’ve kind of changed tack as a result of that. And that goes back to the listening skills, that goes back to making people feel that they can be listened to as well, I think that’s a really important thing. 

Your Door Needs to be Open

I remember when I used to work in the corporate world, in the city in investment banking – the door is always closed, the boss was sitting in his room, the door was closed, it was never an open-door policy. 

But I’d like to think the way I try and get people to engage in my team is that the door is always open or virtually open, that they can pick up the phone, email me and tell me if they don’t like something, or they’re unhappy with something, or they think we’re doing something incorrectly. That’s a very valid point. Okay. So you think that Dentists have to find that time to really make the most of building a team and building a business? Correct?

Involve the Team in Creating Strategy

Simon Gambold: Yes, there is an opportunity to be more productive, to deliver a better patient experience, a more fulfilling work environment, and sustainable, long-term growth in the business. Now that you don’t have to do that. I mean, many practices have operated very successfully, without doing that. 

What we’ve seen with COVID is a step change in the profitability of practices. And many practices move from being in the black to being break-even or in the red. And, you know, there’s an extra requirement now, for principals to be aware of that, and to tap into this potential of their teams. 

What you said just now is really interesting. It’s very typical for us to formulate a strategy, then go and excitedly present it to our team. And of course, the team are like, ‘Oh, hang on a minute’. And what I coach people to do is to involve the team in creating the strategy, get their ideas in, because they’re buying into the solution, and not everybody will agree with everything, clearly. 

But by involving them in that process, when the strategy is rolled out, they own it, they’ll take responsibility for delivering it. But yes, you’re right, you need to have that open mind. And that open door policy can only work if you’re trusted as a leader. And the best way to be trusted is, in my experience, to be open and honest with people. I like to craft, I like to create stories, I mean, that I didn’t make them up. These are real stories about my experience where I’ve got something wrong. I’ll tell people about that. And it creates trust. 

So when my doors open, and people come in, they really feel they can talk to me. But it’s all about how you react, if you’re really really busy. And you’re waiting, you’re thinking about the next patient and the treatment plan and an issue in the practice. And somebody walks into see you and they see all that stress on your face, they’re gonna go, ‘I won’t do that again’. 

Be Careful of the Language You Use

One of the techniques I taught myself, because I saw that in people’s faces sometimes when I was interrupted because I had an open door policy at Schein. People would come in, and I could see on their face they read my impatience. Before I looked up from my desk, I would compose my face, relax, smile and look up at them and say, ‘well, how can I help you?’ to try and convey that I was focused on them and I wanted to hear it. 

Those techniques, if you practice them, they become you. Okay, for example, when someone says ‘how are you?’ I started to say, ‘I’m very well’ unless I was not feeling well, in which case I wouldn’t say that but if I felt okay, I’d say ‘I’m very well’. And after, after a while you do start to feel really well and you it lifts your spirit and it lifts other people.

Leadership for Associates

Arun Mehra: Well, the language you use is so important, isn’t it? Language is everything. It conveys a story of who you are to others, but also to yourself. So the more you have that positive message going out there, the more positive you will feel for sure. So I totally agree, totally agree with you. So obviously, we’re talking about people who might be owning practices. What about the people who might be associates or team members? Why is this all relevant? Why is this relevant to these guys?

Simon Gambold: Well, that’s a good question. Originally I designed my programme for practice owners. But as I spoke to dentists, I realised that some dentists told me (actually one of the first groups I spoke to said to me), you know, you shouldn’t just limit this to practice owners. And I thought about that and realised, of course, that all dentists are leaders in the surgery, whether the team will report to them or not, they are leaders. 

And, in fact, the team look to the dentist. So in a practice, when something happens, or there’s a problem, the team will look to the dentist, what do I do? And what do they say? What do I do or not they’re looking to the dentist, so all Dentists have an opportunity to play that role more effectively.

And of course, many dentists do want to go on to practice ownership anyway. So sure, it’s worth it. But it’s a good skill to have in life and, and dental care professionals as well can be leaders. A dental nurse can take a leadership role in a particular aspect of the practice. But I didn’t want to spread myself too widely. So I wanted to focus on dentists. There’s another coach I work with, and she trains practice managers.

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How to Develop Leadership Skills

Arun Mehra: Okay, fantastic. So now, where would someone who wants to develop their leadership skills, where do they start?

Simon Gambold: So I think looking for a coach or mentor, someone who can guide you. And I said earlier, you know, the classic leadership courses are not really suited to what practice owners are looking for. There are people like me out there providing bespoke programmes, and mine is, I think, unique in that it focuses on team engagement. 

But finding a mentor, someone you respect, who maybe has run a Dental Group you’re part of can provide you with some ideas. The key thing is to start those conversations with your team, and to take the step out of your comfort zone. Have those conversations, try new ideas, try things out and you will, you will make mistakes and things will go wrong. But that’s how we learn. 

People are very forgiving and they also are looking for leadership. That’s the other thing – people want to be led. People want to work in an environment where they understand what their contribution is, they trust their leader, and they are open to being told what to do. And if they feel they can trust you. And, you know, you may make a mistake, but your next interaction is what matters. And, by the way, whilst words are important, it’s what we do. That’s the most important thing. We have to walk the talk.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Arun Mehra: Yeah, actions, as they say, speak louder than words, don’t they? So you can talk it, but you have to actually follow through with it. How true, how very true. So okay, on that note then, the values of an organisation are really important here, I guess, in terms of getting the message out to your team.

How would someone go about creating those values or communicating those values of an organisation to their team? Was it something they would do together?

Culture Flows From Your Values

Simon Gambold: Well, you’re right, values are important. And the whole culture and organisation flows from the values, which flow from the leadership. It’s how we behave, how we interact with each other, and with our customers. I like to work. I like to get teams together to agree with the values. And you can decide on what your personal values are, and just tell other people. But if you bring a team together, it’s a great team building exercise. 

Get the team to work on how they want to treat each other? How do they want to be treated? And then how do they want to treat patients? People come up with a similar list of they want to be happy, professional, they want to have fun, they want to be honest and open. So the same things come up.

But it’s about the process of getting people to agree to a set of words that they will live by. And these can then be used when you’re talking to your patients about what the practice will do. And they should be used in recruitment, it’s really important that as you recruit, you recruit people with a similar value set, so they fit in well with the team. So it’s an important part of that team engagement process, setting the values.

People Want to be Led

Arun Mehra: Yeah, very true. Okay. And I think as you said earlier people want to be led. I look at people around me. Humans by virtue I think want to be led by somebody and shown the way. Not everyone is a leader or perhaps not everyone wants to be a leader as well. And there are people who are followers and they will follow those leaders, which is a really relevant point in business today in the world today. 

So in summary, Simon, in terms of how do people go about finding out about your training and your coaching and your courses? How do they do that?

Simon Gambold: Well, first of all, I’ve got a website, engagetheteam.co.uk. And I do webinars for various dental groups, BDA, Alpha Omega, and various other smaller groups.

So I’m out there, okay. And I think there are other people doing this. And it’s important to reach out to people that you feel you can work with, whose values coincide with yours. And finding a mentor who’s running a successful practice, is doing it the way you want, is really key. Someone to help you reflect on what you’re doing and bounce ideas off. 

And we’ve got to make the time to do this. One of the key things, one of the key habits I like to do is to have a time each week when I reflect on the previous week, and think about that Monday morning or Friday night, how did the week go? What could I do differently, what I’m going to do next week, and that’s a 15 – 30 minute slot.

But put it in your diary, blank that time out. So no one can put an appointment in there. And make sure you do it and don’t skip it. And those kinds of disciplines will really advance your skills.

Arun Mehra: Fantastic, that’s really, really helpful, Simon. So the leadership, as Simon’s mentioned, as I totally believe is absolutely paramount to success in business, not just financial success, but just to your team, your happiness, the people around you.

 I think it affects you in so many ways. And you can bring these skills that Simon’s mentioned very briefly, into not just your business, but your life. And I think that’ll be the overarching benefit in any way. So if you want to know more, I think you can get hold of Simon at engagetheteam.co.uk.

And if you have any further questions, I’m sure he’d be delighted to to help you. So thank you, Simon today for your contribution to this podcast. And I look forward to you coming again soon on hearing and perhaps talking about maybe about communication or something like that.

Simon Gambold: I really appreciate the the invitation and the time, Arun. Yeah, there’s so much to talk about on this programme.

Arun Mehra: Yeah. Happy to come back whenever you want me to so brilliant. Thank you. Thanks, Simon. Cheers.

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Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

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What Tools do you use for your Business?

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

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Facebook Doesn’t Trust You

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

What Profitable Dental Practices Do Right

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Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

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Understanding Finance to Increase Profits

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Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

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Using Marketing to Increase Profits in your Dental Practice

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Dental Practice

Running a dental practice, like any business, is like trying to keep several plates spinning at once. You need to be a mixture of dentist, manager and business owner. We’ve been running our own dental practices for over 20 years and we know the mistakes you need to avoid to make it successful. Let’s dive into ten important areas where things can go wrong and figure out how to handle them .

Hiring Cheap vs Hiring Right

Navigating the world of managing a dental practice can be tricky, especially when it comes to building a skilled and reliable team. While keeping costs low is important, hiring people just because they’re cheap can lead to big problems. Let’s explore why hiring the right way is crucial and how to tackle this aspect of dental practice management.

The Pitfalls of Going for Cheap Hires

It might seem like a good idea to hire people who ask for lower salaries to save money. However, this approach can cause serious issues, like a potential drop in the quality of patient care, less teamwork, and overall hindrance to the growth of your practice.

Instead of only thinking about costs, you need to focus on the long-term benefits of investing in skilled individuals. A talented team not only adds to the clinical excellence of your practice but also contributes to its overall success and lasting power.

Strategies for Hiring Right

  • Clearly Define Hiring Criteria: Spell out clear criteria for the roles you want to fill. Identify the essential qualifications, skills, and qualities that align with your practice’s values and goals.
  • Thorough Hiring Process: Take the time to run a thorough hiring process. This includes creating detailed job descriptions, reviewing resumes, conducting in-depth interviews, and checking references. Quick decisions can lead to hiring mistakes.
  • Consider Cultural Fit: While technical skills matter, don’t forget about cultural fit. A team that aligns with your practice’s values creates a positive work environment and enhances patient care.
  • Competitive Compensation: Avoid the pitfalls of hiring cheaply by ensuring your compensation packages are competitive in the industry. This not only attracts top talent but also retains valuable team members.
  • Invest in Education: Allocate resources for ongoing training and professional development. This not only enhances your team’s skills but also shows your commitment to their growth, fostering loyalty and job satisfaction.
  • Use Networking and References: Tap into professional networks and seek references when hiring. Recommendations from trusted colleagues can provide valuable insights into potential candidates’ abilities and work ethic.

Benefits of Hiring Right

  • Improved Patient Satisfaction: A team with the right skills leads to a higher standard of patient care, resulting in increased satisfaction and positive feedback. This can be especially true when it comes to front-of-house staff. 
  • Increased Practice Efficiency: Skilled and experienced staff contribute to the smooth operation of the practice, reducing the likelihood of errors and setbacks.
  • Positive Work Environment: A team that works well together and includes qualified members creates a positive work environment, boosting morale and productivity.
  • Long-term Practice Growth: Investing in the right team sets the foundation for long-term practice growth and success.

Read our article on Building a Dental Team.

Blindly Trusting Partners and Suppliers

Trust is the foundation of a successful partnership. This is especially true when it comes to your suppliers and contractors like builders, maintenance and architects. However, blindly trusting professionals without careful consideration can lead to unexpected problems.

The Risks of Blindly Trusting

While trust is crucial for good professional relationships, blindly trusting can expose your dental practice to various risks, including poor work quality, budget overruns, and project delays. Putting your practice’s foundation in the hands of the first expert without thorough consideration could have consequences affecting both your financial stability and patient care.

Navigating Professional Relationships

  • Conduct Thorough Research: Before committing to any professional service, conduct extensive research on potential architects and builders. Explore their history, reviews, and past projects to assess their competence and reliability.
  • Seek Recommendations: Harness the power of recommendations from trusted colleagues, industry associations, and online platforms. Learning about others’ experiences can provide valuable insights into the excellent skills and capabilities of the professionals you are considering.
  • Request and Verify References: Ask for references from prospective architects or builders and take the time to verify them. Interviewing past clients can give you a clear picture of their performance, reliability, and adherence to timelines.
  • Detailed Contractual Agreements: Develop detailed and comprehensive contractual agreements. Clearly outline project scopes, schedules, financial considerations, and expectations. A well-structured contract minimizes the risk of misunderstandings and disputes down the line.
  • Multiple Bids and Quotes: Don’t settle for the first offer that comes your way. Request multiple bids and quotes to ensure you are getting fair pricing and a comprehensive understanding of the services offered.
  • Visit Completed Projects: Whenever possible, visit projects completed by the professionals you are considering. This firsthand observation can provide a clear sense of their work quality and attention to detail.

Benefits of Strategic Trust-Building

  • Quality Craftsmanship: Building trust through careful selection ensures that you engage professionals committed to delivering high-quality craftsmanship aligned with the standards of your dental practice.
  • Timely Project Completion: Professionals with a proven track record are more likely to adhere to project timelines, preventing disruptions to your practice’s daily operations.
  • Financial Confidence: Fully screened professionals are less likely to surprise you with unexpected costs, providing financial confidence throughout the project.
  • Enhanced Patient Experience: A high-quality project contributes to a positive patient experience. Minimizing disruptions and maintaining a professional environment can positively impact patient perceptions.

Find out more about our Dental Buying Group to make sure you get the right suppliers and partners.

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Did You Know?


  1. Patient Retention vs. Acquisition Costs: It is more cost-effective to retain an existing patient than to acquire a new one, with retention being up to five times less expensive than acquisition. This emphasizes the need for effective patient retention strategies that engage current patients while maintaining high standards of dental care​​.
    Source: Yapi
  2. Impact of Online Reviews: The average dental practice retains only 41% of new patients, and positive personal recommendations are the top reason patients choose one practice over another. This highlights the importance of word-of-mouth referrals and managing online reviews to enhance the practice’s reputation and patient retention​​.
    Source: Doctor Logic
  3. Dental Billing Errors and Costs: Patient acquisition can cost up to 25 times more than patient retention. Additionally, research shows that the average attrition rate in dentistry is 17%, indicating that focusing on patient retention can significantly impact a practice’s bottom line and efficiency​​.
    Source: Oral Health Group

Personality vs. Package

It’s crucial to build a team that not only has the right clinical skills but also works well together. Relying solely on personal qualities when hiring associates, nurses and front-of-house staff can lead to problems, even though a positive personality can improve the workplace. It’s essential you consider the whole package — skills, qualifications, and compatibility with the team — when making hiring decisions for a well-rounded and successful dental practice.

The Pitfalls of Personality-Driven Hiring

While having a positive and friendly personality is an asset, depending only on this quality during the hiring process may overlook essential factors for a successful dental practice. Hiring associates based mainly on personal qualities could result in a mismatch of skills, inadequate qualifications, and potential disruptions to the team’s collaboration.

Balancing Personality and Proficiency

  • Define Comprehensive Hiring Standards: Establish clear hiring standards that include the candidate’s personality, skills, qualifications, and compatibility with the team. Clearly outline the essential traits needed for success in the specific role.
  • Structured Screening: Plan a structured screening that evaluates both technical capabilities and interpersonal skills. Include scenario-based questions to assess how well the candidate can handle real-world problems in a dental practice setting.
  • Assessment of Skills and Qualifications: Give priority to evaluating a candidate’s qualifications and skills. Assess their education, training, and experience to ensure they have the necessary expertise to contribute positively to the clinical aspects of the practice.
  • Team Compatibility Assessment: Consider how well a candidate fits into the existing team dynamics. Evaluate their ability to collaborate, communicate, and contribute positively to the workplace. Team compatibility is crucial for maintaining a strong and pleasant practice culture.
  • Reference Checks: Verify the candidate’s past performance, work ethic, and collaborative ability through thorough reference checks. Insights from past colleagues or supervisors can provide valuable perspectives on the candidate’s overall package.

Benefits of Holistic Hiring

  • Enhanced Clinical Capability: Prioritizing skills and qualifications ensures that your team has the clinical expertise necessary to deliver top-notch patient care.
  • Efficient Team Dynamics: Considering team compatibility contributes to the creation of a workplace where team members collaborate seamlessly, improving overall practice efficiency.
  • Reduced Attrition: A comprehensive approach to hiring reduces the likelihood of mismatches between the candidate and the practice, ultimately lowering turnover rates and promoting team loyalty.
  • Positive Patient Connections: A well-rounded team, combining technical expertise and positive interpersonal skills, contributes to a positive patient experience, fostering patient loyalty and satisfaction.

Associates and Employment Tribunals

It’s crucial to understand and follow the details of employment classifications to avoid legal troubles. Failing to distinguish between associates and employees can lead to potential problems, especially ones that could end up in court. Let’s explore the importance of recognizing each team member’s specific status and following employment rules to ensure a legally sound and friendly dental practice environment.

The Complications of Getting it Wrong

Associates and employees have different legal positions with responsibilities, and not recognizing these differences can lead to serious consequences. Misclassifying team members can result in disputes about qualifications, benefits, and potential legal actions that might end up in court.

Navigating Employment Classifications

  • Understand Legal Distinctions: Learn about the legal differences between associates and employees. While employees have specific rights, entitlements, and legal protections, associates often work as independent contractors.
  • Review Employment Agreements: Clearly define the terms of engagement in employment contracts. Specify the nature of the relationship, whether it’s that of an associate or an employee, along with specific rights, responsibilities, and benefits.
  • Consult Legal Experts: Seek guidance from legal experts specializing in employment law or dental practice management. A legal expert can help you navigate the complexities of employment classifications, ensuring compliance with regulations.
  • Update Contracts Regularly: Keep employment contracts up to date to reflect any changes in the working relationship. This is crucial to adapt to evolving legal requirements and prevent potential mistakes.
  • Communicate Clearly: Be open and honest with team members about their employment status. Explain expectations, responsibilities, and any anticipated changes in their status to avoid confusion or dissatisfaction.

Benefits of Legal Compliance

  • Prevention of Legal Disputes: Recognizing and adhering to legal distinctions prevents disputes about qualifications, benefits, and working conditions, reducing the likelihood of legal actions and court battles.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Clear communication and adherence to employment rules contribute to employee satisfaction, fostering a positive workplace and reducing turnover rates.
  • Upholding Practice Reputation: A legally compliant dental practice builds a positive reputation, both within the community and among patients. This can positively impact the practice’s standing locally.
  • Economic Stability: Avoiding legal disputes and court battles contributes to economic stability by preventing unexpected legal expenses and potential compensation payouts.

Read our article on Leadership Tips for Dentists.

Diversify Workload Distribution

How tasks are assigned among team members plays a crucial role in maintaining efficiency and preventing burnout. Making the mistake of concentrating all tasks in one place—unevenly assigning responsibilities—can lead to a host of problems affecting both your team’s well-being and the overall effectiveness of the practice. Let’s look at the importance of optimizing task distribution to create a fair and productive workplace.

The Pitfalls of Uneven Tasks

Unevenly assigning tasks, whether unintentionally or due to certain team members carrying most of the load, can result in setbacks, lowered morale, and increased burnout. It may lead to reduced job satisfaction, hindering the overall effectiveness of your dental practice.

Strategies for Task Optimization

  • Assess Individual Strengths: Understand the strengths and skills of each team member. Evaluate their abilities, experience, and preferences to align tasks with their resources, promoting efficiency and job satisfaction.
  • Regularly Review Tasks: Periodically review the task distribution among team members. Ensure that no one is consistently overloaded while others have lighter workloads. Regular assessments allow for adjustments as needed.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Create an open and communicative environment where team members feel comfortable discussing their tasks. Encouraging feedback ensures a collaborative approach to managing workloads, addressing concerns proactively.
  • Cross-Training Opportunities: Provide cross-training opportunities to team members to expand their skill sets. This not only prevents your team from relying too heavily on a few individuals but also makes them more adaptable.
  • Implement Efficient Scheduling: Promote efficient scheduling practices that evenly distribute patient appointments and tasks throughout the week. Avoid creating peaks and valleys in workload that can lead to stress and setbacks.

Benefits of Task Optimization

  • Increased Efficiency: Distributing workloads diversely contributes to overall practice efficiency by preventing bottlenecks and ensuring a steady flow of tasks.
  • Prevention of Burnout: Evenly dispersing tasks prevents burnout by avoiding the fatigue and stress associated with consistently heavy workloads.
  • Improved Job Satisfaction: Team members who feel that their tasks are fair and balanced are likely to experience higher job satisfaction, fostering a positive work culture.
  • Optimized Use of Resources: Utilizing the unique strengths of each team member enhances resource utilization, leading to a more efficient and effective dental practice.

Rushed Recruitment Practices

Hiring new team members is a critical step that can significantly impact the success and unity of the team. Rushed recruitment, driven by the urgency to quickly fill positions, can lead to hiring individuals who may not align with the values and goals of the practice. 

The Pitfalls of Rushed Hiring

When the recruitment process is hurried, there’s a risk of hiring individuals who lack the necessary skills, cultural fit, or long-term commitment to effectively contribute to the success of the dental practice. This rushed approach can result in increased turnover, decreased camaraderie, and potential disruptions to patient care.

Strategies for Comprehensive Recruitment

  • Clearly Define Hiring Needs: Clearly articulate the specific requirements and qualifications for the position before starting the recruitment process. Outline the skills, qualifications, and attributes essential for success in the role.
  • Develop Detailed Job Descriptions: Create detailed job descriptions that outline the responsibilities of the position and provide insights into the practice’s culture, values, and expectations. This attracts candidates who resonate with the overall ethos of the practice.
  • Implement an Organized Screening: Establish a well-organized interview process that assesses the candidate’s compatibility with the values of the practice as well as their technical skills. Use behavioural and situational questions to gain insights into their independent direction and problem-solving abilities.
  • Use Multiple Assessment Tools: Go beyond traditional interviews by incorporating other assessment tools like skills assessments, situational judgment tests, and personality evaluations. This multi-layered approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s suitability.
  • Thoroughly Examine References: Conduct thorough reference checks with former employers or coworkers to learn more about the candidate’s work ethic, interpersonal skills, and overall performance in previous roles.
  • Be Patient and Specific: Resist the temptation to rush the recruitment process. Be patient and specific, waiting for candidates who not only meet the technical requirements but also align with the culture and values of the dental practice.

The Benefits of Thorough Hiring

  • Enhanced Team Cohesion: Thorough recruitment ensures that new team members align with the existing team’s values and work closely towards shared goals, fostering a positive workplace.
  • Reduced Attrition: Carefully selecting candidates who are a good fit for the practice can save time and resources associated with frequent recruitment.
  • Increased Job Satisfaction: Team members who align with the practice’s values are likely to experience higher job satisfaction, contributing to overall morale and productivity.
  • Consistent Patient Experience: Patients’ confidence in the dental team is strengthened when they are hired by individuals who share the practice’s core values.

Avoid Team Dependency

The success of a practice is closely tied to the strength and diversity of its team. Relying too much on a few key team members can pose significant risks to the practice’s stability and adaptability. Avoiding team dependence and instead building a well-rounded team with diverse skills and qualities ensures flexibility in the face of unexpected challenges.

The Pitfalls of Depending Too Much on a Few

Heavily depending on a few key team members, while seeming efficient in the short term, can lead to vulnerabilities when these individuals are unavailable or encounter unexpected challenges. Team dependence poses risks to continuity, efficiency, and the overall adaptability of the practice.

Strategies to Avoid Team Dependence

  • Identify Key Skills and Roles: Clearly identify the essential skills and roles necessary for the smooth operation of the practice. Ensure that no single team member possesses exclusive knowledge or skills critical to essential functions.
  • Cross-Train Team Members: Implement cross-training programs to enhance the skill set of team members. This ensures that multiple individuals are proficient in key areas, reducing reliance on specific individuals.
  • Encourage Knowledge Sharing: Cultivate a culture of knowledge sharing within the team. Encourage team members to share their expertise, insights, and best practices, promoting a collaborative environment.
  • Establish Clear Protocols and Procedures: Develop clear protocols and procedures for key tasks and responsibilities. This documentation ensures that tasks can be seamlessly assigned or taken over by other team members in case of absence or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Regular Team Meetings: Conduct regular team meetings to discuss ongoing projects, challenges, and opportunities. This improves communication and ensures that all team members are aware of current initiatives and responsibilities.
  • Foster Leadership Development: Promote the development of leadership skills among team members. Cultivate a team culture where individuals are empowered to take on leadership roles when needed, distributing decision-making responsibilities.

Benefits of Avoiding Team Dependence

  • Continuity of Operations: Even when certain team members are unavailable, practice operations can continue to run smoothly due to the diversification of skills and responsibilities.
  • Enhanced Adaptability: A well-rounded team with diverse skills is more adaptable to changes, challenges, and unexpected events that may impact day-to-day operations.
  • Reduced Vulnerability: By avoiding team dependence, the practice becomes less vulnerable to disruptions caused by vacations, sick leaves, or unexpected departures of key team members.
  • Improved Team Morale: An equitable distribution of responsibilities and acknowledgment of each team member’s contribution enhances team morale and fosters a positive workplace.

Not Keeping an Eye on the Finances

Keeping an eye on finances is crucial for long-term success and sustainability. Ignoring careful financial management, especially in the early stages of the practice, can strain resources and hinder the achievement of practice goals. Being mindful of spending, creating realistic budgets, and avoiding unnecessary expenses helps to ensure financial security.

The Pitfalls of Ignoring Financial Prudence

Overlooking the financials can lead to overspending, budget overruns, and financial strain, especially in the developmental stages of a dental practice. This oversight may compromise the practice’s ability to grow strategically, invest in essential resources, and withstand unforeseen financial challenges.

Financial Prudence Strategies

  • Create a Realistic Budget: Develop a comprehensive and realistic budget that covers all aspects of your dental practice, including equipment, staffing, marketing, and other expenses. Ensure that your budget aligns with your practice’s short-term and long-term goals.
  • Regularly Monitor Financial Performance: Establish regular financial analysis and monitoring. Track income, expenses, and key performance indicators to identify trends and areas where adjustments may be necessary.
  • Prioritize Essential Expenditures: Prioritize essential expenditures that directly contribute to the quality of patient care and the efficiency of practice operations. Invest wisely in equipment, technology, and training that enhance the overall patient experience.
  • Avoid Impulse Buys: Resist the temptation of impulse purchases. Evaluate the necessity and long-term value of any investment before committing financial resources, ensuring that each expense aligns with your practice’s objectives.
  • Negotiate Vendor Agreements: Negotiate vendor agreements to secure favourable terms and pricing for essential supplies and services. Regularly review contracts to identify potential cost-saving opportunities.
  • Prepare for Emergencies: Include a contingency fund in your budget for emergencies or unforeseen costs. Planning for contingencies provides a financial safety net and mitigates the impact of unexpected challenges.

Benefits of Financial Prudence

  • Positioning for Financial Stability: Implementing financial prudence ensures a stable and secure financial position for your dental practice, allowing for strategic planning and growth.
  • Sustainable Growth: Careful financial management supports sustainable growth, enabling your practice to invest in essential resources and seize critical opportunities as they arise.
  • Reduced Financial Stress: By avoiding unnecessary expenses and adhering to a well-planned budget, you reduce financial stress and create a more resilient practice.
  • Boost in Profitability: Minimizing unnecessary expenditures and optimizing resource allocation efficiency, financial prudence contributes to improved profitability.

Check out our articles and webinars on finance for dentists.

Not Seeking Professional Advice

Getting expert advice is essential to run your practice. If a practice doesn’t realize how crucial it is to seek guidance, especially in legal and financial matters, it might end up facing problems that could have been avoided. A great dentist isn’t necessarily a great business owner, so it’s crucial you get the advice of those who are.

The Pitfall of Underestimating Professional Guidance

Underestimating the need for professional advice in legal and financial matters might lead to non-compliance with rules, legal disputes, financial mismanagement, and missed opportunities for strategic growth. Ignoring expert guidance can disrupt the overall success and sustainability of a dental practice.

Approaches for Seeking Professional Counsel

  • Establish an Expert Network: Identify and connect with professionals specializing in dental practice management, including legal advisors, accountants, and financial experts. Build a network of experts who understand the specific challenges and regulations of the dental industry.
  • Regular Consultations: Schedule regular consultations with legal and financial experts to review the operational and financial aspects of your practice. This proactive approach allows you to address issues before they escalate.
  • Compliance Audits: Conduct compliance audits with the assistance of legal experts to ensure that your practice adheres to industry standards, ethical norms, and legal requirements. Identify and rectify any potential compliance gaps.
  • Financial Planning and Strategy: Collaborate with financial advisors to develop a comprehensive financial plan and strategy for your dental practice. This includes budgeting, tax planning, investment strategies, and long-term financial goals.
  • Stay Informed on Industry Changes: Legal and financial landscapes evolve, and staying informed is crucial. Rely on the expertise of professionals to keep you updated on industry changes, new regulations, and best practices that may impact your practice.
  • Address Legal Issues Promptly: Utilize the advice of legal professionals to address legal issues as soon as they arise. Delaying or mishandling legal issues can lead to more significant challenges and financial implications.

Benefits of Seeking Professional Advice

  • Risk Mitigation: Professional advice identifies and mitigates potential risks, ensuring that your dental practice operates within legal and regulatory boundaries.
  • Financial Stability: Financial experts contribute to the stability of your practice by providing sound financial advice, helping you make informed decisions aligned with your business goals.
  • Legal Compliance: Legal professionals ensure that your practice complies with industry standards, preventing legal issues and safeguarding your reputation.
  • Strategic Insights: With the assistance of expert guidance, you can overcome obstacles and capitalize on favourable market conditions, opening doors to strategic growth opportunities.

Book a free consultation with us to find out how we and our partners can help.

Not Embracing Technology and Marketing:

Using technology and adopting effective marketing strategies are crucial for staying competitive and enhancing online visibility. Neglecting technological advancements and marketing efforts can result in missed opportunities for practice growth and patient engagement. This section explores the importance of embracing technology, regularly updating your website, and considering early implementation of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising to propel your dental practice into the digital age.

The Risks of Ignoring Technology

A dental practice may stagnate if it doesn’t embrace technology and leverage the potential of digital marketing. In today’s digital era, patients often seek information online, and a lack of technological integration can lead to reduced visibility, patient engagement, and competitiveness.

Strategies for Marketing and Technology Integration

  • Regular Website Updates: Ensure your practice’s website is regularly updated to reflect current information, services, and any advancements in technology or treatments. An informative and user-friendly website is crucial for attracting and retaining patients.
  • Implement Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Consider the early adoption of PPC advertising to boost your practice’s online visibility. Well-executed PPC campaigns can increase website traffic, attract new patients, and provide measurable results.
  • Adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR): Embrace Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems for efficient patient management, streamlined workflows, and enhanced communication within your practice. EHR systems contribute to improved patient care and operational efficiency.
  • Leverage Telehealth Solutions: Explore telehealth solutions to offer virtual consultations, follow-ups, and patient education. Telehealth can be a valuable addition to your practice’s service offerings, making it easier for patients to access healthcare remotely.
  • Utilize Social Media Marketing: Social media platforms provide a robust channel for patient communication and community building. Social media marketing is an effective way to connect with your audience, share valuable content, and showcase your practice’s expertise.
  • Implement Online Appointment Scheduling: Online appointment scheduling can simplify the scheduling process for your practice and make it more convenient for patients. This technology can enhance patient satisfaction and practice efficiency.

Benefits of Embracing Innovation and Marketing

  • Enhanced Online Visibility: Regular website updates and digital marketing efforts contribute to improved online visibility, attracting potential patients and retaining existing ones.
  • Competitive Advantage: Embracing technology gives your practice a competitive edge by staying up to date with industry trends, demonstrating innovation, and meeting the expectations of tech-savvy patients.
  • Improved Patient Engagement: Technological advancements, such as telehealth and online scheduling, increase patient engagement by providing accessible and user-friendly healthcare options.
  • Measurable Marketing ROI: PPC advertising offers measurable return on investment, allowing you to track the success of your marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

In conclusion, successfully managing a dental practice requires a strategic and holistic approach. By avoiding these common mistakes and adopting best practices, you can cultivate a thriving and resilient dental practice that provides excellent patient care and stands the test of time.

Check out our articles and webinars on digital marketing for dentists.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Build a Dental Group

How to Start, Scale and Sell a Dental Group – Webinar

Across the UK an interesting phenomenon is occurring in the UK Dental landscape, more and more dental groups are emerging all in search of quality dental practices to purchase.

They are searching high and low for quality dental practices that will contribute to the group’s EBITDA.

Increasingly, we are hearing from clients stating that their turnover is around £2m and they would like to build over the next few years to sell it for £20m!

Sounds great. However, the key factor some of the groups have not thought about is the debt-level funding they require. If you need to borrow £19m in order to sell it for £20m, I don’t think you would be so inclined to build a dental group.

Click here to listen to our podcast episode on whether now is the time to grow a dental business.

How Easy is it to Build a Dental Group?

It’s Not About How Much You Sell For

The thing you need to really care about is not the total amount group sells for, but ultimately what you actually receive into your bank account after paying off all the debt and taxes.

In other words, if you worked that hard over five years to build your business and sold it for £20m, but only put £1m into your bank account, would it have all been worth it?  Probably not.

In simple terms – it’s the net figure you are interested in, not the headline figure.

This is actually the number you need to start with. So, instead of saying you want to sell your business for £20m, it’s essential to state what you want to receive net of debt and taxes.

Click here to read our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice.

Contact us to find out more

So how do you plan to achieve your net goal? Is it via acquisition, start-up or a combination of the two?

If you’re going to make acquisitions over the next five years, do you know:

  1. how much revenue on average they should each be generating?
  2. how much you’re going to pay for a typical acquisition?
  3. how many acquisitions you’ll have to make each year?
  4. how much you’ll need each of those practices to grow after you’ve acquired them?

Click here to read more about choosing between starting and buying a dental practice.

Growing The EBITDA Is Essential

If you haven’t really thought about the answers to those questions, in other words: if your business is generating £2m in revenue today at an EBITDA margin of 20% and you want to sell it for a net £5m in five years, you’re probably going to have to grow your business at a rate of around 40% annually.

Is that really achievable in the current market? Especially as there are many more buyers than sellers currently in the UK market for quality dental practices- some of whom are willing to pay over the odds for them?

On exit, the net amount you will receive will ultimately be determined on the EBITDA being generated, and the real key is to grow the EBITDA faster than the revenues of the group. Through margin expansion is where groups can achieve a higher multiple and, hence, a higher valuation on exit.

This will mean centralising many costs as the group scales and keeping a close eye on keeping costs tight, whilst still delivering a quality service.

Click here to read our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Where Some Dental Groups go Wrong

Buying Multiple Dental Practices – What To Consider

Expanding your current dental practices is not the only way of building a dental group. I have worked with many clients who found that the best option for them was, instead, to buy more dental practices.

The one thing I will say is that this can be a complex process and it’s one which is not always easy to get right. No one wants to put an already successful business at risk, so considering mergers and acquisitions carefully is important.

Click here to read our guide on How to Buy a Dental Practice.

Have The Right Team In Place

No matter how long a dental professional has been in business, they are not best placed to make the most well-informed choices when it comes to legal and financial implications.

It’s important to put a professional team in place, before entering into a deal to buy further practices and merge them with the current one.

The team should include dental solicitors and dental accountants who can make sure that the deal is a solid one, that all relevant information is disclosed and that contracts include all agreed aspects of the deal.

Click here to read about the 10 things to look for in a dental accountant.

How To Ensure A Successful Merger Or Acquisition

There are several tasks that should always be completed, if an acquisition or merger is to be completed successfully and you want to build a dental group.

  • A plan should be created that helps with the purchase of further surgeries and deals with the structure of the business after the acquisition.
  • An analysis should be completed of the services currently being carried out at the surgery that is to be acquired. Is it a good fit in the current plan for the business?
  • A detailed review of the proposition should be drawn up, so that any potential issues can be identified.
  • An implementation plan should be drawn up, so that any acquisition or merger can happen without any significant negative impact on the business as a whole.

Over the years, I have seen the value of this work first-hand, working with clients to ensure that building a dental group is the positive experience that it should be.

Action Plans

  • Evaluate Financial Goals: Focus on the net amount you wish to receive after all debts and taxes, rather than the gross sale price of the dental practice. Plan your financial goals with this net figure in mind.
  • Strategize Growth: Decide whether acquisitions, start-ups, or a combination of both are the best path to achieve your net financial goals. Understand the implications of each approach on your business’s growth.
  • Focus on EBITDA Growth: Prioritize growing your EBITDA faster than your revenues. Implement strategies for margin expansion and cost management to enhance valuation multiples at the time of exit.
  • Plan for Mergers or Acquisitions: Develop a comprehensive strategy that includes the evaluation of potential practices for acquisition, integration plans, service fit analysis, potential issue identification, and implementation planning.
  • Assemble a Professional Team: Before embarking on acquisitions or mergers, gather a team of specialists, including dental solicitors and accountants, to navigate the complexities of legal and financial aspects, ensure thorough due diligence, and secure favorable terms.
  • Conduct Due Diligence: Perform detailed due diligence on potential acquisitions to ensure they fit within your strategic plan and do not pose unforeseen risks to your business.
  • Implement Effective Integration: Develop and follow a clear implementation plan to ensure that any acquired practices or mergers are seamlessly integrated into your business operations, minimizing disruption and maximizing value.
  • Monitor and Adjust Strategy: Regularly review your growth strategy and financial performance, adjusting your approach as necessary to meet your net financial goals and respond to market changes.
  • Evaluate Financial Goals: Focus on the net amount you wish to receive after all debts and taxes, rather than the gross sale price of the dental practice. Plan your financial goals with this net figure in mind.
  • Strategize Growth: Decide whether acquisitions, start-ups, or a combination of both are the best path to achieve your net financial goals. Understand the implications of each approach on your business’s growth.
  • Focus on EBITDA Growth: Prioritize growing your EBITDA faster than your revenues. Implement strategies for margin expansion and cost management to enhance valuation multiples at the time of exit.
  • Plan for Mergers or Acquisitions: Develop a comprehensive strategy that includes the evaluation of potential practices for acquisition, integration plans, service fit analysis, potential issue identification, and implementation planning.
  • Assemble a Professional Team: Before embarking on acquisitions or mergers, gather a team of specialists, including dental solicitors and accountants, to navigate the complexities of legal and financial aspects, ensure thorough due diligence, and secure favorable terms.
  • Conduct Due Diligence: Perform detailed due diligence on potential acquisitions to ensure they fit within your strategic plan and do not pose unforeseen risks to your business.
  • Implement Effective Integration: Develop and follow a clear implementation plan to ensure that any acquired practices or mergers are seamlessly integrated into your business operations, minimizing disruption and maximizing value.
  • Monitor and Adjust Strategy: Regularly review your growth strategy and financial performance, adjusting your approach as necessary to meet your net financial goals and respond to market changes.

Click here to find out more about acquisition finance.

Structuring a Dental Group for Optimal Tax Benefits

Contact us to find out more

As you may have seen in some of our previous blog posts, the last few years have seen the rise of many dental groups throughout the UK.

With practices across the country facing financial difficulty, we have seen even more dental groups either spring up or continue to grow as practices are snapped up at lower-than-expected prices.

Whether the groups consist of just a couple of practices or even a dozen, dental groups are becoming more common and are growing all the time.

Click here to read our article on Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

Importance of Structuring Your Dental Group

Always start with the end in mind. What do we mean by this? We mean your tax planning needs to fit around and compliment your ultimate goal or plan for your business. And your life!

It is important to note that dental groups come in all shapes and sizes, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

One of the problems we’ve seen dental groups making is primarily with how they are structured.

The problem is that many groups simply grow by raising the finance the purchase new practices, surgeries and equipment and they give no thought to how the businesses are structured.

In other words, they haven’t considered the tax consequences of how their group should be structured.

For instance, if you own several dental practices but some are held under your own name, while others are held as limited companies, this can have real consequences to your accounts and tax later on.

This is especially true once you start to grow your group further.

Click here to avail our service on acquisition finance.

Taxes to Consider for Dental Groups

Possible dental group structures

We are often asked ‘am I better off as a sole trader or forming a limited company?’. Unfortunately, the answer is pretty much always ‘it depends’.

It depends on your earnings, your losses, your assets, your personal situation and so much more.

The UK’s tax regulations are not straight forward, what works best for you is often a complex question.

If you want to find out more, we would strongly recommend you get in touch with us.

Most dental groups will fit into one of these 4 categories. However, this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Structure 1: Sole trader with sub trades.

In this structure, you will typically have a sole trader (the dentist), who owns a number of practices. These practices exist as trades, they are not incorporated entities and they are connected by reference to that own person who is the business owner.

For income tax purposes, all of the practices can exist as one trade. So, if one practice is making a lot of profit, and another is making a loss (perhaps a squat you have just started), you can get loss relief between the practices. You can transfer the losses from the loss-making practice to the profit-making practice.

Business Asset Disposal Relief will also most likely be available, if the criteria are met (more below).

It is also important to note that with an unincorporated business structure, you are taxed on all profits earned, whether or not you draw that money.

Structure 2: Dentist owns practices as limited companies.

In this example, the dentist has incorporated each practice as individual companies and owns 100% of the shares in those companies.

This tends to happen when dentists set up or buy new practices organically, one after the other. But the time will come when you have to ask yourself if it is the correct structure.

One benefit of having limited companies is that it is possible to pay tax at a lower rate on dividends.

However, you will most likely not be able to benefit from loss relief in this structure. If one practice is making a loss you will not be able to use that loss within the other practices.

It doesn’t mean you lose that loss, it is still available for future profits. However, that is not ideal from a cash flow point of view.

Business Asset Disposal Relief will also most likely be available, if the criteria are met (more below).

Structure 3: Dentist owns holding company which owns practices as limited companies.

In this structure, you have an intermediate layer between the dentist and the limited companies (practices), a holding company. The holding company owns 100% of the shares in the dental practices and the dentist owns 100% of the shares in the holding company.

As with structure 2, it may be possible to pay tax at a lower rate on dividends. You will also not be taxed on the profits that you don’t draw.

When structured correctly, this qualifies as a group of companies. Loss relief may therefore be available, since your practices exist as a group of companies.

Substantial shareholding exemption (SSE) is also available if the criteria are met. This means it you may be able to sell one of those practices and pay 0% tax on the shares.

Structure 4: Dentist owns mixed group structure.

In a mixed group structure, you have a holding company which owns some of the practices and the dentist owns some practices separately. These separate practices can either be held as limited companies or as unincorporated entities.

Loss relief is available to practices within the group.

Whether this is the right structure for you will depend on several things. For instance, what you intend to do with the money if you sell one of the practices.

Say you sell one of the practices owned by the holding company. You can sell it for £1million and pay 0% tax on the sale (via SSE), which is then paid into the holding company. However, if you want to draw that money down then it must be distributed as dividend, which will be taxed at a higher rate than Business Asset Disposal Relief (BADF).

So, that might not be the right route for that specific practice.

However, you could sell that practice and keep that money within the group by reinvesting it in one of the other practices within the group. You could also buy another practice, meaning you pay 0% tax and also do not have to pay interest on a bank loan, since you’ve funded it yourself.

Keeping practices outside of the group as separate entities may be right for you if you want to pay the BADF 10% tax, rather than the dividend tax.

Action Plan

  • Evaluate Business Structure: Choose between a sole trader, individual limited companies, a holding company, or a mixed structure based on tax efficiency, loss relief, and sale intentions.
  • Maximize Tax Relief: Use loss relief within your chosen structure to offset profits and losses. Consider the tax implications on dividends and the availability of Business Asset Disposal Relief or Substantial Shareholding Exemption for sales.
  • Strategic Planning for Sales: Decide on the structure that best suits your plans for selling practices, focusing on minimizing tax liabilities and maximizing net proceeds.
  • Consult Experts: Work with dental finance professionals to navigate tax benefits and ensure compliance with your business growth or restructuring.
  • Reinvest Wisely: Reinvest sale proceeds within the group to avoid high taxes on distributions and support business expansion or improvements.

Contact us to find out more

Selling Your Dental Group

One of the reasons that the way your dental group is structured is so important is the price you’ll get when you come to the exit.

After all that hard work building your dental group, you want to make sure you get the best price possible, as well as a clean and smooth break.

A clear structure to your business holdings makes this much easier. Below are examples of the kind of benefits you can get when you structure your dental group correctly.

Business Asset Disposal Relief

When you sell a qualifying business asset you will be taxed at 10% on the gains.

If at some point in the future you want to sell all or part of the business as an unincorporated entity, the following points must apply to qualify for the 10% BADF (previously known as Entrepreneurs’ Relief).

  1. You are a sole trader or business partner.
  2. You have owned the business for at least two years before the date you sell it.

If both of these apply, then the gains will be taxed at 10%.

If you have incorporated your practices into companies and you are selling shares or securities, different criteria must be met.

  1. You have at least 5% of shares and voting rights in the company – if they are not EMI shares.
  2. You are an employee or office holder of the company (or one in the same group).

Substantial shareholding exemption.

This is an exemption which gives UK-based companies exemptions on corporation tax on the gain of the sale of shares, when certain criteria are met.

For at least a continuous 12 month period, beginning no more than 6 years before disposal:

The company disposing of shares must hold an interest of at least 10% of the ordinary share capital of the other company.

The company must be a sole trader or member of a trading group.

The company holding the shares must be a trading company or holding company of a trading group.

With these points in mind, it is easy to see why it is so important to structure your tax affairs with the future in mind.

Consider where you want to be in 5-10 years and then work backwards accordingly.

Restructuring a Dental Group With Samera

If you’re in a situation where your dental group is growing, but needs a little bit more structure, or if you’re thinking about starting your own dental group – we are here to help.

Not only are we experienced business advisors, we are also dental group owners ourselves. We know exactly how to build your dental group so that it is structured in a way that helps you build the most value and get the best price when you sell.

Contact us today to find out more about structuring your dental group.

Our Expert Opinion

“I have been in the fortunate enough position to set up, run and own a dental group. Albeit a little smaller than previously, my experience is built on having done it. Many people think it is easy to borrow money and to then buy and build.

This was certainly true when interest rates were much lower, but now in a higher interest rate environment things are more challenging. The key is to identify the right practice to purchase at the right price, whilst your borrowing costs are managed carefully. Then, the next step is to identify how can you add value to the purchase – what could you do to the practice to improve EBITDA?

Remember –  a small improvement in EBITDA in multiple practices can have a significant effect. But if you buy the wrong practice at the wrong price, this can be a massive problem and, unfortunately, I have seen this on many occasions, where a group has purchased a few lemons, which has had a significant impact on the wider group, making it less attractive to any potential group buyers down the line.

Currently, the valuations in the market are lower than what they have been in the past, but for the savvy buyer, now is a great time to build a group. Get in touch if you need help!”

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

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Instagram and Facebook Ads for Dentists

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Become a Practice Owner

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

5 Reasons to use Facebook Ads for a dental practice

Why should you use Facebook ads for a dental practice?

Facebook is, by far, the most widely used social media platform in the world. At the end of 2018, Facebook saw over 2.3 billion monthly active users! Advertisers are spending more time and money on their Facebook advertisements. You should too! If you run both Facebook and Google advertisements, you cover 2 of the most widely used social and search platforms on the internet. The potential to reach far wider audiences is huge. If you can effectively reach these audiences, you will see your conversions grow.  

Done correctly, using Facebook Ads for a dental practice can really help your marketing take off.

It’s the Biggest Online Hangout

The average person spends 28% of their time online using social media platforms. With 2.3 billion people spending 28% of their time online on Facebook, the potential audiences you can reach are enormous! Online advertising is all about finding out where your intended audience spends their time online. For certain businesses, this can be quite difficult.

If you need to attract audiences from certain industries, with certain likes or values, you need to do some research into their online habits. For dentists, the intended audiences tend to be far broader. Often, they are defined primarily by their proximity to the practice. Facebook adverts give you the opportunity to easily reach multiple defined audiences in one central hub.

Action Plan

Using Facebook ads for a dental practice is essential due to Facebook’s massive user base, with over 2.3 billion monthly active users. By leveraging Facebook ads, you can reach a vast audience and effectively target potential patients based on their demographics, interests, and location. With the majority of people spending a significant amount of their online time on social media platforms like Facebook, it’s the perfect place to promote your dental services and increase conversions.

Targeting Exact Audiences

One of Facebook’s most advantageous features is its ability to target exact audiences. Facebook holds thousands of data points about each of its users. These include location, employment and relationship status, likes and dislikes and far more! These data points can be used in your advertising strategy to narrowly define the exact kind of audience you want to see your adverts.

If you offer luxury cosmetic dentistry in London, you can tell Facebook to show your adverts only to people with high-paying careers, who live close to your practice and who like the finer things in life. If you offer paediatric dentistry, you can tell Facebook to only show your advert to new parents or children and teenagers close to your practice. This means you don’t need to waste time and money showing your adverts to audiences who have no intention of ever converting!

Action Plan

Facebook’s precise audience targeting feature allows dental practices to tailor their ads to specific demographics, interests, and locations. This ensures that ads are shown only to relevant individuals, maximizing the chances of conversion. Whether promoting luxury cosmetic dentistry or pediatric services, Facebook’s data-rich platform enables practices to reach their ideal audience effectively and efficiently, saving both time and resources.

Contact us to find out more

Remarketing to Warm Audiences

Remarketing is another of Facebook’s most useful features for advertisers. Remarketing is the process of showing adverts to what are known as warm audiences.

Cold audiences are those who have never heard of your business before, who are not aware of your brand or your services and products. Hot audiences are those who have subscribed, engaged regularly with your business or have even made a purchase. Warm audiences are those who are aware of your business, perhaps they have watched one of your videos, seen an advert or visited the website briefly.

Remarketing to warm audiences allows you to show adverts to audiences that you know are already interested. They may need a product or service similar to yours and are shopping around, they may have developed an interest in your brand in particular. You can tell Facebook to only show an advert on orthodontics to audiences who have already visited your orthodontics page, read one of your blogs on braces, watched a video, browsed your website and read up on the treatments you offer etc.

Coupled with Facebook’s ability to target narrowly defined audiences such as teenagers and their parents within a certain radius, you can make sure only the exact people to whom you want to re-market will see your adverts.

Action Point

Facebook’s remarketing feature enables dental practices to reconnect with warm audiences who have previously interacted with their brand. By targeting these audiences with tailored ads, such as orthodontic services for those who have shown interest in braces, practices can nurture leads and increase conversion rates. Leveraging remarketing on Facebook ensures that ad spend is allocated efficiently, focusing on audiences already primed for engagement and conversion.

The Decline of Organic Traffic.

Once upon a time, businesses could reach a decent-sized audience simply through organic reach. Simply put, organic reach is how far your social media posts can reach without you paying for them to be shown to specific audiences. You rely solely on the quality of the content and the engagement rate of your followers to make sure it is shared and seen as widely as possible.

Unfortunately, Facebook has been taking steps in recent years to reduce the ability of businesses to reach audiences this way. Facebook is a business, and they want you to pay for that privilege. Facebook’s algorithms have made it far harder than 10 years ago for your organic posts to reach much further than your immediate followers. And even then, most of your followers might not see the post on their wall either!

The most efficient way to reach audiences, therefore, is to pay for adverts. This ensures that your posts not only get the widest reach possible, but that they reach only the audiences you want them to.

Analytics

Facebook’s bread and butter is analysing their users’ data. In the same way that Facebook has countless data points on each user, they also have in-depth analytics for their own platform. Facebook’s analytics (or Insights) allow advertisers to examine just how well (or poorly) their adverts are performing.

More importantly, it allows you to determine what features of your advert are performing well or poorly. The analytics portal allows you to investigate things such as audience engagement rates, click-through rates, cost per click, conversions and much more! By using this portal, it becomes far easier to amend your adverts so as to truly maximise their impact and, in so doing, minimise their cost.

Action Point

With the decline of organic traffic on social media platforms like Facebook, businesses must rely more on paid advertising to reach their desired audience. Facebook’s algorithms prioritize paid content, making it harder for organic posts to gain significant visibility. Utilizing analytics provided by Facebook allows businesses to optimize their ad campaigns, track performance metrics, and adjust strategies to maximize impact and minimize costs. Paid advertising ensures wider reach and targeted audience engagement, essential for effective marketing in the digital age.

Facebook Ads for a dental practice: Conclusion

In summary, Facebook offers one of the (if not the) best platforms online to advertise your business. Facebook’s ability to target the exact audience you want, coupled with its remarketing functionality, allows advertisers full control over where their adverts are shown. Being able to stop your adverts being shown to irrelevant or uninterested audiences keeps the cost per click down and conversions high. Facebook’s relatively simple user-interface, its low cost and ability to analyse the performance of your adverts makes it a perfect platform to effectively market your practice.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Our Expert Opinion

“Apple changed everything with Facebook Ads when they introduced their update in 2021 that meant you can opt out of being tracked. Although that was great for users, it wasn’t great for marketing. It meant that you could no longer track who accesses your site on an Apple device and target them on Facebook.

Since then we at Samera have pretty much stopped all Facebook ads, both for Samera and for The Neem Tree Dental Practices. There can still be a place for Facebook ads in your strategy. And if they still work for you then keep at it! But I wouldn’t suggest it really.”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

5 Reasons to use Google Ads for a Dental Practice

Google is the biggest search engine in the world by far. In November 2018, an incredible 73% of online searches occurred through Google, as opposed to 7.91% on Bing. Most people don’t even think about it anymore, using Google as your first port-of-call has become second nature for most people.

In many ways, to ‘Google’ something has become synonymous with using the internet at all. Simply put, audiences are far more likely to use Google to find their dentist than any other online platform. Therefore, Google is where you need to direct your efforts.  Done correctly, using Google Ads for a dental practice can really help your marketing take off.

Google’s reach is huge

As we have already said, Google is the largest search engine in the world, and this doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon. Each day there are 3.5 billion searches made on Google, that is 40,000 a second! ​ Compare that to the year 2000 when Google saw a measly 33 million searches per day! Imagine how far Google’s reach will be in 5, 10 or 20 years!

Using Google AdWords is an easy, simple and relatively cheap way of getting your name directly in front of those audiences. Google doesn’t just let you show your adverts to the entire world, it allows you to define exactly which audiences, which types of people, you wish to see your advert.

Action Point

Google’s immense reach as the largest search engine globally, with 73% of online searches, makes it crucial for dental practices to focus their marketing efforts there. With 3.5 billion daily searches, Google Ads offers a targeted and cost-effective way to reach potential patients, ensuring visibility to the right audience at the right time.

Target Specific Audiences

With so many users on Google each day, it is important to let Google know exactly who you wish to advertise to. There is no use showing your advert to someone on the other side of the world; if there isn’t a good possibility a user will find your advert relevant, you’re wasting your money. Google allows you to decide who should be shown the advert based on a large number of data points. Some of the criteria by which you can filter your audiences are:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Interests
  • Online behaviour
  • Previous online activity

You can tell Facebook to only show your ads to audiences who have visited a certain page on your website, who have searched for products and services similar to yours, you can even define audiences based on their lifestyles and milestone events, such as those recently married, or new parents. The ability to target only the people to whom you want to advertise doesn’t just make your adverts for efficient and effective, it keeps the cost down! Google has masses of data on each user’s habits, use it!

Action Point

With Google Ads, you can precisely target specific audiences based on criteria like location, age, interests, and online behavior. This ensures your ads reach the most relevant users, maximizing efficiency and keeping costs down by avoiding irrelevant clicks. Utilize Google’s vast data on user habits to tailor your advertising strategy effectively.

Using Keywords

In PPC marketing, keywords, as they do with SEO, act as tags that allow search engines to match up your advert with a user’s searched term on Google.  If the keywords you have associated with your advert appear in a user’s search, they will see your advert.

When choosing your keywords, it is important to understand that you are trying to guess what your intended audiences are searching for. You can’t tell them what to search to find you. You need to get inside their minds, figure out how they behave online and understand what they are searching for. Then you can mimic their searches in your keywords and ensure that yours is the advert they see. 

A good tip with keywords is to group them together by category. Instead of using separate keywords such as “London”, “Orthodontics” and “emergency”, group them together as “London Emergency Orthodontics”. This helps to further narrow down the audience and really target the most likely leads.

It is also possible to tag your adverts with negative keywords. Negative keywords are the keywords with which you DO NOT want your advert to be associated. For instance, imagine your practice is in York and one of your adverts has the keywords “Emergency Dentist”. You may see some of your adverts being shown to, and being engaged with, audiences who have searched something like “Emergency Dentist Portsmouth”.

Obviously, you do not want audiences 200 miles away seeing your advert, it’s a waste of their time and your money! Google gives you the option of adding this as a negative keyword, meaning anyone who performs the same search in the future will NOT see your advert.

Action Point

In PPC marketing, keywords play a crucial role in ensuring your ads appear when users search on Google. To effectively target your audience, choose keywords based on their likely search terms and group them by category. Utilize negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches and optimize your ad budget. This strategy helps ensure your ads reach the most relevant users, maximizing their effectiveness and minimizing wasted clicks.

Fast results

There are 2 main ways of getting yourself to the front page of Google; SEO and PPC. SEO is great; it’s organic, it’s free and it works. However, you could build the perfect website for SEO, but it will still take Google time to index your website as first-page material. The process is not instantaneous, sometimes it’s not even quick! You could make endless improvements to your website and only see it creep up slowly.

There are so many factors governing Google’s ranking algorithms, and Google do their best to keep them secret! The good news is, there is a quick and easy fix. With PPC, you can pay to have your advert appear immediately, within seconds, at the very top of the very front page of Google.

Action Point

When aiming for immediate visibility on Google’s front page, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising offers a swift solution compared to the gradual process of SEO. With PPC, your ad can appear instantly at the top of search results, ensuring immediate exposure to potential customers. This speed and efficiency make PPC an ideal option for those seeking fast results in their online marketing efforts.

Contact us to find out more

Google wants you to succeed. 

As a marketing platform, your success is in Google’s best interest. Google has made advertising on its platform easier and cheaper in recent years. Of course there is lots of data you can work through, lots of small changes and tweaks you can make, but for the most part the user interface is simple, straightforward and easy to use for even the average business owner. You don’t need a degree in computer analytics or a lifetime’s worth of marketing experience to make it work or to see results. 

Furthermore, the user interface is straightforward. More importantly, the user interface you see is exactly the same as the interface that mega-corporations see and use as well. There are no hidden features that only the big hitters can access. You have access to the same features as companies such as BMW, Calvin Klein, or Apple.

Also, there are mountains of blogs, videos, and articles out there explaining how to get good results from Google Ads. Many of them were written by Google themselves! 

Action Point

Google has simplified its advertising platform, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes. With a user-friendly interface and abundant resources available, even novice marketers can navigate Google Ads effectively. Whether you’re a small business owner or a corporate giant, you have access to the same features and tools, ensuring a level playing field. Plus, Google offers ample guidance through various educational materials, including resources authored by Google experts themselves.

Our Expert Opinion

“Google ads are the best way to advertise your dental practice, hands down. Whether you’re starting out or trying to get more patients for an established practice, get some Google Ads running. They can be cheap, they can be narrowly targeted, they can work really well without too much input on your end.

Google try to make it as easy as possible for you to make them work. If you think you can attract customers from further afield, it’s the easiest way to get yourself to the top of the search. Even if you’re only targeting your immediate area, they work really well.

Remember that you’re competing against your local competitors and it’s an auction. It’s not just about how good your ads are, it’s about how much you spend. But even a modest budget can reap dividends in the long run!”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Google Ads for a Dental Practice: Conclusion

Google is, without question, the largest search engine in the world. This makes advertising on Google a no-brainer. If the vast majority of your potential patients are hanging out online in one place, and that place just so happens to be where they will be going to look for you, why wouldn’t you advertise there? In terms of reach and demographics, Google is absolutely your best option. Furthermore, Google’s platform is relatively cheap and easy to use. You do not have to be a technical or marketing wizard to use the software! Advertising on Google can bring you quick, easy results at a fairly low cost per click.

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Fees and Cost of Buying a Dental Practice

When buying a dental practice in the UK, the initial expenses vary based on location, practice size, equipment, and staffing needs. Just like any investment, thorough research and planning are crucial before making a decision. 

Let’s delve into the initial costs of acquiring a dental practice in the UK, covering the practice’s cost, legal and accounting fees, equipment expenses, and staffing costs. Understanding these costs helps you make informed decisions about the investment potential and ensures your investment is a wise one.

Buying a Dental Practice in the UK

Buying a dental practice in the UK is a big deal, both in terms of money and your professional life. Making this decision needs careful thought and understanding the initial costs involved. Whether you’re a new dentist ready to start your own practice or a seasoned pro looking to expand, knowing the ins and outs of the process and the financial side is crucial.

Firstly, understanding the market is key. Dentists need to look at their local market, considering factors like the people who might be patients, the competition around, and how much demand there is for dental services. This analysis helps figure out whether you can add value to the practice you buy.

Secondly, you should compare the cost of buying an existing practice versus starting a new one. Things like location, practice size, the number of patients, equipment, and staff all play a role in figuring out the financial side. It’s crucial to thoroughly check the practice’s financial records, future predictions, and potential income before making a decision.

While the initial costs of buying a dental practice in the UK can be hefty, there are potential perks that make it a tempting investment. Owning a practice gives dentists the chance to be their own boss, grow professionally, and earn more money. It lets them create their own practice philosophy, build long-term relationships with patients, and have more control over their career.

However, it’s important to recognize the challenges and risks that come with owning a practice. Handling the financial aspects, like cash flow, expenses, and insurance, needs careful planning and financial smarts. Dentists also need to be ready for administrative duties, marketing strategies, and overall practice management.

In conclusion, buying a dental practice in the UK is a major decision that requires a solid understanding of the initial costs. Before making a move, you need to consider market dynamics, follow the rules, and think about the financials. While there are potential benefits to owning a practice, being fully prepared for the challenges is crucial. Through thorough research and seeking professional advice, dentists can make informed decisions and embark on a successful journey toward practice ownership.

Click here to read our article on starting vs buying a dental practice.

Initial costs of purchasing a dental practice

When thinking about buying a dental practice it’s crucial to understand the initial costs. Factors like where the practice is, how big it is, and its condition can all affect these costs.

The major upfront cost is the actual price of the practice. This can be a big investment, and it’s often determined by things like how much money the practice makes, the number of patients, the equipment, and its reputation. It’s important to carefully estimate these costs to make sure the price matches the value of the practice and its potential for growth.

Aside from the purchase price, there are other costs to think about. Legal fees and professional services, like hiring an accountant or consultant, are necessary to navigate the complex process of buying a dental practice. These professionals will help review financial records, contracts, and legal documents to ensure a smooth transaction.

It’s also important to remember that you will need to purchase the assets in the practice seperately to the practice itself. This means that when you buy a practice, you’ll also need to purchase the equipment and technology like the chairs, x-rays etc.

Most buyers will need a loan to fund the purchase, and the interest rates and terms of the loan will impact the overall cost. To get the best deal you need to shop around and compare offers from different lenders.

Renovations and equipment upgrades are often necessary when buying a dental practice. These costs can vary based on the condition of the current office and the age and functionality of the equipment. Budgeting for these expenses is important to ensure the practice is up-to-date and meets the necessary regulatory requirements.

Lastly, considering the ongoing operational costs after buying a dental practice is crucial. These include expenses like rent, utilities, staff salaries, supplies, and marketing efforts. Careful financial planning and budgeting are essential to ensure the practice is profitable and successful in the long run.

Understanding the initial costs of buying a dental practice is vital for aspiring practice owners. Proper financial planning, thorough estimation of expenses, and professional assistance can help navigate these costs and make an informed investment decision.

Click here to read our article on How to Finance a Dental Practice.

Acquisition Cost of the Practice

Most buyers will use acquisition finance to fund the purchase of their new practice. Unless you have the cash available to buy it, you’ll most likely need an acquisition loan to buy the practice. 

You will need a deposit for the purchase of around 10-20%, but this will vary depending on the lender, the practice and several other factors. Most banks and lenders will fund about 80% of the goodwill of the practice.

Read our article on acquisition finance here.

To figure out the real value and potential for growth of the practice, it’s important to thoroughly check its financial records and performance during the due diligence. This has to involve getting help from a dental practice expert or someone specialised in practice acquisitions.

By thoroughly checking the cost of getting the practice, considering funding options, and estimating the expenses, potential buyers can make informed decisions when investing in a dental practice. It’s important to make sure the cost aligns with the practice’s true potential for growth and profit, ultimately laying the groundwork for a successful and rewarding dental career.

Click to find out more about our acquisition finance services.

Legal and Professional Fees

It’s also important to consider the legal and professional fees that come with the process. These fees are crucial to make sure everything goes smoothly and follows the law.

Getting help from a specialist in dental practice acquisitions is highly recommended. They’ll guide you through the complicated legal parts of the purchase, making sure all contracts and agreements are done right. They’ll also do a thorough check to find any possible legal risks or issues with the practice.

You will also want to hire a dental accountant or a financial advisor for professional advice. They’ll help you do a detailed financial analysis of the practice, looking at its profit, income, and potential for growth. These pros will give you important insights that’ll help you make smart decisions and negotiate the best terms for the purchase.

It’s important to know that legal and professional fees can vary depending on how complicated the deal is and the specific services you need. Things like the size and location of the practice, the number of staff, and any legal or financial problems can all affect the overall cost.

While these fees might seem like an extra expense, investing in these services is crucial to make sure your acquisition is successful and legally sound. By getting experts involved, you can navigate the complexities of the process with confidence, protecting your investment and setting yourself up for long-term success in the dental industry.

Click here to find out more about 7 Legal Pitfalls to Avoid when Buying a Dental Practice.

Due Diligence Expenses

When you’re thinking about buying a dental practice, it’s important to set aside resources and understand the costs involved in a thorough due diligence process. Doing a comprehensive due diligence is a crucial step in the acquisition process because it helps you uncover potential risks, liabilities, and opportunities related to the practice.

The cost of a due diligence process can vary depending on factors like the size of the practice, how complicated the deal is, and how much detail is needed. It’s highly recommended to seek the help of professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, who specialise in dental practice acquisitions to ensure a thorough evaluation.

Legal costs are a significant part of due diligence. Bringing in an expert with experience in dental practice acquisitions will help you navigate the complex legal aspects of the process. They’ll review contracts, leases, licences, and other legal documents to ensure compliance and identify any potential issues that might affect the purchase.

Accounting costs are another important part of due diligence. An experienced dental accountant can help you analyse the financial health of the practice by examining financial statements, tax records, and conducting a thorough assessment of the practice’s assets and liabilities. This evaluation provides valuable insight into the profitability and financial stability of the practice.

Additionally, it’s wise to allocate resources for other due diligence costs like property inspections, equipment evaluations, and environmental surveys. These assessments will help identify any potential risks or additional costs associated with the physical aspects of the practice.

While due diligence costs might seem like an extra financial burden, they are a necessary investment to ensure a smooth and successful acquisition. By conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the practice, you can make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and potentially negotiate a more favourable deal.

Remember, understanding and budgeting for due diligence costs is a crucial step in the process of buying a dental practice in the UK. It’s always best to consult with professionals who specialise in dental practice acquisitions to ensure a thorough assessment and a successful transaction.

Click here to find out more about our due diligence services.

Property and Equipment Costs

When figuring out how much a dental practice will cost, you also need to think about the expenses tied to the property and equipment. These costs can vary a lot depending on where the practice is, how big it is, its condition, and what it specifically needs.

First things first, you need to check out the actual property. If you’re planning to buy a dental practice with an existing location, you should look into the condition of the building. To make sure there aren’t any big problems or repairs needed, you might need to hire a professional inspector. You should also think about any necessary renovations or adjustments to meet the specific needs of your practice.

Besides the property, you’ve got to invest in the existing assets like dental equipment and supplies. This includes things like dental chairs, X-ray machines, sterilisation equipment, dental tools, and other necessary gear. The cost of these items can vary depending on the brand, quality, and specific requirements.

Also, it’s crucial to budget for ongoing maintenance costs for your equipment and property. Regular upkeep and servicing are necessary to ensure your dental equipment lasts a long time and works at its best. It’s recommended to set aside resources for these purposes to avoid unexpected costs down the road.

Taking a close look at the costs of property and equipment is crucial when figuring out the initial costs of buying a dental practice. Proper planning and preparation in this area will contribute to the long-term success and profitability of your dental practice.

Click here to find out more about our property finance services.

Licensing and Regulatory Fees

The General Dental Council (GDC) and other rule-setting bodies have strict rules, so these fees are necessary to make sure everything follows the rules.

Getting a dental practice licence is a must for any dentist looking to run their own practice. The licensing process involves a thorough check of the practice’s facilities, equipment, and infection control procedures to make sure patients are safe and getting quality care.

The fees for licensing can vary based on the size and location of the practice. They usually cover things like processing applications, inspections, and making sure the practice continues to meet the rules. Since these fees can significantly impact the money you need to start a dental practice, it’s crucial to include them in your budget.

Apart from licensing fees, there are also regulatory costs to think about. The GDC, as the regulatory body for dentists in the UK, requires dentists to yearly register and maintain their registration. This registration fee ensures that dentists are qualified, skilled, and follow professional standards.

Knowing and planning for these licensing and regulatory fees is crucial for anyone looking to invest in a dental practice. It’s recommended to consult with professionals experienced in dental practice acquisitions to accurately assess these costs and ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements. By properly budgeting for these fees, potential practice owners can make informed financial decisions and embark on their journey to owning a successful dental practice.

Insurance Costs

Just like any other business, dental practices need insurance coverage to protect against various risks and liabilities.

One of the main insurance agreements that dental practice owners should think about is professional indemnity insurance. This type of insurance is designed to provide coverage in case of professional negligence or malpractice claims. It protects both the dentist and the practice from potential financial losses and damage to their reputation.

The cost of professional indemnity insurance can vary depending on factors like the size of the practice, the number of dentists and staff members, the location, and the level of coverage needed. It’s advisable to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance providers to make sure you’re getting the best coverage at a competitive price.

In addition to professional indemnity insurance, dental practice owners may also need to consider other types of insurance, such as public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance. Public liability insurance provides coverage for any claims made by members of the public who might be injured or suffer property damage while at the dental practice. Employer’s liability insurance, on the other hand, is legally required in the UK and provides coverage for claims made by employees who might be injured or become ill due to their work.

The cost of insurance can be a significant expense for a dental practice, especially when starting out. However, it’s a necessary investment to protect both the practice and its patients. Working with an experienced insurance broker specialising in dental practices can help you navigate the available options and find the coverage that best suits your specific needs.

Remember, although insurance costs may add to the initial costs of buying a dental practice, they ultimately provide financial security and peace of mind. Prioritising insurance coverage ensures that you are investing in the sustainability and success of your dental practice.

Financing options for purchasing a dental practice

When it comes to buying a dental practice, financing is a crucial aspect to think about. The initial costs can be significant, but fortunately, there are various financing options available to help dentists achieve their dream of owning a practice.

One common financing option is a business loan from a bank or financial institution. These loans usually come with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Dentists can use loans to cover the practice’s purchase price, equipment costs, leasehold improvements, and other necessary expenses.

Another option is to explore lenders specialising in dental financing who understand the unique needs of dental professionals. These lenders might offer specific loan programs tailored specifically for dentists, which can include benefits like lower down payments and extended repayment periods.

In addition to traditional loans, dentists may also consider partnering with other dental professionals to share the financial burden. This can be done through partnerships, joint ventures, or even forming a dental group practice. By pooling resources and sharing costs, dentists can access the funds needed to buy a practice while minimising individual financial risks.

It’s crucial for dentists to carefully evaluate the terms of any financing option before committing to a decision. Factors such as interest rates, repayment terms, eligibility criteria, and potential collateral requirements should be thoroughly considered. Consulting with a financial advisor or dental practice expert can be helpful in navigating the complexities of financing options and making an informed decision.

Ultimately, understanding the available financing options is essential for dentists looking to purchase a dental practice. By exploring various avenues and selecting the most suitable option, dentists can turn their dream of practice ownership into a reality while managing the initial costs effectively.

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Did You Know?


  • Initial and Ongoing Costs: Opening a dental practice involves several significant expenditures, including premises, equipment, and staff salaries. Valuation and solicitor fees alone can total up to £18,500. The necessary dental equipment could total over £120,000. On average, the profit made by a dental practice in the UK in its first year is between £40,000 to £60,000​​.
    Source: Readers Digest
  • Legal Considerations: When buying or selling a dental practice, it’s essential to have a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) that addresses specific dental practice needs, including NHS contracts and employment issues. The legal costs for such transactions can range from £5,000 to £15,000 + VAT and disbursements, depending on the complexity​​.
    Source: Scott Bailey
  • Banks and Financing: When approaching banks for financing the purchase of a dental practice, it’s important to prepare a solid business plan and undergo a stress test to demonstrate the practice’s profitability and your capability to manage the financial responsibilities. Banks offer terms up to 20 years to aid affordability, with deposits for goodwill valued at 10% and 100% lending on freehold properties​​.
    Source: Dentistry.co.uk

Commercial Loans

For many aspiring practice owners, a commercial loan becomes a necessary financial tool because investing in a dental practice requires a significant amount of capital.

Acquisition loans can provide the necessary funds to cover the practice’s purchase price, usually about 70-80% of the goodwill.

Other costs like the assets will need to be funded separately as they will not be included in an acquisition loan. A commercial business loan or asset finance will usually be needed to cover everything outside the actual purchase. 

To secure a business loan, it’s essential to have a well-prepared business plan that highlights your vision, projected finances, and growth potential. Lenders will assess your creditworthiness, financial history, and the viability of the practice you plan to acquire.

Interest rates and loan terms can vary depending on factors like the lender, your credit score, and the amount you want to borrow. It’s advisable to shop around and compare offers from different lenders to ensure you secure the most favourable terms for your circumstances.

Click here to read A Guide to Acquisition Finance.

Additionally, some lenders may require collateral to secure the loan, such as the dental equipment or the property itself. It’s crucial to carefully review the loan agreement and understand the terms, repayment schedule, and any potential risks involved.

While getting a business loan may involve additional costs like application fees and legal expenses, it can be a worthwhile investment in establishing and growing your dental practice. Proper financial planning and seeking professional advice can help streamline the loan application process and ensure you are well-prepared to handle the financial commitments associated with buying a dental practice.

Remember, investing in a dental practice is a long-term commitment, and understanding the upfront costs, including business loans, is crucial for making informed decisions and putting yourself in a favourable position.

Click here to find out more about commercial loans for dentists.

Asset-based Finance

Asset-based financing is a way to fund the upfront costs of buying the assets in a dental practice. With this type of financing, you can secure a loan or a line of credit by using the assets already present in the practice.

One advantage of asset-based finance is its flexibility and tailored approach. Lenders typically consider the value of the assets and the potential income of the practice, allowing for a more personalised approach to financing. This can be especially helpful for new dentists or those looking to expand their existing practice, as it provides an opportunity to obtain the necessary funds without depleting personal savings or taking on excessive debt.

It’s important to note that asset-based finance requires a thorough assessment of the practice’s assets and potential risks. Lenders will evaluate the value and condition of the assets, as well as the overall financial health and viability of the practice. Through this assessment process, lenders can better customise the loan amount and terms to the specific circumstances of the practice.

Click here to read A Guide to Asset Finance for Dentists.

When exploring asset-based finance options, it’s advisable to work closely with experienced professionals, such as dental practice specialists or financial advisors. They can guide you through the process and help you assess the feasibility and potential benefits of this financing option.

In summary, asset-based finance is a viable option for dental professionals considering the upfront costs of purchasing a dental practice in the UK. By leveraging the assets within the practice, you can access the necessary funds to acquire the practice and embark on your journey towards a successful dental career.

Click here to find out more about our asset finance services.

Private Investors or Partnerships

If you’re thinking about investing in a dental practice in the UK, private investors or partnerships could be a smart option. These investors not only provide the necessary funds for the purchase but also bring valuable expertise and industry connections.

When considering private investors or partnerships, it’s crucial to carefully review the terms of the arrangement. This involves determining the level of control and decision-making power that the investor or partners will have in the practice. Striking a balance between obtaining financial support and maintaining the independence and vision for the practice is crucial.

Private investors may offer various benefits, such as access to additional funding sources, business insights, and guidance in managing the practice. They can bring fresh perspectives and ideas, helping to drive growth and success. However, it’s essential to thoroughly vet potential investors or partners to ensure they align with your goals and values.

Partnerships, on the other hand, can provide shared responsibility and commitment, allowing for a more collaborative approach to managing the practice. This can be particularly advantageous for new dentists or those looking to expand their existing practice. Partnerships offer a supportive environment where partners can learn from each other, share resources, and collectively navigate the challenges of running a dental practice.

When exploring private investors or partnerships, it’s advisable to consult with legal and financial professionals specialising in these types of arrangements. They can help ensure that the terms and agreements are fair and protect the interests of all parties involved.

For those seeking to invest in a dental practice in the UK, private investors or partnerships might indeed be a wise choice. By carefully weighing the pros and cons and conducting thorough due diligence, practitioners can find the right investment partners to help them achieve their goals and elevate their dental practice to new heights.

Factors Influencing the Initial Costs

Several factors can influence the initial costs when buying a dental practice in the UK. It’s crucial to carefully consider these factors to make an informed decision and plan your investment wisely.

The location of the dental practice is a key factor that can significantly impact the initial expenses. Practices in prime locations, like downtown areas or affluent neighbourhoods, tend to have higher purchase costs. On the other hand, practices in more rural or less convenient locations may have lower initial expenses. Evaluating the potential patient base and competition in the area is essential in determining the value of the practice.

The size and condition of the practice also play a role in determining the initial costs. A larger practice with spacious treatment rooms and advanced equipment may command a higher purchase price. Additionally, if the practice requires renovations or upgrades to meet regulatory standards or align with your vision, these costs should be factored into the initial investment.

The goodwill and patient database of the practice are additional considerations. Established practices with a loyal patient base and positive reputation in the community may come with a higher price tag. The potential for future business and the value of the relationships built over time are reflected in this goodwill.

It’s also important to consider any existing contracts or agreements associated with the practice. This includes agreements with associates or staff members, equipment leases, contracts with suppliers, and premises leases. These ongoing contractual commitments should be evaluated to determine their impact on the initial costs and potential long-term financial obligations.

Last but not least, professional services and advice should be included in the initial costs. Engaging the services of a dental practice broker, consultant, accountant, or financial advisor can provide valuable guidance, but it’s crucial to account for their fees when planning your investment.

Understanding these factors and conducting thorough due diligence will help you determine the initial costs involved in buying a dental practice in the UK. By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and set realistic financial expectations for your investment in the dental industry.

Click here to read our article on determining the value of a dental practice.

Location of the Practice

When it comes to investing in a dental practice in the UK, one of the most crucial factors to think about is the location of the practice. The success and profitability of the dental practice depend heavily on where it is situated.

Firstly, you need to examine the demographics of the area where the practice is located. Is it a densely populated residential area? Is it a commercial district? Understanding the local population and their dental care needs is crucial in assessing the potential patient base and the demand for dental services.

Additionally, consider the competition in the vicinity. Are there already established dental practices nearby? If so, it’s essential to evaluate their services, reputation, and patient base. Analysing the competition can help you identify gaps in the market and opportunities for setting your practice apart.

Moreover, convenience and accessibility are crucial factors. Is the practice situated in a prominent and easily accessible location? Is there ample parking available for patients? These factors can significantly impact patient retention and attract new patients.

Another aspect to explore is the overall infrastructure and amenities in the surrounding area. Are there hospitals or medical centres nearby? Are there schools or businesses in the vicinity? These factors can contribute to a steady flow of potential patients.

The costs can vary significantly depending on the area, and having a clear understanding of the financial implications before committing to any obligations is crucial.

By carefully assessing the location of the dental practice, you can make an informed decision about the initial costs and potential return on investment. Remember that establishing a solid foundation for a profitable dental practice in the UK is possible by investing in the right location.

Click here to read our article on Should I Buy Leasehold or Freehold?

Size and Condition of the Practice

When figuring out the initial costs of buying a dental practice in the UK, it’s crucial to look at its size and condition. The size refers to the physical space available for patient care, staff, and equipment. It’s important to check if the practice has enough treatment rooms to handle patient flow and meet the dentist’s desired workload.

Moreover, the condition of the practice plays a significant role in determining the required initial investment. Assessing the condition involves examining the age and functionality of dental equipment, the state of the facilities, and any necessary renovations or upgrades.

If the practice is well-maintained and equipped with modern technology, it might demand a higher initial investment. However, this could also mean that the practice is more likely to attract patients and generate revenue in the long run.

On the flip side, if the practice is in poor condition or lacking in equipment, it might require a lower initial investment. Yet, the buyer needs to carefully consider the costs associated with renovation and purchasing new equipment, as these expenses can accumulate quickly.

In conclusion, the size and condition of the dental practice are crucial factors to consider when assessing the initial costs. By thoroughly evaluating these aspects, potential buyers can make informed decisions regarding their investments and ensure a smooth transition into practice ownership.

Reputation and Patient Base

When thinking about buying a dental practice in the UK, it’s crucial to evaluate the reputation and patient base of the practice. This factor can significantly impact the success and profitability of your investment.

A reputable dental practice holds great value. Patients are more likely to trust a practice with a positive image and a history of providing quality care. A strong reputation can attract new patients and help retain existing ones. Conversely, a tarnished reputation can be challenging to rebuild and may require substantial efforts to regain the trust of patients.

Assessing the patient base of the dental practice is equally important. Understanding the demographics, size, and loyalty of the patient base can provide valuable insights into the practice’s true potential for growth and sustainability. A larger patient base means more potential for generating revenue, while a loyal patient base ensures a steady income source.

Conducting thorough due diligence to evaluate the reputation and patient base of the dental practice is essential. This might include analysing patient retention rates, communicating with current patients, and reviewing online reviews. Additionally, consider the location of the practice and its proximity to potential patients, as this can also impact the patient base.

Investing in a dental practice with an established reputation and a strong patient base may come with a higher initial cost, but it can provide a solid foundation for long-term success. When making an investment in a dental practice in the UK, being aware of and considering these aspects will help you make an informed decision.

Staff and Equipment Requirements

When investing in a dental practice, an essential aspect to consider is the staff and equipment requirements. This involves evaluating the existing team, their skills, and ensuring their expertise aligns with the services you plan to offer. Additionally, assessing the current equipment and determining if any upgrades or replacements are necessary is crucial.

Firstly, conducting a thorough assessment of the current staff is significant. Consider their experience, qualifications, and areas of specialisation. Evaluate whether their skills complement your vision for the practice and determine if any additional training may be needed to align with your desired service offerings. Retaining experienced and knowledgeable staff members ensures a smooth transition and helps maintain the trust and loyalty of existing patients.

Next, carefully assess the equipment in the dental practice, including dental chairs, X-ray machines, sterilisation tools, and other daily-use items. Determine the condition, functionality, and adherence to standards and regulations set by the General Dental Council (GDC). Identifying any outdated or faulty equipment is crucial to ensure patient safety and the efficiency of the practice.

Based on the assessment, you may need to invest in new or upgraded equipment. This can be a significant initial expense, but it is essential for providing quality care and maintaining a competitive edge in the industry. Consider budgeting for these costs and explore funding options if necessary.

Additionally, don’t forget to account for any potential training or orientation costs for both you and the staff. If you plan to introduce new procedures or technologies, ensuring that everyone is well-trained and comfortable with these changes is critical.

By carefully assessing the staff and equipment requirements, you can plan for the initial costs of purchasing a dental practice in the UK. This analysis enables you to make informed decisions, budget appropriately, and ensure a smooth transition into your new practice. Ultimately, investing in the right people and equipment sets a solid foundation for success and allows you to provide exceptional dental care to your patients.

Click here to read our guide to building a dental team.

Importance of Conducting a Thorough Valuation

It’s crucial to thoroughly assess a dental practice before deciding to buy it. This step, often overlooked, can significantly impact the success and profit of your investment.

A comprehensive evaluation gives you a clear understanding of the practice’s financial health, market value, and potential for growth. It takes into account factors like the patient base, revenue streams, asset value, and goodwill. By carefully examining these aspects, you can make informed decisions and negotiate a reasonable purchase price.

One of the main benefits of conducting a valuation is that it identifies potential risks or hidden costs associated with the practice. This allows you to assess the practice’s existing obligations, liabilities, and operational expenses, affecting your financial projections and return on investment.

Furthermore, a valuation helps you assess the practice’s growth potential and future profitability. It considers factors such as patient demographics, local competition, and industry trends. Understanding these elements empowers you to make strategic decisions and develop a solid business plan to maximise the practice’s success.

Additionally, a thorough valuation can uncover opportunities for growth and expansion. It may reveal untapped revenue streams, underutilised equipment, or areas where operational efficiencies can be improved. Identifying these valuable opportunities enables you to create a roadmap for growth and implement strategies to enhance the practice’s profitability.

In conclusion, conducting a comprehensive valuation is a crucial step when considering the purchase of a dental practice in the UK. By gaining valuable insights into the practice’s financial health, market value, and growth potential, you can make informed decisions and negotiate a fair purchase price. Understanding the underlying costs through a thorough valuation positions you for long-term success and profit in your dental practice investment.

Determining Fair Market Value

Determining the true value of a dental practice includes evaluating various factors to arrive at a price that accurately reflects the practice’s worth. It is essential to conduct a thorough examination to ensure that you make an informed decision and avoid overpaying for the practice.

Several key elements come into play when calculating the true value. One of the primary considerations is the practice’s financial performance. This includes assessing the practice’s revenue, profitability, and cash flow. A comprehensive review of financial statements, tax records, and other relevant documents will provide valuable insights into the practice’s financial health.

Additionally, the location of the dental practice plays a significant role in determining its value. Practices situated in convenient areas with a high demand for dental services are likely to command higher prices. Factors such as population demographics, competition, and accessibility are crucial in assessing the practice’s location value.

The assets and equipment within the dental practice also contribute to its overall value. A thorough inventory of dental equipment, software systems, and furniture should be conducted to determine their condition, age, and market value. This assessment will help determine the true value of these assets and their impact on the overall cost of the practice.

Moreover, intangible factors like the practice’s reputation, patient base, and goodwill should be considered. A longstanding practice with a loyal patient following and positive reputation within the community may command a higher price due to its intangible value.

To ensure an accurate valuation, it is advisable to engage the services of a professional appraiser or dental practice broker. These experts have the necessary expertise and knowledge of the industry to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the practice. They will consider every significant component and provide a true value estimate based on their findings.

Understanding the true value is crucial when investing in a dental practice in the UK. By carefully assessing the financial performance, location, assets, and intangible factors, you can make an informed decision and negotiate a fair price. Remember, investing in smiles requires a thorough evaluation to ensure a successful and profitable venture.

Considering Future Growth Potential

When considering an investment in a dental practice, it’s crucial to think about its potential for growth in the future. While assessing the initial costs is important, evaluating the long-term prospects of the practice is equally vital.

One aspect to consider is the location of the practice. Is it situated in an area where there’s a growing demand for dental care and an increasing population? Studying the demographics and trends of the local community can provide insights into the potential patient base. Additionally, being close to residential areas, businesses, or schools can facilitate a steady flow of customers.

Furthermore, assessing the current patient base and the potential for expansion is crucial. Are there untapped opportunities to offer additional services or attract a broader range of patients? Understanding the demographics and oral health needs of existing clients can make it easier to identify growth potential and additional revenue streams.

Another element to consider is the competitive landscape. Are there other dental practices nearby? If so, what sets your practice apart, and how can you differentiate yourself to attract and retain patients? Evaluating the competition and identifying unique selling points can help position your practice for future growth.

Analysing the technology and infrastructure of the practice is also crucial. Investing in modern equipment and adopting innovative dental technologies can improve the patient experience and attract new clients. Assessing the flexibility and adaptability of the practice’s facilities can also determine its suitability for growth in the future.

Finally, staying informed about industry trends and advancements is significant for long-term success. Keeping abreast of new treatment options, regulatory changes, and patient preferences can help you adapt and stay competitive. Regularly investing in professional development and staying connected with dental associations and communities can provide valuable insights and growth opportunities.

Considering the future growth potential of a dental practice is essential when evaluating its overall value and investment potential. By thoroughly examining the local market, patient base, competition, infrastructure, and industry trends, you can make an informed decision and ensure a promising future for your dental practice investment.

Assessing Profitability and Cash Flow

Understanding the financial aspects of the practice gives you a clear picture of its potential for growth and success.

A key factor to consider is the historical financial performance of the practice. This involves examining the income and expenses over a specific period to determine its profitability. Look for consistent revenue growth, strong profit margins, and a stable cash flow. These factors indicate the practice’s ability to generate a steady income and cover its operational costs.

Additionally, it’s important to evaluate the ongoing patient base and their loyalty to the practice. Analyse patient retention rates, new patient acquisition, and referral patterns. A loyal and growing patient base contributes to the long-term profitability of the practice.

Moreover, consider the potential for growth and expansion. Examine the demographics of the area and identify any significant opportunities for increasing patient numbers or offering additional services. Assess the competition in the local market and determine if there is room for growth without compromising the profitability of the practice.

In terms of revenue, it is essential to evaluate the practice’s financial obligations, such as loan repayments or lease agreements. Determine whether the revenue generated by the practice is sufficient to cover these costs and leave room for reinvestment or future expansion.

Overall, assessing profitability and cash flow is crucial for making an informed decision when purchasing a dental practice in the UK. Thoroughly analysing the financial aspects ensures that your investment will be long-term profitable and sustainable.

Negotiating the Purchase Price and Terms

When you’re in the process of buying a dental practice in the UK, a crucial step is negotiating the purchase price and terms. This is where your business instincts come into play, and it can significantly impact the initial costs and long-term profitability of your investment.

Firstly, it’s important to conduct a thorough analysis to determine the fair value of the dental practice you’re interested in. This involves examining financial statements, assessing patient demographics, evaluating equipment and technology, and understanding the practice’s reputation in the local community. Armed with this information, you can enter negotiations confidently, knowing the value you bring as a buyer.

During negotiations, consider not only the purchase price but also the specifics of the deal. This includes payment schedules, financing options, and any potential warranties or conditions. Carefully reviewing these terms helps identify areas for negotiation and ensures that the purchase agreement aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Prepare to negotiate, as sellers often initially ask for a higher purchase price. Take into account factors like the practice’s profitability, growth potential, and any necessary investments or improvements. Emphasising these factors can help support a lower purchase price or more favourable terms.

Maintaining open lines of communication with the seller is crucial during negotiations. Clearly express your expectations, concerns, and any specific requests you may have. Remember that negotiation involves a give-and-take process, so be willing to make concessions on certain points while advocating for your own interests.

Engaging a professional, such as a dental practice broker or consultant, can be invaluable during the negotiation process. These experts can provide guidance, facilitate communication between parties, and ensure that all legal and financial aspects are properly addressed.

As you embark on your journey to own a dental practice, effective negotiation of the purchase price and terms can lead to significant cost savings and a more favourable financial outcome. Approach this step with persistence, strategy, and a clear understanding of the value you bring to the table.

Seeking Professional Assistance

When you’re thinking of investing in a dental practice in the UK, seeking professional assistance is crucial. While you may have expertise in dentistry, navigating the complexities of buying a practice requires specific knowledge and expertise in the business and finance field.

One essential professional to consider is a dental practice broker. These experts specialise in the buying and selling of dental practices, connecting buyers with sellers and guiding them through the entire process. A dental practice broker can help you identify suitable practices that align with your goals and preferences, negotiate fair terms, and ensure a smooth transition.

It’s also highly recommended to consult with an experienced dental accountant. They can help you determine a fair purchase price and analyse the practice’s financial records to provide valuable insights into the financial aspects of buying a dental practice. They can also guide you through the tax implications and financial commitments associated with the acquisition.

Working with an expert or legal advisor specialising in dental practice transitions is also essential. They can assist you with the purchase’s legal paperwork, contracts, and agreements to ensure your interests are protected and all legal requirements are met.

Lastly, a dental practice valuer can help you determine the fair market value of the practice. They will assess factors like patient lists, equipment, goodwill, and location to provide an accurate valuation. This information is crucial to making a sound investment and negotiating a fair purchase price.

While seeking professional help may involve additional costs, their expertise and guidance can save you from potential pitfalls and costly mistakes in the long run. Investing in the right team of professionals will provide you with the necessary support and knowledge to make informed decisions during the process of buying a dental practice in the UK.

Evaluating the Seller’s Motivations

When thinking about buying a dental practice in the UK, it’s crucial to understand why the current owner is selling. Knowing the seller’s motivations can provide valuable insights into potential risks and unexpected opportunities associated with the purchase.

One common reason for selling a dental practice is retirement. Many dentists reach a point in their career where they are ready to step back and enjoy their well-deserved retirement. In such cases, the seller might be more willing to negotiate and accommodate the buyer’s needs, as their primary goal is to transition their practice to capable hands smoothly.

Conversely, the seller might be selling their dental practice due to financial or personal challenges. This could indicate underlying issues within the practice, such as declining patient numbers, financial instability, or even conflicts within the team. It’s crucial to thoroughly investigate the reasons for the sale and assess whether these challenges can be overcome or if they pose a significant risk to the success of the practice under new ownership.

Understanding the seller’s long-term goals can provide valuable context. Some sellers may want to sell their practice as part of a larger business strategy, such as expanding into new markets or preparing for retirement. Evaluating how your goals align with the seller’s can help determine if the acquisition is a mutually beneficial opportunity.

It is recommended to conduct thorough due diligence when evaluating the seller’s motivations. Reviewing patient records, interviewing staff, and seeking advice from professionals like dental practice brokers or consultants are all part of this process. By fully understanding the seller’s motives, you can make a more informed decision and mitigate the risks associated with purchasing a dental practice in the UK.

Conducting a Comprehensive Financial Analysis

When considering buying a dental practice in the UK, a crucial step is to thoroughly analyse its finances. This examination allows you to have a comprehensive understanding of the initial costs involved in the investment and helps you make well-informed decisions.

To conduct a thorough financial analysis, you need to gather and examine various financial information related to the dental practice. This includes historical financial statements, tax returns, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets. By reviewing these documents, you can assess the profitability, cash flow, and overall financial health of the practice.

Additionally, it is essential to consider the practice’s existing patient base and revenue streams. Analysing patient demographics, types of treatments, and fee structures can provide insights into the practice’s true potential for growth and sustainability.

Furthermore, evaluating the practice’s assets and liabilities is crucial. This involves assessing the value of dental equipment, lease agreements, and any outstanding loans or debts. Knowing the financial obligations helps you determine how much capital is required for the practice.

In addition to current financial data, you should also consider future projections and potential opportunities. This includes analysing market trends, competition, and regulatory changes that may impact the dental industry. Anticipating potential challenges allows you to better assess the practice’s long-term financial viability.

Conducting a comprehensive financial analysis requires attention to detail and expertise in financial management. Seeking guidance from a qualified accountant or financial advisor experienced in dental practice acquisitions can provide valuable insights and ensure accuracy in your analysis.

Remember, investing in a dental practice is not just about the purchase price. It involves understanding the financial landscape, evaluating risks and opportunities, and making informed decisions based on a thorough financial analysis. By doing so, you can position yourself well and make a sound investment in the rewarding field of dentistry.

Financial Considerations Beyond the Initial Costs

When thinking about investing in a dental practice, it’s crucial to realise that the financial considerations go beyond the initial costs. While acquiring a dental practice involves expenses like acquisition costs, equipment purchases, and legal fees, it’s important to consider the ongoing financial commitments that come with owning a dental practice in the UK.

One significant ongoing expense is staff salaries. Dental hygienists, dental assistants, receptionists, and other administrative staff will all be necessary for your dental practice. The success of your practice relies on being able to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain top talent.

Another significant financial consideration is the cost of maintaining and upgrading equipment. Dental technology is constantly evolving, so investing in cutting-edge equipment is essential to providing high-quality care to your patients. However, staying up to date with the latest advancements can be costly, so it’s crucial to factor in these costs when budgeting for your dental practice.

You should also take into consideration the expenses associated with advertising and marketing your dental practice. Establishing a strong presence, creating a professional website, and investing in marketing campaigns are essential for attracting new patients and growing your practice. Allocating a portion of your budget to these activities is crucial for long-term success.

Additionally, don’t forget about ongoing professional development and training for yourself and your staff. Continuing education is essential in the dental field to stay updated on the latest techniques and advancements. Budgeting for training opportunities and conferences will ensure that you and your team can provide the best possible care to your patients.

Finally, don’t overlook the importance of maintaining adequate insurance coverage. Professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance, and other forms of coverage are necessary to protect your practice from unforeseen circumstances and potential legal issues. Accounting for insurance premium costs is essential to safeguard your investment.

In conclusion, when investing in a dental practice, considering the financial aspects beyond the initial costs is vital. Understanding the ongoing expenses related to staff salaries, equipment maintenance and upgrades, marketing, training, and insurance will help you make informed decisions and ensure the long-term success of your dental practice.

Working Capital Requirements

When thinking about the initial costs of buying a dental practice in the UK, it’s crucial to grasp the concept of working capital. Working capital refers to the funds needed to cover the day-to-day operations of the practice until it becomes self-sufficient.

Managing cash flow is a key component of working capital. As a new practice owner, you need enough funds to handle expenses like rent, utilities, salaries, and supplies while waiting for revenue to start coming in. Understanding the current cash flow situation of the practice you’re acquiring and projecting future revenue based on historical data and growth expectations is essential.

Another aspect to consider is the potential need for additional working capital to invest in marketing and advertising efforts to attract new patients. Building a clientele takes time, and investing in effective marketing strategies can help raise awareness and increase patient traffic to your practice.

Additionally, it’s crucial to assess any outstanding liabilities or obligations associated with the practice you’re purchasing. This includes accounts payable, outstanding loans, and any other pending financial commitments. Understanding and factoring in these liabilities in your working capital requirements is vital to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any unexpected financial pressures.

Moreover, having a cushion of working capital is advisable to handle unforeseen circumstances or emergencies that may arise during the initial stages of practice ownership. This can provide inner peace of mind and allow you to focus on delivering quality dental care without worrying about financial constraints.

In conclusion, understanding the working capital requirements of buying a dental practice in the UK is essential for a successful transition into practice ownership. By accurately assessing cash flow, allocating funds for marketing efforts, addressing outstanding liabilities, and having a buffer of working capital, you can navigate the initial costs and establish a solid foundation for long-term success.

Click here to read A Guide to Working Capital Finance.

Marketing and Branding Expenses

When you’re thinking about the upfront costs of buying a dental practice in the UK, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of marketing and branding expenses. Investing in building and expanding your brand presence is essential for attracting new patients and creating a loyal client base.

Creating a professional and visually appealing logo and brand identity should be one of your top priorities. This investment may require an upfront cost, such as hiring a graphic designer or a branding agency, but it pays off in the long run by establishing a recognizable and trustworthy image for your practice.

In addition to your logo and brand identity, having a user-friendly and mobile-responsive website is crucial. Your website serves as a virtual front door for your practice, and it’s often the first interaction potential patients have with your brand. Allocate a budget for web design and development, ensuring that it’s visually appealing, easy to navigate, and informative.

Once your branding and website are in place, it’s time to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. This may involve various channels such as online advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and traditional advertising methods like print ads or local sponsorships.

Online marketing holds particular importance in today’s digital age. Allocate resources for targeted online marketing campaigns on platforms like Google Ads or social media, which can help you reach your target audience effectively. Additionally, investing in SEO can boost organic traffic to your website by enhancing its visibility in search engine results.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Establishing a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn can provide you with a direct line of communication with your current and potential patients. Consider allocating a portion of your marketing budget to creating engaging content, running social media ads, and interacting with your audience through regular posts and updates.

Remember, marketing and branding costs should be viewed as an investment in the growth and success of your dental practice. By allocating a reasonable budget and implementing effective strategies, you can increase brand awareness, attract new patients, and ultimately generate a positive return on your investment.

Click here to access our articles and webinars on dental practice marketing.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Ongoing learning and improving professional skills are crucial aspects of buying and managing a successful dental practice in the UK. As a dental professional, staying updated with the latest advancements, techniques, and best practices in the field is essential. This ensures that you provide the best possible care to your patients and keeps your practice competitive in the ever-evolving dental industry.

Investing in continuing education may involve a financial commitment, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial costs. Attending courses, workshops, and conferences provides an opportunity to learn from industry experts, gain new insights, and expand your skill set. These educational experiences can increase your practice’s revenue potential by equipping you with the knowledge and expertise needed to offer a broader range of services to your patients.

Moreover, continuing education isn’t limited to clinical skills alone. It also encompasses areas such as practice management, communication skills, and patient care. By investing in these aspects, you can enhance the overall patient experience, build stronger relationships with your client base, and foster a positive reputation within your community.

Furthermore, ongoing professional development allows you to stay up-to-date with any changes in regulations, compliance standards, or technological advancements that may impact the dental industry. By staying informed, you can ensure that your practice remains compliant, efficient, and at the forefront of dental innovation.

While continuing education and professional development may require an initial financial investment, viewing it as a long-term strategy for the growth and advancement of your dental practice is essential. By consistently improving your skills, knowledge, and practice management abilities, you position yourself for continued success in the dynamic and competitive dental field. Embrace the excellent opportunity to invest in your professional growth, as it will ultimately contribute to the overall success and profitability of your dental practice.

Risks and Challenges Associated with Buying a Dental Practice

It’s crucial to understand the potential risks and challenges that might arise. While the opportunity may seem exciting, it’s important to approach it with caution and be mindful of potential obstacles.

One significant risk in acquiring a dental practice revolves around the financial aspect. Purchasing a practice requires a substantial investment, covering upfront expenses like the purchase price, legal fees, and possible costs for renovations or equipment upgrades. Conducting a thorough financial analysis is vital to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover these expenses.

Another potential challenge involves unexpected complications during the transition process. This includes issues related to staff retention, patient retention, and seamlessly integrating the new practice with existing systems and processes. Having a solid plan in place to address these challenges is crucial for ensuring a smooth transition for both staff and patients.

Compliance and regulatory risks are also considerations when buying a dental practice. This involves adhering to various legal requirements, licensing regulations, and ensuring compliance with guidelines from the General Dental Council (GDC). Seeking advice from legal and professional advisors specialising in dental practice acquisitions is essential to navigate these complexities effectively.

Market competition can pose challenges, particularly if the acquired practice is located in an area with a high saturation of dental services. Understanding the dynamics of the local market, patient demographics, and competition landscape is essential for success. Conducting a thorough market analysis and developing a strategic marketing plan can help mitigate these risks.

Ultimately, the overall success of the acquired dental practice depends on your ability to effectively manage and grow the business. This includes efficient practice management, adapting to changing market trends, and meeting evolving patient demands. Having a clear vision and strategic plan for the future of the practice is crucial to ensure its long-term sustainability.

In summary, while purchasing a dental practice in the UK can be a rewarding investment, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and challenges associated with it. Thorough due diligence, seeking guidance from experts, and developing a comprehensive strategy can help reduce these risks and increase the likelihood of a successful acquisition.

Buying a Dental Practice: Get Started

When buying a dental practice (especially if it’s for the first time), you need the competent hands of qualified professionals. Not only have we been helping the UK’s dentists to buy, start and sell dental practices for over 20 years, we are dental practice owners ourselves! We know what it takes to buy the right dental practice, we can help you find it, buy it and get it up and running.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help buy your dream practice.

With Samera Business Advisors you can rest easy knowing that your investment is secure and your future is brighter. Contact us today so we can help plan for your tomorrow.

Learn More: Buying a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the buying a dental practice section of our Learning Centre like the Guide to Buying a Dental Practice.

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10 Essential Cyber Security Steps for Dentists

How to Protect Your Dental Practice Online

Cyber security for dentists is a crucial, but largely over-looked, aspect of running a dental practice. Your computers, devices and networks hold confidential patient data and sensitive dental records.

With the rise of cyber attacks on medical businesses, the increasing reliance on the cloud for storage & processing and the introduction of legislation like GDPR, it is essential that dentists make sure they have a strategy for cyber security and protecting their digital information.

Cyber Security Threats to Healthcare Businesses

In this webinar, Arun and George discuss several cyber security issues which pose a threat to your healthcare business online.

Please click here to find out more about cybersecurity threats.

Preventing cyber attacks

Security Products

An essential part of any prevention of cyber attacks is using some sort of Anti-Virus software. This is a major contributor to compromises. A decent Anti-Virus software will quarantine a malicious file and ensure it does not have access to a computer, potentially compromising it.

An Anti-Virus works by scanning files or code that being passed through your network. Depending on the company. They build an extensive database of already known viruses and malware and matches the files to these in their database and decides whether to quarantine the file or not.

Hardware

Users can install a Firewall which is essentially a virtual wall that chooses to allow or decline traffic through your network.

Much like antivirus software’s, Firewalls scan packets for malicious code or attack vectors that have already been identified as established threats. Should a data packet be flagged and determined to be a security risk, the firewall prevents it from entering the network or reaching your computer.

Training

The number one way to prevent cyber attacks is training. It has been said that your own staff are the biggest threat to any business. All it takes is one staff member to click on a link and that can be the entire network compromised. Of course the computers will have an anti-virus which should block any virus that has been allowed to access the computer. But why increase your body armour when you can take the bullets out of the gun?

Phishing

Spotting a Phishing Email

There are 3 main traits to look out for with Phishing Emails.

  1. Urgency – Using tight deadlines to create a sense of urgency that distracts you from the rest of the message and pressures you into acting quickly.
  2. Authority – Using the authority of the sender, such as by pretending to be a senior executive, trusted colleague, or reliable company, to convince you that the message comes from a trustworthy source.
  3. Imitation – Exploiting ‘normal’ business communications, processes, and daily habits to trick you into reacting to a message. Check who the email is addressed to, if it’s ‘friend’ or ‘valued customer’, then this might be because the sender doesn’t know you.

Passwords

An obvious one; but having a secure password can be the difference between access and no access.

Nowadays websites ask for a secure password, this includes at least; one capital letter, 6 lowercase letters, and one number. Usually, people like to be able to remember their password so they will use personal names and dates.

A great method for a secure password is using the ‘Three Random Word’ method, this entails of using three completely random words, followed by ideally a random number, but any number would do, even a significant date. Using three different words will greatly increase the prevention for brute force attacks.

Example:

Joe Bloggs has a child names Sarah who was born 14/05/07.

Most commonly the password Joe will use is Sarah140507, this way Joe has ticked all the boxes for the website, and its easy to remember. But this password is not very secure.

As of Sept 2021, 78% of the UK population are regular social media users.

Joe Bloggs posted a picture of a birthday dinner for his daughter Sarah on Facebook on 14/05/18 saying, “Happy Birthday Sarah, 11 today!!”. See the issue? Joe told a wannabe hacker exactly the date of his daughters’ birthday. Using a brute force attack, the hacker can now try to force his way into Joe’s account(s) using the information he has gathered.

Read more about cyber threats here.

Allocate responsibilities in your dental practice

When it comes to computer security in a dental practice, it’s crucial to identify what must be done and allocate exactly which team members are responsible for those tasks.

Overall responsibility should rest with a senior manager who has a broad view of all the risks and how to tackle them.

Other individuals can handle particular aspects. For instance, installing security software.

Management should identify which information and technology is really vital to the business, this is where the big risks lie.

For example, damage to your dental practice’s financial or clinical system, or the loss of your dental patient list, could lead to the complete failure of the business.

Other information may be less important. Equally, some computers are probably more critical, or more vulnerable, than others.

Identifying the risks, then establishing what security measures already exist and whether they work, and what extra ones are required, will help you to target your security efforts where they are most needed in your dental practice.

Action: Make a list of all the cyber security steps that need to be taken and make a spreadsheet allocating these tasks to specific members of staff.

Protect your computers and networks in your dental practice

Malicious activity could come from outside or inside your dental practice. Attacks from outside, for example by troublemaking hackers or e even competitors, can be protected against simply by installing a firewall.

This is software or hardware which examines all the computer communications flowing in and out of the business, and decides whether it’s safe to let them through. It can also be used to manage your staff’s internet activity. For instance, by blocking access to chat sites where employees might encounter security risks.

You can configure (set-up) the firewall to allow or prevent certain kinds of activity. There are several different kinds of firewall. The router supplied by your Internet service provider (ISP) may already have one built-in, or you can buy a software firewall solution.

Protecting against illicit activity from inside the dental practice requires other precautions we’ll look at elsewhere in this supplement. All of these also provide extra protection against attacks from outside.

Action: Install a firewall to protect your networks and possibly restrict staff and patient usage of the internet in the dental practice.

Keep your dental practice’s computers and devices up-to-date

Suppliers of PCs, software, and operating systems, such as Windows, frequently issue software updates (patches) to fix minor problems (bugs) or improve security. It’s essential to keep all of the computers in your dental practice (and other devices) up-to-date with the latest patches and software updates.

Normally, they can be downloaded and installed automatically. Remember that just one vulnerable computer puts all the others at risk. It’s important to ensure that all available patches are applied to all of them.

Action: Check for software updates on all the devices in your dental practice and upgrade hardware that is outdated.

Control employee access to computers and dental records

Although your computers should be guarded by a firewall, you should still protect user accounts (each person’s ‘identity’ with which they log on to a computer) and sensitive documents with passwords.

Because each individual should have a unique user name and a password, access to different parts of your IT system can be limited to certain people. It is important to remember that some individuals may have more than one user name and password, perhaps if they have multiple roles.

This not only protects against accidental or intentional damage by staff to systems and information, it also provides further security against outside intrusions. To achieve this, you can use security options built in to operating systems such as Windows, or you can buy specialised software online.

Because you identified your biggest security risks and most vital information in Step 1, you can decide whether password control for a given item should be basic (for instance, one password authorising access to an entire computer) or stronger (each document or application requiring a separate password).

Some individuals designated as computer administrators (admins) may be given access to nearly everything, in order to perform technical work. You should keep the number of admins to a minimum.

Security software will usually generate records showing which employees have used particular computers or documents at different times. This can be useful for pinpointing problems, but access to these records should, of course, be tightly limited – otherwise, people misusing the system could alter them to cover their tracks.

You can find out more about patient data and record keeping on the BDA website here.

Action: Set up your employee profiles on your CRM, website administration and any other online data storage in your dental practice. Make sure you assign the appropriate roles to each team member.

Protect against computer viruses in your dental practice

Malicious software or ‘malware’ (a category including viruses, Trojans and spyware) may not always be as devastating as the headlines suggest, but can still slow down your systems dramatically, and passing them on to customers will win you no friends.

Fortunately, there is plenty of protection available. Your computers may have been sold with anti-virus software (the generic term, although most products also protect against other kinds of malware). If not, you can easily buy it.

This software regularly scans a computer in search of malware, deleting any that is found. Regular updates to head off new threats are key to anti-virus software. So this is one area where it does pay to stick to the big brand names and to ensure that the software is set to receive updates as regularly as possible (ideally daily).

Action: Install and run anti-virus software on all your devices regularly to check for any issues or threats.

Extend security beyond the office or dental practice

Today’s employees sometimes work from home or on the road between dental practice sites using their own laptops, phones and tablets. It is difficult to extend the same level of security you can apply to office computers to these devices.

But, you can reduce risk by requiring any personal equipment used for work is approved first by management or IT. It should have the minimum of anti-virus software, password protection and (where applicable) a firewall.

To protect against unauthorised access to information when a device is mislaid or stolen, it should be possible to delete all the information (“wipe” it), even when you don’t have the device.

This capability is built into newer models; software can also be bought to perform remote wiping, but this must be installed before the device is lost. Ensuring the sensitive data is kept in an encrypted area (see section 7) of the computer or device will stop most attempts to access data.

This is easy to set up using off-the-shelf software. Beware of the dangers when connecting to unencrypted public WIFI, as hackers can intercept data. Check the hotspot is genuine and make sure file sharing is off and the firewall is on.

Action: Conduct a review of all the devices your employees use to access or store patient data or dental records. Make sure they all have the proper anti-virus, firewall and data protection features.

Remember the disks and drives you need to protect in your dental practice

Removable disks and drives, such as DVDs and USB sticks, pose security risks in two ways. They can introduce malware into your computers, and they can be mislaid when containing sensitive information.

Ensure that as far as possible, only disks and drives owned by your dental practice are used with your computers. Discourage employees from using them in third parties’ computers (in Internet cafes for example), and set up anti-malware software to scan them whenever they are used in the office.

Action: Establish a plan to track who has possession of each disk or drive at any given time, what information is contained on them and check that all documents are erased from them after use.

Plan for the worst

Following the measures in this guide will help you protect against a major security breach. But no system is 100% secure, so it’s worth planning what you’d do if things went badly wrong. First, define what is ‘major’ for you. Something that puts a non-critical department of the business offline for a couple of hours probably isn’t. But something that prevents you serving customers, or performing vital functions such as payroll, will be.

Establish how you will know that there’s a problem. You shouldn’t have to wait for computers to go down; your firewall or anti-virus software, for example, may provide advance warning that something unusual is going on. Plan your next steps.

What help (perhaps a specialist computer company) should you call in? Do you need to contact key dental patients or suppliers to explain that there is a problem? Can some functions be continued using other computers, or pen and paper, while your systems are repaired?

Finally, ensure that it’s clear who is responsible for doing what in an emergency. Your plan can be laid out in a document, and delivered in training sessions. It may incorporate elements of your plans for other disasters, such as a fire on your premises, and cut-down versions can be applied to less damaging computer incidents.

Action: Create a strategy for how your dental practice will handle a major breach of patient data or dental records. Identify your biggest risks and create an emergency contingency plan.

Educate your dental team about cyber security for dentists

Tell everyone in the business why security matters, and how they can help, using training sessions and written policy documents. This will encourage them to follow practices such as regular password changes. Most will not have to actively work at security. They’ll simply need to be aware of risks. For example, knowing that they should never click on a web link or attachment in an email from an unfamiliar source.

There are non-technical risks, too. One is social engineering, where hackers try to trick employees into revealing technical details that make your computers vulnerable. For example, a hacker might pretend to work for your computer supplier and claim they need passwords to perform maintenance. The casual atmosphere of social media such as Facebook could be conducive to such deceptions, so employees should be especially wary of discussing your systems and practices on social media.

Action: Create a training session to educate your team on their responsibilities and duties regarding dental records and patient data. Deliver this programme regularly.

Keep records and test your dental practice’s cyber security regularly

Security is an ongoing process, not a one-off fix. So it’s important to keep clear records. For example, the decision-making in Step 1 of this guide could help you produce a list of all your hardware and software, along with an indication of how secure each item needs to be.

Similarly, records of software patches and lists of authorised personal devices will help build up a picture of your business’s security status, spot potential weak points, and figure out how any problems arose. Good record keeping will also help you regularly test all your security measures, and ensure that you have functioning, up-to-date software. Any business is only as secure as its weakest link, and testing will make sure that no weaknesses are overlooked.

Action: Create a cyber security strategy for your dental practice by following the steps listed here, creating a plan for each task and regularly testing your systems and strategies.

you can find out more articles on Samera learning centre.

Our Expert Opinion

“Cyber security is hugely important for every business. It’s doubly important for healthcare businesses because they handle patient data as well as their own financial data. If I were to ask you what your cyber security protocol is and you can’t answer off the top of your head – your business is in danger. You can’t rely on a simple anti virus programme. You can’t rely on a simple back-up. You honestly really need to take cyber security seriously.

If the NHS can get hacked then a small dental practice certainly can! It’s not just about hackers either. We at Samera suffered data issues when a fire broke out at one of the servers we were using for back-ups in France. Since then we’ve used a triple back-up system to make sure it never happens again. Don’t take any risks with yours or your patient’s data. Sort your cyber security out as soon as possible – your business could very well depend on it!”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Get Started: Cyber Security for Healthcare

Cyber security is an essential part of keeping your patients, data and business protected online.

With Samera Cyber Security, you get the tools you need, the know-how to use them and digital copies of all your data. This three-pronged approach means you can keep your business safe and your data safe.

Contact us today to find out more about how our cyber security training, digital protection products and back-up contingencies can help you.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Asset Finance for your Practice

Click here to read our blog on How to finance a healthcare business.

Business Loans for Healthcare Businesses

We’ve been helping to fund the future of British healthcare businesses for over 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

For more information on raising finance for your healthcare business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles and webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Reasons for selling a dental practice

There has been considerable growth and demand in the dental practice market over the last few years, recognised as one of the strongest growing trading sectors, with a growth of 12.3% in 2017. The demand and interest of financial investors makes it an attractive time for a practice to join over 400 others that come to the market in the UK each year.

The marketplace is diverse, with around 12% of UK practices being owned by large Dental Body Corporates. For single site practices completion prices average at around x6 and x7 EBITDA. I’ll take a look at EBITDA in more detail a little later. For now, it’s sufficient to say that there is money to be made from selling a practice, if the process is completed in the right way.

So, is selling the best option? It’s up to the individual to answer that question. There could be several reasons why deciding to sell is a suitable option.

Action Point

The dental practice market has seen significant growth, with over 400 practices hitting the UK market annually, attracting financial investors. Single-site practices fetch completion prices averaging x6 to x7 EBITDA. Whether selling is the best option depends on individual circumstances, but there’s definite profit potential if approached right.

Retiring from dental practice

Planning for retirement from dentistry can be difficult. There is no legal requirement to stop  at a certain age, so it can be tempting to simply carry on. I’ve spoken to several clients about this over the years, and produced some advice to help with the decision. The fact is that at some point, slowing down has to be a consideration. There is a choice available that involves selling the practice, often to a corporate buyer or an existing Dental associate, and continuing as an associate, in the short term. This can make transitioning to retirement a lot easier.

Action Point

Retiring from dental practice can be challenging, with no legal obligation to stop at a certain age. However, considering slowing down becomes inevitable. Selling the practice, often to a corporate buyer or an existing associate, and transitioning to being an associate in the short term can ease the retirement process.

Selling a dental practice due to health issues and burn out

I recently read an interesting survey in the British Dental Journal which referenced the fact that “High levels of stress and burnout were found in UK dentists.”(2) There can be many reasons why this stress emerges, including high levels of regulation and fear of litigation. The fact is owning and running a dental practice can become a burden if stress has become an issue, or if other health issues are present.

Quality of life is important, and for anyone who is suffering from ill-health or burnout, selling the practice, and moving on to something new, may be a good idea.

Action Point

Selling a dental practice due to health issues or burnout is a valid consideration, given the high-stress levels among UK dentists. Regulatory pressures and fears of litigation can exacerbate these issues, making practice ownership burdensome. Prioritizing the quality of life is crucial, and selling the practice to pursue new opportunities may be the right choice for those experiencing health challenges or burnout.

Contact us to find out more

The burden of legislation and the CQC

I’ve already touched on the fact that legislative considerations are becoming more of a burden in the world of dentistry. The constant number of regulatory changes, especially involving the CQC, are causing many people to feel as though they do not have enough time to concentrate on actually being a dentist. Escaping from these pressures can be reason enough to sell.

Action Point

The increasing burden of legislation, particularly from regulatory bodies like the CQC, is causing many dentists to feel overwhelmed and stretched thin. The constant changes and compliance requirements can detract from the actual practice of dentistry, prompting some to consider selling their practices as a means of escaping these pressures.

Selling a dental practice to relocate

Selling can simply be a practical consideration, if a dental professional is looking to relocate. This can involve moving to an area of the country where profits are likely to increase, or moving abroad. Either way, the money from the sale comes in useful.

Action Point

Selling a dental practice to relocate, whether to a more lucrative area or abroad, can be a practical decision driven by personal or professional reasons. In such cases, the proceeds from the sale can be instrumental in facilitating the move.

Changing career direction

It’s a fact that less people are choosing dentistry as a career. You can take a look at more information about this. There are many pressures in the world of dentistry which are undoubtedly a contributing factor and which can also contribute to many current dentists looking for a change of career, and selling a practice as a result. With the future of the NHS so uncertain, many dental professionals are selling up and looking to invest their money elsewhere.

If one or more of these circumstances apply, it may be time to think about selling. However, it’s not a decision that should ever be taken lightly, and the timing of the sale also needs to be considered.

Action Plan

Changing career direction is becoming increasingly common among dentists due to various pressures within the industry, including uncertainties surrounding the NHS. Selling a practice may be a strategic move for those seeking to invest elsewhere or pursue alternative career paths, although it requires careful consideration and timing.

Click here to read our articles on Samera Learning Centre.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Issues in the selling process

It’s useful to know about potential delays and issues in the selling process of a dental practice. Knowing them gives the seller the opportunity to take mitigating action, to reduce the risk of delays occurring.

Dealing with the CQC

I wanted to give special mention to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at this point because dealing with the CQC can be the cause of major delays in the process of selling a dental practice; up to three months on some occasions.

The cause of these delays is usually that either the buyer or seller does not have an up to date DBS check ready to submit, or that the practice has not recently been subject to a CQC inspection.

Anyone who is buying or selling a practice needs to ensure that they have a DBS certificate that is valid for at least six months. It can take several weeks to get a new certificate so this needs to be checked before the sale process starts.

The sale process also involves the de-registration with the CQC of the current owner and the registration of the new owner. Once this has happened, the CQC will normally conduct a visit within the first few weeks of the new owner taking over.

Action Point

Navigating the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is crucial when selling a dental practice, as outdated DBS checks or lack of recent inspections can cause significant delays. Ensuring valid certificates and timely de-registration and re-registration are essential for a smooth transition, with a post-sale CQC visit usually following soon after the ownership transfer.

Potential property issues in the selling process

If the dental practice that is being sold is leasehold, it’s important to think about the length of the lease. Most buyers want to purchase a practice where there is at least 15 years to run on the lease. If the remaining length of lease is less than this a discussion should be had with the landlord, asking whether the length of the lease can be extended.

This discussion should take place as soon as the owner of the dental practice makes a decision to sell. Delaying the conversation can lead to significant delays in the sale process, down the line.

Action Plan

Ensuring an adequate remaining lease term is crucial when selling a leasehold dental practice, with most buyers preferring at least 15 years remaining. Promptly discussing lease extensions with the landlord upon deciding to sell prevents potential delays in the sale process.

Incorporation without agreement with the NHS

One issue which I have come across many times is when practices incorporate without seeking permission from the NHS first. If an NHS contract is in place in the name of an individual practitioner, it’s not valid if the practice is incorporated into a limited company. This is because NHS contracts specifically state that ownership of the contract cannot be transferred. If permission is not sought, it’s possible that the NHS contract will be withdrawn and the UDAs put out to tender. This is obviously a serious situation that should be avoided by simply taking steps to inform the NHS about the changes in the first place. In this situation we strongly suggest you seek legal and professional assistance.

Action Plan

Incorporating a dental practice without prior NHS approval can invalidate existing contracts and lead to contract withdrawal, requiring tendering for UDAs. Seeking legal and professional guidance is strongly advised to avoid such serious consequences.

Click here to read our articles.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Is it the best time to sell a dental practice?

For anyone thinking of selling a dental practice, I would say now is a good time to do it. There is a higher number of potential buyers than there are practices for sale, so the chances of getting plenty of interest are high. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that it’s the right time to sell. There are several other factors to be taken into account.

Is the business in a good situation?

The best time to sell a dental practice is when it’s doing well. It’s tempting to just stay on board for a little longer when this is the case, but it’s worth remembering that factors which mean that the business is doing well are likely to be attractive to potential buyers, making it easier to sell the practice at a good price. Holding off on the sale could be a bad move as the situation may not be as good in the future. For instance, more competition may move into the area, turning a practice for sale into a less attractive proposition.

Is selling the best thing for the immediate future?

Having said that holding off on a sale may be a bad thing; it’s also not a good idea to jump straight in with both feet. It’s important to make sure that plans are in place, for the immediate future and beyond, and that selling the practice really is the best choice. Think about considerations such as:

  • Is there a robust financial plan in place, for life post practice ownership?
  • Is there still an opportunity to work as an associate if required?
  • Is a change of lifestyle really the best choice, is stepping away going to be too difficult?

Once a practice is sold, it’s too late for a change of mind, so it’s important to be certain about a decision to sell.

Action Plan

Selling a dental practice is most advantageous when it’s thriving, as attractive factors to buyers can secure a better price; however, rushing into a sale without considering future plans and potential lifestyle changes could be detrimental, necessitating a careful assessment of financial stability and personal readiness before making a decision.

What analysis and planning has taken place?

Any decision that is made about selling a dental practice needs to be backed up by analysis and planning, It’s not good enough to simply wake up one morning and decide that a change of career path is needed, and the practice must be sold to fund it. This is likely to lead to an impulse listing for sale which is never a good idea.

Lack of planning means that the practice may have to be withdrawn from sale, and this can be seriously damaging to a reputation. It can also make it more difficult to sell the practice if it’s re-listed as potential buyers automatically think that there is something wrong with it.

Speaking to an experienced team of advisors, such Samera, is often a good idea at this point. I know I have helped plenty of clients to see the wood from the trees in the past, and encouraged them to consider the market, prices and future financial planning before making a decision to sell.

Action Plan

Any decision to sell a dental practice should be supported by thorough analysis and planning to avoid impulsive decisions or reputational damage. Consulting experienced advisors like Samera can help provide insights into market dynamics, pricing, and future financial planning, ensuring a well-considered approach to the sale process.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Associated costs that buyers will scrutinise

It’s not just the basic value of a business that factor in to a potential buyer’s decision. I have certainly noticed over the last few years, that buyers are a lot more savvy when it comes to the business aspect of owning a dental practice. Profit is king. This is why there are so many other associated costs which are scrutinized by anyone looking to buy a dental practice, and which sellers need to be aware of.

The value of an NHS contract

For any practice that has an NHS contract in place, it’s not that just the value of the contract that will come in for scrutiny. Units of Dental Activity (UDA) performance is also likely to be considered by most buyers. They want to see that performance is good, as poor performance can put pressure on funding. If a UDA target has been missed by more than the 4% tolerance level it’s possible that any offer made will be based on the level of performance and not on the value of the contract.

Cost of support staff

It’s important to look at staffing costs before a dental practice is placed on the market. These costs represent significant outlay, and potential buyers could be put off if they are higher than would normally be expected. Generally, it’s normal for the cost of support staff to be around 15-16% of total revenue. Most successful practices should already have a measure of this situation as operating costs should already be optimised.

Associate costs

Associate costs are an essential factor when determining the profitability of a practice. This is why they are likely to be one of the first costs that is scrutinized by potential buyers. When selling a practice, it’s important to be able to provide a breakdown of the salary of each dentist, as well as the income created by their activities.

Hygienists and therapists’ income and costs

The income and related costs associated with hygienists and therapists employed at the practice will normally be considered separately by buyers. This is because some of the services they provided come at a lower cost than when they are provided by associates and can generate a similar level of income.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Retained principal and property costs

There are other costs which may factor in the decision making process of a buyer. Two of the main ones are:

  • The cost of a retained principal who will normally take earnings as a dividend, or from the profits of the business.
  • Associated rental costs. Most buyers will check to see if they are competitive.

Sell your Dental Practice with Samera

If you’re thinking about selling your dental practice then Samera can help make sure that you find the right buyer and the best price for your business. If you want to get the best price possible when you sell your dental practice, you need to build the value and grow the revenue to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Book your free consultation to find out how you can grow the value of your practice before you sell.

More on Selling a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the selling a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Sell a Dental Practice in 9 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Retaining New Dental Patients

Every dental practice needs to attract and retain new dental patients in order to secure the revenue required to grow. Knowing how to do this is mostly common sense, but there are some essential points that it can be easy to forget when distracted by the setting up and day to day running of a dental surgery.

A good first impression is vital

It’s very difficult to get back on track once a bad first impression has been made. It’s important that staff are reminded to be professional and courteous at all times. This can be difficult, if there are things on their mind, but it’s an essential part of the job.

The waiting area you provide is also important, when it comes to making a good impression on new patients. It should be welcoming and friendly. It may be a good idea to use extras, such as plants, a children’s play zone or a fish tank, to make people feel more at home. This type of environment is especially important for any patient who is nervous on their first visit to the surgery.

Action Point

Creating a positive first impression is crucial for dental practices, as it sets the tone for the patient’s entire experience. Staff should always maintain professionalism and courtesy, regardless of any personal distractions. Additionally, the waiting area should be inviting and comfortable, with amenities like plants, a children’s play area, or a fish tank to help patients feel at ease. This is particularly important for nervous patients, ensuring they feel welcomed and relaxed during their visit.

Be engaging with patients

There is a fine line between remaining professional and developing a rapport with patients. Obviously, no dental professional wants to be best friends with everyone they meet, but some friendly interaction is a good thing. For instance, if a patient has mentioned moving to a new home when they last visited, it may be a good idea to ask how they have settled in.

No-one expects dental professionals to remember every detail about every patient but even asking about little things can make a patient feel more like a person that matters and not just a number. There are few things worse for a nervous patient than visiting a dentist who seems distant and uninterested, so it’s worth making the effort.

Action Point

Building a rapport with patients is essential for creating a comfortable and trusting environment in dental practices. While maintaining professionalism, it’s important to engage with patients on a personal level. This can include remembering details about their lives and asking about their well-being, such as inquiring about their recent move to a new home. These small gestures show patients that they are valued individuals, not just numbers, and can help alleviate nervousness during dental visits.

Use friendly prompts

Like any business, it’s a good idea for a dental practice to maintain contact with patients. People have busy lives, and they tend to put actions like going to the dentist to the bottom of the pile. It’s a good idea to remind patients that it’s time to book an appointment for a check-up. Do not be too demanding; a brief and friendly phone call, text or email will do. The rest is up to them.

Action Point

Maintaining regular communication with patients through friendly prompts, such as phone calls or emails, is key to ensuring they stay engaged with your practice and prioritize their oral health. These reminders help patients feel cared for without being overly intrusive.

Monitor patient retention

Playing it by ear, when it comes to patient retention, does not work. It’s important to monitor retention rates. A dental professional who is looking to scale their practice needs to aim for high retention rights, as well as attracting new patients. If retention rates are down at 50-60% then it’s really time to worry. There is obviously a problem that is causing people to look elsewhere for dental treatment.

The best way to determine if any improvements are required, to the practice environment, patient care or treatment, is to ask the patients themselves. Regular patient surveys are a good idea, and can identify issues that may not be apparent to the team at the practice. They are especially important if there is obviously an issue with retention.

It’s impossible to grow a dental practice without retaining new dental patients, so careful consideration of these points is essential.

Action Point

Monitoring patient retention rates is crucial for dental practices aiming to scale their operations. Retention rates below 50-60% signal potential issues driving patients to seek treatment elsewhere. Regular patient surveys help identify underlying problems, guiding improvements to practice environment, care, and treatment, ultimately fostering growth.

Check out Samera Learning Centre

Contact us to find out more

The importance of remarketing

Remarketing means marketing specifically to people who have interacted with your business in some way. Remarketing is essential to every business (not just dental practices) when it comes to building a relationship with a new customer and ensuring they return.

One of the ways you can market to people who have interacted with your business in some way (known in marketing and sales circles as warm audiences) is to send them Facebook and Google ads.

Both Facebook and Google give you the option to only show certain ads to people who have been on specific pages. For instance, you can show Invisalign ads only to people who have visited your Invisalign pages.

Another way to remarket is to upload your patient email list to Facebook. This way, if they have a Facebook account you will be able to send them ads, keep your brand in their mind and notify them of any updates, offers or discounts.

Action Point

Remarketing is vital for fostering connections with potential customers and enticing their return. By using platforms like Facebook and Google, businesses can target tailored ads to individuals who have engaged with their brand previously, enhancing personalization. Uploading patient email lists to platforms like Facebook further facilitates ongoing communication, ensuring patients stay informed about updates, promotions, or discounts.

You can find out more about using PPC to remarket here.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Climate for Dental Practice Growth in the UK

Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | 8th February 2021
Arun Mehra and Nigel Crossman

Unlocking Opportunities: Exploring the Climate for Dental Practice Growth in the UK

Dental practices in the UK have been facing some changes recently. These changes include new laws and different patient needs, which are making the dental practice environment evolve. However, there are still great opportunities for dental practices to grow and succeed in the UK. By using the right strategies and approach, dental practices can reach their full potential and achieve significant growth in a short time.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the main factors that are driving growth in the dental practice industry in the UK. We will look at things like changes in the population and advances in technology, and how these trends are shaping the future of dental practices in the UK.

Read our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Introduction to the current climate for dental practice growth in the UK

The dental business in the UK is going through a time of change, providing many opportunities for dental practices to grow and expand. This is due to advancements in technology, changing patient expectations, and evolving healthcare approaches, all of which are continuously shaping the field of dentistry.

One significant factor contributing to the growth potential of dental practices is the increasing emphasis on oral health and its connection to overall well-being. People are becoming more aware of the importance of regular dental check-ups and preventive care, leading to a higher demand for dental services to maintain and improve their oral health.

Moreover, advancements in dental technology have revolutionised the field, offering dentists innovative tools and techniques to provide better patient experiences and outcomes. From digital imaging and CAD/CAM technology to laser dentistry and minimally invasive procedures, these changes have not only improved the quality of care but also expanded the range of services that dental practices can offer.

Additionally, the ageing population in the UK is also contributing to the growth of dental practices. As people age, they require specialised dental care, such as dentures, implants, and other supportive procedures. This creates a niche market for dental practices to cater to the unique needs of this segment.

Furthermore, the growing healthcare policies and the increasing availability of dental insurance coverage have made dental care more accessible to a larger portion of the population. As a result, more patients are seeking dental treatments and services, providing dental practices with a larger customer base to serve.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that the current environment for dental practice growth also comes with its challenges. Competition within the industry is fierce, with various dental practices vying for the same pool of patients. To succeed in this competitive landscape, dental practices need to stand out by offering excellent patient experiences, personalised care, and effective marketing strategies.

Action Points

  • Promote Oral Health: Educate on the significance of oral health for increased preventive care services.
  • Invest in Technology: Utilize advanced dental technologies for better patient care and expanded services.
  • Focus on Seniors: Offer specialized services for the aging population’s dental needs.
  • Maximize Insurance Benefits: Make use of healthcare policies and dental insurance to attract a wider patient base.
  • Stand Out: Differentiate your practice with superior patient experiences and personalized care.

Read our guide to setting up a private dental practice.

Factors influencing the growth of dental practices in the UK

The growth of dental practices in the UK is influenced by several important factors that shape the current environment for dental practice development. Understanding these factors is crucial for dental professionals who want to open new opportunities and expand their practices.

Firstly, there is a growing demand for dental services. As the population grows and ages, the need for routine dental care, cosmetic dentistry, and specialised treatments continues to rise. This increasing demand creates a favourable environment for dental practices to attract more patients and increase their revenue.

Another factor impacting practice growth is the advancement of dental technology. Innovations such as digital dentistry, CAD/CAM systems, and laser dentistry have transformed the field, improving treatment outcomes and patient experiences. Practices that embrace and invest in these technologies tend to attract more patients and gain a competitive edge in the market.

The evolving regulatory landscape also affects the growth of dental practices. Changes in regulations and policies, such as the NHS contract changes and the expansion of private dental care, can create new opportunities for practices to adapt their business models and expand their service offerings. Staying informed about these regulatory developments is essential for dental professionals to stay ahead and capitalise on emerging trends.

Moreover, there is an increasing emphasis on preventive care and patient-centred approaches in the dental industry. Practices that focus on patient education, engagement, and personalised treatment plans tend to build long-term patient relationships, leading to increased loyalty and referrals. Building strong patient relationships through excellent customer service and patient-focused care has proven to be a catalyst for practice growth.

Finally, economic factors play a crucial role in shaping the growth of dental practices. Overall economic stability, consumer spending power, and insurance coverage all impact patients’ willingness to seek dental treatments. Understanding the economic environment and adjusting pricing strategies and payment options accordingly can help practices attract and retain a diverse patient base.

In conclusion, various factors influence the growth of dental practices in the UK. The increasing demand for dental services, advancements in technology, regulatory changes, patient-centred approaches, and economic factors all contribute to the exciting opportunities available for dental professionals to expand their practices. Staying informed, embracing innovation, and adapting to the changing landscape are key to unlocking growth potential in the dynamic dental industry.

Action Plan

  • Capitalize on Demand: Focus on expanding services to meet the growing need for routine, cosmetic, and specialized dental treatments.
  • Invest in Innovation: Embrace and integrate the latest dental technologies to enhance treatment outcomes and patient experiences.
  • Navigate Regulations: Stay informed about regulatory changes and adapt business models to leverage new opportunities in both NHS and private sectors.
  • Emphasize Preventive Care: Develop patient-centered approaches, focusing on education and engagement to foster long-term relationships and loyalty.
  • Adjust to Economic Conditions: Tailor pricing strategies and offer flexible payment options to accommodate the economic status and insurance coverage of patients.

Contact us to find out more

Demographic trends and their impact on dental practice growth

Segment trends play a crucial role in shaping the environment for dental practice growth in the UK. Understanding these trends can help dental professionals seize opportunities and tailor their services to meet the growing needs of the population.

One key trend is the aging population. As people live longer, there will be an increased demand for dental services among older adults. This group often requires specialised dental care, such as dental implants, dentures, and oral health management for ongoing conditions. Dental practices that can meet the unique needs of older patients might find themselves in high demand.

Another important segment trend is the rising diversity of the UK population. With globalisation and migration, dental practices have the chance to serve a more diverse range of patients. This includes people from different cultural backgrounds who may have specific oral health needs or preferences. Practices that can adapt to and embrace diversity will be well-positioned to attract and retain a broader patient base.

Additionally, the younger generation presents both opportunities and challenges for dental practice growth. Millennials and Gen Z are more conscious of their oral health and will invest in preventive dental care. However, they also have higher expectations when it comes to convenience, technology, and personalised experiences. Dental practices that can leverage digital tools, offer flexible appointment options, and provide a patient-centered approach will be able to capture the loyalty of these younger patients.

It is also important to consider the impact of regional demographic variations. Different areas in the UK may have specific population dynamics, with variations in age profiles, economic status, and oral health needs. Dental practices that conduct comprehensive market research and tailor their strategies to the specific demographics of their local area have a competitive advantage in the pursuit of growth.

In conclusion, staying aware of segment trends is crucial for dental practices seeking to unlock growth opportunities. By understanding the needs and preferences of different segment groups, practices can tailor their services, attract a diverse patient base, and position themselves for long-term success in the ever-growing landscape of dental care in the UK.

Action Points

  • Cater to an Ageing Population: Develop specialized services for older adults, focusing on implants, dentures, and chronic condition management.
  • Embrace Cultural Diversity: Adapt services to cater to the oral health needs and preferences of a culturally diverse patient base.
  • Engage Younger Generations: Leverage digital tools and offer personalized, convenient services to meet the expectations of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • Tailor Strategies Locally: Conduct market research to understand local demographic trends and tailor services to meet regional needs.

Read our guide to buying a private dental practice.

Facts and figures about Dental practice growth in the UK

The Dental Practices industry in the UK was worth £6.6 billion in 2022, and it grew by 17.2% compared to the previous year. However, between 2017 and 2022, it experienced a yearly decline of 2.7% on average.

In the UK, the Dental Practices industry lost market share faster than the overall economy and the Human Health and Social Work Activities industry. It ranked eighth in size among the Human Health and Social Work Exercises industries and was the 132nd largest industry in the UK.

The main factor negatively affecting this industry is people’s real disposable income, while high industry support is the primary positive factor. Better dental hygiene has improved the condition of people’s teeth as they age, leading to increased demand for dental services as the population gets older. Older people are a significant market for dental practices.

As the number of people aged 65 and older increases in 2022 and 2023, there will be more opportunities for dental offices to provide their services.

Action Points

  • Industry Value: The UK Dental Practices industry was valued at £6.6 billion in 2022, growing 17.2% from the previous year.
  • Aging Population: Increasing demand for dental services with the growing number of people aged 65 and older.

Regulatory and policy changes affecting the dental industry in the UK

Recently, the dental business in the UK has experienced significant changes in rules and policies that have a big impact on the growth and development of dental practices. These changes have not only affected how dental experts operate but also created opportunities for growth and expansion.

One major change is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. This regulation made data security stricter, requiring dental practices to review their data management processes and ensure compliance. While this might seem like an extra burden, it has also given dental practices a chance to improve their reputation by showing a commitment to data security and privacy.

Another significant change in the dental industry is the shift towards preventive and comprehensive approaches to oral health. With a greater focus on patient education and prevention, dental practices have the opportunity to position themselves as leaders in promoting overall health and oral well-being. They can do this by offering comprehensive oral hygiene programs, promoting healthy lifestyle choices, and adopting advanced technologies for early detection and intervention.

Moreover, the changes in the NHS dental contract have brought both challenges and opportunities for dental practices. The new contract aims to improve patient access to dental care and encourage preventive measures. This shift towards a preventive-centred model provides opportunities for practices to stand out by offering innovative and patient-centred services that go beyond traditional treatments.

Additionally, the ongoing changes in reimbursement structures and fee schedules have prompted dental practices to rethink their pricing strategies and explore alternative sources of revenue. Practices that proactively adapt to these changes by implementing efficient cost management, exploring private treatment options, and embracing digital solutions have a greater chance of thriving in the evolving dental landscape.

Overall, the regulatory and policy changes in the UK dental industry have created a dynamic environment that demands adaptability and innovation. Dental practices that stay updated with these changes and leverage the opportunities they present will be well-positioned for growth and success in the ever-changing dental landscape.

Read our guide on How to Build a Dental Group.

Technological advancements and their role in driving dental practice growth

In the UK, technology has played a crucial role in improving dental practices. Dentists now have access to many advanced tools and innovations that enhance patient care, streamline operations, and ultimately lead to practice growth.

One significant advancement is the use of digital dentistry. This includes tools like 3D scanners and intraoral cameras that have changed how dentists diagnose and treat patients. These tools provide detailed and precise images, allowing for more accurate treatment planning and better patient outcomes. Digital impressions have also replaced messy traditional impressions, saving time and making patients more comfortable.

Another area where technology has made a big impact is in dental implants. Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems have revolutionised the way custom dental prosthetics are made. This not only improves the fit and feel of the final restoration but also reduces the time it takes to provide implant treatments.

Furthermore, advancements in practice management software have streamlined administrative tasks, making dental practices operate more efficiently. These software systems automated appointment scheduling, patient records management, billing, and inventory management, freeing up time for dentists and staff to focus on providing quality care.

Moreover, technology has also improved patient communication and engagement. Dental practices can now use various digital platforms to communicate with patients, send appointment reminders, and provide educational materials. This enhances patient satisfaction and loyalty, leading to more referrals and practice growth.

Overall, technological advancements have transformed the dental industry in the UK. From digital imaging systems and CAD/CAM technology to practise management software and patient communication tools, the role of technology in driving dental practice growth is significant. Embracing these advancements can create new opportunities and help dental practices thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Opportunities for expansion and innovation in the dental field

The dental field in the UK has many exciting opportunities for growth and progress. Thanks to advancements in technology and the changing needs of patients, dental practices have the potential to thrive in this ever-changing environment.

One significant opportunity for growth lies in the increasing demand for specialised dental services. As the population gets older, there is a growing need for dental professionals who focus on caring for older adults. Dental practices can tap into this market and cater to people who require special attention, and they are willing to pay more for it.

Another way to grow is by incorporating technology into dental practices. From digital imaging and 3D printing to tele-dentistry and virtual consultations, technology offers various opportunities to provide efficient and convenient dental services. Practices that adopt these innovations can stand out from competitors and attract informed patients who value personalised care and convenience.

Moreover, the growing emphasis on preventive and restorative dentistry presents additional growth opportunities. Dental practices that offer comprehensive services like teeth whitening, orthodontics, and dental implants can attract patients who want to improve their smiles and overall oral health. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in cosmetic dentistry, practices can position themselves as leaders in the field and build a loyal patient base.

Innovation in the dental field goes beyond clinical services. Dental practices can explore opportunities for expanding their reach through strategic partnerships and collaborations. For instance, teaming up with local healthcare providers or health centres can lead to cross-referrals and a broader patient base. Additionally, exploring options like tele-dentistry or mobile dental units can help reach under-served communities and expand the practice’s footprint.

In conclusion, the dental field in the UK offers plenty of opportunities for expansion and growth. By identifying niche markets, embracing technology, offering comprehensive services, and exploring strategic partnerships, dental practices can unlock their full potential for success and growth. With the right strategies and a commitment to excellence, the possibilities in the dental industry are limitless.

Strategies for attracting and retaining patients in a competitive market

In a highly competitive market, attracting and keeping patients is crucial for the growth and success of your dental practice. Here are some effective strategies to help you stand out and build a loyal patient base:

Improve your online presence: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential. Create a user-friendly and visually appealing website that showcases your services, expertise, and patient testimonials. Optimise your website for search engines to improve its visibility and reach. Engage with patients on social media platforms to build relationships and showcase your practice’s personality.

Provide outstanding customer service: Offering excellent customer service is essential for retaining patients. Train your staff to be friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. Ensure your patients feel valued and heard by actively listening to their concerns and addressing their needs. Personalise the patient experience by remembering their names, preferences, and treatment history. Going the extra mile will leave a lasting impression and foster patient loyalty.

Implement patient referral programs: Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful in the dental industry. Encourage your satisfied patients to refer their friends, family, and colleagues by offering incentives like discounts on future treatments or free services. Promote your referral program through various channels, including your website, online platforms, and in-office signage.

Focus on patient education: Educating your patients about oral health and the importance of regular dental visits is not only beneficial for their well-being but also for building trust and loyalty. Provide educational materials, blog posts, and informative videos on your website and social media platforms. Take the time to explain treatment options, procedures, and preventive measures during patient appointments. Well-informed patients are more likely to value your expertise and continue seeking your services.

Stay connected through regular communication: Establish a regular communication system to stay connected with your patients. Send out newsletters or emails featuring dental tips, practice updates, and upcoming promotions. Consider implementing appointment reminders and follow-up messages to ensure patients stay on track with their oral healthcare. By maintaining consistent communication, you will strengthen the patient-provider relationship and keep your practice top of mind.

By implementing these strategies, you can differentiate your dental practice in a competitive market and attract new patients while retaining existing ones. Remember, a strong online presence and providing exceptional care are the keys to long-term success in the dental industry.

Action Points

  • Online Presence: Boost your dental practice’s visibility with a user-friendly website and active social media engagement. Optimize search engines and share patient testimonials.
  • Customer Service: Elevate patient experiences with exceptional service. Personalize care and ensure staff are welcoming and responsive to patient needs.
  • Referral Programs: Encourage word-of-mouth through patient referral incentives, promoting loyalty and attracting new patients.
  • Patient Education: Build trust and loyalty by educating patients on oral health, treatment options, and preventive care.
  • Regular Communication: Keep in touch with patients through newsletters, appointment reminders, and follow-up messages to maintain a strong patient-provider relationship.

Read our guide on How to Retain New Dental Patients.

Financial considerations and funding options for dental practice growth

When it comes to growing your dental practice, money is an important factor to consider. Expanding your practice, buying new equipment, and hiring more staff all require funding. However, finding the right funding for your dental practice growth can be challenging if you don’t know the available options.

One common funding option is a business loan from a bank or financial institution. These loans provide a lump sum of money that can be used for various expansion projects. Before applying for a loan, it’s essential to assess your needs and determine how much funding you’ll require. Create a detailed business plan that outlines your growth strategies, projected income, and repayment plan to increase your chances of approval.

Another funding option is seeking investment from private investors or venture capitalists. This involves selling a portion of your practice’s ownership in exchange for capital. While this can be a great way to get funds, it’s important to carefully evaluate potential investors and negotiate favourable terms to protect your long-term interests.

Moreover, there might be government grants and programs available to support dental practice growth. Research local, regional, and national initiatives aimed at promoting healthcare professions, including dentistry. These grants can provide financial assistance, training opportunities, or tax incentives, helping you expand your practice while minimising financial strain.

Lastly, consider exploring partnerships or joint ventures with other dental professionals. Pooling resources and expertise can lead to collaborations that drive growth while sharing financial burdens. This collaborative approach allows for shared investments in new technologies, marketing campaigns, or office expansions, all while benefiting from each partner’s patient base and networks.

Read our guide on How to Finance a Dental Practice.

Before making any financial decisions, it’s crucial to consult with financial advisors or industry experts who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. They can help you understand the potential risks and rewards of different funding options and develop a sustainable growth strategy for your dental practice. By carefully considering financial considerations and exploring funding options, you can open doors for significant growth and success in the dental industry.

We hope you found our exploration of the environment for dental practice development in the UK helpful and insightful. As the dental industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial for dentists to adapt and seize opportunities for growth. By staying updated on the latest trends and factors influencing the business, you can position your dental practice for success. Whether you’re a new professional or an experienced one, there are always opportunities waiting to be explored.

Click here to read our articles Samera Learning Centre.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Video Marketing for Dentists

If you own a dental practice, great marketing is essential to your survival and growth, just like it is for any business. You need people to know what you can provide for them. One of the best ways to make this happen is to use video marketing. Video is definitely king, when it comes to online content in the world today. Globally, we watch as many as 1 billion hours of video each day on YouTube alone.

You can begin to see why video marketing for dentists is so important. It should form a big part of any digital marketing strategy. There are several ways in which video content can be useful for helping to grow your business.

The benefits of video marketing

According to this article posted on Entrepreneur.com, “Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.” This is why people love to watch videos. It takes less time and effort than it does to read text online.

Video is also an excellent means of providing an accurate picture without having to use a lot of words to explain what is going on. Put simply, it’s an entertaining and informative way of connecting with people that is more likely to gain their attention and encourage them to engage with your business. It’s also a means of you competing for online viewers with your competitors. There are several ways in which video marketing makes these things happen.

Informing the viewer.

There is so much competition out there that it’s no longer good enough for you to simply pitch your services to potential patients. You need to inform them about how certain services work and about how the treatments that you offer can help them. It’s all about adding something valuable to the viewer experience, rather than going for the hard sell.

Helping with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Good quality video content is regarded highly when it comes to getting that high search engine ranking that you want for your business. Video marketing should be used in conjunction with high quality text content, for the best results. Do not forget to provide a solid meta description and a good heading for each video.

Not getting left behind from the crowd.

According to Hubspot, 87% of businesses use video marketing as a tool. This means that if you do not use good quality video content as part of your digital marketing strategy, you risk getting left behind. You cannot afford for this to happen, as the dental market in the UK is currently a very competitive one.

Connecting with patients on a personal level.

One of the biggest benefits of video marketing is that it allows patients, and prospective patients, to see you and your practice in a more personal way. Seeing members of the practice on video enables this to happen in a way that text does not.

Bearing these benefits in mind, there are several different types of video that you can use, to make sure that you get the best return on your investment.

Action Point

  • Fast Processing: Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text, making them a preferred medium for consuming information online.
  • Effective Communication: Videos provide an accurate and engaging way to convey information, making it easier for viewers to understand complex concepts and treatments.
  • Enhanced SEO: High-quality video content can contribute to improved search engine rankings when combined with well-optimized text content, meta descriptions, and headings.
  • Market Expectations: With 87% of businesses using video marketing, integrating video into your digital strategy is essential to avoid falling behind in a competitive market.
  • Personal Connection: Video marketing allows you to connect with patients on a personal level, enabling them to see you and your practice in a more relatable and engaging manner.

Types of video that you can use

You may be thinking that one video is pretty much the same as the next, but that is not true. Videos are made for different reasons, and with various aims in mind. You need to think about this carefully when you are creating video content for your business. Here are some of the different types of video that you may want to consider using.

Explainer videos

Make a great explainer video to educate people about your services and you can gain a lot of new fans. This type of video can also help people who are nervous of dentists to get a better understanding, making them more likely to register at your practice.

Interviews

Using interviews as part of your video marketing is an excellent way to connect with potential patients as they can see various members of the practice team answering questions, and get to know them.

Reviews by brand ambassadors.

If you can get people to provide a review of your businesses and services on camera, this can be an excellent way of encouraging people to engage with your business. They can see how you have helped others which gives them a better understanding of how you can help them.

You can see why video is such a vital part of any digital marketing strategy. It can help your business to better communicate with people and also means that they are more likely to engage with your marketing and your business.

Action Point

  • Explainer Videos: Educate viewers about your dental services, helping them understand procedures and alleviating fears associated with dental visits.
  • Interviews: Connect with potential patients by showcasing interviews with various members of your dental team, allowing viewers to get to know the people behind the practice.
  • Brand Ambassador Reviews: Feature testimonials from satisfied patients or brand ambassadors to showcase the positive experiences others have had with your practice, building trust and credibility.

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Grow Your Dental Practice with Google PPC

Establishing a dental practice is just the beginning of the story. The practice needs to grow in order for you to achieve the success and rewards that you are looking for. In today’s competitive market, you need to make sure that prospective patients know what your practice has to offer. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

If you get it right, PPC advertising can provide significant benefits. It does require the investment of time and patience up-front, but the results make the effort worthwhile. As a guide, there are some factors to consider when looking at PPC for dentists.

Use categories for keywords

The aim of PPC for dentists is to attract patients by using the keywords that they are searching for online. The best way to do this is to categorize your keywords, so that the advertising, and content, you provide is relevant. This always helps with Google ratings; the more relevant the content, the better.

For instance, you may want to attract people who are looking to straighten their teeth, so grouping keywords and phrases like “braces for adults” and “adult teeth straightening” is appropriate. Grouping keywords makes sense because you want people to get what they are looking for from the search they are making. If this happens, they are more likely to use your services.

Action Points

Implementing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is essential for the growth of a dental practice, ensuring prospective patients are aware of the services offered. Categorizing keywords facilitates targeted advertising, improving relevance and Google ratings, ultimately increasing the likelihood of attracting potential patients seeking specific treatments such as adult teeth straightening.

Use Google Ads effectively

Google Ads is an important aspect of PPC for dentists. This is because using Google ads gives you a way of attracting people to your practice, without having to pay for clicks. Including the phone number of your practice, prominently, in all of your ads means that people are more likely to pick up the phone and call. This advertising practice can be used in conjunction with paying for clicks, making your campaigns more cost effective. Always make sure that people can clearly see if someone is available to take their call.

Action Point

Maximizing Google Ads is pivotal for dental practices’ PPC success. Emphasizing the practice’s phone number in ads enhances direct inquiries, optimizing cost-effectiveness and responsiveness.

You can learn more about Google Ads for dentists here.

Make use of extensions in your ad campaigns

There is no charge for using extensions in your PPC ad campaigns. This means that it makes sense for you to use extensions, such as a map of your location or a download button, to generate clicks. It’s worth mentioning that although you do not pay extra for including extensions, you do still have to pay for the clicks that they generate.

Contact us to find out more

Test your PPC for effectiveness

Creating a campaign, using PPC for dentists, is just the start. You cannot just sit back and relax once the campaign has been set up. You need to test the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns. It’s a case of seeing what works and what does not. Use three separate ad groups for each campaign, with three ads in each one. Each group should contain eight separate keywords. Having this range of content means that you can accurately test which keywords are performing the best.

Having this information means that you can make slight changes along the way, so that you improve the effectiveness of your campaign. If you do not do this, you are unlikely to get the clicks that you are looking for. PPC for dentists evolves and is not something that you use once and then forget about.

Action Plan

Continuous testing is crucial in PPC for dentists to gauge effectiveness. Utilizing multiple ad groups with various ads and keywords allows for accurate performance assessment. This iterative approach enables adjustments for enhanced campaign efficiency and desired click rates.

You can find out more about PPC here.

Use Geo-Targeting for your PPC campaigns

You do not want to waste your efforts on advertising to people who are never likely to visit your dental practice. Your ads should be aimed at people who live, or work, in your area and want to register with a local dentist. This means that you need to use geo-targeting when creating your PPC campaigns. You can use maps of your location and include the postal code of your practice. Remember to use keywords that also show where you practice is located.

You can also restrict the appearance of your ads, so that they only appear to people for whom they have relevance. This means that you advertise directly to people who are looking for a dentist in the area where your practice is located. Making sure that you target the location of your practice in this way means that you should generate more clicks from your PPC campaigns. It also means that the clicks you get should have a better conversion rate, as people should find just what they are looking for.

As you can see, PPC for dentists is an excellent tool to use, to help grow your dental practice, by attracting more patients to your services.

Action Plan

Geo-targeting is essential in PPC campaigns for dental practices to maximize relevance and minimize wasted resources. By focusing ads on individuals in the vicinity of your practice, using maps and postal codes, you ensure optimal targeting. This approach enhances click-through rates and conversions, as potential patients find precisely what they seek, driving practice growth effectively.

Our Expert Opinion

“Google Ads are still 100% the easiest and quickest way to get yourself to the top of Google. I always recommend every dental practice uses Google Ads in at least a small way in their marketing strategy. They don’t have to be expensive, they don’t have to be constantly running. You can run a simple, cheap brand awareness campaign to get your name out there. You can also run expensive, perfectly-optimised adverts that act as your main lead magnet.

One thing I would absolutely recommend is that you use Google Ads if your SEO is not getting you to the front page of Google. If you’re not on the front page (the top 10 results) of Google then how are people going to find you? Google Ads will solve this pretty swiftly.

Remember, Google Ads are an auction. You need to adjust your budget so that you are beating your main competitors and muscling them out of the top spots.”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Expert accounting tax and payroll services

It’s not just patient treatment and care that play a major role in the success of a dental practice, which is why retaining knowledgeable and high-performing dental professionals and reception staff is not the only consideration for a surgery owner when it comes to getting the job done.

There are roles that need to be fulfilled that are essential to the success and growth of any dental surgery. These roles involve dental accountancy and tax. Over the years, our team has helped numerous dental professionals with their accountancy and tax requirements, both individual and for practices and groups.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

The importance of professional dental accountancy and book-keeping

Professionally managed accounts are an asset to any dental practice owner who is looking to scale their practice. Having this service in place means that the performance of the practice is transparent. This makes it a lot easier to make any necessary adjustments to performance, to make certain of as smooth a growth and expansion process as possible.

I have worked with both private and NHS clients to ensure all accountancy aspects of their business were run smoothly. The result was that they were able to concentrate on providing excellent care and treatment, while I made sure that secure financial foundations and processes where in place, in order to aid growth.

Professional help with book-keeping and payroll is just as important. Working with software such as Xero and Quickbooks is a skill and it often makes more sense to outsource this work. Leaving accounting and book-keeping to professionals means that the surgery team can concentrate on the day to day running of the business, safe in the knowledge that the business accounts are being monitored and maintained and that any issues can immediately be identified.

Click here to read our article on Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

The importance of professional tax advice

Saving tax while complying with regulations is something that every dental professional and practice can benefit from. A professional dental accountant can help with tax savings which releases more cash to invest in the expansion of the practice.

Having a tax expert on the side means that the surgery can grow at the same time as being fully tax compliant. It’s a win-win situation.

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Determining the value of a dental practice

Understanding the Value of Your Dental Practice: A Comprehensive Guide

Accurate valuation of a dental practice is vital for both sellers and buyers to get a fair price. Whether selling, planning retirement, or exploring expansion, understanding your dental business’s true value is crucial to making the right decision.

This guide explores the complex process of valuing a dental practice, highlighting key factors affecting its worth. One pivotal metric is EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization).

The Importance of an Accurate Valuation

A dental practice’s value goes beyond financial figures, encompassing goodwill, patient relationships, community reputation, and overall operational efficiency. Accurate valuation considers tangible and intangible assets, providing a complete view of the practice’s true worth.

For sellers, accurate valuation ensures a fair market price, acknowledging years of hard work and investment. Buyers benefit by gaining a clear investment picture, aiding strategic decisions and future planning. Getting help from a specialist dental sales agent, such as Samera, is always a good idea.

The importance of Competitive Pricing

There is great demand for all types of dental practice in the UK, so it’s certainly possible to sell profitably. However, it’s important that a practice is not over-valued, restricting opportunities for sale. Buyers are often looking for a practice that they can buy with a view to add value and to re-sale at a profit in the future. This means that they do not want to overspend.

The sale price of a practice should always be based on transparent figures and evidence. The price has to be supported by the value that the practice represents.

It’s easy to adjust an EBITDA upwards, to try and demand a higher selling price, but this tends to simply lead to a bad reputation for the seller. I know I have ensured that several clients have embraced competitive pricing over the years, making completing a sale a lot simpler and quicker for them.

Click here to read our article on How to Sell Your Dental Practice in 9 Steps

Understanding EBITDA in Dental Practice Valuation

EBITDA, a key financial metric in dental practice valuation, represents earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This metric offers a snapshot of operational performance, excluding non-operational expenses, providing a clear view of income generation from core operations.

Understanding EBITDA involves assessing profitability from a cash flow perspective, excluding non-cash expenses. In dental practice valuation, EBITDA serves as a benchmark, allowing buyers and sellers to negotiate a fair price reflecting the true earning potential.

In subsequent sections, we look at factors influencing dental practice valuation, various valuation methods, and EBITDA’s role in assessing overall worth.

Calculating EBITDA:

EBITDA is calculated by starting with a practice’s net income and adding back interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. The formula is represented as follows:

EBITDA=NetIncome+Interest+Taxes+Depreciation+Amortization

There is more detailed information available to read, but I am going to cover the basics here.

Significance of EBITDA in Dental Practice Valuation:

  1. Operational Performance Assessment:

EBITDA offers a clear snapshot of a dental practice’s ability to generate income from its core operations. By excluding non-operational expenses, it provides insight into the practice’s day-to-day profitability.

  1. Comparison to Industry Standards:

EBITDA serves as a benchmark for evaluating a dental practice’s financial health in comparison to industry standards. This comparative analysis aids in determining how well the practice is performing relative to other practices

  1. Simplified Financial View:

As a standardized metric, EBITDA simplifies the financial picture of a dental practice. It allows buyers, sellers, and investors to focus on the practice’s core earning capacity without being influenced by non-cash items or one-time expenses.

Factors Considered in EBITDA Calculation:

  1. Net Income:

The starting point for EBITDA calculation is the practice’s net income, which includes all revenues and expenses.

  1. Interest:

EBITDA adds back interest expenses to provide a clearer view of the practice’s operational performance without the impact of financing costs.

  1. Taxes:

Tax expenses are added back to eliminate their influence on the EBITDA calculation, allowing for a pre-tax assessment of earnings.

  1. Depreciation and Amortization:

EBITDA adds back depreciation and amortization to the net income, as these are non-cash expenses that don’t directly affect the practice’s cash flow.

In the context of dental practice valuation, EBITDA is a valuable tool for negotiating a fair market price. Buyers can use it to assess the practice’s profitability, while sellers can highlight the true earning potential of their business. However, it’s essential to consider EBITDA in conjunction with other factors and valuation methods to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of a dental practice’s overall value.

Factors Influencing Dental Practice Value:

  1. Historical Financial Performance (Last Three Years):

The past financial performance of a dental practice is a significant factor in valuation. Examining revenue trends, profit margins, and stability over the last three years provides insights into the practice’s historical success and financial health. Consistent growth and profitability enhance the perceived value of the practice.

Impact on Valuation:

Positive financial performance may result in a higher valuation, reflecting the practice’s    track record of success. Conversely, declining performance may prompt a more conservative valuation, considering potential risks.

  1. Potential for Growth and Expansion:

The potential for future growth and expansion is a critical factor in dental practice valuation. This includes the ability to attract new patients, introduce new services, or expand the existing patient base.

Impact on Valuation: 

Practices with a demonstrated growth potential are often valued higher. Investors and buyers are willing to pay a premium for practices positioned for expansion, anticipating increased future earnings.

  1. Type of NHS Contracts (PDS vs. GDS):

The nature of National Health Service (NHS) contracts, specifically Personal Dental Services (PDS) and General Dental Services (GDS), significantly influences valuation. PDS contracts often involve more flexibility in service provision and remuneration.

Impact on Valuation:

Practices with PDS contracts may be perceived as more adaptable and potentially less dependent on fee-for-service models. This flexibility can positively influence valuation, as it aligns with evolving trends in dental service delivery.

  1. Location and Local Market Conditions:

The geographical location of a dental practice and the prevailing local market conditions play a crucial role in its value. Factors such as population density, demographic trends, and competition within the local market are considered.

Impact on Valuation:

Practices situated in high-demand areas with a growing population may command higher valuations. Conversely, practices facing intense competition or located in areas with declining populations may experience lower valuations.

In Summary:

  • Positive Historical Financial Performance: Enhances valuation by demonstrating a track record of success and financial stability.
  • Potential for Growth and Expansion: Practices positioned for future growth are often valued higher, reflecting anticipated increased earnings.
  • Type of NHS Contracts: The flexibility associated with PDS contracts may positively impact valuation by aligning with evolving trends in dental service delivery.
  • Location and Local Market Conditions: Geographical factors and local market dynamics significantly influence valuation, with practices in high-demand areas often commanding higher values.

Understanding these factors and their interplay is essential for both buyers and sellers in the dental practice market. A comprehensive evaluation, considering historical performance, growth potential, contract types, and local conditions, ensures a more accurate and informed assessment of a dental practice’s value.

Competitive Pricing and Market Demand in Dental Practice Sales:

  1. Role of Competitive Pricing:

Competitive pricing plays a pivotal role in the successful sale of dental practices. Sellers must strategically set prices that align with market expectations, considering factors such as location, practice size, patient base, and overall financial performance.

Impact on Sale Success:

Well-priced dental practices attract more interest from potential buyers, facilitating a quicker and more successful sale. Overpricing can deter buyers, while under pricing may undervalue the practice.

  1. Current Market Trends and Buyer Expectations in the UK Dental Industry:

In the UK dental industry, current trends and buyer expectations shape the dynamics of practice sales. Buyers often seek practices with modern facilities, established patient bases, and growth potential. Market trends include an increasing emphasis on preventive and cosmetic dentistry, as well as a preference for flexible NHS contract arrangements.

Impact on Sale Strategy:

Sellers who align their practices with these trends and buyer preferences are more likely to attract interested parties. Understanding the market landscape ensures that sellers can position their practices competitively and meet buyer expectations.

  1. Case Studies or Examples of Recent Dental Practice Sales:

Recent dental practice sales can offer valuable insights into market dynamics and successful sale strategies. For instance, a practice that effectively showcased its advanced technology, strong patient relationships, and growth opportunities may have commanded a higher price.

Impact on Future Sales:

Analysing case studies allows sellers to learn from successful transactions and adapt their approach accordingly. It provides real-world examples of how market trends and competitive pricing influence the outcome of dental practice sales.

Note: Specific case studies would need to be sourced from recent industry reports, publications, or professional networks.

In Summary:

  • Competitive Pricing: Crucial for attracting buyers and ensuring a successful sale, competitive pricing involves strategic alignment with market expectations.
  • Market Trends and Buyer Expectations: Understanding current trends and buyer preferences in the UK dental industry is essential for positioning practices competitively and meeting buyer expectations.
  • Case Studies or Examples: Learning from recent dental practice sales through case studies provides practical insights into successful strategies and their impact on sale outcomes.

By incorporating competitive pricing strategies, staying informed about market trends, and drawing lessons from case studies, sellers can enhance their chances of a successful and lucrative sale in the dynamic UK dental industry.

EBITDA Multiples and Sector Comparisons:

Upon calculating a figure of EBITDA, valuers apply a multiple to EBITDA to yield a value for the business.

Every sector multiple varies, which is really dependent on the demand for businesses in such sectors.

For instance, in the tech sector, we see very high multiples applied to EBITDA, whilst in Dentistry we see multiples ranging from 6-7x for single businesses and usually a higher multiple for larger dental groups.

  1. Application of EBITDA Multiples:

EBITDA multiples are a common valuation method that involves applying a multiplier to a company’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. The resulting figure represents an estimate of the business’s overall value. This method is particularly relevant in industries where operational performance is a key indicator of value.

  1. Comparison of EBITDA Multiples in Dentistry vs. Technology:

In the context of dentistry and technology sectors, EBITDA multiples can vary significantly due to the distinct characteristics of each industry. Technology companies often command higher multiples, reflecting their potential for rapid growth, innovation, and scalability. On the other hand, dental practices, being service-oriented and less scalable, may have comparatively lower multiples.

  1. Rationale Behind Differences in EBITDA Multiples:

Growth Prospects:

Technology companies are often characterized by high growth potential, global reach, and scalability. Investors are willing to pay higher multiples for these businesses, anticipating substantial future earnings. In contrast, dental practices, being local and service-based, may have limited scalability, impacting their growth potential and, consequently, their multiples.

Industry Risk and Stability:

The technology sector is known for its innovation and dynamism, but it also comes with higher inherent risks. Investors may demand higher returns for navigating the uncertainties in technology, leading to elevated EBITDA multiples. Dental practices, as stable service providers with a more predictable patient base, may attract more conservative multiples.

Market Size and Competition:

The technology sector often operates in expansive global markets with significant revenue potential. Higher competition and broader market opportunities can contribute to increased EBITDA multiples. In contrast, the dental industry, while essential, may have more localized markets and lower revenue potential, influencing the multiples assigned to practices.

Operational Characteristics:

The nature of operations in each sector influences EBITDA multiples. Technology companies, especially software-based ones, may benefit from higher profit margins and lower operational costs once the product is developed. Dental practices, being service-oriented, may have higher operational costs and lower margins, affecting their multiples.

In Summary:

  • EBITDA Multiples Application: EBITDA multiples are applied by multiplying a company’s EBITDA by a factor to estimate its overall value, commonly used in industries where operational performance is a key indicator.
  • Comparison of Sectors: Technology sectors often command higher EBITDA multiples than dentistry due to factors such as growth prospects, industry risk, market size, competition, and operational characteristics.
  • Rationale for Differences: Differences in EBITDA multiples arise from varying growth potential, risk levels, market dynamics, and operational characteristics inherent in different industries. Investors assess these factors when determining the appropriate multiples for valuation.

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Did You Know?


  • The intangible assets of a practice, such as its reputation, patient loyalty, and staff expertise, contribute to its goodwill value. Goodwill can account for a significant portion of the final sale price, especially for well-established practices with a strong brand. (Source: https://samera.co.uk/samera-calculators/)
  • Dental practice values can be affected by the overall economic climate and dentistry industry trends. Increased demand for dental services due to population growth or changes in NHS funding can lead to higher valuations. (Source: https://www.ft-associates.com/practice-value-index-all/)

The Valuation Process: A Step-by-Step Guide by Samera

  1. Initiation and Documentation Gathering:

The valuation process begins with an initial consultation where Samera gathers comprehensive financial documentation from the dental practice. This includes but is not limited to financial statements, tax returns, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets. Accurate and detailed financial data forms the foundation for a thorough valuation.

  1. Introduction to the Valuation Team:

Clients are introduced to the valuation team at Samera, ensuring transparency and a clear understanding of the professionals involved in the process. The team typically includes financial analysts, valuation experts, and industry specialists.

  1. Client Questionnaire:

Clients are provided with a detailed questionnaire designed to extract key information about the practice. This questionnaire covers various aspects such as practice history, patient demographics, staff composition, operational processes, and growth strategies. Client input is crucial for understanding the unique characteristics of the dental practice.

  1. Initial Consultation:

An initial consultation is conducted to discuss the client’s goals, expectations, and any specific considerations related to the valuation. This meeting allows the valuation team to gain insights into the practice’s strengths, challenges, and future plans, further refining the valuation approach.

  1. Financial Analysis and Benchmarking:

Samera conducts a thorough financial analysis, including benchmarking against industry standards. This step involves comparing the practice’s financial performance to key performance indicators in the dental industry, providing context for the valuation.

  1. Application of Valuation Methods:

Various valuation methods, including EBITDA multiples, discounted cash flow (DCF), and comparable sales analysis, are applied based on the nature of the dental practice and industry standards. Each method contributes to a comprehensive assessment of the practice’s value.

  1. In-Person Practice Assessment (if applicable):

Depending on the nature of the valuation, an in-person assessment of the practice may be conducted. This involves a physical examination of the facilities, equipment, and an evaluation of the overall operational environment.

  1. Drafting the Valuation Report:

A detailed valuation report is drafted, presenting the findings, methodologies employed, and the determined value of the dental practice. This report serves as a comprehensive document for clients, providing transparency into the valuation process and its outcomes.

  1. Consultation and Review:

Samera engages in a final consultation with the client to review the valuation report, address any questions or concerns, and provide additional insights. This interactive process ensures that clients fully understand the factors contributing to the determined value.

  1. Delivery of the Valuation Report:

The finalized valuation report is delivered to the client. This report serves as a valuable tool for clients in negotiations, decision-making, and strategic planning related to their dental practice.

In Summary:

  • Comprehensive Financial Documentation: The valuation process begins with the gathering of detailed financial documentation, forming the basis for a thorough assessment.
  • Client Involvement through Questionnaires and Consultations: Client input is solicited through questionnaires and consultations, ensuring a personalized understanding of the dental practice’s unique characteristics.
  • Application of Multiple Valuation Methods: Various valuation methods are applied, including financial analysis, benchmarking, in-person assessments, and the application of industry-standard methodologies.
  • Transparent Reporting and Consultation: Samera emphasizes transparency by delivering a detailed valuation report and engaging in consultations to ensure clients are well-informed and confident in the valuation outcomes.

Additional Considerations in Valuation:

  1. Adjustments to EBITDA:

During the valuation process, it’s essential to consider adjustments to EBITDA to present a more accurate picture of the dental practice’s sustainable earnings. This may involve accounting for one-time expenses, such as legal fees or restructuring costs, which may not be reflective of the practice’s ongoing operations. Additionally, adjustments for future savings or cost-cutting measures that are imminent can be factored in.

Impact on Valuation:

Making appropriate adjustments ensures that the valuation is based on the normalized, sustainable earnings potential of the dental practice. This allows both buyers and sellers to evaluate the business on its core operational performance without being unduly influenced by exceptional or non-recurring items.

  1. Non-Operational Expenses:

Non-operational expenses, such as interest on loans or non-business-related travel expenses, should be carefully considered in the valuation. These costs don’t contribute to the day-to-day operations and profitability of the dental practice.

Impact on Valuation:

Adjusting for non-operational expenses provides a clearer view of the practice’s operational efficiency and profitability. By focusing on core operational earnings, the valuation becomes more accurate and aligned with the practice’s true value.

  1. Owner-Specific Costs:

Valuation should account for any owner-specific costs that may not be applicable under new ownership. This could include owner perks, discretionary spending, or personal expenses that are not essential for the practice’s operations.

Impact on Valuation:

Isolating owner-specific costs ensures that the valuation reflects the true financial health of the dental practice, independent of individual owner preferences or spending habits. This adjustment contributes to a more objective assessment of the business’s value.

  1. Normalisation of Financial Statements:

Normalising financial statements involves adjusting historical financial data to eliminate irregularities, one-time events, or non-recurring expenses. This process creates a more standardized and representative financial picture for valuation purposes.

Impact on Valuation:

Normalizing financial statements allows for a more accurate assessment of the practice’s consistent earning capacity. It facilitates a better understanding of the practice’s financial performance over time, helping buyers and sellers make informed decisions.

In Summary:

  • Adjustments to EBITDA: Consideration of adjustments to EBITDA, including one-time expenses and future savings, ensures a valuation based on sustainable earnings.
  • Non-Operational Expenses: Accounting for non-operational expenses provides a more accurate representation of the dental practice’s operational efficiency and profitability.
  • Owner-Specific Costs: Recognizing and adjusting for owner-specific costs ensures that the valuation is objective and reflects the business’s inherent value, independent of individual owner preferences.
  • Normalization of Financial Statements: The normalization of financial statements contributes to a standardized and representative financial picture, aiding in the assessment of the practice’s consistent earning capacity.

Selling Your Dental Practice: Tips and Strategies

Best Practices for Preparing Your Practice for Sale

  • Organize Financial Documentation:

    Ensure that your financial records, including profit and loss statements, tax returns, and other relevant documents, are well-organized and up-to-date. A clear financial history is crucial for potential buyers.
  • Enhance Operational Efficiency:

    Streamline your practice’s operations to showcase efficiency. This may involve optimizing staff workflows, updating technology, and addressing any outstanding operational issues.
  • Address Regulatory Compliance:

    Ensure that your practice adheres to all regulatory requirements. Compliance with healthcare regulations and standards is a key factor that can influence a buyer’s decision.
  • Build a Strong Patient Base:
    Work on patient retention strategies and maintain a strong relationship with your existing patient base. A loyal and satisfied patient population can significantly enhance the appeal of your practice.

Presenting Your Practice Attractively to Potential Buyers

  • Highlight Growth Potential:

    Emphasize the growth opportunities your practice offers. This may include the potential for expanding services, attracting new patients, or participating in emerging healthcare trends.
  • Showcase Technology and Infrastructure:

    Showcase any modern technology, equipment, or infrastructure upgrades your practice has undergone. Highlighting a state-of-the-art facility can make your practice more appealing to buyers.
  • Demonstrate Community Engagement:

    Showcase your practice’s involvement in the community. Positive community relationships and engagement can contribute to the overall attractiveness of the practice.
  • Transparently Communicate Financial Performance:

    Clearly communicate your practice’s financial performance, emphasizing stable revenue streams and profitability. Transparency builds trust with potential buyers.

Role of Professional Valuation and Sales Agents

  • Professional Valuation:

    Engage a professional valuation firm to assess the fair market value of your practice. A comprehensive valuation considers both tangible and intangible assets, providing an objective basis for pricing.
  • Benefits of Sales Agents:
    Utilize the services of experienced sales agents who specialize in dental practice transactions. These professionals can navigate the complexities of the sales process, identify potential buyers, and negotiate on your behalf.
  • Market Expertise:

    Leverage the market expertise of valuation and sales professionals to understand current industry trends, competitive landscapes, and buyer expectations. This insight can inform your sales strategy.
  • Negotiation and Closing Support:

    Professional sales agents play a crucial role in negotiation and closing. Their experience can help secure a favourable deal and ensure a smooth transition for both parties.

Timing the Sale

Consider the timing of your sale strategically. Market conditions, the overall economy, and personal factors may influence the optimal time to sell. Being aware of these considerations can maximize the value of your practice.

In Summary:

  • Preparation for Sale: Organize financial records, enhance operational efficiency, address compliance, and build a strong patient base.
  • Attractive Presentation: Highlight growth potential, showcase technology and infrastructure, demonstrate community engagement, and transparently communicate financial performance.
  • Professional Valuation and Sales Agents: Engage professional valuation services for accurate pricing and utilize experienced sales agents to navigate the sales process, identify potential buyers, and facilitate negotiations.
  • Timing Considerations: Strategically time the sale, considering market conditions, the economy, and personal factors.

Leveraging Digital Tools for Enhanced Valuation

Digital Platforms for Efficient Financial Management:

Digital platforms and tools are reshaping the way financial management is approached within dental practices. From streamlined accounting systems to advanced analytics tools, the integration of digital solutions has become instrumental in enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and overall operational effectiveness. This transformation sets the stage for a more comprehensive and data-driven approach to dental practice valuation.

The Impact of Technology on the Valuation and Sale Process

  1. Automated Financial Tracking:

Digital tools enable automated financial tracking, offering real-time insights into revenue, expenses, and key performance indicators. This not only ensures accuracy in financial reporting but also provides a dynamic foundation for a more precise valuation process.

  1. Data Analytics for Informed Decision-Making:

Advanced data analytics tools empower dental practitioners to extract meaningful insights from extensive datasets. These insights aid in identifying trends, predicting future performance, and making informed decisions throughout the valuation and sales process, leading to more strategic outcomes.

  1. Cloud-Based Financial Platforms:

Cloud-based financial platforms provide accessibility and collaboration, allowing stakeholders involved in the valuation process to securely access financial data from anywhere. This facilitates transparency and seamless communication, contributing to a more efficient workflow.

  1. Enhanced Communication and Collaboration:

Digital communication tools and collaborative platforms simplify interactions between buyers, sellers, and valuation professionals. From financial report discussions to negotiations, these tools foster efficient communication, ensuring that all parties involved are on the same page.

  1. Secure Data Management:

Cybersecurity measures embedded in digital financial management platforms ensure the secure handling of sensitive financial data. This is paramount in maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of information throughout the valuation and sales processes.

  1. Virtual Due Diligence:

Technology enables virtual due diligence, allowing potential buyers to assess a dental practice remotely. Through digital documentation, virtual tours, and online meetings, the due diligence phase becomes more efficient, reducing the time and resources traditionally associated with this crucial process.

  1. Facilitation of Online Transactions:

Digital tools facilitate online transactions and document signing, diminishing the reliance on physical paperwork. This not only accelerates the sales process but aligns with the modern, tech-driven expectations of both buyers and sellers.

In conclusion, the integration of digital tools into financial management practices is revolutionizing the valuation and sale processes for dental practices. This digital transformation not only improves efficiency but also enhances the accuracy and transparency of the entire transaction. As technology continues to advance, leveraging these tools becomes a strategic imperative for dental practitioners looking to optimize their valuation and sales outcomes.

How does Samera Value a Dental Practice?

If you want to value a dental practice, it’s important to understand that every dental practice is unique. They also have a range of values, from lower to higher values, which is determined by the financial accounts.

This is why we always ask for at least the last 3 years of the practice’s accounts and the most up-to-date management accounts.

To go alongside these documents, we created a comprehensive and time-effective questionnaire. We use this, as well as discussions with the business owners and managers, to determine the financial worth and potential of the practice.

We then create a valuation report, allowing us to understand the correct market value of the business. If you want to find out more about dental practice valuations, please get in touch.

Conclusion

In the dynamic landscape of the healthcare industry, staying informed, leveraging technology, and relying on professional expertise are essential elements for a successful and lucrative transition. Whether you are a seller looking to maximize the value of your practice or a buyer seeking a strategic investment, the collaboration with professionals ensures that you navigate the process with confidence and make well-informed decisions for the future.

Dental Accounts & Tax Specialists

As dental practice owners ourselves, we know what makes a clinic tick. We have been working with dentists for over 20 years to help manage their accounts and tax.

Whether you’re a dental associate, run your own practice or own a dental group and are looking to save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax then we want to hear from you. Our digital platform takes the hassle and the paperwork out of accounts.

To find out more about how you can save time, money and effort on your accounts and tax when you automate your finances with Samera, book a free consultation with one of our accounting team today.

Dental Accounts & Tax: Further Information

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

5 Financial Tips for Dentists that you Need to Know!

Business Loans for Dentists

We’ve been helping to fund the future of the UK’s dentists for 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience and contacts in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera Finance and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

Dental Practice Finance: Further Information

For more information on raising finance for your dental practice, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles an webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Naive Dental Practice Buyer

In these changing dental times, it actually amazes me to see dentists paying over the odds for an over-priced dental practice. Yes, there is a significant demand for dental practices and yes, we receive inquiries daily from first-time buyers to expanding groups and existing principals. 

But what really amazes me is just how naive some buyers really are. 

Now, if you are a potential buyer the first question you must ask yourself is, who is the selling broker?

You may be wondering, why am I asking this?

To make it abundantly clear, some of the established groups don’t buy from certain dental brokers. To put it simply, these corporates believe such brokers have over-priced such practices and they are happy to leave them alone and wait for a naive buyer to come along and buy the practice themselves. Sadly, this is a regular occurrence where many such corporates have turned down dental practices because they are overpriced, waiting for someone less experienced to come and buy.

Let’s get this straight, just because some individual or broker is trying to get the best price for a particular practice, does not mean you have to buy it at that price.

In the last month, I’ve seen individuals willing to pay over 10 times EBITDA for very average practices, in very average locations, in the hope that they can grow the business further.

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The current market is only 6 times EBITDA.

But what really gets my goat is a manufactured EBITDA figure which has been inflated significantly under the guise of what the future potential may look like.

Let me make this clear; do not believe anything the broker tells you. Calculate your own EBITDA, or get some professional help to do this for you. It’s the selling broker’s job to justify as high a number as possible. 

Finally, has anyone actually told the naive buyer that, when it comes to selling the practice that they have worked hard and added value to, the return on investment they were hoping for may not actually manifest itself.

Unless, I guess, they have another naïve buyer come along.

Buying a Dental Practice: Get Started

When buying a dental practice (especially if it’s for the first time), you need the competent hands of qualified professionals. Not only have we been helping the UK’s dentists to buy, start and sell dental practices for over 20 years, we are dental practice owners ourselves! We know what it takes to buy the right dental practice, we can help you find it, buy it and get it up and running.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help buy your dream practice.

With Samera Business Advisors you can rest easy knowing that your investment is secure and your future is brighter. Contact us today so we can help plan for your tomorrow.

Learn More: Buying a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the buying a dental practice section of our Learning Centre like the Guide to Buying a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Do You Know the 3 Main Ways to Raise Finance?

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Business Loans for Dentists

We’ve been helping to fund the future of the UK’s dentists for 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience and contacts in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera Finance and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

Dental Practice Finance: Further Information

For more information on raising finance for your dental practice, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles an webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Financing Your First Dental Practice

Click here to read our articles.

Business Loans for Dentists

We’ve been helping to fund the future of the UK’s dentists for 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience and contacts in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera Finance and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

Dental Practice Finance: Further Information

For more information on raising finance for your dental practice, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles an webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Set up or Buy a Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Set up a Profitable Private Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Key Mistakes to Avoid: Buying or Starting a Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Create Your Own Dream Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Why Dentists Want to Start Their Own Practice

Many dentists dream of owning their own practice. And while it can be tough and certainly stressful, it’s also incredibly rewarding.. Imagine calling the shots, setting your own schedule, and managing your own clinic, that’s the sweet side of being an entrepreneurial dentist. However, it requires a load of hard work, dedication, and money. 

I have spoken to many dental professionals over the years who have been wary about taking on the responsibility of buying or starting a dental practice. My advice is always to take the plunge if you have a desire to own your own business. Success and profits are far easier to come by if you are in charge of your own destiny. There are several reasons why this is the case.

In this article, we’ll dig into the entrepreneurial spirit of dentists, the steps to kickstart a private dental practice, and the ups and downs of being the boss in your own dental world.

The journey of a lifetime

Owning a dental practice is the most rewarding phase of your professional life. By providing essential health care and cosmetic dental treatments to the general public, you will grow as a dentist and help to build your community.

With your own practice, you are able to experience the rare thrill of establishing a legacy within the medical community allowing you to affect change on the ground-level of this amazing industry. Through your passion and dedication, you will build a practice that enhances the lives of thousands, while also providing for your family.

The rise of entrepreneurial dentists

Lately, there’s been a noticeable increase in a new breed of dentists – the entrepreneurial ones. These individuals not only have the necessary medical skills for their jobs but also a strong desire to kickstart and manage their own private dental practices.

Traditionally, being a dentist meant working in established dental clinics or joining group practices for a stable career. However, times are changing, and more dentists are embracing their entrepreneurial side. They want independence and the opportunity to build successful businesses on their own terms.

One key factor driving this trend is the changing mindset of dentists themselves. Many dentists now see the potential for personal and professional growth that comes with venturing into business. They’re eager to break free from the constraints of working for others and are adopting well-thought-out business models to achieve their goals.

Moreover, the digital age and technological advancements have played a significant role in empowering independent dentists. The availability of online resources, entertainment platforms, and marketing tools has made it easier than ever to reach and engage with potential patients, establish competitive specialties, and build a loyal customer base.

Furthermore, the evolving healthcare landscape creates new opportunities for dentists to offer specialized services and innovative treatment options, catering to specific niches and patient needs. As a result, the entrepreneurial spirit among dentists has intensified as they strive to distinguish themselves from competitors and provide unique value propositions.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the mindset and motivations of entrepreneurial dentists. We’ll explore the challenges they face, the strategies they employ to overcome them, and the valuable insights they’ve gained along the way. 

So, whether you’re a dentist contemplating starting a private practice or simply interested in understanding the entrepreneurial spirit in the dental industry, keep reading for an enlightening peek into the world of the entrepreneurial dentist.

What is your ‘why’?

As we mentioned earlier, many dentists who are buying or starting their first practice factor in a sense of legacy into their decision. Meaning, they want the ability to form a business – based off of quality and trust – that can stand even after they are gone. In fact, we’ve recently seen a huge upswing in family-owned dental practices going back generations for that exact reason.

Perhaps “legacy” isn’t your motivation though – maybe you simply want the ability to determine your own future, without having a “boss” constantly over your shoulder?

In order to begin a dental practice, or any business, it is important to examine your own motivations first. Only by understanding your motivations (your own “why”) will you be able to design your practice to facilitate those goals.

Have a good conversation with yourself and ask what your personal objectives are … Are they financial, or more about your quality of life (spending time with family, etc.)? Where do you want to take your practice? Who do you want to help?

Did You Know?


  • The global dental services market is expected to reach $451.9 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% – a lucrative opportunity for budding dentists. (Source: Grand View Research, 2023)
  • Millennials and Gen Z prioritize technology and convenience in healthcare. Offering online appointments, digital consultations, and teledentistry can attract these demographics. (Source: American Dental Association, 2023)
  • Research shows higher success rates for dental practices in high-traffic areas, near residential communities, or with easy access to public transportation. (Source: Journal of the American Dental Association, 2019)
  • Startup costs can vary significantly depending on location, equipment, and desired technology. Budget for everything from dental chairs and x-ray machines to marketing and staffing. (Source: American Academy of Dental Practice Administration, 2023)
  • Invest in practice management software to streamline scheduling, billing, and patient communication. It can boost efficiency and save time. (Source: Dentistry Today, 2023)

Benefits of owning a dental practice

There are many answers to the question “Why do you want your own dental practice?” – and none of them are wrong. However, there are some crucial benefits to dental practice ownership that make it an incredibly enticing opportunity. Are any of these concepts a motivator for you?

You are your own boss

This is easily the most common answer we hear. When you own your own practice, you have the ability to control every aspect of the business – from staffing to the exterior bricks and mortar. You write policy, you determine the standard of care, and you are in direct control of the well-being of your patients. For those of us with the fortitude to shoulder these responsibilities, practicing ownership is a dream come true. Are you ready?

Build the work environment of your dreams

“Office politics” is listed as one of the top reasons for being dissatisfied at work. Through ownership, you can craft the work atmosphere that you’ve always wanted, with people you hand chose, working a schedule that you decided.

Earn more money

At this stage in your career, it should come as no surprise to you that the vast majority of dental practice owners earn more than their associates. By being your own boss, and potentially managing an entire team of associates, you will maximise your practice’s earning potential by servicing more patients without you having to personally do the work yourself!

Money may not be everything to a dedicated dental professional, but ideally, no one does all that training to settle for less than they are worth. I have seen dentists who are associates and struggle to live a comfortable life. This is not the case for dentists who invest in their own practice.

  • Earnings are higher than for associates.
  • Equity is always in place.
  • Owning means that wealth can grow.

Who would not want to benefit from all of these? Many professionals already have them. At the time I am writing this, there are around 11,000 dental practices in the UK. The UK’s Dental  Industry revenue has grown at a CAGR of 2.5% over the past five years, to reach an estimated £7.2bn in 2023. The question I’m asking is, can anyone really afford to miss out on being part of this exciting growth industry?

Ownership = actual wealth

Having money does not make you wealthy. Wealth, actual wealth, comes from the ownership of assets, things that make money. Historically, the two most profitable assets to own have always been real estate and a business. When you own a dental practice, you actually stack these powerful investments on top of each other, giving yourself a “super asset”. This super asset will accumulate value over the course of your successful career, all while you are earning a significant income for your family.

Tax Benefits!

Business ownership comes steeped in tax incentives. These are benefits afforded to dental practice owners because they are providing a valuable service to their community. These tax-breaks allow you to free-up capital to reinvest in your business, further growing your assets. In fact, one of the most effective ways many of our clients have successfully grown their practice has been by simply taking all of the money they save in taxes, and immediately putting it back into their practice, thinking of it almost as an “automatic business savings plan”.

Click here to read our article on How can dentist reduce their tax legitimately.

Tax is an unavoidable burden for most people, but it’s possible to optimise a tax position by starting up a dental practice. I often find myself advising clients about the numerous tax deductions they are eligible for once they are running their own dental practice. These deductibles include:

  • Staffing costs such as salaries.
  • Insurance and banking and interest costs.
  • Marketing expenses.
  • Equipment.
  • Energy and other bills.

It’s easy to see that all the important costs of setting up and running a dental practice are tax deductible. Take a look at the UK government’s website for the full list.

And those are only a handful of the hundreds of reasons why dental practice ownership is not only the “more fun” option, but also the most financially sound decision you can make.

Challenges and risks involved in starting a private practice

Lots of dentists who want to start their own private practices find the idea exciting. But, it’s crucial to understand the challenges and risks that come with taking on this entrepreneurial journey.

Money is one of the big hurdles. Starting a private practice involves costs like equipment, office space, staff salaries, and marketing. Finding funding or backers can be tough because banks might see dentistry as a risky business.

The dental market is also very competitive. Established practices and big dental chains may already have a strong local presence, making it hard for new dentists to attract patients. Building trust and a good reputation takes time and effort.

Another risk is the uncertainty of patient flow and income, especially in the early stages. It takes time to build up a group of patients, and dentists might face financial ups and downs. Economic factors, like recessions or changes in insurance coverage, can affect the profit of a private practice.

Click here to watch our webinar on financing your first dental practice.

Running a private practice means taking on different roles besides being a dentist. Entrepreneurial dentists have to handle tasks like administration, staff management, marketing, and following rules. Sometimes, balancing these business and clinical duties can be tough.

Also, the dental field is always changing. Keeping up with new technology, treatment methods, and industry trends requires constant learning. Falling behind could mean losing to competitors or offering outdated services.

Despite these challenges, many dentists are driven by a passion for giving personalized care and the freedom that comes with having their own practice. Entrepreneurial dentists can make their private practices successful by recognizing potential problems and creating a smart plan to overcome them.

Click here to read our article on 5 quick tips when buying a dental practice.

Essential steps to starting a successful dental practice

To create a successful dental practice, you need to plan and carry out some important steps. These actions lay the foundation for a thriving and profitable business in the competitive field of dentistry.

  1. Do a Thorough Market Research: Before diving into the world of private practice, it’s crucial to do comprehensive market research. This involves studying the local dental market, understanding the demographics of the area, and identifying gaps or potential opportunities. By gaining insight into the needs of potential patients and existing competition, you can create a strategic plan that sets your practice apart.
  1. Create a Strong Business Plan: A well-crafted business plan is a roadmap to success for any ambitious dentist. It outlines your goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational processes. A business plan serves as a guiding document that helps you stay on track, make informed decisions, and secure funding if needed.
  1. Secure Adequate Financing: Starting a dental practice requires a significant financial investment. From acquiring equipment and technology to leasing or buying office space, there are various costs to consider. It’s essential to secure sufficient financing through personal savings, loans, or partnerships to cover these initial expenses and ensure smooth operations during the early stages.
  1. Choose the Right Location: To attract and retain patients, your dental practice needs to be in the right place. Consider factors like accessibility, visibility, parking availability, and proximity to neighborhoods or other healthcare facilities. A convenient and easily accessible location can significantly contribute to the success of your practice.
  1. Invest in Modern Equipment and Technology: In today’s digital age, staying up-to-date with the latest dental equipment and technology is crucial. Patients seek digital treatment options and a pleasant experience. Investing in advanced equipment, digital imaging systems, electronic health records, and other technological advancements not only enhances patient care but also improves efficiency and productivity within your practice.
  1. Build a Strong Team: A successful dental practice relies on a competent and dedicated team. Hire staff members with relevant experience and expertise who share your practice’s values and vision. From dental hygienists and assistants to receptionists and office managers, each team member plays a crucial role in delivering excellent patient care and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations.
  1. Implement Effective Marketing Strategies: Effective marketing strategies are essential to attract new patients and establish competitive specialties locally. Utilize digital and traditional marketing channels to raise awareness of your practice. Develop a professional website, use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, engage with patients on social media platforms, and leverage online reviews and referrals to build a positive reputation.

By following these essential steps, aspiring entrepreneurial dentists can position themselves well when starting their own private practice. With careful planning, dedication, and a commitment to delivering excellent patient care, you can build a thriving dental practice that fulfills your entrepreneurial aspirations.

Click here to watch our talk from the 2022 BIDA Dental Showcase on Essential Ingredients for a Successful Squat Practice.

Resources and support for aspiring dental entrepreneurs

Starting your own dental practice might seem challenging, but there are ways to make it happen. Even though it’s not easy to run a successful dental business and be your own boss, there are resources and support networks that can help turn this dream into a reality.

One helpful resource for dental entrepreneurs is professional associations and organizations. They offer mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and educational resources tailored for dentists who want to start their own practices. Connecting with experienced dental professionals who have successfully ventured into entrepreneurship can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Continuing education programs and dental schools often provide courses and workshops on the business aspects of running a dental practice. These educational resources cover practice management, financial planning, marketing strategies, and other essential skills needed to thrive in the competitive dental industry.

Financial institutions and lending institutions play a crucial role in supporting dental entrepreneurs. Many banks and credit unions have special loan programs just for dentists, making it easier for new business owners to get funding for their practice. These institutions understand the dental business well and can offer valuable advice on financial planning and credit repayment options.

Online platforms and communities have become important resources for aspiring dental entrepreneurs. These platforms provide a space for dentists to connect, share experiences, and seek advice from others on the entrepreneurial path. Online forums and communities can be a source of inspiration, motivation, and practical tips to help aspiring dental entrepreneurs overcome challenges and stay focused on their goals.

Whether you’re looking to buy or start your first or next dental practice, Samera Business Consultants are here to help you achieve your goals and build your future. For those embarking on the journey of dental practice ownership, this guide hopes to set you on the path to your future in dentistry!

In conclusion, aspiring dental entrepreneurs should take advantage of available resources and support networks. By utilizing professional associations, educational programs, financial institutions, and online communities, dental entrepreneurs can gain the knowledge, guidance, and support needed to confidently embark on their journey towards starting a successful private practice.

Key traits and skills for success as an entrepreneurial dentist

Becoming an entrepreneurial dentist takes a unique set of qualities and skills to make sure you succeed in starting and running your own private practice. While being a skilled dentist is important, there are other traits that can make a big difference in creating a successful business.

First and foremost, having a strong sense of ambition and self-motivation is crucial. Starting a private practice involves taking risks and facing the challenges that come with running a business. It’s important to have the determination to explore new ideas, constantly seek improvement, and take your practice to new heights.

Effective communication skills are also essential. Building relationships with patients, staff, and other healthcare professionals is crucial for long-term success. Dentists with excellent communication skills can understand treatments, listen to patient’s concerns, and establish trust, leading to a loyal patient base.

Adaptability is another key quality for entrepreneurial dentists. The healthcare industry is always evolving, and being able to adapt to new technologies, treatment methods, and industry trends is crucial. Embracing change and consistently seeking out valuable opportunities for growth and improvement will set you apart in a competitive market.

Entrepreneurial dentists should also have leadership abilities. As the owner of a private practice, you will be responsible for managing a team of dental professionals. To build an effective team, it’s important to lead by example, delegate tasks efficiently, and create a positive work environment.

Another important skill for dentist entrepreneurs is financial acumen. Running a private practice involves managing budgets, tracking expenses, and determining the financial health of your business. The key to long-term viability is being able to use projections and financial data to make informed decisions.

Lastly, a passion for continuous learning and professional development is crucial. The field of dentistry is always evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest research, techniques, and advancements is essential for providing excellent care to your patients. A commitment to lifelong learning will not only benefit your patients but also position you as a trusted expert in your field.

In conclusion, being an entrepreneurial dentist requires a mix of ambition, effective communication, adaptability, leadership, financial acumen, and a passion for continuous learning. By developing these qualities and skills, you can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling journey in starting and running your private dental practice.

Balancing the clinical and business aspects of running a dental practice

Operating a dental practice involves finding a delicate balance between taking care of patients and managing the business side of things. As an entrepreneurial dentist, your main aim is to give your patients top-notch dental care. However, it’s equally important to understand and handle the business aspects of your practice.

One major challenge in balancing the clinical and business aspects is making the most of your time. Dentists often find themselves torn between caring for patients and handling administrative tasks. It’s crucial to set up efficient systems and assign tasks to your team to overcome this hurdle. Hiring capable staff and empowering them to manage certain administrative duties can save your time for patient care.

Financial management is another vital part of striking a balance. As a dental practice owner, you need a solid understanding of your practice’s finances, including income, expenses, and profit. Implementing effective accounting practices, regularly reviewing financial reports, can help you make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.

Marketing is where the clinical and business aspects intersect. While delivering excellent dental care is crucial, it’s equally important to promote your practice and attract new patients. Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both online and offline methods can help you reach your target audience and set your practice apart from competitors.

Staying up-to-date on the latest advancements in dental technology and methods is essential for both business and clinical purposes. Investing in state-of-the-art equipment and ongoing education for yourself and your staff can improve patient satisfaction, enhance clinical outcomes, and ultimately contribute to the success of your practice.

In the end, to balance the clinical and business aspects of running a dental practice, dedication, strategic planning, and a willingness to adapt to industry changes are essential. By effectively managing your time, finances, marketing efforts, and staying current with industry advancements, you can thrive as an entrepreneurial dentist, providing outstanding care to your patients while growing your practice.

Is owning a dental practice worth it?

Whether you are buying your first or next dental practice, ownership of your own dental practice is one of the most rewarding experiences that the medical industry can provide. Being able to offer essential dental care and treatment to your community will be as rewarding you to personally as it is to the public. 

As long as you can attack your new platter of responsibilities as a business owner head-on, you should answer the question above with a confident, “absolutely.”

However, owning your own dental practice requires many, often tedious, tasks that are as confusing as they are strict.

Are you ready to start your own dental practice?

When you own a practice, you need to be good at many things other than dentistry. You may need to deal with complaints, sickness, CQC, Health and Safety, debtors, invoicing, marketing and all of the other trappings of owning and operating your own successful dental practice.

Ask yourself and be honest, do you have the skills to manage these tasks?

As long as you are straightforward with yourself about your skills as well as your limitations from the beginning, you will go far as a dental practice owner with a career hopefully spanning decades.

Our Expert Opinion

“Over the years I have helped many dentists start their own dental practice, primarily because they want to practice the way they want to. This may mean they will over the short term earn less, but over the longer term, they will be able to provide the level of care they want for their patients.

In addition, whilst starting and running a practice is not an easy option it provides them with the real satisfaction of controlling their own destiny. This means setting up in a location they desire with the design and equipment of their choice.

This can be liberating for many dentists, whilst at the same time challenging, but all very achievable.

From my experience most dentists who start their own dental practice rarely look back, and usually wished they had done it earlier in their career!”

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The 3 Stages of the Life of a Dental Practice

Step 1 – Setting up or Buying a Dental Practice.

If you’re at the stage of buying or setting up a dental practice, that is your first stage. If you are setting up a clinic, there are plenty of things you need to be thinking about. For instance, you need to consider the location, your budget, the type of dentistry you will be offering, as well as the type of patient you want to be attracting.

When beginning your journey as a dental practice owner, you have 2 main options. Firstly, you can set up a new clinic from scratch and we have a number of resources within the Learning Center that cover setting up a dental practice or clinic.

Your other option is to buy an existing practice. Buying a practice comes with its own considerations such as; what are the current profits, where is it located, how is it performing currently, and, if you can buy that practice, how can you add value to it? In other words, if you buy it now at a certain price, how can you increase the value so that you can then sell the same practice in the future at a profit.

Step 2 – The Growth Stage

You may have set up or bought a practice that is now operating and performing fairly well. The truth is, however, that whether you started or bought your practice, your goal is to grow it. How do you accomplish this? There are several ways to grow a business, but you need to be smart about it. You need to ensure that you grow the turnover, without growing the cost at the same rate as the turnover. Therefore, you need to manage the costs appropriately to make sure that the margins of your business are growing at a healthy rate.

What do you need to grow your business? Firstly, you need to make sure you have the right team in place. Having the right team can make all the difference in any business. However, that team needs to have bought into your vision and they must understand what you are trying to achieve with your practice or your business.

Secondly, your marketing has to be hot! We are living in an age of digital marketing, therefore, you need to be on-board with everything in the online world, whether it be YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Pay Per Click marketing with Google, SEO etc. You need to understand these platforms to be able to grow your business.

Growth is all about getting your marketing right, getting the team right and then implementing great care to your patients and customers. This is how you grow your business to a value that will ultimately help you on your exit.

Step 3 – The Exit Stage

You’re at the stage where you may have owned a practice for a few years, you have grown it healthily and it is doing well. However, you really want to exit at the top of its game, not when it has reached its peak and then started to decline. You need to be thinking about “when is the right time to be selling my dental practice or office?” The answer: when it is doing its best. At that stage of maximising value, where you have made all the effort at the growth stage to get a value that is healthy and profitable, this is where a buyer will come along and pay you a handsome price for it.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Registering with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Legally, in England, any dental professional and their practice must be registered for any registered activity which is going to be carried out. Buying or setting up a dental practice means that these registrations have to be in place, before any treatments are started.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health care and social care in England. The CQC monitors and inspects providers and provides reports and rankings, so that people can see which providers obtain the best results.

What are the regulated activities for dentists?

The CQC provides full details of activities for which registration is necessary on its website. These activities include:

  • Surgical procedures.
  • Diagnostic and screening procedures.
  • Treatment of disease, disorder or injury.

From the list of activities provided, it’s up to a practice owner to determine which are relevant. Once registration is complete, it’s important to understand how the CQC will monitor the performance of the dental practice on an on-going basis. I cannot emphasise this enough. Performance and care have to be high quality in order to ensure good CQC reports. These reports can have a direct effect on patient numbers and on the profits of the business.

How does the CQC check performance?

Investing in a dental practice is a big step. It’s important to eliminate as much risk as possible. One risk is that patient numbers could decline. The best way to stop this from happening is to provide an excellent standard of treatment and care.

The CQC reports on the standard of care in dental surgeries. Therefore, it’s important to understand what has to be done to prove the standard of care in the practice that is being purchased.

The CQC gathers information from different sources including:

  • Service users.
  • Service providers.
  • Local organisations.
  • Service stakeholders.
  • NHS England.
  • General Dental Council.

The CQC also carries out inspections. Prior to inspection, it asks for information which can include:

  • Current statement of purpose for the practice.
  • Accreditation or good practice programme membership details.
  • Staff names, roles and hours worked.
  • Details of complaints received.

Once a request for information has been received, a practice only has five days in which to respond. This is one reason why it’s so important to adopt good record keeping practices once a purchased or new practice is up and running.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Building a dental team

In this article we will take a look at building a good dental team and keeping it up to scratch.

Putting a good dental team together.

The General Dental Council provides details of standards for the dental team. I would guess that most people reading this will be aware of that fact, but it’s worth another read. When putting a team in place they need to be people who will adhere to these standards and to the aims and culture of the practice overall.

Why a good fit is so important

When a dental practice is purchased, there is often a professional team already in place. This does not mean that these people are the best fit for the new practice. I’ve worked with several clients who have quickly found it impossible to operate effectively because of a significant clash in practices and differences between the culture of the old practice and that of the new one.

Just because someone has a wealth of qualifications and a good record does not mean they are the best fit for the business that a new purchaser is trying to grow. For instance, I have heard people complain about dentists who have no sense of humour and are not the best with people who are nervous. If one of the aims of a practice is to specialise in providing care for people who have a phobia of dental treatments, this type of professional would not be a good team member.

What are the most important qualities?

There is a good chance that people already working at the practice, and/or those seeking employment, will have similar skill sets. However, the qualities they have may be very different. One of the most important tasks for any new dental practice owner is to decide which qualities are important to smooth running of the surgery, such as:

  • The ability to work as a team.
  • Problem solving ability.
  • Reliability.
  • A level head.
  • An empathetic nature.
  • Good time keeping.

It’s important that members of the team possess qualities that are in line with the aims and culture of the practice.

Step back and evaluate

It’s never a good idea to make snap judgements about members of a team that is already in place. Do not forget that everyone needs time to adjust to a new situation. Step back from the day to day operations for a little while and simply evaluate how people work and how they interact with each other.

It’s also important to speak to people and ask them about their aims and aspirations. This will help to make it apparent if they are going to have issues working within the practice as it will be operated.

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Hiring new members of the dental team

There may be a need to hire new team members for a dental practice that has just been purchased. It’s possible to list available posts with the British Dental Journal or to ask a specialist dental professional recruitment agency for help. It’s important to do the ground work before the job is listed and/or potential candidates are sought.

  • What qualifications and experience are necessary for the role?
  • What services are to be provided by the individual?
  • What additional skills would be advantageous?
  • What qualities are important?

The ideas and requirements that are collated help to formulate a description of the job role. They are also a big help during the interview process.

The interview process

Depending on how many candidates there are, it may be a good idea to reduce the list by telephoning each candidate and asking them why they want to work for this particular practice and how they see themselves as a good fit. Anyone who has not done their research, or is obviously not the right fit, can be weeded out.

During the interview itself, the questions should reflect the real world within the practice. Some questions it may be useful to ask include:

  • Give an example of how your working practices fit with the aims of this surgery.
  • Tell us about how you would go about implementing an improvement to processes; give an example.
  • Explain how you would handle a nervous patient.
  • Explain what you would do if a patient was late.

It can be useful to take a look at some questions that dental industry candidates have been asked.

Welcoming new team members

Once the right team is in place, it’s important to make sure that they remain satisfied in their work and motivated. High motivation levels lead to good standards of productivity and performance. These good standards are essential to the survival and growth of any dental practice.  

In order to keep motivation levels high it’s important to:

  • Provide a comprehensive induction package.
  • Have an open, learning-based culture.
  • Communicate the aims and culture of the practice.
  • Hold regular staff meetings.
  • Implement a fair on-going assessment and appraisal process.
  • Encourage self-development and training.

People who work in this type of environment are more likely to want to contribute to the on-going success of the dental practice.

Keeping a good dental team in place

I believe in starting with the basics, when it comes to growing a dental practice. Having the right team in place means that treatment and patient care are of high quality. This makes it easier to retain patients, and to attract new ones. Retaining, and increasing, a patient pool is essential for any dental surgery that wants to see profits grow and expansion occur.

Retaining a professional, caring and highly motivated team is essential for anyone who has ambitions to grow a successful dental practice. There are several points that I always reinforce with clients which can make staff retention a lot easier.

Creating a positive working environment

The first step to take when creating a positive working environment in a dental surgery is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Every member of the team needs to be aware of the vision of the practice, and to be on board with it. Remember that a vision is not set in stone. As a practice evolves, so the vision can be tweaked to reflect the way forward.

This vision needs to be at the centre of everything that happens in a flourishing dental practice. It also needs to be supported by other factors which make the surgery an excellent place to work. These factors may include:

  • Emphasis on a good work/life balance.
  • Additional benefits on top of salary.
  • Use of the latest technology.
  • Access to ongoing training and education.
  • Recognition for a job well-done. This can be as simple as thank-you or may involve a bonus scheme.

For dental professionals, one of the best ways to check for a good working environment in their practice is to put themselves in the place of every staff member and be honest about whether they would really want to work there. Doing this can be a real eye opener; I’ve used it as a tool myself over the years.

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Encouraging good performance

Every successful business needs to have an appraisal process in place; dental practices are no different. This should not be seen as a way of monitoring members of the team; it needs to be seen as a chance to develop, learn and be rewarded for success.

I have always found that 360 degree feedback is useful as part of this process. I have certainly learned important things about myself in this way. Remember, it’s about providing excellent patient care, and growing the business as a result. There is no place for an inflated ago.

In any successful appraisal system there are some important points to get right.

  • Create clear and specific job roles so that there is no room for confusion.
  • Create SMART goals which each team member can work towards achieving and be measured against. Creating goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed gives people more chance of achieving them (2)
  • Make sure that every team member has a personal development plan in place (PDP). This can be especially important in an SME like a dental practice where career advancement opportunities may be limited but development can be encouraged and supported.
  • Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance so that measurement standards are consistent.

Performance appraisal reviews should normally happen every twelve months, but there should be opportunity to talk at any time.

According to Forbes,

“The most common form of performance appraisals compare our current performance levels either with our previous performance levels or the performance levels of our peers. When the two approaches were compared, the researchers found that comparing our performance now with our performances in the past was more effective because employees regarded them as fairer, especially on an interpersonal level.”

This makes sense in a dental surgery where staff numbers are limited and comparing peers may promote discord rather than the harmony that is required. The aim of any successful appraisal system is to improve individual and overall performance in a motivational and supportive manner.

Communicating is key

I have never come across a client yet who has disagreed with my assertion that effective communication is at the centre of any successful dental surgery. However, with the best will in the world, communications become confused and messy, if there is no strategy and plan in place. These plans can include factors such as:

  • Defined communication timelines.
  • Creation of a staff Intranet system.
  • Daily and Weekly team meetings.
  • Defined methods of communicating management plans and concerns.

Poor communication tends to lead to poor performance, reduced patient satisfaction and reduced chance of growth. Never take communication for granted.

These are all factors that can help keep a good team in place in a dental practice. The longer a good team is retained, the more likely a practice is to thrive and grow.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Creating a Business Plan for a Dental Practice

“The value of a business plan simply cannot be overstated. Putting ideas and concepts down on paper is invaluable and the act of researching and compiling data about your competitors and the market will prove to be very useful in the years to come.”

Stefan Topfer, The Importance of Business Planning (2)

Why creating a business plan is essential when buying a dental practice

I started this article with a quote that I wholeheartedly agree with. A well put together business plan is at the centre of every successful business. It’s also an essential factor in successfully obtaining acquisition finance. I have had this conversation with many clients over the years. If they cannot show how they are going to be a success, why should the bank have faith in them?

The fact is that a business plan helps anyone who is starting or buying a dental practice to clearly see their current position and the way ahead. It also means that financial professionals can see the reliability and promise of a dental business, before they make a lending decision.

What to include in a dental practice business plan

A well-written business plan needs to be comprehensive and succinct. It should cover all aspects of the business, without going into minute detail. Items to be covered include:

The aims and objectives of the business.

Make sure that aims are well-considered and transparent. It’s also important to make sure that these aims reflect the personal CV of the practice owner.

The services that are available at the practice.

Make sure that the resources, facilities, products and qualifications are in place for all of the services that are included.

Information about the market and competitors.

Research should be completed so that details of the current market, and the level of competition, can be provided. Consider the threats the business may face and the opportunities it can explore. I have found that a SWOT analysis is often useful at times like this. It helps with full exploration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can be summarised in the business plan.

The cost of purchasing and running the business.

This is a good indication that all financial implications have been considered. Remember to recognise the risks of hidden costs and indicate that there is a mitigation plan in place. This information helps banks to recognise the reliability of the business.

How the practice is going to be run.

Proposed hours of operation should be included. This information needs to be backed up by details of the amount of staff required and the working hours that will be needed.

Financial forecasts.

Anyone starting or buying a dental practice needs to have informed knowledge of how the financial situation looks for the coming months, and years. Banks also need to see that they are lending to a business that is going to be profitable. Be realistic with the figures that are included and back them up with research and evidence where possible.

Anyone starting or buying a dental practice needs to have informed knowledge of how the financial situation looks for the coming months, and years. Banks also need to see that they are lending to a business that is going to be profitable. Be realistic with the figures that are included and back them up with research and evidence where possible.

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How to format a business plan for a dental practice

Any good business plan should have three distinct sections; the executive summary, the narrative and the financials. It should also include appendices with relevant charts and graphs. It’s vital to understand the importance of each section.

The Executive Summary.

This is the most important part of a business plan when looking for acquisition finance. Lenders like to know important aspects about a dental practice business, before they provide any funding. Details of what services are going to be provided, how much funding is required and how it will be repaid should be included in this section.

It’s important to make the executive summary persuasive. Include details of the vision for the future and why the business is such a low risk when it comes to lending. What will make the business succeed?

The Narrative.

The main section of a business plan should be broken down into defined parts, for ease of reading and understanding. These parts should include.

  1. A business overview including aspects such as structure, staffing, loan repayments and risk management.
  2. Location of the business. Is this likely to change as the dental practice succeeds and grows. What are the strengths of the location?
  3. Marketing and analytics. What demographic will marketing be aimed at, what form will it take and what will the investment be. Make sure that the marketing strategy for the practice is defined.
  4. Operating the business. What will happen on a daily basis? What sort of equipment will be used at the business and what supplies will be needed? All aspects of the day to day running of the business should be included here. This includes how the business will be managed and what the staffing requirements will be.

The Financials.

In the final section of a business plan, the finances of the dental practice should be addressed. This should include projected income and cash flow figures, together with any assumptions on which these figures have been based. Provide a comprehensive vision of the financial standing and future of the practice.

Appendices.

This part of the business plan is where supporting evidence and background information is provided. This can include charts, graphs, action plans and schedules.

Putting a business plan together may sound like hard work, but it’s an essential aspect of buying or starting a dental practice. Once the plan has been completed, it’s time to consider funding options for the purchase.

Our Expert Opinion

“No plan, no business. A plan is so important to help you navigate the pitfalls of starting and building a business. Get the basics down on paper and then evolve the plan slowly with ideas and goals.”

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Should I Start or Buy a Dental Practice?

Starting vs Buying a Dental Practice

Taking the opportunity to own a dental practice means either finding a dental practice for sale that is the right fit for you or starting a new, squat practice from scratch.

Before examining the finer points, such as location and turnover, there are major decisions to be made.

For example:

  • Is it better to buy an existing practice or start from scratch?
  • Should the practice be NHS, private or mixed?
  • Should the property be leasehold or freehold?

Buy a dental practice or start from scratch?

There are two main options when it comes to starting out as a dental practice owner for the first time.

There are pros and cons to both of these options and it’s up to the individual which option is best for them. When clients approach me about making this decision, I advise them about the different aspects they need to take into account.

Buying an existing dental practice

Buying an existing practice can bring certain benefits:

  • There is already a good patient base.
  • The dental surgery has a good reputation.
  • There is a proven potential for good financial returns.
  • The necessary equipment and design features are in place.
  • There is already be a good team of professionals in place.

Whether these benefits exist can be discovered as part of the due diligence process, which you can find more about here. Some practices come with plenty of cons, rather than pros.

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For example:

  • Out-dated dental practices.
  • Out-dated dental equipment.
  • A patient base that is used to these methods and may be averse to change.
  • A poor local or online reputation

When buying an existing dental practice it’s important to make sure that the business is a sound investment; one which provides good prospects for growth and profits.

Click here to read our guide on How to Buy a Dental Practice.

Starting a dental practice from scratch

The likelihood is that starting a dental practice from scratch can sometimes be more expensive, but often a savvy entrepreneur can set up a practice on a tight budget.

The building will probably need some re-design and all the equipment will need to be purchased. A complete new team will also need to be hired. This process can be costly and time-consuming. Marketing will also need to be a major concern, as there will be no ready-made patient base. This can be especially problematic if there is competition in the area.

However, there are also potential benefits to be had from starting from scratch.

  • There is no previous client perception in place.
  • State-of-the-art equipment can be purchased for use.
  • The surgery can be designed precisely to your requirements.
  • A hand-picked team can be put in place.
  • A suitable, visible location can be found.
  • You can fully implement your own vision.

It’s important to research the area and the business potential thoroughly before making a decision to start a dental surgery from scratch.

Once the decision to buy a dental practice or set one up from scratch has been made, there are other important decisions to consider.

Click here to read our guide on Starting a Dental Practice.

NHS, private or mixed?

Anyone buying a dental practice has the option to choose to invest in an NHS practice, private practice or one that is mixed. I would always say that buying a dental practice which has some element of private treatment makes the most sense. Although, I have also helped many clients to negotiate the NHS tendering process.

An NHS practice may seem like a good proposition, as it provides a regular income and the patient turnover is not as high. However, NHS contracts come with restrictions and these can choke the ability to be creative in scaling a business and optimising success. The NHS England website provides details of the contracts for anyone thinking about buying an NHS dental practice.

Anyone who is looking for a dental practice for sale that allows them to make the most of their entrepreneurial skills is best advised to choose private.  Providing private dental plans to patients can be highly lucrative, as long as the expected high standard of treatment is provided.

It’s also important to be prepared for investing time and financing in high quality marketing as patient acquisition and retention are essential to the survival of any private dental surgery.

Click here to read more about the NHS tender process.

Leasehold or freehold?

I’ve worked with clients who purchased freehold dental practices and those who have purchased leasehold practices. Personally, if I was looking for a dental surgery for sale I would choose freehold every time.

However, many times the freehold is never available. Therefore, focus your efforts on choosing a practice or premises in a great location, rather than just thinking about freehold or leasehold.

Of course, it depends on how good an opportunity a particular practice is, but banks tend to look more kindly at applications for finance when a freehold property is involved.

Anyone looking at a leasehold dental practice for sale needs to make sure that the lease has at least 15 years to run and be aware that banks will only lend to the end of the lease. This is a vital consideration for anyone wanting to obtain acquisition finance.

You can find out more about acquisition finance here.

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Location of the dental practice

As I mentioned earlier, location can be an important factor in getting value for money when buying a dental practice. Often the best deals and opportunities can be found when the purchaser is willing to travel or move to a less popular location.

When considering the purchase of a dental practice and thinking about the location, it’s important to take into account several factors:

  • Is the local population booming or falling? Access to a patient pool is essential for growth.
  • Does the location of the proposed or existing practice have great visibility for prospective new patients?
  • Is travel to the location viable, or will a move be required?
  • If a move is needed, how easy and affordable is it to secure accommodation?
  • What plans are there for the area over the coming years? For instance, the building of new housing could greatly increase footfall at the practice and potentially increase its value quite quickly.

Click here to read more about marketing a dental practice and finding more patients.

What opportunities does a practice present?

In some respects a dental practice is the same as any other business; stability, profitability and growth are all vital to success. This is why it’s so important to ask for an array of information from the vendor before committing to the practice being the right option, and signing contracts.

  • How many patients have been seen in the last 12 months?
  • What types of treatment are most prevalent?
  • What are the most outstanding treatments at the practice?
  • What do exam recall rates look like?
  • What is the patient retention rate?
  • What marketing strategies are being used and how well are they working?

Of course, always ask for evidence of responses, so that a full picture is available.

Click here to read more about due diligence when buying a dental practice.

Is it more expensive to start or buy a dental practice?

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy, clear answer to this question.

All things considered, it can cost an average of around £200,000-£300,000 to start a new practice, but this can raise to up to £500,000 and above.

The price of a dental practice for sale will depend on several different factors, like its current profitability. A successful dental practice will cost far more than a struggling one. One of the metrics we use to calculate the value of a practice is EBITDA. You can read more about EBITDA and valuing dental practices here.

You may be able to find a practice for sale at around the same price as it would cost to set one up, but will it be a successful, profitable practice? Probably not.

So in summary, it completely depends. You do often find it can be cheaper to start a new practice than to buy an existing successful one. This is because a successful practice already has an existing, proven turnover that you’re buying. Whereas a new practice’s profits depends more on your own hard work.

Click here to watch our webinar on How to Set up or Buy a Practice.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team at a time that suits you (including evenings). We’ll call you back and have a chat about how we can help start your dream practice.

Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

Make sure you never miss any of our articles, webinars, videos or events by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

5 Key Steps to Starting your Dental Practice

Further information on Starting a Dental Practice

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own practices for nearly 20 years and we know exactly what it takes to make your practice a success!

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

For more information please check out the articles and webinars in the start a dental practice section of our Learning Center, like our guide on How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps.

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