Payroll for Dentists

Running a dental practice is demanding. Between patient care, appointments, and managing staff, payroll can easily become an overwhelming task. With intricate regulations, constantly shifting tax laws, and the delicate balance between employee contentment and business profitability, it’s understandable that many dental practices find themselves grappling to meet their payroll responsibilities. 

From deciphering the nuances of NHS pensions to following Auto Enrolment regulations, managing payroll can feel like walking a minefield. Payroll is more than simply writing out pay cheques and distributing them to your team. Payroll involves intricate regulations, employee classification, and meticulous record-keeping. Failing to navigate payroll correctly can result in costly errors, discontent among staff, and potential legal ramifications.

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about payroll so you can run your practice smoothly.

Understanding the Importance of Accurate Payroll

Managing payroll accurately is crucial for the success of any dental practice. It’s not just a matter of paying your employees on time, it’s also about fulfilling your legal responsibilities as an employer. 

In the UK, HMRC scrutinises payroll accuracy closely, with even minor errors carrying the risk of substantial penalties and fines. Furthermore, errors in payroll can lead to disgruntled employees, denting morale, and productivity within your practice. 

Imagine your diligent dental nurses or hygienists receiving incorrect pay slips or, worse yet, experiencing delays in payment. The repercussions can be extensive, impacting both employee contentment and your standing as a dependable employer.

Moreover, maintaining precise payroll is imperative for upholding compliance with UK employment laws, including Auto Enrolment, National Minimum Wage, and Statutory Payments. 

Non-compliance with these regulations can result in severe financial penalties, legal repercussions, and tarnishing of your professional image. By ensuring accurate payroll management, you can sidestep these potential pitfalls and ensure your practice operates smoothly and legally. In doing so, you’ll be able to concentrate on your primary objectives – delivering exceptional patient care and advancing the growth of your practice.

Action Points:

  • Conduct a Payroll Audit: Regularly review your payroll processes to ensure accuracy, identify errors, and make improvements. This helps maintain compliance and avoid penalties.
  • Understand and Update Legal Knowledge: Stay informed about updates to UK employment laws affecting payroll, such as Auto Enrolment and National Minimum Wage. This knowledge is crucial for maintaining legal compliance. Full information can be found on the HMRC and Gov.uk websites.
  • Implement Regular Payroll Reviews: Schedule regular reviews of your payroll system to adapt to legal changes and enhance accuracy. This proactive approach prevents discrepancies and ensures employee satisfaction.

Understanding Payroll Basics

Understanding the basics of payroll is important for making sure your staff get paid correctly and on time. Firstly, you need to know the difference between gross pay, which is how much someone earns before deductions, and net pay, which is what they take home after deductions like tax and National Insurance.

It’s also important to understand common deductions, like money for pensions or paying off student loans, as well as any allowances they might be entitled to. You also need to think about how often you want to pay your staff, whether it’s every month or every two weeks, and what works best for your practice and your employees.

Action Points:

  • Identify Common Deductions: Recognize common payroll deductions like pension contributions, student loan repayments, and others.
  • Understand Allowances: Be aware of potential employee allowances that can affect pay.
  • Determine Pay Frequency: Decide on a pay schedule (monthly, bi-weekly) that suits both your practice and your staff.

The Role of HMRC in Dental Practice Payroll

As a dentist, understanding the role of HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) within your dental practice’s payroll operations is essential. 

HMRC is responsible for the collection of taxes, including National Insurance contributions, income tax, and student loan repayments, deducted from employees’ wages. As the authority on the UK’s tax system, HMRC ensures that employers comply with the payroll regulations.

In dental practice payroll, HMRC provides essential guidance on payroll taxes, specifying the rates and thresholds for income tax, National Insurance, and student loan repayments. They also issue instructions on how to calculate and deduct these taxes from employee earnings and are responsible for collecting these payments. It is essential you understand these rules and regulations.

As a dental practice owner, it’s crucial you fulfil your HMRC obligations. This includes business registration, submission of tax returns, and punctual payments. Failing to comply with HMRC regulations can attract penalties, fines, and potential legal repercussions. By grasping HMRC’s role within your dental practice’s payroll ecosystem, you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure the smooth operation of your practice.

Action Points:

  • Register with HMRC: If you haven’t already, ensure your dental practice is registered with HMRC. This is crucial for legal compliance and to enable you to start processing payroll.
  • Stay Informed: Keep updated on the latest changes in tax rates, thresholds, and regulations from HMRC to ensure your payroll system remains compliant.
  • Ensure Compliance: Strictly follow HMRC guidelines for calculating and deducting taxes from employees’ wages. This includes income tax, National Insurance, and student loan repayments.
  • Timely Submissions and Payments: Set up a reliable system to submit accurate tax returns and make payments by the due dates to avoid penalties and ensure the smooth financial operation of your practice.

What are the Different Types of Employees in a Dental Practice?

In running a dental practice, it’s important to know the different employment types of people who work there. There are dental nurses, hygienists, associates, and receptionists, and each plays a big role in how well the practice runs. But what might surprise you is that each of these roles has its own rules and details when it comes to paying them.

In a dental practice, you might have different kinds of work arrangements. Some people work full-time, some part-time, some are hired on contracts, and others work as freelancers. Some might have hours that change, or they might only get paid based on how much work they do. It’s important to understand all these different types of employees so that you can follow the rules about paying them correctly. This includes things like figuring out taxes, making National Insurance contributions, and enrolling them in a pension scheme.

For example, do you know the difference between an employee and a worker? Or how to tell if someone is a self-employed contractor or a freelancer? Understanding these things can help you avoid making expensive mistakes and make sure you’re following the laws about employing people.

Action Points:

  • Identify Staff Roles & Regulations: Be aware of the different dental practice staff roles (nurses, hygienists, associates, receptionists) and their specific pay regulations.
  • Understand Employment Types: Recognize the various work arrangements (full-time, part-time, contract, freelance) and their impact on pay and benefits.
  • Classify Employees Correctly: Differentiate between employees, workers, self-employed contractors, and freelancers to ensure proper classification for tax and benefit purposes.
  • Comply with Employment Laws: Familiarize yourself with regulations regarding taxes, National Insurance contributions, and pension schemes for different employee types.
  • Avoid Costly Errors: By understanding these classifications, you can avoid mistakes in payroll and ensure compliance with employment laws.

Calculating employee salaries and wages

Deciding how much to pay your employees is an important part of managing payroll for dental practice owners. You must be really careful to get it right, so that you don’t make any mistakes that could upset your employees or get you into trouble with HMRC. When you work out how much to pay someone, there are lots of things to think about, like their basic pay, how much tax and National Insurance to take off, and any other deductions they might have, like student loan repayments or pension contributions.

To make sure you get it all right, you need to know all about the different tax rules and allowances that apply to the people who work for your dental practice. For example, you need to understand things like tax-free allowances for things like mileage or pension contributions, and make sure you use the right tax codes for each person.

You also need to keep up with any changes to tax rates or allowances, as well as any updates to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. By carefully working out how much to pay your employees, you can make sure your dental practice follows all the tax laws and rules in the UK and keeps everyone happy and working well together.

Action Points:

  • Research Tax & National Insurance: Thoroughly understand tax rules and National Insurance contributions for your dental practice employees.
  • Factor in Allowances & Deductions: Consider tax-free allowances (mileage, pension contributions) and deductions (student loans) when calculating pay.
  • Utilize Correct Tax Codes: Ensure you assign the appropriate tax code to each employee.
  • Stay Updated on Regulations: Monitor changes in tax rates, allowances, National Minimum Wage, and National Living Wage.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for Dental Practice Employees

Being a dentist involves more than just looking after people’s teeth. You also have to deal with paying your staff and sorting out taxes. One important part of this is National Insurance Contributions (NICs), which can be really confusing for dental practice owners. NICs are a big part of what your employees get paid, and if you get them wrong, you could end up with fines and a bad reputation. By understanding how NICs work, you can make sure you pay the right amount, avoid mistakes, and keep your staff happy and motivated.

Action Points:

  • Understand National Insurance Contributions (NICs): Gain a thorough understanding of how NICs work for dental practice employees.
  • Prioritize Accurate NIC Payments: Ensure you pay the correct amount of NICs to avoid penalties.
  • Minimize Payroll Errors: Understanding NICs helps prevent payroll mistakes and keeps employees satisfied.

Understanding Auto Enrollment and pension schemes

One important thing to remember when managing employees is setting up pension schemes through auto-enrolment. It’s important to get this right, not just to avoid fines but also to show your staff that you appreciate them and want to support their future.

Auto-enrolment is part of a government plan to encourage people to save for when they retire. As an employer, you have to provide a pension scheme for eligible staff. This means automatically signing up those who qualify for the scheme and making contributions to their pension pot. But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds at first.

If you understand the basics of auto-enrollment, pension schemes, and your responsibilities as an employer, you can handle this part of managing payroll confidently, focusing on what you do best – giving great care to your patients.

Action Points:

  • Implement Auto-Enrolment Pension Scheme: Establish a pension scheme for eligible dental practice staff.
  • Auto-Enrol Qualifying Employees: Automatically sign-up staff who meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Contribute to Employee Pension Pots: Make contributions towards employee retirement savings.
  • Understand Auto-Enrollment Basics: Gain a basic understanding of auto-enrollment, pension schemes, and employer responsibilities.

How to Handle PAYE and Tax Deductions

Understanding how PAYE and tax deductions work is important when managing payroll, and it can be tricky, even for experienced dental practice owners. Your main job is taking care of your patients, not dealing with complicated tax rules and laws. But mistakes in this area can lead to fines, penalties, and a lot of stress. So, how can you make sure you’re getting PAYE and tax deductions right?

Firstly, it’s important to know that as an employer, you have to take Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from your employees’ wages using the PAYE system. This means working out how much tax to take off each person’s pay, based on their tax code and personal situation. It might seem simple, but it gets more complicated when tax rates, allowances, and reliefs change.

You also need to think about other deductions, like student loan repayments, pension contributions, and any court orders. And with Real Time Information (RTI), you have to report your payroll details to HMRC as it happens, so accuracy is really important.

Action Points:

  • Grasp PAYE System: Understand the PAYE system for deducting Income Tax and National Insurance from employee wages.
  • Calculate Accurate Tax Withholdings: Utilize tax codes and personal information to determine proper tax deductions.
  • Stay Updated on Tax Changes: Monitor updates to tax rates, allowances, and reliefs.
  • Consider All Deductions: Factor in student loans, pension contributions, and court orders when calculating deductions.
  • Maintain Accurate & Timely RTI Reporting: Ensure precise and real-time payroll information is reported to HMRC.

Managing Employee Benefits and Expenses

Making sure that your employees get the right benefits and expenses is an important part of managing payroll, but it often gets overlooked. It’s important to offer good benefits to attract and keep the best people working for you, while also keeping an eye on costs to make sure your practice stays profitable. This includes things like pensions, life insurance, and extra perks for employees, such as gym memberships or help with childcare.

When it comes to expenses, you need to think about all the costs involved in running a dental practice, like buying equipment, getting supplies, and covering travel expenses. You also need to follow the rules from HMRC and make sure your employees are reimbursed correctly for any work-related costs they have.

To manage benefits and expenses well, you need to understand the rules about payroll and have a good system in place to keep track of everything accurately. If you do this properly, you can create a happy and rewarding workplace for your employees while also keeping your practice financially healthy.

Action Points:

  • Offer Competitive Benefits Packages: Provide attractive benefits (pensions, life insurance) to recruit and retain top talent.
  • Balance Costs & Benefits: Maintain a balance between offering desirable benefits and keeping practice finances healthy.
  • Track Expenses Accurately: Implement a system to meticulously record all practice expenses (equipment, supplies, travel).
  • Comply with Reimbursement Rules: Ensure employees are reimbursed correctly for work-related expenses according to HMRC guidelines.

Outsourcing Payroll vs. In-House Management

When it comes to managing your dental practice’s payroll, you have to decide whether to do it yourself or hire someone else to do it. Each option has its good points and bad points, so you need to think carefully about what’s best for you.

Managing payroll yourself might seem like the cheaper and more controllable option at first. But it can take up a lot of your time and resources. You’ll need to buy payroll software, make sure your team knows how to use it and keep up with all the rules, and spend time doing the payroll each month. You’ll also have to deal with any questions or mistakes that come up. And because the rules about payroll are always changing, it can be hard to keep up and make sure you’re doing everything right.

On the other hand, hiring a specialist payroll provider can take a lot of the pressure off you. These experts know exactly what they’re doing and have all the right tools to get the job done accurately and on time. They’ll make sure you follow all the rules and that your employees get paid correctly. They can also give you advice on tricky payroll issues, like setting up pensions or dealing with student loan payments. By outsourcing your payroll, you can free up your time to focus on what you do best – looking after your patients and growing your dental practice.

Action Points:

  • Evaluate Payroll Management Options: Consider both in-house and outsourced payroll management.
  • Assess In-House Payroll Challenges: Be aware of the time commitment, software costs, training needs, and regulatory updates associated with managing payroll internally.
  • Recognize Benefits of Outsourcing Payroll: Understand the advantages of using a payroll provider, including expertise, accuracy, time savings, and access to expert advice.

The Importance of Payroll Record-Keeping and Compliance

As a dentist, you know how important it is to keep careful records in your practice. From notes on patients to plans for treatments, every little detail matters. The same goes for keeping records of your payroll and following the rules.

It’s important to keep accurate and detailed records to make sure you’re following the law as an employer and that your staff get paid correctly. HMRC says that employers have to keep good records of how much their employees earn, what tax is taken off, and any national insurance contributions. If you don’t follow these rules, you could end up with fines or legal problems. Plus, if your record-keeping isn’t up to scratch, you might make mistakes when paying your staff, which could affect your practice’s money and reputation.

By keeping careful records of your payroll, you can make sure you’re following all the laws, like the National Minimum Wage and rules about working hours and pensions. Good records also make it easier to give your staff the right information when they ask and help you make smart decisions about things like hiring and how to use your resources.

There are lots of tools and software available to help you keep track of your payroll and follow the rules. From online systems to programs that do reports for you, there are plenty of options to make managing your payroll easier. By using these tools, you can reduce the risk of making mistakes and save time.

Action Points:

  • Maintain Accurate & Detailed Payroll Records: Ensure comprehensive records on employee earnings, tax deductions, and National Insurance contributions.
  • Comply with HMRC Regulations: Adhere to HMRC guidelines for payroll record-keeping to avoid legal issues and fines.
  • Prevent Payroll Errors: Accurate records minimize the risk of employee pay mistakes, protecting your practice’s finances and reputation.
  • Payroll Tools & Software: Explore online systems and reporting software to streamline record-keeping and reduce errors.

How to Choose the Right Payroll Software for your Dental Practice

Choosing the right payroll software for your dental practice is a big decision. It can make things run smoother, cut down on mistakes, and make sure you’re following the rules from HMRC. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which one is best for your practice.

When you’re looking at payroll software, there are a few important things to think about. First, it should be easy to use, with a simple layout that anyone can understand, no matter how much they know about payroll. It should also have features that automate tasks, so you don’t have to spend ages doing things manually. And it needs to be able to grow with your practice, so it can handle changes like hiring more staff or changing how much people get paid.

It’s also important that the software works well with any other systems you already use, like your practice management software. This makes it easier to transfer data between them and reduces the risk of mistakes. And having real-time reporting features is a big plus too, because it means you can see how your practice is doing financially whenever you need to.

Action Points:

  • Prioritize User-Friendliness: Select software with a simple and intuitive interface for ease of use.
  • Automate Tasks: Opt for software with features that automate payroll processes to minimize manual work.
  • Scalability: Choose software that can adapt to growth, accommodating additional staff or changing pay structures.
  • Integration: Ensure compatibility with existing practice management software to facilitate data transfer and reduce errors.
  • Real-Time Reporting: Prioritize software with real-time reporting functionalities. 

Understanding Your Business Structure

Understanding the different types of business structures is important for managing your finances properly. 

If you’re a sole trader, you’re in charge of everything, but you’re also personally responsible for any money the business makes or loses. You’ll need to fill in a Self-Assessment tax return each year, which includes income tax and Class 2 NICs on your profits. 

If you’re in a partnership, you and your partners share the money the business makes or loses based on what you’ve agreed. Each partner pays tax and Class 2 NICs on their share of the profits. 

If you have a limited company, your personal money is separate from what the business makes. You’ll get paid a salary and might also get dividends, which have different tax rules. The company pays Corporation Tax on its profits, and has to pay Employer’s NICs.

Action Points:

  • Identify Business Structure: Understand the financial implications of your chosen business structure (sole trader, partnership, limited company).
  • Sole Trader Taxes: Be aware of personal responsibility for business finances and the requirement to file Self-Assessment tax returns (income tax & Class 2 NICs).
  • Partnership Taxes: Recognize shared responsibility for profits/losses with partners and individual tax obligations based on profit share (income tax & Class 2 NICs).
  • Limited Company Taxes: Distinguish between personal income (salary/dividends) and company profits. Salary and dividends have separate tax implications.
  • Company Tax Obligations: The company is liable for Corporation Tax on profits and Employer’s NICs.

Paying Yourself as a Practice Owner

Deciding how to pay yourself as a practice owner involves thinking about a few things. Firstly, you need to consider what’s fair for you and how much money the practice can afford to pay you. Then, you might want to think about whether to pay yourself through a salary or dividends.

If you pay yourself a salary, you’ll have to pay income tax and National Insurance on it, but you can also make contributions towards your pension. On the other hand, if you pay yourself dividends, you might pay less tax overall, but it depends on how much profit the practice makes and your personal tax situation. It’s important to get advice from a professional accountant to make sure you’re making the best choice for you and your practice.

Action Points:

  • Balance Fair Pay & Practice Affordability: Determine a salary that is fair for your contributions while considering the financial health of the practice.
  • Salary vs. Dividends: Evaluate the pros and cons of paying yourself through salary (income tax & National Insurance but allows pension contributions) or dividends (potentially lower tax but depends on profits and personal tax situation).
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consult with an accountant to determine the optimal compensation strategy for you and your practice.

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.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

How to Manage Accounts for a Dental Group

Over the last 20 years, we have seen many dental groups emerge across all parts of the world. Some very large, others smaller, but often seeking to be acquired by the larger groups at some stage, or even the vague hope of an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

The basic premise has always been to buy a dental practice or office at a certain price multiple of EBITDA , add a few more, or a few hundred more, and then sell the whole group at a much higher multiple (with a much bigger EBITDA) than what the individual practices have been acquired for.

Sounds simple – what could go wrong?

Well in a rising market, buyers and group owners who timed their exits rightly have done well financially.

But what about the many hundreds or even thousands of dental groups across the globe that still are operating, but the arbitrage exit opportunity they were hoping for has not manifested?

In the UK in this current high-interest rate environment things look very different for many dental groups.

When rates were low, borrowing was cheap, which aided the growth strategies of many of these groups, yet today, whilst some groups are buying, the appetite to purchase a practice has drastically diminished from not only the smaller groups but also PE-backed ventures too.

Along with the aforementioned higher interest rates, the cost-of-living crisis, and a difficulty in recruitment, have also contributed to the slowdown in many dental groups.

The lack of available manpower has contributed to many NHS-funded dental groups, returning funds to the Department of Health unable to meet their UDA targets.

According to the FT, NHS Dental clawback was around £150million in 2022-23. I expect it won’t be very pretty this year either, from the groups I have been talking to. 

Whilst some private dental groups, have struggled to grow the top line as quickly as they had hoped, again due to manpower issues, increased competition and a lack of personnel.

In the good times, its  relatively straightforward to make money building a dental group, but in my view it will be the groups that really get to grips with their financials that will emerge strongest in the down times.

With my wealth of experience over the last 20 years working with a whole host of groups, these are my 6 tips to build a finance and accounting function that will actually grow your EBITDA, but also ensure you achieve the price multiple you desire upon exit.

Tip 1: Have you got a Systems Based Mindset?

The backbone of anything successful organisation are its systems – with the financial and accounting function paramount to success. Unfortunately, I have seen this as a major afterthought by many dental group or DSO owners, seeing it as an overhead rather than something that could help them grow a successful empire.

The first step really is about changing your mindset, and thinking about what data and information do you need to have available at your fingertips to make better decisions.

As it will be interpreting the data to ensure high quality decisions that will determine the success of your group.

You will need robust systems for everything from HR to marketing to compliance to accounting.

I personally like to call it a Systems Based Mindset. So, If you have this, you are on the right track.

Now in the context of finance and accounting, you need to have a solid framework and system in place. 

If you don’t, that’s your first starting point. So ask yourself what financial data do you need to know to make good decisions? Examples could include:

  • Profitability by location
  • Profitability by Associate Dentist
  • Hourly rate of each Associate Dentist
  • Key Overheads as a % of Turnover
  • Cost of acquiring a new patient
  • EBITDA to interest coverage ratio

The list is endless, but the above are a good starting point.

Click here to read our article on How to Build a Dental Group.

Tip 2: The Framework for Success

The framework will depend on your business structure and how you organised your group but the key factor here is you must be able to see the performance of each of your practices in your group.

There really is no excuse to not be able to see which sites are doing great and which ones aren’t. 

They may all be under one company, but it really is essential to have the financial visibility of each site. If you don’t have this, you are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to making quality decisions.

Remember, quality business decisions can only occur when you have visibility of performance. If it’s all jumbled together, you will only get so far, and you won’t be able to develop your group further until you have clarity of performance.

Click here to find out more about our accounts for dental groups services.

Tip 3: Technology and Software Requirements

Once you know you need to have financial performance information for each site, then there are numerous accounting systems available to really help you gather the information and automate much of this process.

But the key has to be implementing this correctly. You will need to consider the following:

  • How to get invoice and income information into the system? 
  • Will it be with an automated OCR system?
  • Which bookkeeping system is most suitable?
  • What about standardised charts of accounts?
  • Will all information be centralised, or will each practice have to send the information separately?
  • What about purchasing and payment authorities? Do you have controls in place?
  •  Have you a hierarchy in place for this for sign offs?
  • What about automating much of the accounts payable side of things to speed up payments to suppliers and make your group much more efficient?

More questions than answers, but this process of evaluating the right technology and software is paramount to ensure an efficient finance and accounting function for your dental group.

Click here for more information on how to structure your dental practice’s finances.

Tip 4: Choosing the right accounting tech stack for your group.

The world of accounting software has exploded in the last decade. 

Of course, the software should be cloud-based, but apart from that you will need professional help to determine the right accounting technology stack for your dental group.

In terms of bookkeeping software, there are well-known products such as Xero, Quickbooks, Sage just to name a few.

But then there is the range of additional apps that could help you streamline and speed up the whole data capture side of things, these include Dext, hubdoc, Approvalmax, Lightyear.

Then when it comes to accounts payable you will want software that will integrate into your chosen bookkeeping software. Software such as Telleroo, Crezco, Payhawk are examples here.

Then for reporting purposes, you may want to consider Spotlight, Syft or Joinn.

The right tech stack can only be implemented once a full understanding of the workflow within your accounting function has been determined.

Tip 5: What About Your Accounting Team?

Time and time again, I have seen inexperienced non-accounting team members get involved in probably one of the most important parts of the group – the money.

Why have a practice manager perform the bookkeeping, when a bookkeeper could do this efficiently and properly?

Garbage in means, garbage out, it is essential to have accurate data entry in a standardised manner, or else any reports you rely on will be inaccurate and lead to poor decision-making.

Therefore, having the right people doing the right job is a pre-requisite here. 

The larger the dental group the larger the team will be, which will include bookkeepers and accountants. 

You can hire internally for these roles, or alternatively outsource this to firms like ours that have the experienced manpower to support your group.

Click here to find out more about offshoring your accounts.

Tip 6: The Numbers Ultimately Tell The Story

The bookkeeping should be done daily, with the management accounts available at the end of each month, and a review of each practice’s performance should be evaluated – that’s when you know if things are going to plan.

Without a regular review of performance, assuming you have followed steps 1 to 5 above, it would have been a pointless exercise.

Therefore, make sure you review the performance of each site and then take any necessary action swiftly.

The numbers always tell the story, but your whole finance and accounting function must been structured and enabled to tell you the full story, not a half-baked cobbled-together story of your dental group’s performance.

Click here to find out more about our financial health check up services.

Want to know more?

If you are a Dental Group or DSO anywhere across the world, with our shared service centre with talented team members, we can help you implement and run a much more efficient accounting and finance function but also help you grow a better dental group or DSO.

As that’s the ultimate aim, to build a quality dental group that creates value for all stakeholders.

Good luck, and get in touch if you need assistance.

Book a call with us today.

Dental Group Accounts FAQS

I have a small dental group of just 2 sites, does the methodology outlined apply here too?

Yes.

In our experience, having a well-thought-through workflow which is expandable is key to success. Get this structure right, and you then have a solid platform for your 2 sites, and any additional sites you acquire or start up.

This sounds complex, can Samera help my dental group?

Simply yes. We can help you with the whole set up and running of the accounting and finance operation of your dental group, or just one aspect, including providing experienced team members to carry out all aspects of the work required.

What’s the first step in setting this all up?

In our experience, the key is to understand your existing processes and workflows, and then define a detailed workflow for your organisation. Our advice would be to implement this stage by stage, rather than all at once.

How much experience does team Samera have in this area?

We have been working with Dental groups and DSO’s for over twenty years, so we have seen most things, and also through our sister business, The Neem Tree Dental Group, we test all our processes, to ensure they are robust before sharing with our dental group clients.

Does team Samera work with international Dental Group clients?

Yes.

Our expertise in this area is second to none, so we can work with DSO’s or Dental Groups across the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia,

Case Study

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.

Bookkeeping Tips for Dentists

Simplifying Bookkeeping: Essential Tips for Dentists

Running a successful dental practice involves more than just being a good dentist. You also need to take care of your money. Keeping track of your finances and managing your payroll are important, but they can be complicated and take up a lot of time.

With accurate records and keeping track of your money, you’ll be on top of things like taxes, have enough cash to keep the office running, and be able to make smart choices about your practice, like buying new equipment or hiring more staff.

As a dentist, your time is valuable and should be spent on treating your patients well. That’s why it’s important to simplify your financial tasks. In this article, we’ll explain the basics of bookkeeping and give you essential tips and methods to help you make your financial tasks easier. We’ll talk about everything from choosing the right accounting software to outsourcing your financial tasks. By following these tips, you’ll be able to improve your financial management and focus on providing good dental care to your patients.

What is Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is like having a detailed diary for your dental practice’s financial activities. It’s all about jotting down every penny that comes in (like payments from patients) and every penny that goes out (like paying bills for supplies or staff salaries). Basically, it’s keeping track of all the money-related things happening in your practice.

Now, let’s talk about bookkeeping versus accounting. Think of bookkeeping as the groundwork, like laying bricks for a house. It’s about recording every financial move and keeping things organized day-to-day.

On the flip side, accounting is like taking those bricks and building a whole house. Accountants use the info from bookkeeping to analyse how your practice is doing financially. They look at stuff like how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and how profitable your practice is. They also help with smart money decisions and making sure you’re all good with taxes.

So, in short, bookkeeping is like keeping track of the score by writing down every money move. And accounting is taking that score and figuring out what it all means for your practice’s financial health.

The Bookkeeping Process Explained

Conducting bookkeeping for your dental practice involves several key steps:

  1. Choosing a System: With recent changes in UK tax and accounting laws, it is now required that you use an automated, digital accounting software. This software has to be compliant with the Making Tax Digital regulations. Systems like Xero and Quickbooks are some of the more well known.
  2. Recording Transactions: It’s crucial to track income and expenses daily to maintain accurate financial records. This includes recording payments from patients, insurance reimbursements, supplier invoices, payroll expenses, and any other financial transactions related to the practice. Daily tracking ensures that no transactions are overlooked and provides real-time insight into the practice’s financial health.
  3. Categorizing Expenses: Proper expense categorization is essential for generating accurate financial reports and analysing spending patterns. Dentists should categorize expenses into relevant categories such as office supplies, rent, utilities, payroll, equipment maintenance, and marketing. Consistent categorization makes it easier to track and manage expenses and ensures compliance with tax regulations.
  4. Reconciling Bank Statements: Dentists should regularly reconcile their bank statements with their bookkeeping records to verify accuracy and identify any discrepancies. This involves comparing the transactions recorded in the bookkeeping system with those listed on the bank statement and investigating any discrepancies. Reconciliation ensures that all transactions are accounted for and helps detect errors or unauthorized charges.
  5. Generating Reports: Dentists should regularly generate basic financial reports such as income statements and balance sheets to assess the practice’s financial performance and position. Income statements provide an overview of revenue and expenses over a specific period, while balance sheets summarize the practice’s assets, liabilities, and equity. These reports help dentists track profitability, monitor cash flow, and make informed financial decisions to support practice growth and sustainability.

By following these steps, practice owners. can effectively conduct bookkeeping for their dental practice, ensuring accurate financial records, compliance with regulations, and informed decision-making to achieve long-term success.

The Importance of Simplified Bookkeeping and Payroll for Dentists

As a dental practice owner, it’s crucial to understand your practice’s finances and follow the rules for the dental industry and the UK’s tax codes. Here’s why:

  1. Informed Financial Decisions: Accurate bookkeeping provides dentists with a clear picture of their practice’s financial health, enabling them to make informed decisions about important investments such as equipment purchases and staffing levels. By understanding their revenue streams and expenses, dentists can allocate resources effectively to support the growth and efficiency of their practice.
  2. Payroll Management: Managing payroll is equally important for dentists. As a business owner, you have legal responsibilities to your employees, including making accurate payroll calculations, making timely payments, and complying with labor laws. By simplifying your payroll process, you can ensure that your staff are paid correctly and on time, reducing the risk of disputes or legal complications.
  3. Accurate Tax Filing: Proper bookkeeping ensures that dentists maintain detailed records of income, expenses, and deductions, facilitating accurate tax filing. By staying organized throughout the year, dentists can minimize their tax liabilities and avoid penalties or audits from tax authorities.
  4. Practice Profitability: Through diligent bookkeeping, dentists can track practice profitability by analysing revenue, expenses, and profit margins. This insight allows them to identify areas for improvement, optimize operational efficiency, and maximize profitability over time.
  5. Cash Flow Management: Effective bookkeeping helps dentists manage cash flow by monitoring incoming revenue and outgoing expenses. By staying on top of cash flow, dentists can ensure they have sufficient funds to cover operational expenses, such as payroll and supplies, and maintain financial stability even during periods of fluctuating income.
  6. Insurance Payments and Patient Billing: Bookkeeping also plays a crucial role in managing insurance payments and patient billing. By accurately recording insurance reimbursements and patient payments, dentists can track outstanding balances, follow up on unpaid invoices, and maintain strong financial relationships with insurance providers and patients.

In summary, improved accounting and payroll are essential for dentists to ensure financial stability, compliance with regulatory requirements, and efficient practice management. By paying attention to these aspects of your business, you can streamline your operations, reduce stress, and allocate more time to delivering excellent dental services to your patients.

In the following sections, we will explore practical tips and strategies to help you simplify your accounting and payroll processes, empowering you to take control of your dental practice’s financial well-being.

Understanding the Specific Bookkeeping and Payroll Requirements for Dentists

As a dentist, it’s important to know the unique financial rules that apply to your job. Dental practices have their own money-related considerations that are different from other businesses. Being aware of these details will make it easier to manage your finances.

One crucial thing to think about is the money coming in and going out. In dentistry, you might have various sources of income, like patient fees, payments from government healthcare programs, and insurance payments. It’s essential to keep accurate records of all these income sources for proper financial reporting.

Dental practices also have various expenses, such as staff salaries, dental supplies, equipment maintenance, and rental costs. Keeping detailed records of these expenses will not only help with accurate financial reports but also identify areas where you can save money and plan your budget.

Besides income and expenses, dentists need to follow the rules set by organizations like the General Dental Council (GDC) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). These organizations have specific requirements for record-keeping and tax obligations. Failing to meet these requirements can lead to penalties and legal problems. So, it’s crucial to stay updated on the latest rules and make sure your financial processes follow the necessary guidelines.

To simplify your financial management as a dentist, consider using specialized accounting software designed for dental professionals. These software solutions often have features that cater to the unique needs of dentists, such as tracking lab fees, managing patient records, and generating reports tailored to the dental industry. Implementing such software can streamline your financial processes, save you time, and reduce the chances of errors.

By understanding the specific financial requirements for dentists, you can ensure accurate financial records, compliance with regulations, and more efficient management of your dental practice’s finances. Improving these processes will not only save you valuable time and effort but also contribute to the overall success and stability of your dental business.

Action points

  • Identify Income Sources: List all the ways your practice generates income (patient fees, insurance, government programs).
  • Track Expenses by Category: Separate your business costs into categories (salaries, supplies, equipment, rent) for better budgeting.
  • Research GDC & HMRC Regulations: Look up the latest record-keeping and tax requirements from the GDC and HMRC to ensure compliance.

Click here to learn more about Making Tax Digital for dentists.

Choosing the Right Accounting Software for Efficient Record-keeping

Choosing the right accounting software is crucial for dentists to maintain efficient record-keeping practices. Thanks to technology advancements, dentists have various options to choose from, each with its own unique features and benefits.

First, it’s important to consider your dental practice’s specific needs. Look for accounting software designed for healthcare professionals, offering features like invoicing, expense tracking, and payroll management. This ensures you have a comprehensive system that can handle all your financial and payroll requirements.

Another important factor to think about is how easy the software is to use. As a dentist, you may not have extensive accounting knowledge or experience, so it’s essential to choose user-friendly software that is easy to navigate. Look for features like a simple interface, clear instructions, and helpful customer support to make the transition to using the software smooth.

Integration capabilities are also worth considering when selecting accounting software. Look for software that can seamlessly work with other systems you use in your dental practice, such as appointment scheduling or patient management software. This will save you time and effort by eliminating the need for manual data entry and ensuring that all your systems work together smoothly.

Security should be a top priority when choosing accounting software. As a healthcare professional, you handle sensitive patient information, so it’s crucial to pick software that prioritizes data security and confidentiality. Look for software that offers encryption, regular data backups, and strong access controls to protect your financial and patient data.

Finally, consider your budget when selecting accounting software. There are both free and paid options available, so it’s important to weigh the features and benefits against the cost. While free software may be tempting, keep in mind that paid options often offer more robust features and better customer support.

By carefully considering these factors and choosing the right accounting software, dentists can streamline their accounting and payroll processes, saving time and ensuring accurate financial records for their practices.

Action points

  • Consider your dental practice’s specific needs, such as features like invoicing, expense tracking, payroll management, and integration with other systems.
  • Choose software that is easy to use and navigate, with a simple interface, clear instructions, and helpful customer support.
  • Prioritize data security by choosing software that offers encryption, regular data backups, and strong access controls.
  • Consider your budget when weighing the features and benefits against the cost.
  • Free software may be tempting, but keep in mind that paid options often offer more robust features and better customer support. We recommend looking into Xero and Sage.

?

Did You Know?


  • Dentists in the UK must keep accurate financial records for all business transactions. This requirement is set out in the General Dental Council (GDC) Standards for Dental Professionals (2019), which state that dentists must “keep accurate and up-to-date records of all your financial transactions, including income and expenditure.”
  • Dentists in the UK must deduct tax and National Insurance contributions from their employees’ salaries. This is required by the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 and the National Insurance Contributions Act 2010.
  • Dentists in the UK must submit VAT returns to HMRC quarterly. This requirement is set out in the Value Added Tax Act 1994.
  • Dentists in the UK must submit payroll information to HMRC monthly. This requirement is set out in the Pay-as-You-Earn (PAYE) Regulations 2003.
  • Dentists in the UK must also submit an annual tax return to HMRC. This requirement is set out in the Income Tax (Self Assessment) Act 1996.

Click here to watch our webinar on automating your finances with Xero.

Organizing and Categorizing Expenses for Easy Tracking and Tax Purposes

When it comes to handling the money side of your dental practice, organizing and sorting your expenses is important for easy tracking and tax purposes. Keeping your expenses clear and properly categorized helps you stay organized and ensures you’re taking advantage of all eligible tax deductions.

To make this process easier, start by setting up a system to record and categorize your expenses. This can be as simple as using a spreadsheet or investing in accounting software designed for small businesses. Make sure to create categories that match the tax rules in the UK, such as office supplies, equipment, professional services, and marketing expenses.

To stay on top of your expenses, establish a regular schedule for recording and categorizing them. Allocate dedicated time each week or month to review your receipts, invoices, and financial documents. This will help you identify any missing or undocumented expenses and ensure that everything is accurately categorized.

In addition to organizing and categorizing expenses, it’s essential to keep all relevant documents in a reliable and easily accessible place. This includes receipts, invoices, bank statements, and any other financial records. Having these documents readily available will make it easier for you to provide accurate information during tax season and any potential audits.

By focusing on the organization and categorization of expenses, you’ll simplify your accounting and payroll processes and ensure compliance with tax regulations. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on providing quality dental care to your patients.

Action points

  • Set up a system to record and categorize your expenses, such as using a spreadsheet or accounting software.
  • Create categories that match the tax rules in the UK, such as office supplies, equipment, professional services, and marketing expenses.
  • Establish a regular schedule for recording and categorizing expenses, such as each week or month.
  • Keep all relevant documents in a reliable and easily accessible place, such as receipts, invoices, bank statements, and other financial records.

Click here to read our guide on expenses for dentists.

Streamlining Payroll Processes for Dental Staff

As a dentist, managing the payroll for your dental staff can be a time-consuming task. However, streamlining your payroll processes can help you save time and ensure accuracy in your financial records. Here are some basic tips to improve your dental staff payroll:

  • Use payroll software: Invest in reliable payroll software designed specifically for small businesses. This software can automate various payroll tasks like calculating wages, deductions, and tax payments. It will also generate pay stubs for your dental staff, making the process more efficient and error-free.
  • Create a consistent payroll schedule: Establish a consistent payroll schedule, such as bi-weekly or monthly, and clearly communicate it to your dental staff. This will help them know when they will be paid, reducing any confusion or inquiries.
  • Implement direct deposit: Encourage your dental staff to sign up for direct deposit, where their wages are electronically transferred directly into their bank accounts. This eliminates the need for physical checks, reduces the risk of loss or theft, and saves time on manual check distribution.
  • Maintain accurate employee records: Keep detailed records for each dental staff member, including personal details, tax information, and employment contracts. This ensures that you have all the necessary information readily available for payroll calculations and reporting.
  • Stay updated with payroll regulations: Payroll regulations and tax rules can change frequently. It’s important to stay informed about any updates that may affect your dental staff’s wages and deductions. Consider consulting with a professional payroll service provider or an accountant to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.
  • Automate tax calculations and filings: Tax calculations can be complex, especially when considering deductions and allowances specific to the dental industry. Use payroll software that can automatically calculate taxes based on the latest tax rates and rules. Additionally, consider automating your tax filing process to ensure timely and accurate submissions.

By implementing these tips, you can streamline your dental staff payroll processes, reduce administrative burdens, and ensure accurate financial records for your dental practice. Simplifying accounting and payroll will not only save you time but also contribute to the overall efficiency and success of your dental business in the UK.

Action points

  • Invest in payroll software designed specifically for small businesses.
  • Establish a consistent payroll schedule and communicate it to your staff.
  • Encourage your staff to sign up for direct deposit.
  • Keep detailed records for each staff member.
  • Stay updated with payroll regulations and tax rules.
  • Automate tax calculations and filings.

Click here to learn more about our payroll services.

Implementing Automated Systems for Accurate and Timely Payments

Using automated systems for accurate and timely payments can be a great benefit for dentists. Managing finances and payroll can often be time-consuming and prone to mistakes, leading to unnecessary stress and financial difficulties.

By using automated systems, dentists can streamline their payment processes and ensure that employees and suppliers are paid correctly and on time. This not only saves valuable time but also helps maintain positive relationships with staff and vendors.

One effective way to implement automated systems is by using accounting software specifically designed for dentists or small businesses. These software solutions are tailored to the unique needs of dental practices, offering features like automated payroll calculations, invoice generation, and expense tracking.

With the help of such software, dentists can easily input employee hours, track leave entitlements, and calculate deductions for taxes and benefits. This eliminates the need for manual calculations and reduces the risk of errors in payroll processing.

Moreover, automated systems can integrate with online payment platforms, allowing dentists to electronically pay suppliers and contractors. This ensures prompt payments and provides a convenient and secure method for financial transactions.

Additionally, automated systems can generate detailed reports and summaries, providing dentists with valuable insights into their practice’s financial health. These reports can help identify areas for cost savings, track revenue streams, and monitor overall efficiency.

In summary, implementing automated systems for accurate and timely payments is a crucial step in simplifying accounting and payroll for dentists. By embracing technology and streamlining financial processes, dentists can focus more on providing quality dental care while ensuring the financial stability of their practice.

Action points

  • Use accounting software specifically designed for dentists.
  • Input employee hours and track leave entitlements to automate payroll calculations.
  • Integrate with online payment platforms to electronically pay suppliers and contractors.
  • Generate detailed reports and summaries to monitor financial health and identify areas for improvement.

Click here to learn more about how to organise your dental practice finances.

Staying Compliant with HMRC Regulations and Reporting Requirements

Staying in line with HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) rules and reporting requirements is important for dentists in the UK. As the owner of a dental practice, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your financial and payroll processes follow the specific rules set by HMRC.

One of the first steps to stay compliant is to register your dental practice with HMRC. This will allow you to get a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number, which is essential for all tax-related communication.

Next, you need to establish a strong accounting system that accurately records all financial transactions and keeps the necessary documents. This includes keeping track of income, expenses, invoices, receipts, and any other important financial records.

Staying updated with payroll regulations is also crucial. This involves correctly categorizing your dental staff as employees or self-employed contractors and ensuring that their wages are calculated accurately, including any deductions for taxes and national insurance contributions.

In addition to accurate record-keeping, you must also meet reporting requirements set by HMRC. This includes submitting timely and accurate VAT returns, payroll information, and annual tax returns. Failure to meet these obligations can result in penalties and potential legal issues.

To simplify the process, consider using advanced accounting and payroll software designed specifically for dentists. These tools often come with features that automate calculations, generate detailed reports, and remind you of important deadlines.

Staying compliant with HMRC rules might seem overwhelming, but with proper organization and the right tools, you can streamline your financial and payroll processes, ensuring that you meet all requirements and avoid any unnecessary penalties.

Action points

  • Register your dental practice with HMRC and get a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number.
  • Establish a strong accounting system that accurately records all financial transactions and keeps the necessary documents.
  • Stay updated with payroll regulations and correctly categorize your dental staff as employees or self-employed contractors.
  • Ensure that your dental staff’s wages are calculated accurately, including any deductions for taxes and national insurance contributions.
  • Meet reporting requirements set by HMRC by submitting timely and accurate VAT returns, payroll information, and annual tax returns.
  • Consider using advanced accounting and payroll software designed specifically for dentists to automate calculations, generate detailed reports, and remind you of important deadlines.

Click here to watch our webinar on managing your dental practice accounts.

Outsourcing Bookkeeping and Payroll Tasks to Professionals

Outsourcing accounting and payroll tasks to experts can be a big advantage for dentists. As a dentist, your main focus should be on providing top-quality dental care to your patients. However, administrative tasks like accounting and payroll can be time-consuming and take away valuable hours from your practice.

By outsourcing these tasks to professionals, you can free up your valuable time to concentrate on what you’re good at – serving your patients. Professional accounting and payroll services have the skills and knowledge to handle all the financial aspects of your dental practice efficiently and accurately.

One of the significant benefits of outsourcing is that you can rely on the expertise of professionals who specialize in accounting and payroll for dentists. They understand the unique financial challenges and regulations that dental practices face, ensuring compliance with tax rules and regulations specific to the industry.

Moreover, outsourcing these tasks can help you save money in the long run. Instead of hiring an in-house accountant or payroll expert, which comes with additional costs like salaries, benefits, and training, outsourcing allows you to pay for the services you need on a contractual basis. This can significantly reduce your overhead costs and improve your practice’s financial health.

Additionally, outsourcing accounting and payroll tasks can give you a sense of peace of mind. You can trust that professionals will handle your financial records and transactions accurately and securely, maintaining confidentiality and data protection. This can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with managing these sensitive aspects of your practice on your own.

In summary, outsourcing accounting and payroll tasks to professionals is a smart move for dentists. It allows you to focus on patient care, ensures compliance with industry-specific regulations, saves money, and provides peace of mind. Consider partnering with a reputable accounting and payroll service provider to improve your practice’s financial management and streamline your operations.

Action points

  • Identify a reputable accounting and payroll service provider that specializes in working with dentists.
  • Review their services and pricing to ensure that they meet your specific needs and budget.
  • Schedule a consultation to discuss your requirements and expectations.
  • Sign a contract that outlines the services to be provided, the fees, and the termination terms.
  • Provide the service provider with the necessary access to your financial records and systems.
  • Review the service provider’s work regularly and provide feedback to ensure that your needs are being met.

Click here to book a free consultation about outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounts.

Tips for Maintaining Accurate and Up-to-Date Financial Records

As a dentist, it’s crucial to maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records for the success of your practice. This not only ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements but also provides a clear picture of your practice’s financial health.

Here are some simple tips to help you streamline your accounting and payroll processes and ensure accuracy in your financial records:

  • Use accounting software: Invest in reliable accounting software designed for small businesses or dental practices. These tools can automate many aspects of accounting, such as tracking income and expenses, creating invoices, and generating financial reports. They also provide a secure platform to store and access your financial data.
  • Separate business and personal finances: It’s essential to maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your dental practice. Mixing personal and business finances can lead to confusion and make it challenging to accurately track and categorize expenses. Keep all business-related transactions separate to maintain clarity in your financial records.
  • Regularly reconcile accounts: Reconciliation involves comparing your financial records with bank statements to ensure accuracy and identify any discrepancies. This process helps catch errors, detect fraudulent activity, and maintain the integrity of your financial data. Set aside time each month to promptly reconcile your accounts and address any discrepancies.
  • Track expenses diligently: Keep a record of all your operating expenses, including supplies, equipment, rent, utilities, and professional fees. Use categories or expense codes to accurately match and categorize expenses. Maintaining a detailed record of your expenses allows you to identify areas where you may reduce costs and improve profitability.
  • Stay on top of invoicing and payments: Timely and accurate invoicing is crucial for maintaining a steady cash flow. Establish a system to generate and send invoices promptly to your patients or insurance company. Monitor outstanding payments and follow up on any overdue invoices. Consider offering convenient payment options, such as online payments, to streamline the collection process.
  • Seek professional assistance: If managing accounting and financial tasks becomes overwhelming, consider hiring a professional accountant or bookkeeper with experience in the dental industry. They can ensure your records are accurate, assist with tax planning, and provide valuable financial insights to support the growth of your practice.

By implementing these tips, you can simplify your accounting and payroll processes, maintain accurate financial records, and focus more on providing excellent dental care to your patients. Remember, effective financial management is the foundation for a successful and thriving dental practice.

Action points

  • Use accounting software designed for small businesses or dental practices.
  • Separate business and personal finances.
  • Regularly reconcile accounts.
  • Track expenses diligently.
  • Stay on top of invoicing and payments.
  • Seek professional assistance from an accountant or bookkeeper with experience in the dental industry.

Managing finances can be overwhelming, especially for busy professionals like dentists. However, with the simple tips provided in this article, you can simplify your accounting and payroll processes, saving time and ensuring accuracy. By using these strategies, you can concentrate more on providing excellent dental care to your patients while maintaining an efficient financial system.

Click here to read our tax saving tips for dentists.

The Benefits of a Dental Accountant

The benefits of hiring a dental accountant for your practice are numerous:

  1. Expertise: A dental accountant possesses specialized knowledge of the unique financial aspects and challenges within the dental industry. They understand the nuances of dental practice management, including revenue cycles, insurance billing, overhead costs, and tax deductions specific to dentists. This expertise allows them to offer tailored financial advice and solutions that address the specific needs of dental practices.
  2. Time-Saving: By entrusting financial tasks to a dental accountant, dentists can save valuable time that can be redirected towards patient care and practice management. Instead of juggling bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial analysis on their own, dentists can focus on providing high-quality care to their patients while the accountant handles the intricacies of financial management.
  3. Accuracy and Compliance: Dental accountants ensure that financial records are accurate and compliant with regulatory requirements. They stay up to date with tax laws, accounting standards, and industry regulations, minimizing the risk of errors, omissions, or non-compliance penalties. With a dental accountant overseeing financial matters, dentists can have peace of mind knowing that their practice’s finances are in capable hands.
  4. Strategic Planning: Beyond day-to-day financial tasks, dental accountants play a crucial role in strategic planning for practice growth and sustainability. They can analyse financial data, identify trends, and develop strategic plans and budgets to optimize practice performance. Whether it’s expanding services, investing in technology, or improving operational efficiency, dental accountants provide valuable insights and guidance to help dentists achieve their long-term goals.

In summary, hiring a dental accountant offers numerous benefits, including specialized expertise in the dental industry, time-saving opportunities, assurance of accuracy and compliance, and strategic financial planning for future growth. By partnering with a skilled accountant, dentists can streamline financial management, minimize risks, and position their practices for success.

Our Expert Opinion

“As an accountant who has been working with dentists for over 20 years, we have seen much change in how book-keeping is done in dental practices. Historically, much of this was done by hand or on excel, but in today’s environment the need to be efficient with one’s time and to be on top of the numbers is imperative.

By doing the monthly bookkeeping accurately, as a dentist you will be able to see the financial trends in your practice, this will then help you make better decisions. These decisions could include increasing prices, reducing costs or looking to improve chair utilisation in your practice. This information can form the foundation of growth for your practice, i.e., should you invest, or should you change the structure of your business – the list is endless, but it’s the numbers that help tell the story.

The key is to implement a system of bookkeeping, so you know each month the numbers, and what is occurring in your practice. Without this, it’s like going on an expedition without a map or a compass.

Having access to up-to-date numbers is essential for any successful dental practice, and with the plethora of options available there is really no excuse to not knowing how you are doing.”

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

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.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

How AI will Change Running a Dental Practice

Unlocking the Power of AI: Revolutionising Dental Practice Management

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way we live, work, and do business. It’s having a big impact on various industries like education, healthcare, and finance. One field that is benefitting from AI is dental practice management. AI is helping dental practices streamline their operations and enhance patient care. It’s changing the way dental practices work by automating administrative tasks and predicting patient needs. In this post, we’ll explore how AI is used to manage dental practices and how it can improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency, and generate more revenue. If you’re a dentist looking to enhance your practice management, keep reading to discover how AI can create new opportunities for your dental practice.

The role of AI in revolutionising dental practice management

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the field of dentistry too. It can handle lots of information and do complex tasks, which is why it’s being used to manage dental practices. AI offers dentists and their teams opportunities to be more efficient, accurate, and provide better patient care.

Traditionally, managing dental practices required a lot of manual work and human judgement. But AI has become a valuable tool that streamlines operations, improves diagnosis and treatment planning, enhances patient communication, and overall improves the dental experience.

AI is great at automating administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, reminding patients, handling billing and insurance claims. It does these tasks quickly and accurately, freeing up valuable time for dental professionals to focus on giving the best care.

AI algorithms can analyse huge amounts of patient data like medical history, X-rays, and treatment outcomes. By finding patterns and insights, dentists can make more accurate diagnoses, create personalised treatment plans, and predict potential oral health issues before they become serious. With AI technology, dentists can provide proactive and preventive care, leading to better patient outcomes and satisfaction.

AI is also improving patient communication and engagement. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can answer common questions, provide educational materials, and even schedule appointments. This not only increases patient satisfaction but also reduces the workload on dental staff, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks.

Furthermore, AI helps dental practices optimize their operations and resource allocation. By analyzing patient flow, appointment patterns, and staff efficiency, AI algorithms can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Practice managers can then make data-driven decisions to improve workflow and staff schedules. This leads to increased productivity, shorter wait times, and a smoother patient experience.

Understanding the challenges faced by dental practices

Running a dental practice comes with its own set of challenges that can hinder efficiency and growth. Understanding these obstacles is crucial for utilizing the potential of AI and improving dental practice management.

One major challenge faced by dental practices is appointment scheduling. It can be difficult to keep track of a full schedule with multiple patients and different types of appointments. Manual planning processes often lead to errors, double bookings, and significant delays for patients.

Patient engagement and communication are also problematic for dental practices. It can be inefficient and time-consuming to keep patients informed about their appointments, treatment plans, and preventive care. Lack of effective communication can result in missed appointments, low patient satisfaction, and ultimately, loss of revenue.

Managing dental records and information presents another obstacle. Traditional paper-based systems are not only cumbersome but also prone to errors and data loss. Retrieving patient records becomes a time-consuming process, affecting the overall efficiency of the practice.

In addition, efficient management of dental supplies and equipment is essential. Lack of proper equipment or supply shortages can lead to disruptions in patient care and unnecessary delays.

These challenges highlight the need for innovative approaches to simplify dental practice management. AI-powered technologies can revolutionize the way dental practices operate by addressing these challenges and improving overall efficiency and patient satisfaction. AI has the potential to automate appointment scheduling, send automated reminders to patients, implement electronic health record systems, and optimize inventory management. Embracing AI in dental practice management can result in improved efficiency, increased revenue, and enhanced patient experiences.

Contact us to find out more

The potential of AI in solving dental practice management issues

It’s amazing how artificial intelligence (AI) can revolutionize dental practice management. With advancements in technology, AI has become a powerful tool that can address various challenges faced by dental professionals and streamline their daily tasks.

One significant challenge that AI can tackle is appointment booking. Traditionally, dental practices have handled appointments manually, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors. However, AI-powered systems can automate this process by intelligently analyzing patient information, dentist availability, and other factors to schedule appointments efficiently. This not only saves time but also ensures optimal use of resources and improves patient satisfaction.

AI can also play a crucial role in enhancing treatment planning and diagnosis. AI algorithms can assist dentists in making more accurate and well-informed decisions by analyzing a large amount of patient data, such as X-rays, dental records, and medical history. This can result in better patient care, fewer mistakes, and improved treatment outcomes.

Moreover, AI can improve patient communication and engagement. AI-powered chatbots can instantly answer common questions, schedule appointments, and make personalized recommendations. This enhances the patient experience, reduces wait times, and increases customer loyalty.

Additionally, AI can streamline administrative tasks like billing, inventory management, and insurance claims processing. By automating these processes, dental practices can save time and resources, allowing their staff to focus on more critical aspects of patient care.

While AI in dental practice management is still in its early stages, its potential is immense. We can expect AI to become increasingly important in transforming dental practices, increasing efficiency, and providing improved oral healthcare to patients as technology continues to advance. By incorporating AI into practice management, dental professionals can enter a new era of innovation and productivity.

Streamlining appointment scheduling and patient management with AI

Managing a dental practice can be complex and time-consuming in today’s fast-paced world. Dental professionals face numerous challenges, including patient management and appointment scheduling. However, with the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), these challenges can now be overcome more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

One area where AI is transforming dental practice management is appointment booking. In the past, dental practices relied on manual scheduling, which often led to double bookings, missed appointments, and unhappy patients. AI-powered scheduling systems have eliminated these issues.

AI algorithms analyse various factors, such as dentist availability, patient preferences, and treatment durations, to automatically schedule appointments in a way that maximises efficiency and minimises conflicts. This reduces wait times and ensures smooth appointment experiences, saving time for dental professionals and increasing patient satisfaction.

Furthermore, AI can assist in patient management by organising and analysing large amounts of patient data. By using AI algorithms, AI systems can identify patterns and trends in patient data, allowing dental professionals to make more informed decisions regarding treatment plans and personalised care.

For example, AI can help identify patients at higher risk for certain dental conditions based on their medical history, lifestyle factors, and genetic predispositions. By proactively addressing potential issues and providing individualised preventive care, overall oral health outcomes for patients improve.

Additionally, AI-powered chatbots can enhance patient communication and support. These virtual assistants can provide instant responses to common inquiries, such as information about treatment options, post-operative care instructions, and appointment availability. By automating these interactions, dental practices can free up staff resources and improve patient engagement, even outside of office hours.

In conclusion, AI has the potential to transform dental practice management by streamlining appointment booking, optimizing patient management, and enhancing communication. By harnessing the power of AI, dental professionals can unlock new levels of efficiency, productivity, and patient satisfaction, ultimately revolutionizing the way dental practices operate in the modern era.

Enhancing patient communication and engagement through AI-powered tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming various industries, including dental practice management. One area where AI is making a significant impact is in improving patient communication and engagement.

In the past, dental practices relied on phone calls, emails, and face-to-face interactions to communicate with patients. However, these methods often proved to be time-consuming and inefficient. AI-powered tools are changing the game by streamlining communication processes and providing a seamless experience for patients.

One way AI is enhancing patient communication is through the use of chatbots. By integrating intelligent virtual assistants into dental practice websites or mobile apps, patients can easily ask questions, schedule appointments, or get immediate support. Chatbots offer quick and accurate responses, reducing the need for patients to wait on hold or wait for a reply to their messages.

Moreover, AI-powered tools can analyse patient data and preferences to personalise communication. For instance, dental practices can utilise AI to automatically send appointment reminders, follow-up messages after treatments, or even oral health tips tailored to each patient’s specific needs. This level of personalised communication improves patient satisfaction and fosters a stronger relationship between the patient and the dental practice.

Additionally, AI enables dental practices to engage with patients through voice-controlled assistants. Using smart speakers, patients can access educational content, receive guidance on post-treatment care, and ask questions about oral hygiene. These voice-activated assistants allow patients to stay connected with their dental office in a convenient and interactive manner, ultimately leading to improved oral health outcomes.

By utilising AI-powered tools for patient communication and engagement, dental practices can enjoy several benefits. These include increased patient satisfaction, personalised experiences, and improved efficiency. As the dental industry embraces the potential of AI, it becomes evident that it is reshaping how dental practices manage patient interactions and prepare for a technologically advanced and patient-centred future.

Leveraging AI for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning

In the field of dentistry, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about a significant breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment planning. By harnessing the power of AI, dentists can now achieve more precise and effective results than ever before.

AI algorithms have the ability to analyse large amounts of patient data, such as medical history, X-rays, and clinical notes, with impressive accuracy and speed. This allows dentists to detect even the smallest dental conditions or abnormalities that might be missed by human observation alone.

Furthermore, AI-powered software can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on the analysed data to assist in treatment planning. By considering factors like patient preferences, clinical guidelines, and best practices, AI algorithms can create customised treatment plans that improve both patient outcomes and practice efficiency.

The ability of AI to learn and adapt over time is one of its greatest advantages in dental practice management. As more data is fed into the system, the algorithms continuously improve their diagnostic accuracy and treatment planning capabilities. This enhances patient care and allows dentists to stay at the forefront of their field by leveraging the latest advancements in AI technology.

Additionally, incorporating AI into dental practice management can streamline workflows and reduce human error. By automating routine tasks and integrating AI-powered systems into existing practice management software, dentists can save valuable time and resources while ensuring consistent and reliable results.

It is important to note that while AI is revolutionising dental practice management, it is not meant to replace the expertise and skill of dental professionals. Instead, it serves as a powerful tool that complements their knowledge and experience, assisting them in providing superior patient care and achieving improved outcomes.

By embracing the power of AI, dental professionals have the potential to usher in a new era of innovation, precision, and efficiency in diagnosis and treatment planning. With the help of AI, dentists can elevate their practice to new heights, benefiting both their patients and their own professional growth.

Automating administrative tasks and improving efficiency with AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a game-changer in many industries, including dental practice management. One of the great advantages of AI in this context is its ability to automate administrative tasks, streamlining operations and improving overall efficiency.

Traditionally, dental practices have had to deal with tasks like appointment scheduling, patient record management, and billing. These tasks are not only time-consuming but also prone to human errors. However, with the power of AI, these processes can be automated, allowing dental professionals to focus more on patient care.

AI-powered systems can intelligently handle appointment scheduling by analysing the availability of both the dentist and the patient. AI algorithms optimise scheduling by considering various factors, such as treatment duration and required equipment, to maximise efficiency and minimise patient wait times.

Another area where AI can revolutionise dental practice management is patient record management. With AI-powered systems, patient records can be digitised and organised in a structured manner. This enables quick access to patient information, including medical history, treatment plans, and progress. AI algorithms can analyse this data to provide personalised treatment recommendations based on patient-specific factors, ultimately improving the quality of care provided.

Moreover, AI can simplify the billing process by automating tasks such as insurance checks, claims processing, and payment reminders. This not only makes it easier for dental staff to perform their jobs but also reduces the likelihood of payment processing errors or delays.

By automating these administrative tasks, dental practices can achieve significant time and cost savings. This allows dental professionals to focus on providing exceptional patient care and enhancing the overall dental experience, as resources can be allocated more effectively.

In conclusion, the impact of AI in dental practice management cannot be underestimated. By automating administrative tasks and improving efficiency, AI empowers dental professionals to streamline operations, provide better patient care, and ultimately revolutionise the way dental practices operate. Embracing AI technology can usher in a new era of efficiency and effectiveness in dental practice management.

Addressing concerns and misconceptions about AI in dental practice management

Like any new technology, there are often misunderstandings and concerns when it comes to AI in dental practice management. However, it’s important to address these concerns and provide accurate information in order to fully understand the potential benefits and capabilities of AI in this field.

One common concern is the fear that AI will replace human dental professionals. While AI can automate certain tasks and streamline processes, it is not meant to replace the expertise and judgement of dental professionals. Instead, AI serves as a powerful tool to assist and enhance their work, allowing them to focus more on patient care and complex procedures.

Another misconception is the belief that AI is too complex or expensive to implement in dental practices. However, thanks to advancements in technology, AI is now more accessible and user-friendly than ever before. Many dental practice management software now incorporate AI features that are specifically designed to improve workflows, enhance efficiency, and provide valuable insights for better guidance.

Additionally, some may have concerns about the security and privacy of patient data when using AI in dental practice management. It is crucial to select reputable software vendors that prioritise data security and comply with industry regulations. Strong security measures, such as encryption and access controls, can help protect patient data and maintain confidentiality.

Lastly, the accuracy of AI in diagnosis and treatment planning may raise questions. While AI algorithms are constantly improving, they are not meant to replace the diagnostic skills and experience of dental professionals. Instead, AI can assist in analysing large datasets, identifying patterns, and providing insights to support more informed decision-making.

By addressing these concerns and misconceptions, dental professionals can embrace the potential of AI in practice management. It allows for more efficient operations, better patient care, and staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the field. AI has the potential to transform dental practice management, empowering dentists and practitioners to provide exceptional care in an increasingly digital world.

Embracing the future: Steps to incorporate AI in your dental practice

Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into your dental practice can completely transform the way you manage and treat patients. AI has become a powerful tool that can improve various aspects of your practice, from patient scheduling to treatment planning, thanks to advancements in technology. Here are some steps to help you embrace the future and successfully integrate AI into your dental practice.

Identify areas for AI integration: Start by assessing your current workflows and identifying areas where AI can make a significant impact. This could include automating appointment scheduling, streamlining administrative tasks, analysing scans or X-rays, or enhancing patient communication.

Explore AI solutions: Once you have identified the areas for AI integration, research different AI solutions available on the market. Look for reputable companies that specialise in AI for dental practice management and have a proven track record of successful implementations. Consider factors like ease of use, compatibility with your existing systems, and the level of support provided.

Implement AI gradually: Introducing AI to your practice doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Start by implementing AI in one area of your practice, such as automated appointment reminders or improving patient communication. This way, you can gradually familiarise yourself and your team with the technology and assess its impact on your workflow.

Train and support your team: As you bring AI into your practice, it’s important to provide adequate training and support to your team. Ensure that everyone understands how to use the AI tools effectively and how it can enhance their daily tasks. This will help maximise the benefits of AI and ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.

Click here to read our article on building a dental team.

Evaluate and monitor performance: Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the AI tools you have implemented. Assess whether they are improving the patient experience, increasing efficiency, and achieving the desired outcomes. Make any necessary adjustments and stay updated on new AI technology updates.

By embracing the future of AI and carefully planning, implementing, and evaluating its integration, you can unlock its potential to streamline operations, enhance patient care, and take your dental practice to new heights. It has the power to transform the way you manage your practice and provide exceptional dental care.

Contact us to find out more

AI can play a significant role in enhancing marketing efforts in a dental practice

Using AI can greatly improve the marketing efforts of a dental practice. Here are a few examples of how AI can enhance marketing strategies:

Data analysis and customer segmentation: AI can analyze large amounts of data from sources like patient records, website analytics, and social media. By finding patterns, AI can segment the target audience more effectively. It can identify potential leads and create personalized marketing campaigns based on patient preferences, behaviors, and demographics.

Personalized marketing campaigns: AI-powered algorithms can generate customized marketing content, such as emails, social media posts, and ads. By using patient data and preferences, AI can create personalized messages and offers, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Click here to read our article on email marketing for dentists.

Chatbots and assistants: AI-powered chatbots can provide instant responses to patient inquiries on websites, social media platforms, or messaging apps. They can answer frequently asked questions, schedule appointments, provide basic dental information, and even offer personalized oral health recommendations. This improves customer satisfaction and streamlines administrative tasks.

Click here to read more about growing a dental practice with social media.

Predictive analytics: AI can analyse historical patient data to predict future behaviours and outcomes. By identifying trends and patterns, AI can anticipate patient needs and preferences. This allows dental practices to anticipate demand and adjust marketing strategies accordingly.

Image analysis and treatment planning: AI can analyse dental X-rays, scans, and images to assist in treatment planning and diagnosis. By providing accurate and efficient analysis, AI can enhance the patient experience, contribute to better treatment outcomes, and even be used for patient education and case presentations.

Online reputation monitoring and sentiment analysis: AI can track brand reputation and monitor patient sentiment through online reviews and social media platforms. This data helps dental practices identify areas for improvement, address customer concerns promptly, and leverage positive feedback for marketing purposes.

Optimization of marketing campaigns: AI can analyse real-time performance of marketing campaigns, enabling dental practices to make data-driven decisions. By monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement levels, AI can provide insights and suggestions to optimise marketing efforts for improved results.

Click here to read our article on how to market your dental practice online.

It’s important to remember that while AI can enhance dental practice marketing, it should be used in conjunction with human expertise. Dental professionals and marketing experts should collaborate to develop effective strategies and ensure that AI applications align with ethical considerations and patient privacy regulations.

Click here to read more about Marketing to Millennials for Dentists.

How AI tools (like ChatGPT plugins) can help analyse and suggest solutions for SEO or website issues for dental practise

In a dental practice, AI tools like ChatGPT plugins can help analyse and suggest solutions for SEO or website issues. Here’s how they can be useful:

Website analysis: AI tools can analyse the structure, content, and performance of a dental practice’s website. They can identify issues like broken links, missing meta tags, duplicate content, slow page loading times, and other SEO-related problems. By examining the website, AI can create a comprehensive report highlighting areas that need improvement.

Keyword research: AI tools can help identify relevant keywords and search terms that potential patients might use when looking for dental services. By analysing search patterns and user behaviour, AI can suggest optimal keywords to target in website content, blog posts, or meta tags, thereby improving the website’s search engine visibility.

Click here to read our article on how to create a website for dentists.

Content optimization: AI tools can assist in optimising website content for search engines. They can analyse existing content, suggest improvements to enhance keyword usage, recommend formatting changes, and provide insights to improve readability and user experience. Additionally, AI can suggest topics for blog posts or articles to increase traffic and help identify content gaps.

Competitor analysis: AI tools can analyse SEO strategies and competitor websites. They can identify keywords, backlinks, or content strategies that competitors are using successfully. Dental practices can use this information to gain a better understanding of their industry’s competitive landscape and make well-informed decisions regarding their own SEO strategies.

SEO performance tracking: AI tools can monitor the SEO performance of a dental practice’s website over time. They can track key metrics like search rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rates. AI can assist dentists and marketers in understanding the impact of their SEO efforts and making data-driven decisions to enhance performance by providing regular reports and insights.

On-page optimization tips: AI tools can provide real-time suggestions for on-page optimization while creating or editing website content. For example, as a dentist writes a blog post, an AI module can analyse the content in real-time and suggest improvements to optimise headings, meta descriptions, or internal linking to ensure best SEO practices are followed.

Voice search optimization: AI tools can help dental practices optimise their websites for voice search queries. With the rise of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, AI can analyse conversational search patterns and suggest content improvements to align with voice search queries and provide answers to common dental questions.

Click here to read more about SEO for dental websites in 5 steps.

It’s important to remember that AI tools can provide valuable insights and suggestions, but they should be used in conjunction with human expertise. Dentists and marketers should interpret the insights provided by AI tools, apply their industry knowledge, and make informed decisions to truly enhance their SEO strategies.

We hope you found our blog post on using AI for dental practice management helpful and inspiring. Embracing AI can revolutionise how dental practices operate as technology continues to advance. By automating administrative tasks, streamlining patient management, and enhancing diagnostic capabilities, AI has the potential to greatly improve efficiency, accuracy, and patient satisfaction. We encourage you to stay informed about the latest developments and collaborate with experts in the field as you consider implementing AI solutions in your dental practice.

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.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

How to Create a Website for Dentists

Dentists can make websites themselves fairly easy using platforms like WordPress and Wix. These platforms make it fairly straightforward for anyone to build a simple website without any knowledge of coding. They’ll even make it easy for you to host the website on their servers without any real training or specialised knowledge.

But how do you make the website stand out? How do you make it rank highly in Google?

Keep Your Website Simple

If you’re going to create your own website, it may be best to keep things simple at first.

Your homepage should take the most time to create since it is the first thing most visitors will see, it’s your first impression. Make sure you have your logo and branding, images of the practice and the team and links to all your most important pages. These will usually be your treatment pages and your fees page.

Try to keep the number of pages low at first – around a dozen to start off. Instead of a page for each treatment, have a page for all of your orthodontic services, another for all of your cosmetic services and another for all of your general treatments. Instead of a page for each team member, just have a page for the whole team.

Once you get more confident in your design and SEO abilities, create individual pages for each treatment and team member and see how highly you can rank them in Google.

The website also needs to be easily navigable. Keep the menus simple and clearly labeled. A good task is to show the website to a friend and ask them to find something specific. If it’s hard for them to find, it’s hard for patients to find. If it’s hard for patients to find, they will give up looking.

Action Plan

When designing your website, focus on simplicity. Prioritize your homepage with essential elements like your logo, practice/team images, and key page links. Initially, keep the number of pages low, grouping similar treatments and team members together. Ensure easy navigation with clear menus. Test usability by asking someone to find specific information. Simplifying your website enhances user experience and engagement.

Use Call to Actions

If your website could only have one element on it, it should be a call to action. In simple terms, the job of a website is to get customers and patients to click a certain button, fill in a certain form or phone a certain number.

Set up an online booking portal like Software of Excellence for your website as soon as you can and put a big, clear ‘book online’ button on each page.

Get your practice’s telephone number and email address onto every page as well. A good way to do this is to include them in the header or footer of your website so they automatically appear everywhere.

Next, you want to include a contact form on every page. Keep them simple – the more information you ask for, the fewer patients will send a contact form! Ask for their name, a way to contact them and their query. You can then set yourself a notification anytime it is filled in so you can contact the lead immediately.

Action Point

Ensure your website features prominent call-to-action buttons, such as “Book Online” for appointment scheduling. Display your practice’s contact information, including telephone number and email address, prominently on every page, typically in the header or footer. Additionally, include a simple contact form on each page to capture visitor inquiries efficiently. Simplifying the form fields encourages more submissions. Set up notifications to promptly respond to inquiries, optimizing lead conversion.

Using Images on a Dental Website

The next step is to make it visually appealing. Remember that speed is essential to a good website so keep the image size and resolution small. Don’t start adding huge 500Mb HD images to each page, you’ll only hamstring your speed. You can find free tools to shrink and compress images online so make sure they are only as big as they need to be. 300/600px on each side is enough for most screen sizes.

Get your best images of the team, the practice and the local area together and pepper them throughout the site. It’s fine to use stock images from websites like unsplash and shutterstock if you do not have any, in fact, some designers prefer it. However, you might run the risk of your website looking like many others – there’s only so many stock photos of dentists out there!

Action Points

Optimize image size and resolution for fast loading times, aiming for around 300/600px on each side. Incorporate high-quality images of your team, practice, and local area to personalize the site. Balance authentic imagery with stock photos to maintain uniqueness.

Make Your Dental Practice’s Website Fast

Speed has become the key to a great website. Google has been putting more and more emphasis on the speed of a website in recent years and it is now one of the key metrics they use to rank websites. In other words, the fast your website, the higher it will rank.

There are lots of ways to keep load times down and the website fast. We often find the worst culprits are images on the page. However, any widget can slow a website down so play around with different layouts and functionalities until you find the balance between user experience and speed.

Plugins like Lazy Loader can help with your website’s speed by prioritizing what images and videos are loaded in what order. Make sure you do regular speed checks on your website to ensure it doesn’t start slowing down and costing you SEO!

Action Points

Ensuring fast load times is crucial for website performance and SEO ranking. Prioritize optimization techniques such as image compression and lazy loading plugins to maintain speed without compromising user experience. Regular speed checks are essential to prevent slowdowns and maintain SEO effectiveness.

Check the speed of your website here.

Local SEO and Dental Websites

Creating a website for a dental practice is not quite the same as building a website for an e-commerce business that can ship products far and wide. You main customer base is going to be your local area and the surrounding regions. This is where your local SEO becomes important.

Google ‘dentist near me’ and you’ll see a selection of dental practices within about a mile or 2 of your location. That is local SEO at work.

Register your website on Google My Business, which allows a practice to be listed for free, with information such as opening times, directions, services and images. This is the directory Google uses to store your information and match it up to local searches like ‘dentist near me’.

You then want to find other local business directories online and get your practice registered on them. Independent online business directories like Yelp and local councils will let you list your business and boost your local SEO. Make sure your name, address, phone number and website are listed on as many local and national business directories as you can find.

You also want to make sure you pepper your location throughout the text on your website. If you’re a dentist in York, make sure you’ve got ‘dentist in York’, ‘York Dental Practice’ and other, similar variations mentioned in the text of your website.

Action Points

Local SEO is crucial for dental practices aiming to attract patients from their immediate vicinity. Registering your practice on Google My Business and other local business directories enhances visibility in local searches like “dentist near me.” Ensure consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) listings across directories to reinforce local SEO efforts. Integrate location-specific keywords throughout your website’s content to optimize for local searches and attract potential patients in your area.

Make it Mobile-friendly

Mobile internet usage now accounts for over 50% of all online activity. This has huge implications for the way your website needs to be designed. What looks great on a desktop might not (and probably won’t) look good on a mobile phone or a tablet. In fact, there’s a good chance it doesn’t even function properly if you haven’t tested it.

Test and preview your website on mobile. In fact, you should be building your website with a mobile-first attitude. Your links, buttons forms and multimedia all need to look and work just as well as they do on desktops. Most of your traffic is going to be coming from mobile phones and that is only going to increase.

Action Points

Optimizing your website for mobile is crucial as over 50% of online activity now occurs on mobile devices. Ensure seamless functionality and a great user experience on smartphones and tablets by testing and previewing your site on various devices. Prioritize mobile-first design by ensuring all elements like links, buttons, forms, and multimedia work effectively on mobile. With mobile traffic on the rise, optimizing your website for mobile usage is essential for engaging users and driving conversions.

Make Use Of SEO Techniques

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of building a dental website that converts patients. Most people access your online content by using a search engine like Google. This means that you want your dental practice to feature highly in search results – higher than your competitors at least! Making good use of SEO techniques helps you to make this happen. These are aspects you need to effectively digitally market your practice. You need to:

  • Make sure that all online content is easy to read.
  • Think about the keywords that you use, include long-tail keywords, use keywords in titles and sub headings and use locations in your keywords.
  • Keep all of your online content fresh.
  • Include internal links and make sure external links are relevant and to reputable websites.

Action Points

To improve your dental website’s visibility and attract more patients, prioritize SEO techniques such as optimizing readability, incorporating relevant keywords, updating content regularly, and using internal and external linking effectively.

You can learn more about SEO for dental websites here.

If you want to see how we built our dental practice’s website, check out The Neem Tree website.

Our Expert Opinion

“Your website is your main weapon when it comes to getting patients (speaking as a marketer). Your website is one of those things that I will always say it’s worth paying more for. Ads, content, social media, that can all be done very effectively on the cheap. Your website cannot be done cheaply and it’s not something I’d recommend keeping in-house.

Pay a professional to make a really fast, well-built, effective website that ranks on Google. I promise it will be worth it. Keep in mind that there are a lot of developers out there who really aren’t that good and will charge through the nose. Get several quotes, get their testimonials and I can’t stress enough how important it is to get examples of other websites they’ve made first.

Make your website mobile-first, check it regularly and work as hard as you can on the SEO to get it to the top of Google.”

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.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

How to make a successful NHS to Private transition

In this free webinar, hosted with Patient Plan Direct, we discuss why the appetite for exploring the transition to private dentistry has never been as prevalent and what it takes to manage a successful conversion.

Moving away from the NHS to private dentistry is a big decision and one that requires detailed analysis and planning. Whether you’re looking to make a gradual step to private dentistry or leave NHS dentistry for good, we cover the steps Patient Plan Direct take to support a practice in achieving such an objective and why offering a dental plan is a vital component.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

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!

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.

Switching Your Payment Plan Provider

In this free webinar, hosted with Patient Plan Direct, we discuss how switching your plan provider can significantly save your practice money without worrying about any patient drop-off thanks to the new ‘Simple Switch’ process.

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.

Gootkit Malware Update

In this video, Uros takes a look at Gootkit Malware and how it can affect your business.

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.

New Ransomware Targeting Dentists

In this quick update, we take a look at a new ransomware which is specifically targeting dentists.

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.

How to protect your dental practice online

In this webinar, Arun and Uros discuss the different threats facing your dental practice online, and what you can do about it.

Click here to read our articles.

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.

How to Ensure Your Start-up Dental Practice Takes off in a Year

In this webinar, I’ll take you through the key stages you need to get right when you start a dental practice, and how to do 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.

Refinancing and Restructuring Debt

In this webinar, Arun, Nigel and Dan take you through what you need to know about refinancing and restructuring your debts and finance.

Most dental practices have debts and loan obligations and some struggle to meet them. Yet, there are ways to overcome these challenges and thrive financially. Refinancing and restructuring debts can really help dental clinic owners manage their finances, but you need to understand how it works and where to begin. Here, we’ll see how refinancing and restructuring debts can benefit your clinic, the steps to start the process, and what you need to know. We’ll also share some tips to help you achieve financial stability and success.

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Dental Practices

Dental clinics face significant financial challenges due to tough competition, rising costs, and evolving industry standards. Keeping up with changing NHS regulations and the shift towards private dental care requires investments in equipment, technology, and staff training. 

On top of this, most dental practice owners need to borrow money to buy or set up their dental practice in the first place.

Moreover, clinics can struggle to retain existing patients and attract new ones amidst fierce competition, necessitating expensive marketing strategies and maintaining patient satisfaction. The high operational costs, including rent, bills, insurance, and staff salaries, further strain clinic finances, compounded by the need for continuous training and adherence to hygiene standards. 

How to Assess Your Current Financial Situation

Before tackling debt refinancing or restructuring, it’s crucial to get a clear picture of your dental practice’s financial health. This is the foundation for making informed decisions about managing your debt.

  • Gather Your Financial Documents: Start by collecting key financial documents like balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. These will show you your recent performance and give you a snapshot of your practice’s financial health. 
  • Analyse Your Financial Strengths and Weaknesses: Review these documents carefully to identify areas where your practice is doing well and areas that need improvement. Look for trends or patterns that might affect your debt management strategy.
  • Financial Ratios: Measuring Your Practice’s Health: Financial ratios like the debt-to-equity ratio, current ratio, and debt service coverage ratio can tell you a lot about your practice’s financial health. These ratios measure factors like your ability to meet debt obligations, cover short-term liabilities, and manage overall debt levels.
  • Cash Flow Management: Keeping Track of Inflows and Outflows: Understanding your cash flow allows you to proactively manage incoming and outgoing funds. This helps ensure you have enough cash available to cover expenses and debt payments. You will also be able to more easily identify areas you can save money, and where you may need to spend a little more.
  • Get Expert Help: Consider consulting a financial advisor or accountant like Samera with experience in the dental industry. They can help you interpret your financial data, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about debt restructuring and refinancing.
  • Benefits of Understanding Your Finances: By getting a thorough understanding of your practice’s financial situation, you’ll be well-equipped to make smart decisions about debt management. This paves the way for financial success and the long-term stability of your dental practice.

Click here to read our article on 11 Top tips to manage your cash flow in a crisis

Debt Restructuring vs. Refinancing: Understanding Your Options

When it comes to managing dental practice debt, you have two main options: restructuring and refinancing.  Here’s a breakdown of each strategy:

Debt Restructuring:

  • Think of it as a negotiation: Debt restructuring involves working directly with your existing lenders to modify the terms of your current loans. This could involve extending repayment periods, reducing interest rates, or even forgiving a portion of the debt in exchange for a lump sum payment.
  • Benefits: Restructuring can significantly reduce your monthly debt payments, improving cash flow and freeing up resources for other needs. It can also simplify your debt by consolidating multiple loans into a single one.
  • Considerations: Restructuring may not always be an option, depending on your lender and your financial situation. It’s important to negotiate effectively and have a clear understanding of your desired outcome.

Debt Refinancing:

  • Taking out a new loan to pay off old ones: Debt refinancing involves securing a new loan with more favorable terms than your existing debt. This new loan is then used to pay off your existing ones, resulting in potentially lower interest rates, longer repayment periods, or both.
  • Benefits: Similar to restructuring, refinancing can free up cash flow and simplify your debt management. However, refinancing often comes with additional fees associated with the new loan.
  • Considerations: Qualifying for a new loan may require good creditworthiness. Carefully compare interest rates and fees associated with refinancing to ensure it’s truly beneficial.

Choosing the Right Option:

The best approach for your dental practice depends on your specific financial situation and goals. Consider factors like the interest rates on your existing loans, your creditworthiness, and your desired monthly payment amount. Consulting a financial advisor experienced in the dental industry can help you assess your options and choose the strategy that best suits your needs.

The Potential Impact on Cash Flow and Profitability

When thinking about refinancing and restructuring debt, it’s important to understand how these actions can affect your income and profitability, making sure they support the long-term success of your practice.

Refinancing debt can directly affect your income by lowering your monthly payments through better terms like lower interest rates or longer repayment periods. This frees up money that can be reinvested back into your business.

On the other hand, debt restructuring involves changing your existing obligations to create a more sustainable financial setup. This might mean combining loans, renegotiating terms, or extending repayment schedules to better manage your finances and reduce the risk of default.

It’s essential to evaluate how these changes might impact your profitability. By reducing interest costs through refinancing and restructuring, you can directly improve your profitability. Having more cash on hand from these strategies allows you to invest in growing your practice, and marketing efforts, and attracting more patients, ultimately leading to increased profitability over time.

Dental practice owners should carefully consider how these changes could affect their income and profits, seeking advice from industry experts and financial advisors to make informed decisions and implement effective financial strategies. By making smart choices and managing finances proactively, dental practices can achieve their full potential for financial success and steady growth.

Important Considerations and Potential Risks

When renegotiating and restructuring debt for dental practices, it’s crucial to carefully consider potential risks and be fully aware of the implications. While these methods can help ease financial burdens and improve cash flow, they require careful planning and understanding.

Understanding how these changes can affect your credit rating is essential. Altering debt arrangements can impact credit scores, affecting your ability to borrow in the future and conduct financial transactions. Consulting with financial advisors or credit experts can help minimize any negative effects.

It’s also important to look at the long-term financial consequences. While restructuring may offer immediate relief, it’s essential to analyze the overall costs, interest rates, and repayment terms of any new agreements.

Variable interest rates come with inherent risks, so it’s crucial to assess your risk tolerance and ability to handle potential fluctuations.

Managing relationships with existing creditors delicately is imperative. Debt restructuring may strain these relationships and be seen as a sign of instability. Open and transparent communication with creditors is essential to maintain understanding.

Compliance with legal and regulatory obligations is a must. This highlights the need for legal and financial expertise to navigate complexities effectively.

In summary, while debt renegotiation and restructuring can be beneficial for dental practices, thorough assessment, expert guidance, and proactive communication are essential for confidently navigating these strategies and fostering sustainable growth.

The Benefits of Refinancing and Restructuring Debt

Refinancing and restructuring debt offer significant opportunities for dental clinics to attain financial stability and success. One major benefit is the potential to secure lower interest rates through refinancing, which reduces monthly payments and overall interest expenses. Extending repayment periods can also ease immediate financial pressures, allowing clinics to invest in necessary upgrades and marketing efforts, ultimately boosting long-term profitability.

Debt restructuring complements refinancing by renegotiating existing agreements for improved repayment terms, such as lower monthly payments or extended durations. Consolidating multiple loans into one simplifies financial management and reduces the risk of missed payments or late fees, providing clarity on debt obligations.

Furthermore, these financial strategies contribute to enhancing the clinic’s credit score, bolstering financial credibility and facilitating access to future credit with favorable terms.

In summary, refinancing and restructuring debt enables dental clinics to enhance their financial well-being, streamline operations, and promote long-term growth and prosperity.

Steps to Take when Considering Debt Restructuring

Managing debt through restructuring is a critical aspect of financial management that can lead to long-term success. However, it needs thoughtful consideration and strategic planning. Here are steps to navigate debt restructuring effectively:

  1. Evaluate your financial situation comprehensively, including outstanding loans, expenses, income, and cash flow.
  2. Define clear goals for restructuring, whether it’s to lower payments, reduce interest rates, or extend repayment terms.
  3. Explore available options such as debt consolidation, refinancing, or negotiation with creditors, understanding the pros and cons of each.
  4. Seek guidance from financial advisors or debt restructuring experts specialized in dental practices to make informed decisions.
  5. Develop a detailed restructuring plan encompassing financial projections, timelines, and contingency measures.
  6. Maintain open communication with creditors, providing necessary documentation and negotiating terms aligned with your goals.
  7. Implement the restructuring plan diligently, making necessary arrangements and monitoring progress closely.

By following these steps and seeking professional advice, dental practices can effectively manage debt, unlock financial success, and secure a stable future. It’s essential to recognize the power of managing debt to pave the way for improved financial well-being.

Steps to Consider when Refinancing Equipment and Other Purchases

Consider these steps when financing equipment and other purchases to ensure clarity and potential savings:

  1. Prioritize understanding the varied rates associated with financing options available to you.
  2. Seek detailed explanations of the rates and comprehend the monthly payment obligations.
  3. Explore the possibility of refinancing existing loans, especially if you’re not bound by terms, as low interest rates persist. For newer practices, after 1-2 years, refinancing could yield monthly savings.
  4. Take proactive measures to manage costly short-term debts, such as credit card debt. Consider leveraging equity in your practice or home at potentially lower costs, offering substantial savings in the long run.

Managing debt can be tough, especially for dental practices, but with the right strategies and knowledge, regaining control of your finances is possible. By exploring refinancing options and restructuring your debt, you can lower interest rates, improve cash flow, and ultimately achieve long-term financial stability. Remember, every dental practice is unique, so consider consulting with financial experts to determine the best approach for your specific situation.

Did You Know?


Dental Practice Operating Costs: Overheads range from 60% to 65% of revenue, mainly due to staff salaries, supplies, and office expenses. [ADA, 2021]

COVID-19 Impact: 76% of dental practices saw reduced patient visits post-pandemic, stressing financial health. [ADA Health Policy Institute, 2020]

Equipment Financing Rates: Interest rates as low as 4% for qualified borrowers, highlighting the need for competitive financing. [Bank of America Practice Solutions, 2023]

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.

Reviewed By:

Nigel Crossman

Nigel Crossman

Head of Commercial Finance

Nigel is a former banker and head of commercial finance at Samera. He specialises in raising finance, negotiating deals and structuring finance applications for healthcare businesses.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

Dentist and Dental Associate Expenses Guide

In this complete guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about tax relief as a dentist, including what it is, how it works, and the different types of help available. We’ll also share expert tips and tricks to help you get your expenses back and make the most of your tax relief options.

Understanding the Importance of Tax Relief for Dentists

If you’re a dentist or dental business owner in the UK, it’s crucial to know about tax relief as it can help you save money and improve your tax strategy. Tax relief means getting deductions and allowances from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to lower your overall tax bill.

One big reason tax relief matters for dental business owners is that it allows you to get money back for expenses related to running your business. This includes things like buying equipment, paying for professional services, and even training your staff. By claiming these expenses as tax deductions, you can reduce your taxable income, pay less in taxes and become more profitable.

Tax relief can also create opportunities for investment and growth in your dental practice. For instance, certain expenses like upgrading your dental equipment or expanding your clinic may qualify for tax relief. This means you can get back a portion of the money you spent through tax deductions, which lets you reinvest in your business without shouldering the entire financial burden.

Furthermore, understanding tax relief will help you navigate complex tax rules and ensure you follow HMRC guidelines. By staying informed about the available tax reliefs and allowances designed specifically for dentists and dental business owners, you can maximize your savings while minimizing the risk of potential penalties or audits.

In a nutshell, tax relief is incredibly important for dental entrepreneurs in the UK. It offers many benefits, such as getting money back for various business expenses, supporting growth and investment, and ensuring compliance with tax rules. By learning about the ins and outs of tax relief and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can navigate the tax landscape like a pro and enhance your financial situation as a dental business owner.

Click here for our article and podcast episode on reducing your tax bill as a dentist.

Action points:

  • Learn about the different types of tax relief available to dental business owners in the UK. You can do this by visiting the HMRC website or speaking with a tax advisor.
  • Identify all of the business expenses that you may be eligible to claim tax relief on. This includes things like equipment purchases, professional fees, and staff training.
  • Keep accurate records of all of your business expenses. This will make it easier to file your tax return and claim tax relief on eligible expenses.
  • Consider using a tax advisor to help you with your tax return and claim tax relief. A tax advisor can help you to ensure that you are claiming all of the tax relief that you are entitled to, and that you are following all of the relevant HMRC guidelines.

Click here to learn more about our Tax Planning for Dentists services.

Common Tax Relief Options Available for Dental Professionals in the UK

If you are employed by or run a dental business in the UK, knowing about the various tax relief options available to you is really important for making your finances better. By taking advantage of these helpful opportunities, you can actually lower the amount of taxes you have to pay and increase your profits. In this section, we’ll look at some common tax relief options that dental professionals can use in the UK.

  1. Capital Allowances: Dental practices often need to spend a lot on equipment and tools. The good news is you can claim capital allowances for these assets, which means you can subtract a part of their cost from your taxable profits. This can save you a lot of money in taxes and help you recover some of your initial investment.
  2. Research and Development (R&D) Relief: If your dental practice is involved in innovative research activities or develops new techniques, you might qualify for R&D relief. This relief lets you claim extra deductions or even get a tax credit for eligible R&D expenses. It’s important to keep detailed records of your research projects and consult a tax professional to make sure you follow the specific rules set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
  3. Business Expenses: It’s crucial to carefully track and record your business expenses because you can deduct them from your taxable income. Common deductible expenses for dental professionals include things like rent, utilities, staff salaries, professional fees, marketing costs, and insurance payments. Remember to keep receipts and proof to support your claims.
  4. Pension Contributions: Making contributions to a pension plan helps you save for retirement and provides tax relief. Dental entrepreneurs can benefit from tax relief on pension contributions up to certain limits, reducing their overall tax liability while securing their financial future.
    Click here to learn more about Pensions and Payroll for Dentists.
  5. Annual Investment Allowance (AIA): The AIA allows dental entrepreneurs to claim a generous deduction for qualifying capital expenditures, such as renovations, building improvements, or equipment purchases. The current AIA limit is £1 million, offering significant opportunities for tax relief on eligible investments.
  6. Employee Benefits: Providing employee benefits like healthcare, dental insurance, and training not only boosts staff morale but also offers tax advantages. Some benefits may be exempt from National Insurance contributions or qualify for tax relief, reducing your overall business taxes.

Remember, tax rules and relief options can be complex and subject to changes in the future, so it’s essential to consult with a qualified tax advisor or accountant who specializes in the dental industry. They can guide you through the intricacies of managing your taxes, ensuring compliance, and maximizing your tax relief opportunities. By staying informed and proactive, you can claim expenses like a pro and enhance the financial performance of your dental business.

Click here to read more about R&D Tax Relief for Dentists.

Action points:

  • Review your business expenses to identify any potential tax deductions. Common deductible expenses for dental professionals include rent, utilities, staff salaries, professional fees, marketing costs, and insurance payments.
  • Keep accurate records of all of your business expenses. This will make it easier to file your tax return and claim tax deductions on eligible expenses.
  • Consider setting up a pension plan and making contributions. Pension contributions can help you save for retirement and provide tax relief.
  • Review your employee benefits to identify any that may be exempt from National Insurance contributions or qualify for tax relief. Providing employee benefits can boost staff morale and reduce your overall business taxes.
  • Consult with a qualified tax advisor or accountant who specializes in the dental industry like Samera. They can help you to claim all of the tax relief that you are entitled to, and to ensure that you are following all of the relevant HMRC guidelines.

Did You Know?


  1. Dental Practice Expenses: Dentists in the UK can claim tax relief on allowable business expenses. These expenses can include rent, utilities, staff salaries, and other costs associated with running a dental practice.
    Source: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  1. Capital Allowances: Dentists can claim capital allowances on dental equipment and fixtures, such as chairs, X-ray machines, and dental instruments. These allowances allow for the deduction of the cost of these assets over time.
    Source: HMRC – Capital allowances
  1. Research and Development Tax Credits: Dentists involved in research and development activities can benefit from tax credits to incentivize innovation. This can help reduce the financial burden of investing in new treatments or technologies.
    Source: HMRC – Research and Development (R&D) tax relief
  1. Mileage and Travel Expenses: Dentists can claim tax relief for travel expenses related to their profession, such as attending conferences, visiting patients at different locations, or traveling to training courses.
    Source: HMRC – Travel and subsistence expenses for employees
  1. Student Loan Repayments: Many dentists in the UK may have student loans from their education. The repayment thresholds and rates are linked to income, providing some tax relief by ensuring that repayments are manageable.
    Source: Student Loan Repayment – GOV.UK
  1. National Insurance Contributions (NICs): Dentists may benefit from reduced NICs under the Class 4 NICs scheme, which is based on their income from self-employment.
    Source: HMRC – National Insurance for self-employed people
  1. Pension Contributions: Dentists can receive tax relief on their pension contributions. Contributions to a registered pension scheme are eligible for tax relief, making it an attractive way to save for retirement.
    Source: HMRC – Pension Tax Relief
  1. Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare: Dentists with children may benefit from tax relief schemes that help cover the cost of childcare. These include childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare accounts.
    Source: Childcare Choices – GOV.UK

Identifying Eligible Expenses for Tax Relief in Dental Practices

When it comes to running a dental practice in the UK, knowing which expenses qualify for tax relief is crucial for saving money on your taxes. Understanding which costs can be claimed can help you get back a significant portion of your business expenses and reduce your overall tax bill.

To start, it’s important to know that eligible expenses in dental practices can vary depending on the nature of your business and the specific services you provide. However, there are some common expenses that are often eligible for tax relief:

  1. Dental equipment and tools: Any expenses incurred for buying, repairing, or maintaining dental equipment and tools are usually eligible for tax relief. This includes items like dental chairs, X-ray machines, dental drills, and sterilization equipment.
  2. Lab fees: Payments made to dental labs for services like crowns, dentures, and orthodontic devices can be claimed as eligible expenses. Keep track of these payments to ensure accurate deductions.
  3. Staff salaries and training: Salaries and wages paid to your dental team, including hygienists, dental nurses, receptionists, and practice managers, qualify for tax relief. Additionally, the costs associated with training your staff can be claimed as an expense.
  4. Facility rent and utilities: If you operate your dental practice from a rented location, the rent you pay can be claimed as an eligible expense. Other utility bills like electricity, water, and heating can also be included.
  5. Professional fees and insurance: Fees paid to professional bodies, regulatory fees, and insurance premiums designed for your dental practice can be claimed for tax relief. Examples include membership fees to dental associations or malpractice insurance costs.
  6. Marketing and advertising: Expenses related to promoting and advertising your dental practice, such as website development, online advertising, printed materials, and signage, can be claimed as eligible expenses.

We have listed below common key expenses you can claim for in your self assessment tax return as a dentist.

  • Travel for business purposes at 45p/mile, and this includes travel to any courses or visiting accountants etc. We would suggest keeping a diary of business travel through the year so that you don’t have to do all of this at once at the year end. You cannot claim mileage to a regular place of work but can claim for travel to other dental practices where this is irregular
  • Alternatively, you may put the cost of your car through your business, along with the costs of repairs, MOTs, servicing and fuel receipts. However, we would be required to remove the non-business usage proportion of these costs. For example, if you estimate that you have used your vehicle for 20% business use and 80% private use, then we would disallow 80% of these costs. The 20% that has been claimed may still be more than the alternative option of claiming mileage at 45p/mile.
    Click to read about buying a car through a limited company.
  • Any other business travel costs such as trains/taxis etc.
  • Training and Course costs that are to ‘update pre-existing knowledge’, such as annual update courses etc. Course costs that enhance your technical knowledge cannot be claimed as a business expense. You have to tread carefully here as we have seen clients get into trouble with HMRC on this aspect.
  • Subscriptions to the BDA, GDC etc.
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Legal advice relating to business matters
  • Cleaning/laundry costs
  • Printing, postage and stationery for business purposes
  • Any dental materials purchased
  • Accountancy costs!
  • Any website or marketing costs you might incur
  • A proportion of your telephone bills relating to business use
  • A proportion of your home bills due to having an office at home to administer your business and put accounts records together (the HMRC flat rate is £4/week but this may be more depending on evidence provided)
  • Loupes or other equipment that you will use for the purpose of your business
  • Cost of study texts that you previously purchased as you will refer to these for the purpose of your business
  • In addition, your business could ‘buy’ from you the cost of your personal laptop and printer that you use to administer the business if you have these

The above list isn’t ‘exhaustive’ so please feel free to ask if there is an expense that you have paid and are unsure whether you can claim. There is no additional fee for asking about these.

Remember, maintaining proper records is essential when claiming tax relief. Keep detailed records of all your business expenses, including receipts, invoices, and bank statements, to support your claims.

To ensure you’re maximizing your tax relief, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified accountant or tax advisor who specializes in dental practices. They can help you navigate the complexities of tax regulations, identify additional eligible expenses, and ensure that your claims are accurate and compliant.

By identifying and claiming eligible expenses for tax relief in your dental practice, you can significantly reduce your tax burden and allocate more resources to providing quality dental care and growing your business.

Click here for our webinar on tax saving strategies for dentists.

Action points: 

  • Review your business expenses to identify any potential tax deductions. The list of common eligible expenses provided in the paragraph is a good starting point, but you may be able to claim other expenses as well.
  • Keep accurate records of all of your business expenses. This will make it easier to file your tax return and claim tax deductions on eligible expenses.
  • Consider working with a qualified accountant or tax advisor who specializes in dental practices. They can help you to identify all of the eligible expenses that you can claim, and to ensure that your claims are accurate and compliant.

Step-by-Step Guide to Claiming Back Expenses

Getting money back for your dental business expenses is a crucial part of managing your finances properly. You can make sure you make the most of your tax relief opportunities and get your expenses back like a pro by following these steps:

  • Step 1: Keep Good Records Start by keeping detailed records of all your business expenses. This means keeping invoices, receipts, and any other documents that show what you’ve spent money on. This will help you see a clear picture of your expenses and make it easier to claim them.
  • Step 2: Learn About Eligible Expenses Find out more about the expenses that can be claimed for tax relief. As a dental business owner, these might include things like equipment purchases, dental supplies, lab fees, professional membership fees, utility bills, insurance payments, and even certain travel expenses. Talk to a tax expert or check HMRC guidelines to make sure you’re claiming the right expenses.
  • Step 3: Keep Personal and Business Expenses Separate To claim expenses accurately, it’s important to keep your personal and business expenses separate. This means having separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business. This way, you can easily identify and track your business expenses, making the claiming process less complicated.
  • Step 4: Categorize Your Expenses Organize your expenses into specific categories, like office supplies, professional fees, or equipment purchases. This organization will make the claiming process smoother and provide a clear breakdown of your expenses for tax purposes.
  • Step 5: Consult a tax professional like Samera Dental Accountants to ensure you’re making the most of your tax relief opportunities and claiming expenses correctly. We can provide expert guidance, review your records, and help identify any additional deductions or relief options tailored to your dental business.
  • Step 6: Submit your claim once you’ve gathered all the necessary documentation and consulted with a tax professional, it’s time to submit your claim. This can usually be done through self-assessment tax forms or other relevant forms required by HMRC. Make sure you submit your claim within the specified deadlines to avoid any penalties or delays.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can navigate the process of claiming expenses for your dental business like an expert. Remember, maintaining proper records, identifying eligible expenses, and seeking professional advice are essential to maximize your tax relief and improve your financial management.

Click here for help on Making Tax Digital for Dentists.

Action points:

  • Keep detailed records of all of your business expenses. This includes things like invoices, receipts, and any other documents that show what you’ve spent money on.
  • Learn about the expenses that can be claimed for tax relief. You can do this by talking to a tax expert or checking HMRC guidelines.
  • Keep your personal and business expenses separate. This means having separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business.
  • Categorize your expenses into specific categories. This will make the claiming process smoother and provide a clear breakdown of your expenses for tax purposes.
  • Consult with a tax professional. They can help you to identify all of the eligible expenses that you can claim, and to ensure that your claims are accurate and compliant.
  • Submit your claim within the specified deadlines.

Tips for Keeping Accurate Records and Receipts for Tax Purposes

When you’re a dental business owner in the UK, it’s vital to keep good records and receipts to get your expenses back and make the most of tax relief. This not only helps you follow tax rules but also allows you to take full advantage of deductions and credits that you’re eligible for.

First, set up a system to organize and store your records. You can do this digitally or with physical files, depending on your preference. You can use accounting software or small business apps to make the process easier and reduce the risk of losing important records.

Regularly practice the habit of keeping all receipts related to business expenses. This includes receipts for things like equipment purchases, office supplies, professional memberships, continuing education courses, and any other expenses directly related to running your dental practice. Even seemingly small expenses can add up and lead to significant tax savings.

In addition to receipts, maintain clear and detailed records of your income and expenses. You can do this by using bank statements, invoices, and financial reports. Keep track of any mileage or travel expenses incurred for business purposes, as these can also be tax-deductible.

It’s important to keep personal and business expenses separate to avoid confusion or potential issues during tax time. Having a dedicated business bank account and credit card can help streamline this process and provide a clear distinction between personal and professional finances.

Consider consulting with a tax professional or accountant who specializes in dental businesses. They can offer guidance on tax regulations, ensure accurate record-keeping, and help you identify additional deductions or credits that may apply to your specific situation.

By maintaining accurate records and receipts, you’ll not only simplify the tax filing process but also maximize your tax relief as a dental business owner. Remember, every eligible expense counts, so stay organized and claim your expenses like a pro.

Action points:

  • Set up a system for organizing and storing your records. This could be a digital system, such as using accounting software or small business apps, or a physical system, such as using folders and filing cabinets.
  • Regularly practice the habit of keeping all receipts related to business expenses. This includes receipts for things like equipment purchases, office supplies, professional memberships, continuing education courses, and any other expenses directly related to running your dental practice.
  • Maintain clear and detailed records of your income and expenses. You can do this by using bank statements, invoices, and financial reports. Keep track of any mileage or travel expenses incurred for business purposes, as these can also be tax-deductible.
  • Keep personal and business expenses separate. This means having a dedicated business bank account and credit card.
  • Consult with a tax professional or accountant who specializes in dental businesses. They can offer guidance on tax regulations, ensure accurate record-keeping, and help you identify additional deductions or credits that may apply to your specific situation.

Maximizing Tax Relief Through Capital Allowances and Depreciation

Increasing tax relief through capital allowances and depreciation is an important strategy for dental business owners in the UK. By understanding and using these methods, you can effectively lower your tax bill and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Capital allowances refer to tax deductions that can be claimed on the cost of certain assets used in your dental practice. These assets include equipment, machinery, furniture, and even certain building improvements. Instead of deducting the full cost of these assets in the year of purchase, capital allowances allow you to claim a portion of the cost over several years, providing a significant tax benefit.

To maximize your capital allowances, it’s crucial to maintain detailed records of your purchases and their associated costs. This includes invoices, receipts, and any supporting documents that prove the expense is eligible for tax relief. By keeping accurate records, you can ensure that you are claiming the maximum allowable deductions and avoiding any potential issues with HM Revenue and Customs.

Depreciation, on the other hand, refers to the gradual decrease in the value of assets over time. While depreciation is not directly deductible for tax purposes in the UK, it is still an important consideration when assessing the value of your assets and calculating their capital allowances. Understanding the depreciation rates applicable to different assets can help you determine the most advantageous timing for claiming tax relief.

Tax regulations and rules regarding capital allowances and depreciation can be complex, and they are subject to future changes. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult with a qualified accountant or tax advisor who specializes in dental business taxation. They can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring that you are maximizing your tax relief while remaining compliant with the relevant regulations.

By effectively using capital allowances and depreciation, dental entrepreneurs in the UK can significantly reduce their tax liabilities and allocate more resources to growing their practices. Take the time to educate yourself about these strategies, seek professional advice, and confidently claim your expenses like a pro.

Action point:

  • Learn about the different types of capital allowances that are available to dental businesses in the UK. You can do this by visiting the HMRC website or speaking with a tax advisor.
  • Keep accurate records of all of your business assets and their associated costs. This includes invoices, receipts, and any supporting documents that prove the asset is eligible for tax relief.
  • Understand the depreciation rates applicable to your business assets. This will help you determine the most advantageous timing for claiming tax relief.
  • Consult with a qualified accountant or tax advisor who specializes in dental business taxation. They can provide expert guidance on how to maximize your capital allowances and depreciation deductions while remaining compliant with the relevant regulations.

Exploring Potential Tax Relief Schemes Specific to the Dental Industry

When it comes to getting tax relief for your dental business in the UK, it’s important to look into special programs designed for dental professionals. The government has introduced various tax relief opportunities that can greatly benefit dentists and help reduce their tax bills.

One such program is the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA). With this program, dental business owners can claim tax relief on qualifying capital expenses like equipment purchases, renovations, and practice improvements. The AIA lets you subtract the full cost of these investments from your taxable profits, up to a certain limit, which can boost your cash flow significantly.

Dental professionals can also take advantage of the Research and Development (R&D) tax relief scheme. Many people mistakenly believe that R&D relief is only for scientific or high-tech industries. However, R&D activities in the dental field, such as developing innovative dental treatments, improving dental materials, or implementing advanced imaging technologies, can also qualify for this relief. By claiming R&D tax relief, you can get tax credits or deductions for the expenses incurred during these research and development activities, further reducing your tax rate.

Another tax relief scheme that dental business owners should explore is Capital Allowances. This scheme allows you to claim tax relief on the purchase or renovation of buildings, as well as fixtures and fittings within the premises. Dental practices often incur significant expenses on equipment, furniture, and dental chairs, which are typically eligible for capital allowances. By properly assessing and categorizing these assets, you can claim tax relief on their cost over time, leading to substantial savings for your business.

Finally, the Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) scheme should not be overlooked. ECAs specifically apply to energy-efficient investments, such as energy-saving lighting systems, air conditioning systems, and renewable energy installations. By investing in eco-friendly technologies, dental practices can not only reduce their environmental impact but also benefit from accelerated tax relief through ECAs.

In summary, by exploring and taking advantage of tax relief schemes tailored to the dental industry, you can significantly reduce your tax liabilities and improve your financial position. Be sure to consult with a qualified tax expert or accountant who specializes in dental practices to ensure you are maximizing your tax relief opportunities and staying compliant with the latest regulations.

Action point:

  • Learn about the different tax relief programs available to dental business owners in the UK. This includes the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), Research and Development (R&D) tax relief scheme, Capital Allowances, and Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs).
  • Assess your business expenses to identify any that may qualify for tax relief under these schemes.
  • Keep accurate records of all of your business expenses and assets. This will help you to claim the maximum allowable deductions and avoid any potential issues with HM Revenue and Customs.
  • Consult with a qualified tax expert or accountant who specializes in dental practices. They can provide expert guidance on how to maximize your tax relief opportunities while remaining compliant with the relevant regulations.

Overcoming Common Challenges and Pitfalls when Claiming Tax Relief

Claiming tax relief can be a complicated process, especially for dental business owners in the UK. However, by being aware of common challenges and pitfalls, you can navigate the process with ease and maximize your tax savings.

One common challenge is maintaining accurate and organized records of your business expenses. To ensure you can claim tax relief on eligible expenses, it’s essential to keep precise records, including receipts, invoices, and supporting documents. Implementing a robust accounting system and regularly reviewing and categorizing your expenses can help you stay on top of your records.

Another challenge is understanding the specific tax rules and regulations associated with dental businesses. Tax rules can vary depending on the nature of your business, such as whether you are a sole proprietor, a partnership, or a limited company. Consulting with a qualified accountant who specializes in dental businesses can provide you with expert advice tailored to your specific situation and help you navigate any complexities.

It’s also important to be aware of potential pitfalls when claiming tax relief. One common pitfall is incorrectly categorizing expenses or claiming ineligible expenses. This can result in penalties or even an audit from HM Revenue and Customs. Taking the time to understand the specific tax rules and seeking professional guidance can help you avoid such pitfalls and ensure you are claiming tax relief correctly.

Furthermore, staying up to date with changes in tax regulations and rules is crucial. Tax regulations are subject to regular updates, and staying informed about any changes can help you take advantage of new opportunities for tax relief and avoid potential pitfalls. Subscribing to newsletters or attending relevant courses or webinars can provide you with the latest information and insights.

In conclusion, overcoming common challenges and pitfalls while claiming tax relief requires diligence, organization, and seeking professional advice. By keeping accurate records, understanding the specific tax rules for dental businesses, avoiding common pitfalls, and staying up to date with changes in tax regulations, you can claim tax relief like a pro and maximize your savings as a dental business owner in the UK.

Challenges and how to overcome them:

  • Challenge: Maintaining accurate and organized records of business expenses
    Action: Implement a robust accounting system and regularly review and categorize expenses.
  • Challenge: Understanding the specific tax rules and regulations associated with dental businesses
    Action: Consult with a qualified accountant who specializes in dental businesses.
  • Challenge: Avoiding potential pitfalls when claiming tax relief
    Action: Take the time to understand the specific tax rules and seek professional guidance.
  • Challenge: Staying up to date with changes in tax regulations and rules
    Action: Subscribe to newsletters or attend relevant courses or webinars.

As a dentist, dealing with taxes can be overwhelming, but with the tips and strategies outlined here, you can claim your expenses like a pro. By taking advantage of tax relief opportunities, you can increase your savings and ensure that you are keeping more of your hard-earned money.

Be sure to consult with a tax professional like Samera to ensure you are following all the rules and making the most of available deductions. With this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the tax landscape and enhance your financial success as a dental entrepreneur in the UK.

Our Expert Opinion

“There are so many business expenses that can be claimed for when trading as a dentist. But the key is to identify what is business and what is personal to ensure you don’t fall foul of HMRC’s requirements. Use this guide as a starting point and then seek expert help to make the right claims.”

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

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.

How to keep your dental practice protected online

Businesses rely more and more heavily on digital data storage with each year. Whether this be automated online tax software, in-house financial data or your clients’ records, it is likely that your most valuable and sensitive information is being stored digitally. 

Storing and processing data digitally has so many benefits, but it also comes with many new threats that paper records do not face. 

Digital records are at risk of being stolen, destroyed, or manipulated in ways that paper records never were. In fact, with the right tools, your digital records are in many ways MORE at risk of being corrupted or stolen than paper records. 

This is why it is so important to have a cyber security strategy in your business. 

Without the right training, software, and contingency plans, your business records and your patient or client data are at risk. 

Is Your Dental Practice In Danger From A Cyber Attack? 

The short answer is – yes. 

Every business is at risk from cyber threats. However, patient-facing medical businesses like yours are prime targets for cybercriminals. 

Not only do you hold your own financial data, but you also hold valuable patient records on your servers. These records can often be top-priority targets for cybercriminals for various reasons, such as identity theft and even corporate blackmail. 

Because of this, dental practices like yours represent a jackpot to hackers and cybercriminals. 

One of the biggest threats you face will be viruses known collectively as malware, such as ransomware. Ransomware is a malicious virus which automatically encrypts your data and makes it impossible to access unless you pay the criminal(s) a ransom. 

With our cyber threat training, antivirus software and regular backups of your entire data, we can make sure yours and your patient’s information isn’t held hostage or stolen by criminals.

  • Do you have a cyber security strategy already implemented in your business? 
  • Are your team trained in how to recognise, respond to and solve cyber threats? 
  • Do you use endpoint protection, full disk encryption and dynamic threat defence? 
  • Do you have regular, secure backups for all of your financial and patient data? 

If you answered ‘no’ to ANY of these questions, your practice is at risk. 

You need a human firewall made up of your team, the right antiviral software, and you also need a safe and easily accessible backup strategy for your business to make sure that you are protected if anything should ever go wrong.  

How to Protect Your Dental Practice Online

Even the biggest companies and institutions fall victim to cybercriminals. Think about the NHS cyber attack in 2017 and the chaos it caused. Even global corporations like Yahoo have their security breached and their data stolen. 

The human firewall

Unfortunately, it’s not just external factors that put your sensitive data at risk. Human error is one of the biggest factors in data loss. 

Every business needs to train their employees to protect the business and its clients from attack. With the right training on how to identify, prevent and respond to cyber threats, your staff become the first line of defence in your business – a human firewall. 

However, they may not spot everything, they may be faced with a problem they haven’t been trained to solve, or they may simply make a mistake. 

Whatever the reason, there may well come a time when your business is successfully attacked, despite your best efforts. 

When this happens, the second line of defence steps in – our antivirus software. 

Antivirus software

The antivirus software we use is more than just the standard software that comes with every new laptop or desktop computer. 

We use a 3-pronged approach to keep your data and digital records safe: 

  • Endpoint protection (a pro-active antivirus software which not only blocks incoming attacks, but seeks out and destroys any existing or hidden malicious software)
  • Full disk encryption (this is the process of obscuring your most sensitive data by rewriting it in a specific code, to which only those you designate will have access)
  • Dynamic threat defence (an anti-virus software which recognises any suspicious software and isolates it to be analysed – meaning you are protected even from brand-new malware that isn’t recognised as malicious yet).

Combined, these 3 defences can help ensure your business is as protected online as it can be. 

But what happens if your first 2 lines of defence are breached? 

Backing up your data

If something happens to your data, whether it be destroyed or stolen, our backup service can ensure you can recover and access the lost information. 

Our backups only take a matter of hours at most and are run on a daily basis. This means that if anything happens to your data today, you can recover it as it was on the last backup that morning. 

Aside from providing the proper software to protect your practice from the frontlines, including the training to use it, we also keep your data backed up and protected on secure cloud servers. 

Our server creates regular and secure copies of your servers to make sure you also have access to the most recent copies of your data, information and records. 

From financial data, personal information and your patient records, we make sure you do not face needless downtime and even legal issues while trying to recover data or fight cybercriminals. 

With our safe, virtual, cloud-based copies of your servers, you can simply flip a switch and recover your latest daily backup easily, quickly and safely.

Action Points

  • Implement a comprehensive cyber security strategy for your dental practice.
  • Train your team on how to recognize, respond to, and resolve cyber threats effectively.
  • Invest in advanced antivirus software, including endpoint protection, full disk encryption, and dynamic threat defense, to protect your data from malware and cybercriminals.
  • Ensure regular, secure backups of all your financial and patient data to recover quickly in case of data loss or cyber-attacks.

Click here to read our articles Samera. 

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.

Essential ingredients for a successful squat private dental practice

In this talk from the 2022 BDIA Showcase, Smita Mehra discusses the essential ingredients for a successful private dental start-up 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 save money, tax and time in your dental practice

In this webinar with the BDA, Arun talks about the different ways you can organise your finances to save time, money and tax for your dental business.

In this talk, given at the 2022 BDIA Dental Showcase, Arun talks about how to save money, tax and time in your dental practice.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

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.

Building a CQC compliant dental practice

As a dental practice owner, it’s important to know what these rules are and how to stick to them in your practice. In this article, we’ll help you figure out how to make your dental clinic CQC-friendly. We’ll talk about everything from getting started to keeping things in line with the rules as you go along.

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.

Starting your practice with CQC rules in mind not only makes sure everyone stays accountable and focused on patient safety but also helps avoid problems and legal issues down the road. When dental clinics make CQC compliance a priority from the beginning, they set themselves up for success, making patients happy and their reputation strong.

You can find more information on the CQC website here.

In this webinar, we take you through what you need to know to make sure your dental practice is CQC compliant.

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.

?

Did You Know?


  • Annual Provider Information Collection (PIC): Did you know that dental practices must submit an annual Provider Information Collection (PIC) to the CQC? This information helps the CQC monitor the quality of care between inspections. [Source: CQC – Provider Information Collection]
  • Inspection Ratings: Did you know that after a CQC inspection, dental practices are rated as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, or Inadequate? These ratings are made publicly available to help patients choose their dental care providers [Source: Birdie]
  • Fit and Proper Person Requirement (FPPR): Did you know that CQC regulations require that all directors and senior managers of dental practices must meet the Fit and Proper Person Requirement (FPPR)? This ensures they are suitable and competent to run a care service. [Source: CQC  – FPPR]
  • Training and Development: Did you know that continuous professional development (CPD) is a requirement for dental practitioners as part of CQC compliance? This ensures dental staff remain competent and up-to-date with the latest practices. [Source: CQC Training and Development]

What are the 5 CQC standards?

Did you know that the CQC assesses dental practices based on five Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs)? These include whether services are Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive, and Well-led. Let’s look at each question:

Is it safe?

This question looks at whether the service is keeping patients and service users safe from harm or being treated badly. It checks things like keeping places clean, managing risks, giving out medicines safely, and making sure buildings are secure. They also check if staff are trained well and follow rules to keep everyone safe.

Is it effective?

Here, the focus is on whether care helps people get better, stay healthy, and keep living well. They look at whether treatments and therapies work well, if they’re right for the person, and if they follow what’s known to be good practice.

Is it caring?

This question checks if the service treats people with kindness, respect, and dignity. They look at how staff act, communicate, and if they give care that’s centered around the person. They also check if the service helps people feel good emotionally and mentally.

Is it responsive to people’s needs?

This question sees if the service is good at adapting to what people need and want. They look at if it’s easy for people to get help when they need it, if care is given at the right time, and if support is given that fits with each person’s situation and background.

Is it well-led?

This checks if the people in charge of the service are doing a good job. They look at how the service is managed, if staff are led well, and if the organization has a good way of doing things. They also see if there’s good leadership that encourages learning and making things better. And they check if people who use the service, their families, and staff are involved in making decisions.

These questions help the CQC to inspect and rate health and social care services. 

Registration and Planning.

Dentists in the UK must register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to operate. This ensures they meet the fundamental quality standards required. 

Here’s how to get started and plan for CQC compliance:

The first step involves deciding how you want to structure your practice legally. Here are the common options:

  • Sole Trader: This is the simplest structure, where you own and operate the practice independently. However, you take on full financial responsibility.
  • Partnership: Partnering with other dentists allows you to share responsibilities, profits, and some of the financial risks.
  • Limited Company: This structure offers more protection for your personal assets from business liabilities, but comes with additional regulations.

Registering with the Care Quality Commission (CQC):

CQC registration is mandatory for all dental practices in the UK. The process involves submitting information about your practice, including:

  • The types of dental services you offer
  • Your practice location
  • The names and qualifications of your staff

Upon successful registration, you’ll receive a unique CQC number, signifying your official recognition and compliance.

Appointing a Registered Manager:

The CQC requires every dental practice to have a designated Registered Manager. This individual plays a critical role in ensuring the smooth daily operations of the practice and adherence to CQC regulations. Responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing day-to-day operations
  • Acting as the primary contact for the CQC
  • Leading the practice towards continual improvement to maintain compliance during inspections

Understanding the CQC’s Five Key Questions:

The CQC focuses on five key areas to assess the quality of your dental practice:

  1. Safety: Do you have robust policies and procedures in place to ensure patient safety?
  2. Effectiveness: Are your treatments and services effective in delivering positive outcomes for patients?
  3. Caring Attitude: Do your staff treat patients with compassion, dignity, and respect?
  4. Responsiveness: Are you receptive to patient feedback and willing to adapt your services accordingly?
  5. Leadership: Does your Registered Manager provide clear and effective leadership to maintain high standards?

By carefully going through these stages, your dental practice can start off on the right track with CQC rules, giving patients confidence in the care they’ll receive.

Action points:

  • Research legal structures and register with the CQC (gather practice details beforehand).
  • Designate a qualified individual to oversee operations, compliance, and CQC communication.
  • Review CQC standards, self-assess your practice, and implement improvements to ensure compliance.

Policies and Procedures

Crafting policies and training staff are key to following Care Quality Commission (CQC) rules in a dental clinic. Here’s how to do it:

Building Important Policies:

  • Infection Control: This policy spells out how to stop infections from spreading in the clinic. It covers stuff like washing hands, sterilizing tools, using protective gear, and dealing with biohazardous waste. Following these rules keeps everyone safe and reduces the chance of infections. Studies have shown that infection prevention and control (IPC) is a common area where dental practices fall short during inspections. This highlights the importance of robust hygiene protocols.
  • Safeguarding: These policies make sure vulnerable patients stay safe from harm or abuse. They lay down steps for spotting signs of trouble, reporting it, and helping those affected. Having safeguarding policies means the clinic is ready to handle tough situations and meets legal requirements.
  • Waste Management: Good waste policies ensure that all clinical waste, sharps, and dangerous materials are disposed of safely. They explain how to sort, store, move, and get rid of waste following the rules. Proper waste management keeps the environment clean, cuts health risks, and keeps the clinic hygienic.
  • Complaints Handling: These policies set out how to deal with patient complaints or worries. They show how to collect complaints, look into them, and sort them out fairly and quickly. Handling complaints well shows the clinic listens to patients, learns, and takes responsibility seriously.

Training the Team:

  • Training Staff: It’s crucial to make sure everyone in the clinic understands and sticks to the policies. Regularly train all staff (dentists, receptionists, etc.) on these rules.
  • What to Cover: Training sessions should explain each policy, why it’s important, and how to follow it for patient safety and to meet the rules. 
  • Who Gets Trained: Everyone in the team, from dentists to receptionists, needs to get trained.
  • Regular Updates: Keep training sessions going, especially for new employees, to keep everyone in the loop with the latest policies. Update training sessions with the latest regulations and protocols regularly.
  • Interactive Learning: Using different methods like acting out scenarios or sharing real cases helps staff really get how to use the policies in the real world.

By setting up solid policies and making sure everyone’s trained on them, the dental clinic stays in line with CQC standards, keeps patients safe, and gives top-notch care. Keeping policies updated and training ongoing helps the clinic stay on top of changes in rules and tech, keeping care at its best.

Action points: 

  • Create comprehensive policies covering infection control, safeguarding, waste management, and complaint handling. Ensure your policies address areas commonly cited in CQC inspections, like infection prevention.
  • Regularly train all staff (dentists, receptionists, etc.) on your established policies. Training sessions should explain the “why” behind each policy and how it’s implemented practically.
  • Regularly update your policies and training programs. Incorporate the latest regulations, protocols, and interactive learning methods like scenario-based training to keep your team informed and adaptable.

Safeguarding and care

Ensuring patients are safe and well looked after is essential to staying CQC compliant. Let’s explore how to do this simply:

Identifying Dangers: 

It’s essential to perform regular risk assessments to get a clear picture of any potential issues and to identify and solve them. This involves checking how clean everything is and procedures for ensuring cleanliness, if equipment is safe and working correctly, if there’s anything that could harm patients and how to put procedures in place to guarantee safety.

Reporting Issues: 

It’s essential to quickly record and address any problems that occur in the clinic, like accidents or near-misses. Staff should be able to recognise and report these incidents and be aware of who they need to report incidents to. Documenting all issues helps understand why it happened and prevents it from occurring again.

Protecting Vulnerable Patients: 

You need to ensure patients who might be at risk, like older people or those with disabilities, are kept safe from harm. Everyone should be able to recognise signs of trouble and know what to do if they suspect something isn’t right. Establishing a welcoming and secure space where patients feel comfortable discussing any concerns they have is crucial.

Patients should understand what’s happening with their treatment, potential risks, and the choices available to them. Staff should use plain language to explain things like diagnoses, treatments, and costs. Patients should be fully informed about their treatment and agree to it without feeling pressured. By having robust procedures for identifying risks, reporting incidents, protecting vulnerable patients, and communicating clearly with patients, dental clinics ensure everyone feels safe and well cared for. 

These practices not only improve patient satisfaction but also demonstrate that the clinic is adhering to regulations and values honesty and compassion. Keeping up with training and making improvements when necessary is vital to continue providing the best care.

Action point: 

  • Create a calendar for monthly reviews of key procedures (infection control, waste management) and quarterly analysis of patient feedback. Regularly evaluate potential hazards for patients, staff, and the clinic (cleanliness, equipment safety).
  • Ensure staff recognizes and reports incidents (accidents, near misses) using designated reporting systems. Investigate reported issues to understand root causes and prevent future occurrences.
  • Train staff to identify signs of neglect or abuse in vulnerable patients (elderly, disabled). Foster a welcoming environment where patients feel comfortable voicing concerns.

Premises and Equipment

Ensuring the dental clinic sticks to CQC rules regarding the building and tools is important to keep everyone safe and well. Let’s explore how to do this in a unique way:

Getting the Space Right: 

The clinic layout should be accessible and easy for everyone to use, even those with mobility problems. This means having ramps, handrails, and enough space for people to move around comfortably. It also means providing accessible parking spaces and doors. 

According to CQC rules, the clinic must of course be kept clean to prevent germs from spreading. The layout should make it simple to keep things clean, with designated areas for handwashing, sterilising tools, and separating clean and dirty items. Surfaces should be smooth and easy to clean, and measures should be in place to prevent the spread of germs. 

Safety is paramount! The layout should make it easy for patients to move around safely, with clear pathways and good lighting. There should be secure storage areas for hazardous materials, like chemicals, and clear exit signs in case of emergencies. Additionally, emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits should be readily available.

Looking After the Equipment: 

All equipment used for treatments must be in good working order and safe to use. Regular checks should be conducted to ensure they are not damaged or worn out. There should be a schedule for regularly inspecting and cleaning each tool. It’s important to record when each tool was last checked. The inspections should verify that the tools are set up correctly, all safety features are functional, and they comply with regulations. 

If a tool is found to be unsafe, it should be repaired or replaced immediately. By ensuring the clinic layout is accessible, clean, and safe, and by maintaining the tools properly, dental clinics can create a welcoming and secure environment for patients while adhering to regulations. The CQC conducts two main types of inspections: announced comprehensive inspections and unannounced focused inspections. These inspections assess the practice’s adherence to CQC regulations.

Action points:

  • Create a dedicated quality assurance calendar with: Monthly reviews of key procedures (infection control, waste management, etc.) as well as a Quarterly analysis of patient feedback (surveys, complaints).
  • Conduct an accessibility audit to ensure the clinic layout meets CQC regulations for ramps, handrails, designated accessible parking, and clear signage for all patients.
  • Develop a preventative maintenance schedule for all equipment, outlining regular inspection and cleaning procedures. This schedule should be documented and adhered to ensure all tools are functioning properly and safely.

Maintaining Compliance

Keeping up with rules in a CQC-approved dental clinic is a never-ending job that needs care and effort. Here’s how to do it uniquely and simply:

Why Keeping Watch Matters:

You need to keep an eye on your procedures and assessments, analyse how things are done, and assess any issues or complaints regularly. Checking regularly helps identify any areas in which you may not be following the rules or where things could be safer. Hearing what patients say about their experiences and any problems helps fix things faster too. By staying alert, you can stop problems before they happen, improve how you care for patients, and keep following the rules.

Training Staff and Keeping Rules Updated:

Making sure all team members know what to do and that they understand the rules is paramount. You need to run regular training sessions to remind everyone about the rules, fill in any gaps in what they know, and tell them about any changes to the rules. When rules change, everyone must be made aware clearly and make sure they understand what to do.

Getting Ready for CQC Inspections:

CQC will conduct regular check-ups to ensure your compliance is maintained. You must keep records of your procedures, any issues that have arisen and how they were handled. Performing mock inspections helps will help keep your employees on their toes. Make sure you review CQC feedback, address identified issues, and implement necessary changes.

By always checking training staff well, and getting ready for inspections, dental clinics show they’re serious about giving great care and following the rules. Doing these things helps make sure patients are safe and happy and that the clinic keeps doing well.

Action points: 

  1. Implement a Continuous Monitoring System: Schedule monthly reviews of key procedures (infection control, waste management, etc.). Schedule quarterly analysis of patient feedback (surveys, complaints).
  2. Commit to Ongoing Staff Education: Develop an annual training plan for all staff members. Include mandatory modules on CQC regulations and best practices. Schedule refresher training sessions every 6 months to address knowledge gaps and communicate any regulation updates.
  3. Prepare for and Respond to CQC Inspections: Maintain a comprehensive electronic documentation system for: Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all clinical practices and documented incident reports with clear records of corrective actions taken. Conduct mock CQC inspections annually. Use these simulations to identify areas needing improvement and ensure staff are prepared for a real inspection. Actively review CQC feedback reports within two weeks of receiving them. Develop and implement a clear action plan to address any identified issues and ensure ongoing compliance.


By having effective systems in place to identify risks, report issues, and ensure patient safety, as well as by communicating clearly and obtaining consent from patients, clinics create a welcoming environment where patients feel comfortable. Keeping a close watch on operations, training staff thoroughly, and preparing for inspections helps clinics maintain high standards and keep patients satisfied.

Numerous organizations offer compliance support specifically for dental practices. These resources can help dentists navigate the CQC framework. For more help with following CQC rules, dental clinics can find lots of useful resources like guides on the CQC website, handbooks, and support from professional groups, local health authorities, online training, and talking with other dentists in groups or online forums.

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!

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.

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

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

How to Manage Your Dental Practice Accounts

In this webinar, we discuss how we can help you manage your financial and tax affairs if you are a practice owner. We cover how to organise your accountancy and tax affairs whilst minimising your tax liability, as well as Making Tax Digital.

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.

Tax Saving Strategies for Dentists

In this webinar we will discuss tax saving strategies for your practice, simple and complex tax planning opportunities.

Tax Saving Strategies Webinar

Tax Saving Tips For Dentists

The last few tax years saw many new changes in tax legislation. Planning ahead is more important than ever to ensure you work within the rules to not miss out on a tax saving opportunity. Tax for dentists is a complex area that requires specialist tax knowledge about dentistry. Our team has this specialist tax knowledge.

Action Point

Optimize tax benefits by strategically claiming capital allowances. If claiming full capital allowances would result in losing personal allowances due to high profits, elect to claim a reduced amount. This preserves personal allowances and carries forward unclaimed allowances to future years.

Click here to read our article about financial tips for dentists.

Selective Capital Allowances Planning

Even though you may have spent money on capital items in a tax year, there is no requirement to claim capital allowances at all.

This matters when your circumstances in a tax year mean that if you claimed all of the capital allowances you are eligible for, you would lose your personal allowance.

E.g. Dentist ABC has profits of £100k and losses of £50k brought forward which can be used to reduce the taxable profits.

They also spent £50k on capital items in the year, upon which capital allowances can be claimed. However, an election can be made to reduce the claim to £38.5k instead, leaving £11.5k as the taxable profits. (I.e. £100k -£50k -£38.5k = £11.5k).

By restricting the amount of capital allowances claimed you can still make use of your personal allowances (Which is £11,500 in 2017/18) and carry forward the unclaimed capital allowances into the next year instead of losing them.

Action Point

Strategically plan capital allowances to optimize personal allowance benefits. Consider electing to claim less than the total available to carry forward unclaimed allowances, maintaining personal allowance eligibility.

Click here to read our blog on 10 tax saving tips for Vets.

Dividend Allowance

With the new rates of dividends that came in on the 6th April 2021, dividend income is now taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% and 38.1%, depending on whether your total income (including the dividend itself) puts you into the basic rate, higher rate or top rate bracket.

Along with the new rates the Chancellor has now given every UK taxpayer a new £2,000 tax-free “dividend allowance” which means the first £2,000 of dividend income is tax-free. To minimise your tax position, it is possible to allocate some shares to a spouse who doesn’t have dividend income to make sure this dividend allowance isn’t lost. This must be done carefully and within the accepted boundaries to be acceptable to HMRC. 

Action Point

Maximize tax efficiency by using the £2,000 tax-free dividend allowance. Allocate shares to a spouse with no dividend income to fully utilize this allowance. Ensure compliance with HMRC guidelines for share allocation.

Contact us to find out more

Gift Aid

Remember to record all the charity donations you’ve made. These reduce your taxable income.

If you’re a higher rate taxpayer, you can personally claim back tax.

Example: You donate £100 to charity, they claim Gift Aid to make your donation £125. You pay 40% tax so you can personally claim back £25.00 (£125 x 20%).

Care needs to be taken here though. It can sometimes cost you tax. If you’re close to the personal allowance, this could be the case. Speak to a dental accountant to check what tax you are due back!

Action Point

Maximize tax benefits by recording all charitable donations for tax reduction. Higher-rate taxpayers can reclaim tax on Gift Aid donations. Consult a dental accountant to optimize tax returns and avoid potential costs.

Pension Contributions

When paying into your pension, you receive tax relief on any contributions that you make. This is at the highest rate of income tax that you pay, provided that the total gross pension contributions paid into your pension scheme, by you and anyone else don’t exceed the lower of your annual earnings and the annual allowance.

This could mean that, if you’re a higher rate taxpayer, £10,000 worth of contributions could get you £4,000 tax relief. Meaning you’re receiving at least a £10,000 benefit for only £6,000.

Action Points

Maximize tax relief on pension contributions, especially for higher rate taxpayers, ensuring contributions do not exceed the lower of annual earnings or the annual allowance for optimum benefits.

Limited Company Research & Development

Are you doing something that has never been done before, in advance of current technologies and sciences? This could be something as simple as a website or an app.

Millions worth of tax relief is missed by SME’s, due to people not knowing about this extremely generous tax relief for qualifying expenditure.

For each £10,000 spent on R&D, you could receive £22,500 worth of corporation tax relief. That means that the expense only really cost you just over half of what you spent at £5,500.

The tax rules surrounding this are very complex and therefore require a professional dental accountant to ensure the expenses qualify.

Action Point

Leverage R&D tax relief for innovative projects, potentially receiving £22,500 in corporation tax relief for every £10,000 spent, effectively reducing the cost to £5,500. Seek professional advice to ensure eligibility and maximize benefits.

Click here to find out more about our R&D tax relief services.

Cash In On Self-Employment Profits Taxed Twice

Again, another relief people know little about.

If your self-employment year-end differs from 5th April, it’s very likely you’ve paid tax twice on your overlap profits and therefore with a little planning, you can get this back!

Many sole traders and businesses have a tax relief just waiting to be used and can ‘cash it in’ at any time they choose.

Utilise Your Tax-Free Personal Savings Allowance

Do you have a credit balance Director’s loan account (amount owing to you from your Ltd company)?

If so, you could be missing out on utilising your tax-free personal savings allowance.

Invest Wisely

There are huge tax breaks for investments in EIS / SEIS and VCT’s. To say they are generous is a huge understatement.

For example, you could invest £10,000 into an SEIS and get £5,000 immediate tax relief. What’s more, due to loss relief, even if your investment folds, your actual loss will only be £2,750. You can even carry back to the previous year.

Contact us to find out more

In addition, every individual has a £20,000 ISA allowance available each year, which is income and capital gains tax free, so if you are not utilising this tax saving wrapper, you should really consider this.

Again, the tax legislation surrounding these different investment schemes are complex and the level of relief depends on the individual person so you should ensure you obtain independent tax advice before proceeding.

Claim All The Allowances You Are Eligible For

Whether it is claiming for use of home as an office, or laundry allowance every little helps and working with a Dental Accountant means they will be able to maximise the items you can claim for.

Tax for dentists is a complicated subject which requires knowledge and expertise.

The above is just a taste of some of the top tips, however, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice on any of the subjects detailed above.

Action Point

  • Review overlap profits for potential tax relief if your self-employment year-end differs from April 5th.
  • Utilize your tax-free personal savings allowance, especially if you have a credit balance in your Director’s loan account.
  • Consider investing in EIS/SEIS and VCTs for significant tax breaks and loss relief.
  • Maximize your £20,000 ISA allowance annually for income and capital gains tax benefits.
  • Claim all eligible allowances, including use of home as an office or laundry expenses, to reduce taxable income.
  • Consult with a professional dental accountant to navigate complex tax rules and maximize your tax-saving opportunities.

Click here to read our articles Samera.

Our Expert Opinion

“I have had fewer hot meals than the amount of times dentists have asked me to save tax. The truth is the options available to save tax legitimately are limited. Long gone are the days of some questionable tax planning, however, there are reliefs and planning opportunities that are well with the law. Don’t get swayed by someone they can save you tax, instead focus on the basics right to save tax, this means accounting for everything, getting organised and ensuring you have the right tax structures set up for you.”

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

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.

Money Saving Tips for Dentists

Running a dental practice is not easy, and it can be expensive. You have to pay for things like equipment, supplies, staff, and rent, which can eat into your profits. But there are ways to save money without compromising patient care. In this article, we will share some tips to help you save money in your dental practice. You can negotiate with suppliers, reduce waste, and make your operations more efficient to cut costs.

When it comes to saving money, dentists walk a tightrope. This is because any minuscule changes you make to your dental practice can have the opposite effect and could hurt your business instead of helping.

With a dental business it is very hard to cut overheads, such as property costs, employee salaries and administrative services. These are things you need to spend on to maintain your dental practice and keep patients coming through the door. That’s what makes saving money on these things very tricky.

As a dentist, you are always committed to your patient’s health and wellbeing. However, as a business owner, you need to earn the necessary profits to sustain and grow your practice. Samera helps dentists all over the UK find the right balance in the inflationary environment we now live in.

In a time where inflation and interest rates are rising, much like many other expenses, shopping around for better deals on everything you need in your practice is a necessity.

However, Samera cuts this need entirely by automatically finding you the best value options from the leading brands in the industry through the Samera Dental Buying Group. Get in touch with Team Samera to see how we can help you save money today, but in the meantime have a read of our tips below.

Click here to read more about how to cut expenses in a small business.

By following these tips, you can run a successful practice while keeping more money for yourself. Whether you have a small practice or a large dental group, keep reading to learn how to save money and improve your profits.

Top Money-Saving Tips for Your Dental Practice – Webinar

First of all, watch this free webinar in which Arun discusses ways in which you can save money in your dental practice, from utility bills to dental equipment and consumables.

Introduction: The importance of saving money in your dental practice

Running a successful dental practice means taking good care of your patients and managing your money well. We know that providing excellent dental care requires investing in equipment, supplies, and staff. But it’s also important to find ways to save money without compromising the quality of service.

By using smart strategies to save money, you can make your practice more profitable, streamline operations, and ensure long-term success. In this blog post, we will give you valuable tips to help you save money in your dental practice. We’ll talk about optimising your supply chain and using cost-effective technology, among other things.

Saving money in your dental practice not only helps your finances but also allows you to invest in things like training your team or improving your practice’s infrastructure. So, let’s get started and learn the best money-saving tips to make your dental practice thrive while keeping your finances in order.

Action Point

Optimize your dental practice’s finances by negotiating for better supply prices, embracing cost-effective technology, and streamlining operations to boost profitability without compromising care quality.

Evaluate your expenses: Identify areas where you can cut costs

To run a successful dental practice, it’s important to manage your finances wisely. One way to increase your profits is by looking at your expenses and finding areas where you can spend less money. This will help you use your resources more effectively.

First, go through your budget and examine each expense. Look at things like supplies, equipment, utilities, and employee salaries. See if there are any costs that seem too high or unnecessary. For example, you might discover that you’re spending too much on certain supplies or paying for services you don’t really need.

Next, think about alternatives or ways to save money for each expense. Can you negotiate better deals with your suppliers? Are there cheaper options for equipment maintenance or repairs? Can you find ways to use less energy and lower your utility bills? These are all things you can consider.

Another area to focus on is your staff’s schedule. By making sure your employees work efficiently and optimising their hours, you can potentially reduce labour costs without compromising patient care. Think about implementing flexible schedules, training your staff to do different tasks, or outsourcing some administrative work.

You can also use technology to make your operations more efficient and save money. Digital record-keeping, online appointment scheduling, and automated reminders can help you cut administrative costs and work more efficiently.

Remember, reducing costs doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or the experience you provide to your patients. It’s about finding smarter ways to use your resources without sacrificing the level of care you give. By regularly reviewing your expenses and making strategic changes, you can save money and improve the financial health of your dental practice.

Action Point

To boost your dental practice’s financial health, thoroughly review expenses and identify savings opportunities without compromising care quality. Consider negotiating better supply deals, optimizing staff schedules, and utilizing technology for efficiency. Regular financial evaluations and strategic adjustments can lead to significant savings and enhance profitability.

Negotiate with suppliers: Tips for getting better deals on dental supplies

Negotiating with suppliers is important for your dental practice’s finances. Getting better deals on dental supplies can lower your costs and increase profits. Here are some tips to help you negotiate and get the best deals:

Research prices: Before negotiating, know the market prices for the supplies you need. Compare different suppliers’ prices, quality, and reputation. This knowledge will help you during negotiations.

Build relationships: Having good relationships with suppliers can help you get better deals. Communicate with them regularly, give feedback, and show you’re a loyal customer. Suppliers are more likely to negotiate and offer better prices when they value your partnership.

Bundle purchases: Combine your orders and buy multiple supplies from the same supplier. This gives you more negotiating power. With larger orders, you can ask for bulk discounts, free shipping, or extended payment terms. Suppliers often appreciate long-term, high-volume customers and may give you better deals.

Be ready to walk away: Negotiations involve give-and-take. If the terms don’t meet your goals, be prepared to walk away. This shows you’re serious about getting the best value. It may make suppliers reconsider their offers.

Consider other suppliers: Don’t limit yourself to one supplier. Research and contact multiple suppliers to find better deals. Competition among suppliers works in your favour, as they may offer lower prices or additional benefits to win your business.

Remember, negotiating isn’t about demanding lower prices aggressively. It’s about finding solutions that benefit both parties. By following these tips, you can improve your negotiation skills and save money on dental supplies for your practice.

Action Point

To boost your dental practice’s financial health, thoroughly review expenses and identify savings opportunities without compromising care quality. Consider negotiating better supply deals, optimizing staff schedules, and utilizing technology for efficiency. Regular financial evaluations and strategic adjustments can lead to significant savings and enhance profitability.

Consider group purchasing organisations (GPOs): Exploring the benefits and savings of joining a buying group

When running a dental practice, saving money is important. One way to do that is by joining a group purchasing organisation (GPO).

A GPO negotiates discounts with suppliers for its members, like dental practices. By pooling together the buying power of its members, a GPO can secure big discounts on dental supplies and equipment.

Joining a GPO can save you a lot of money. As a member, you get access to the discounted rates they negotiated, which helps you stretch your budget. This means you can spend more on other important things for your practice.

GPOs also offer a wide range of products from different suppliers, so you have more options at competitive prices. This is especially helpful when buying expensive equipment or specialised materials because the savings from the GPO can be significant.

Another benefit of joining a GPO is that it saves you time negotiating with suppliers. Instead of contacting suppliers one by one, the GPO handles the negotiations for you. This frees up your time to focus on providing good care to your patients.

Not all GPOs are the same, so it’s important to research and compare your options. Look at things like the range of suppliers they work with, the size of their network, and their reputation in the dental industry.

Joining a GPO can be a smart move for your dental practice. It gives you access to cost savings, a variety of products, and makes purchasing easier. By considering the benefits and savings of joining a GPO, you can make informed decisions that will help your dental practice financially.

Action Point

For better deals on dental supplies, research prices, build relationships with suppliers, bundle purchases, be willing to walk away, and consider multiple suppliers.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

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!

Embrace technology: How implementing digital solutions can save you money in the long run

Using technology can be a game-changer for your dental practice. It helps make things easier, saves time, and can even save you money in the long run.

One area where technology can help is in managing your patients. With a cloud-based practice management software, you can store patient records, appointments, and billing information digitally. This means you don’t have to print as much paperwork or spend money on storage. It also saves you time because you don’t have to manually enter data. Plus, these systems can send automated reminders and help with scheduling, which reduces missed appointments and cancellations.

Another way technology saves money is with digital imaging equipment. Traditional X-ray films are expensive and take up space. But digital X-ray systems give you instant, high-quality images without the need for film. You don’t have to buy film or deal with developing and disposing of it. Although the initial cost of digital equipment may seem high, you’ll save money in the long run by not having to buy film or maintain it.

Using telehealth solutions can also help you save money. You can do remote consultations and give advice through video calls or telemedicine software. This means patients don’t have to travel, which saves them money. It also reduces your overhead costs.

Technology can also help with marketing. Having a good website and active social media profiles can attract new patients and strengthen relationships with existing ones. You can also do digital marketing campaigns like targeted emails or online ads to reach your desired audience without spending a lot on advertising.

In conclusion, technology has many benefits for your dental practice, including saving money. By using digital solutions for patient management, investing in digital imaging, embracing telehealth, and using digital marketing, you can improve your practice, take better care of your patients, and increase your profits.

Action Point

Implement digital solutions like practice management software, digital imaging, telehealth, and digital marketing to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve patient care, ultimately saving money for your dental practice.

Train your staff: Investing in education and training to improve efficiency and reduce expenses

Investing in education and training for your dental staff is important for improving your practice’s efficiency and reducing expenses. When your staff is well-trained, they perform their tasks better and create a positive experience for patients. This can lead to more patients staying with your practice and referring others.

Provide opportunities for ongoing education and training to expand your staff’s knowledge and skills. They can attend conferences, participate in webinars, or take specialised courses. When they stay updated on industry trends, techniques, and technologies, they can provide the best care to your patients.

Training shouldn’t only focus on clinical skills but also administrative tasks. Efficient scheduling, billing, and record-keeping processes can make your practice more productive and profitable. Training your staff on practice management systems or hiring experts to teach them can streamline these processes, reduce mistakes, and save time and resources.

A well-trained team can handle emergencies and unexpected situations effectively, reducing the need for expensive external help. By giving your staff the right knowledge and skills, they can confidently and efficiently handle different scenarios, saving your practice time and money.

Investing in your staff’s professional development can also boost their morale and job satisfaction. This leads to lower turnover rates, as happy employees tend to stay longer. Keeping experienced staff members saves you recruitment and training costs and ensures consistent care for your patients.

Remember, education and training should be ongoing. Encourage your staff to continuously seek learning opportunities and ways to improve. By investing in their growth, you are investing in the success and financial stability of your dental practice.

Action Point

Invest in your dental staff’s education and training to improve practice efficiency and reduce expenses. This not only enhances patient care but also boosts staff morale, leading to lower turnover and recruitment costs, ultimately saving money for the practice.

Click here to read more about building a dental team.

Maintain your equipment: Tips for proper maintenance and avoiding costly repairs or replacements

Taking care of your dental equipment is important for your practice’s smooth operation and saving money. Neglecting equipment maintenance can lead to expensive repairs or replacements. Here are some simple tips to keep your dental equipment in good condition:

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines: Read and understand the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer for each piece of equipment. Clean, lubricate, and calibrate them regularly as recommended.

Create a maintenance schedule: Make a schedule to keep track of when each equipment needs attention. This can include daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly tasks depending on the equipment. Following a schedule helps prevent issues and catch problems early.

Train your staff: Make sure your staff knows how to use and maintain the equipment correctly. Teach them to recognize warning signs of equipment problems. Encourage them to report any issues promptly.

Use quality tools and materials: Invest in good-quality tools and materials for your practice. Cheaper alternatives may save money at first, but they wear out quickly and need frequent replacements. Durable equipment lasts longer and saves money in the long run.

Regular inspections: Check your equipment regularly for signs of wear, tear, or possible problems. Early detection helps prevent major repairs.

Consider professional servicing: Along with regular maintenance, schedule professional servicing for your equipment. Professionals can inspect, clean, and optimise the performance of your dental equipment.

By following these tips and prioritising equipment maintenance, you can avoid expensive repairs or replacements. Your dental practice will operate smoothly and efficiently, saving you money. Remember, prevention is better than cure when it comes to your dental equipment!

Action Point

Maintain your dental equipment regularly to prevent costly repairs or replacements, ensuring your practice operates efficiently. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, create a maintenance schedule, train staff, use quality materials, perform regular inspections, and consider professional servicing. Prioritizing equipment maintenance saves money and keeps your practice running smoothly.

Explore financing options: Understanding dental practice loans and other financial resources to help manage expenses

As a dental practice owner, it’s important to manage your expenses well to succeed and make a profit. One way to do this is by exploring different financing options available to dental practitioners.

Dental practice loans are designed specifically for dental professionals like you. They provide funds to cover expenses such as buying equipment, renovating your office, upgrading technology, or even acquiring a practice. With a dental practice loan, you can manage your cash flow and invest in the growth of your practice.

When considering a dental practice loan, research different lenders and compare their terms and interest rates. Look for lenders who specialise in dental practice financing, as they understand the industry better and can offer solutions that suit your needs.

Another option is equipment leasing. Leasing dental equipment helps you save your working capital while still getting access to the latest technology and equipment you need for your practice. Leasing spreads out the cost over time, making it more affordable and manageable for your cash flow.

Besides these financing options, look into other sources of financial assistance. Some dental associations and organisations offer grants or scholarships for dental professionals. These can help with expenses or fund continuing education. Also, there may be government programs or incentives to support dental practices, so stay informed about any financial resources that can benefit your practice.

By exploring these financing options, you can manage your expenses and ensure the financial stability of your dental practice. Carefully evaluate each option, consider your long-term goals, and consult with financial professionals who specialise in dental practice management to make informed decisions for your business’s financial health.

Action Points

Explore financing options for your dental practice, including specialized loans and equipment leasing, to manage expenses and invest in growth. Research lenders, compare terms, and consider additional financial resources like grants or government programs. Consult with financial professionals to make informed decisions for your practice’s financial health.

Please click here to read our guide to financing a dental practice.

Review your insurance policies: Ensuring you have the right coverage at the best rates

It’s important to review your insurance policies to manage the financial health of your dental practice. Dental practices have unique risks and liabilities that require special coverage, so it’s crucial to make sure you have the right policies in place to protect your practice and patients.

Start by looking at your current insurance coverage. Check your general liability insurance, malpractice insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance, among others. Understand what risks are covered and what may be missing by reviewing the terms, limits, and exclusions of each policy.

Get quotes from different insurance providers or brokers for the same coverage. Comparing rates from multiple insurers helps you find the best rates without compromising on the coverage you need. Ask about any discounts or customised packages available for dental practices.

As you review your insurance policies, consider any changes in your practice’s operations or services. If you’ve added new procedures, expanded your office space, or hired more staff, you may need to adjust your insurance coverage. Keeping your policies up to date ensures you have enough protection.

Consider working with an insurance professional who specialises in dental practices. They can provide valuable advice on the specific risks and coverage options for your industry. Their expertise helps you understand complex policy terms and make sure you have adequate protection at the best rates.

Remember, insurance is an investment in the long-term financial stability of your dental practice. Regularly reviewing your policies and getting the right coverage at the best rates helps protect your practice from unexpected events and can save you a lot of money.

Action Point

Review your dental practice’s insurance policies regularly to ensure you have comprehensive coverage tailored to your unique needs. Compare quotes, adjust policies for any changes in operations, and consult with specialists. Proper insurance safeguards your practice’s financial health.

House brands vs name brands

House brands are a great alternative for some more expensive name brand products. If you do your research correctly, most types of dental consumables have the same, if not very similar, ingredients and often most are manufactured by the same companies. The biggest difference is the price point. However, this is not the case with all house brands, the cheapest brand is not always the least expensive.

Branded PriceOwn BrandPrice
4% 1:100,000 2.2ML LATEX-FREE£26.75BARTINEST 1:100,000 2.2ML ANAESTHETIC£22.96
ALCOHOL FREE JUMBO WIPES REFILL£8.50UNODENT ALCOHOL-FREE WIPES£2.86
BRUSH REFILL REGULAR ASSORTED£30.24MICRO APPLICATOR BRUSH REGULAR – MIXED£4.40
UNIVERSAL SPRAY (NO NOZZLE)£23.00UNOLUBE UNIVERSAL SPRAY£4.27
Aspirator Cleaner £28.99AUTORINSE DAILY ASPIRATOR CLEANER£12.64

Sometimes the price of some things you need matches the hefty price attached to it. Buying cheaper branded items when it comes to non-critical items such as disposable barriers and cotton rolls is a good way to save money. Those products will make very little difference to you or your patients. However, when it comes to anything that is a bit more valuable and you are debating it over, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons. Does the price justify the usage of the product? When it comes to anything that will aid you in diagnosing, treating or restoring, save yourself the trouble and opt for a more reliable brand to buy from.

If you join a dental buying group you can still purchase these more expensive items at an exclusive, more competitive price – just for being part of the group!

Loyalty rewards: Get rewarded for your business!

Many companies offer rewards or loyalty programs, so pay attention to what is out there for you to benefit from. Company representatives often know all the tricks, so sometimes it’s worth talking to them so they can teach you how to order more effectively. Sometimes you can take advantage of special programmes and free products or loyalty awards that many distributors offer.

Keep in mind that none of this will happen automatically, you will need to take the time to find how to get the most out of what is available.

Action Point

Maximize savings by utilizing loyalty rewards and programs offered by suppliers. Engage with company representatives to learn effective ordering strategies and take advantage of special offers, free products, or loyalty awards. A proactive effort is required to benefit from these opportunities.

Understanding the dangers of ‘false economy’

The truth is, the steps you take in starting to save money can actually become an expensive venture. A great example of this is that perhaps it is a lot cheaper for you to have an automatic answering machine for your calls, rather than employing a full-time receptionist. However, if you consider patient experience, your reception is often the first point of contact with your business.

In other words, a good receptionist with excellent customer service skills is worth every penny you invest in them, even though they may not be the cheapest option.

This is very similar to dental equipment. While buying cheaper consumables that have similar ingredients and manufacturers may be worth buying, looking at the cheapest price of dental equipment may not tell the same story.

We hope our blog post about saving money in your dental practice was useful to you. Running a dental practice can be costly, but there are ways to save money without sacrificing care quality. By following the tips we mentioned, like talking to suppliers, managing your inventory well, and getting the most from your insurance reimbursements, you can save a lot of money and make your practice more profitable. Remember, every pound you save can be used to improve your practice or provide better care to your patients.

Action Point

Recognize the importance of value over cost. Opting for cheaper alternatives, like an automated answering service, may save money initially but can negatively impact patient experience. Similarly, while inexpensive dental consumables might seem appealing, investing in quality equipment ensures better service and long-term savings. Prioritize investments that enhance patient satisfaction and practice efficiency.

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.

Maximising your Dental Practice’s EBITDA

In this webinar Arun discusses how to maximise your dental practice value through growing your practice EBITDA before you sell.

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.

Cyber Security Threats for Dental Practices

There is no denying that cyber hacking happens daily, and dentist should not think that they are an exemption. Healthcare services including dental practices are prime targets for hackers. In fact, small businesses containing health information are targeted quite often.

Data breaches are a major threat to healthcare providers, especially dentists; they are becoming targets for cyber criminals more and more frequently. Health organisations make up roughly 33% of all data security breaches across all industries. It has been shown, however, that a majority of personal health information data breaches has been a result of human error from healthcare employees.

Please click here to read our 10 essential cybersecurity steps for dentists to find out how to protect your dental practice online.

Common Cyber Security Threats

In this webinar, Arun and George take a look at the different cyber security threats facing dental practices, cyber security strategies for dentists and how to respond when your practice is attacked online.

Why are Dental Practices at Risk From Cybersecurity Threats?

Dental practices are becoming hot targets for these cyber criminals because dental offices hold vast amounts of personal data. Not only confidential personal information of your patients such as birthdates, addresses and full names, but also hundreds, if not thousands, of instances of banking information. Hackers also like to target the smaller healthcare businesses because they believe small businesses do not have the resources for sophisticated security measures and they will, therefore, be easier targets.  

The threat of this confidential information being stolen is great and dental practice owners must address this concern as soon as they possibly can before a theft occurs and creates a legal nightmare for your business.

You must ensure that your dental practice has the proper IT solutions and cybersecurity procedures in place to adhere to the relevant guidance and regulations.

Action Point

Implement robust IT solutions and cybersecurity measures to protect patient data and comply with regulations.

The Need for Cybersecurity in Your Dental Practice

The biggest mistake many dental practices are making is that they believe cyber criminals are not a threat to their small dental practices. However,

The increase of cyber criminals targeting healthcare businesses leaves your dental practice at risk. This is evident through the following statistics:

  • The healthcare industry accounts for 43% of all data security breaches
  • 47% of all cyber security attacks target small businesses like independent private dental practices
  • Since September 2009, almost 21,000,000 health records have been compromised

Many hackers target smaller practices because they assume small businesses do not have the necessary security software of firewalls in place to protect it in place. Unfortunately, in many instances they are right.

Your dental practice is a wealth of patient data which means it is necessary for you to take the proper cybersecurity precautions to make sure that you are adhering to the proper regulations and your patient’s data do not fall into the wrong hands.

Action Point

Implement cybersecurity precautions to protect patient data and adhere to regulations, safeguarding against the high risk of cyber attacks targeting healthcare businesses.

Contact us to find out more

Moving Forward Digitally

Within the last couple years, dental practices have taken a major step in digitising their entire business and using the internet to centralise patient data and improve patient care.

Storing patient information in the cloud has its benefits:

  • Accessible any time from any location
  • Automatic backup
  • Patient data can easily and securely share between different practices

If proper precautions are not taken, dental practices are very vulnerable to security threats and data breaches.

When these breaches happen, confidential patient data can be sold on the DarkWeb resulting in fraud, identity theft and possibly blackmail and other criminal activities. Hackers can also hack your systems and access your own personal company data. Believe us, nothing good will ever come from that. Extortion, blackmail…. It is not pretty.

Action Point

Implement robust cybersecurity measures for cloud-stored patient data to prevent breaches and protect against fraud, identity theft, and other cyber threats.

You can learn more about patient data and recording keeping on the BDA website here.

Consequences

If your dental practice gets hacked in any way, the consequences for your dental practice will not only cost you time and money but also potential lawsuits from patients, loss of important data that may not be able to get recovered and brand and reputation damage.

At the end of the day, it is you who will be on the line for any potential data breaches.

Implement Security Features

Every dental practice should have a policy in place safeguarding patient information and all staff members should be educated about how to comply with the office policy.

We advise a strict internet and computer policy that not only educated your employees when a breach does occur but also deters any mishaps from occurring. This policy enforced should include prohibiting staff members from checking personal email accounts or visiting any internet websites that are not work related.

When accessing any office data remotely, any employees at your dental practice should only use trusted Wi-Fi hot spots and never used shared computers or unsecure Wi-Fi spots. Any smartphones or tablets you have in your practice should be password protected to prevent access to patient information in case that device is lost or stolen.

Antivirus software should be installed on every computer in your practice and left kept updated and checked regularly. In addition, it is also important for dentists to make sure that all operating systems, hardware, software, and firewalls are up to date, secure and strong and that wireless networks are shielded from public view. All hard copies of documents with patient information should be shredded as soon as they are no longer of any use to your practice.

To avoid any type of security breaches there are a few IT solutions you need to implement and ensure are in place to prevent any security breaches as soon as they occur. Here are a few:

  • Set up VPN (virtual private network)
  • Install anti-virus software for all your devices in your practice
  • Automate the encryption of your production
  • Backup hard drives with appropriate security hardware
  • Always keep your web browsers, software and operating systems updated
  • Encrypt data transmitted to anywhere outside the practice

Action Point

Implement strict internet and computer use policies, educate staff, ensure secure remote access, password-protect devices, maintain updated antivirus software, and encrypt and back up data for comprehensive cybersecurity in your dental practice.

Mitigating Security Risks

Unfortunately, data has shown that even when you have the necessary security measures in place, human error is commonly the sole cause of data breaches. This means that the actions of healthcare employees are unintentionally the cause of three times as many breaches as external attacks on your dental practice.

Without adequate training, your employees could unintentionally be putting your entire practice at risk. This is why, after you have put all the necessary security measures in place, your next priority should be to train your employees to mitigate any security risks.

Here are a few tips for this:

  • Avoid disclosing private information over the phone or email. Instead, you should use encrypted communication methods such as encrypted email to protect sensitive patient or employee data
  • Set user permission for different roles
  • Educate and train staff of latest cyber threats and your latest technological updates
  • Choose strong passwords and do not use the same password for everything
  • Outline a response plan so the team knows what to do immediately in the event of an attack
  • Discourage joining public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks
  • Restrict access to personal email accounts and any non-work-related websites
  • Require password for any devices you use at the practice, in case it gets lost or stolen

If a security breach in your office does occur, it is absolutely imperative that if a breach in your office does occur, you need to take the appropriate action immediately. This includes determining how the breach occurred to begin with and the extent of the breach. You need to be careful who you initially contact when something like this occurs.

Action Point

Prioritize employee cybersecurity training, use encrypted communication, set user permissions, educate on cyber threats, choose strong passwords, outline a response plan, restrict access to unsecured networks and non-work sites, and password-protect devices to mitigate security risks in dental practices.

Samera helps you stay fully compliant with any security regulations. Our specialists ensure that your dental practice software is always updated, and your data is encrypted with password protection and able to be transferred securely.

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.

How to set up and maintain compliance in your dental practice

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!

Taxes When Investing

Click here to read our articles Samera.

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

For more articles, webinars and blogs on dental accounts check out the dental accountancy section of our Learning Centre and follow us on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

A Guide to Corporation Tax

Most companies will generally pay corporation tax on both their income as well as their capital gains tax.

For the financial year beginning on 1st April 2021, all companies (except for those in the oil and gas sector) will pay the same flat rate of 19% corporation tax. This rate will also continue into the financial year of 2022.

In 2023, the corporation tax rate will increase to 25% which was announced during March 2021.

You must pay Corporation Tax on profits form doing business as:

  • A limited company
  • A club, co-operative, or any unincorporated association
  • Any foreign company with a UK office or branch

Profits you pay Corporation Tax on

Taxable profits for Corporation Tax include the money your company makes from:

  • Investments
  • Doing business (trading profits)
  • Selling assets for a profit

Calculating Your Company’s Effective Tax Rate

From April 2023 corporation tax will not only get increased, but it will also become a bit more complicated. There will be two official corporation tax rates:

  • Small profits rate: 19%
  • Main rate 25%

Companies with taxable profits of £50,000 or less will continue to pay 19% tax on all their profits. Companies with taxable profits of more than £250,000 will pay 25% tax on all their profits.

If profits are between £50,000 or £250,000 a ‘marginal relief’ calculation will be made. The practice effect of this is that there will effective be three different corporation tax rates:

First £50,000: 19%

Between £50,000 and £250,000: 26.5%

Over £250,000: 25%

Multiple Companies

There are many company owners who think about setting up a second company which is separate from their existing business. Often there are a few commercial reasons for using more than one company including:

  • Reducing risk and limiting liability
  • Involve different shareholders
  • Enable a stand-alone sale of each business

With corporation tax increasing in the near future, it is possible for multiple companies with one owner, enjoying up to £50,0000 of profit taxed at 19%. However, in order to achieve this the companies must not be associated companies.

Contact us to find out more

Associated Company Rules

When the new corporation tax rates come into operation within the next couple of years, to prevent people artificially spreading their business activities across multiple companies, the £50,000 lower limit and £250,000 upper limit will be divided up if there are any associated companies.

A company will only be associated with another company if:

  • One company controls the other company
  • Both are under the control of the same person / people

Family Members and Business Partners

When deciding who controls a company, your associates interests are treated as your own if there is substantial commercial interdependence between the companies.

Business associates include:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Close relatives
  • Legal business partners

Trading Companies vs Investment Companies

A trading company is essentially a company that is involved in regular business activities such as a company that sells goods online or a catering company or a firm. Common types of non-trading companies include those that hold substantial investments in financial securities or property or earn substantial royalty income.

Corporation Tax

If your company is mainly engaged in non-trading activities, in 2021 it will be paying corporation tax at the same rate as most other companies (19%). However, when the new corporation tax rates come into effect, a lot of these investment companies will have to pay the main rate of corporation tax which will be a rate of 25% on all their profits.

This is because any company classed as a close investment holding company (CIC) will not be able to benefit from the small profits rate of 19%. The company will be forced to pay corporation tax at the main rate on all profits.

Companies that mainly derive their profits from renting properties to unconnected third parties (not to family members, etc) are excluded from the CIC provisions. Hence, the majority of property investment companies will be allowed to enjoy the small profits rate.

If a company has too many non-trading activities (including most property investment and property letting) it may lose its trading status for capital gains tax purposes. This will result in the loss of two important CGT reliefs:

  • Business Asset Disposal Relief
  • Holdover Relief

Business Asset Disposal Relief

Business Asset Disposal Relief allows you to pay capital gains tax at just 10% (instead of 20%) when you sell your company.

Holdover Relief allows you to give shares in the business to your children, common-law unmarried partner, or other individuals and postpone CGT. You do not need Holdover Relief to transfer shares to your spouse because such transfers are always exempt.

A company will only lose its trading status for CGT purposes if it has ‘substantial’ non-trading activities. Unfortunately to HMRC ‘substantial’ usually means as little as 20% of various measures such as:

  • Expenses
  • Assets
  • Profits
  • Turnover
  • Directors’ and employees’ time

HMRC may attempt to apply the 20% rule to any of the above measures.

Inheritance Tax Shares in trading companies usually qualify for business property relief. This means they can be passed on free from inheritance tax. However, if the company holds investments (including any rental properties), this could result in the loss of business property relief.

The qualification criteria are more generous than for CGT purposes and a company generally only loses its trading status for inheritance tax purposes if it is either wholly or mainly involved in investment related activities. To be on the safe side you will want to ensure that the company’s qualifying activities exceed 50% of each of the measures listed above (e.g. turnover, time, profits etc).

Companies registered as Tax Shelters Corporation tax is often a lot lower than the income tax and national insurance paid by sole traders and partnerships. Companies don’t always pay less tax than self-employed business owners but, as profits increase, the tax savings also naturally increase.

A business owner will therefore potentially have a lot more after-tax profit left to reinvest. Companies are normally most powerful as tax shelters when profits are reinvested. Most company owners need to extract money for their own personal use. At this point additional tax may be payable. The income tax payable on dividends reduces the tax benefits of using a company in many cases.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Further Information on Accounts & Tax

Our team of specialist accountants and tax experts can help manage, process and structure your business’s finances. From management accounts and payroll & pensions to tax planning and cash flow management, we can take care of the full back-office function of your business.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the team to find out how we can make your accounts & tax easier, quicker and cheaper.

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

A Guide to Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit when you sell an asset that’s increased in value. It is the financial gain or profit you make that is taxed, not the amount of money you receive altogether.

Some assets are tax-free. If all your gains in a year are under your tax-free allowance, you do not have to pay Capital Gains Tax.

Capital Gains Tax Rates

There are two main rates of capital gains tax. These are:

  • 10% Basic rate taxpayers
  • 20% Higher rate taxpayers

With gains arising from disposals of residential properties, the 18 and 28% rates still apply. If you are entitled to Business Asset Disposal Relief, the tax rate is set at 10%. 

If you’re entitled to Business Asset Disposal Relief (previously called Entrepreneurs Relief) the tax rate is 10%. This relief is generally only available when you sell a business. Unfortunately, the old 18% and 28% rates still apply to gains arising on disposals of residential property. They also continue to apply to “carried interest”, typically profits made by hedge fund managers and private equity managers. The 10% and 20% rates mainly benefit:

  • Those disposing of commercial property (except where a business owner disposes of his trading premises and Business Asset Disposal Relief is available)
  • Stock market investors (although many investors’ gains are tax free thanks to the £12,300 annual CGT exemption or by investing via an ISA or SIPP)
  • Property investors who use a company to invest in property, when the company itself is sold or wound up
  • Owners of trading companies who do not qualify for Business Asset Disposal Relief

Basic Rate Band

If you are a basic rate taxpayer, you can pay 10% or 18% capital gains tax on some or all your taxable capital gains. The 18% rate applies to residential property and the 10% rate applies to most other assets.

The basic-rate band is £37,700 this year (2021) so you can have up to £37,500 of capital gains taxed at these lower rates. It is important to note, the basic rate band will be £37,700 until the end of the 2025/26 tax year. You can only benefit from these lower CGT rates if your taxable income (for example your salary, rental income, or dividend income) does not use up your basic-rate band.

The Annual Capital Gains Tax Exemption

The annual exemption is £12,300. In other words, capital gains of up to £12,300 can be realised tax free during the current tax year. The exemption is fixed at £12,300 until the end of 2025/26 as part of the Government’s Big Freeze. Before the current freeze the CGT exemption had been increased by less than inflation for several years and, coupled with reductions in the basic rate band, means the Government has been increasing the CGT haul without increasing tax rates. Where possible, you should consider using this exemption before the end of the tax year on 5 April 2022. After that date, this year’s exemption is lost completely. It is essentially a case of ‘use it or lose it’.

Further Annual Exemption Benefits Couples enjoy one capital gains tax exemption each so they can have £24,600 of tax-free capital gains per year. Minor children also have their own annual exemption. The estate of a deceased person has its own annual exemption in the tax year of the death and the following two tax years. Trusts also have their own annual exemption equal to half of the annual exemption available to individuals (i.e., £6,150). However, this amount must be sub-divided amongst all of the trusts set up by the same settlor.

Contact us to find out more

Bed and Breakfasting

The old practice known as bed and breakfasting is no longer possible in its simplest form (selling assets, usually quoted shares, and buying them back the next day in order to utilise the annual exemption). However, there are still a number of ways in which the annual exemption can be used such as:

  • Wait 31 days before buying the shares back. This strategy will not appeal to those who wish to remain fully invested.
  • Bed and Spouse. Despite its name, this strategy can be used by all couples (married or not). One partner sells the shares and the other one makes an equivalent purchase. (For married couples and civil partners, the repurchase must be made on the open market – a direct sale from one spouse or partner to the other will not have the desired effect.)
  • Bed and ISA – sell the shares to use your annual exemption and buy them back through an ISA.

Spreading Asset Sales

Property investors who want to sell more than one property should consider spreading their sales over more than one tax year, where possible, to use more than one year’s worth of CGT exemption. This will save a couple up to £6,888 per year in capital gains tax (£12,300 x 2 x 28%). Main Residence Relief Principal private residence (PPR) relief protects your main residence from capital gains tax. For disposals taking place from 6 April 2020 onwards it covers the period during which the property was your main residence and the last 9 months before selling (previously 18 months). Any property which has been your main residence and has been rented out at some point used to qualify for private lettings relief of up to £40,000 per person.

However, for disposals taking place from 6 April 2020 onwards private letting relief is restricted to periods where the owner is in ‘shared occupancy’ with a tenant. In other words, it is now restricted to periods when you are renting out part of your home while it is still your main residence.

Main Residence Relief

Principal private residence (PPR) relief protects your main residence from capital gains tax. For disposals taking place from 6 April 2020 onwards it covers the period during which the property was your main residence and the last 9 months before selling (previously 18 months). Any property which has been your main residence and has been rented out at some point used to qualify for private lettings relief of up to £40,000 per person. However, for disposals taking place from 6 April 2020 onwards private letting relief is restricted to periods where the owner is in ‘shared occupancy’ with a tenant. In other words, it is now restricted to periods when you are renting out part of your home while it is still your main residence.

Commercial Property Capital Gains

The main changes in recent times include:

  • A reduction from 28% to 20% in the CGT rate applying to commercial property sales (18% to 10% where some of your basic-rate band is not used up by your income).
  • CGT on non-resident capital gains. Until recently non-residents did not pay CGT when they sold commercial property located in the UK, for example offices, shops, warehouses and agricultural land. Commercial property gains that arise after 6 April 2019 are now subject to tax. Tax will only be payable on any increase in value from this date. They must file a non-resident capital gains tax return and pay the tax within 30 days of the sale.

Capital Losses

Capital losses are automatically set off against capital gains arising in the same tax year. Any surplus losses are carried forward to set off against future gains (but only to the extent that future gains exceed the annual exemption, so the annual exemption will not be wasted).

Generally speaking, capital losses may not be carried back to earlier tax years. The capital loss rules have a couple of important practical implications:

  • Losses must be realised by 5 April 2022 in order to be set off against 2021/22 capital gains.
  • If the losses you realise during the current tax year take your capital gains below the level of the annual exemption (£12,300), some of the annual exemption is wasted.

The timing of the disposal of assets standing at a loss should therefore be considered carefully.

Business Asset Disposal Relief

Business Asset Disposal relief was previously known as Entrepreneurs Relief. It allows each individual to have capital gains for a lifetime of £1million taxed at just 10%. In the March 2020 budget, the lifetime limit was drastically reduced from £10 million to £1 million which is what the current rate is set at.

As the lifetime limit is now a lot less generous than it used to be, it may now be necessary for you to spread assets among various family members to save CGT.

Who Qualifies for This Relief?

This relief is made to benefit owners of trading businesses which are essentially regular businesses.

A business will lose its trading status when it owns significant investments including any rental properties. If you are a property investor or simply own a few properties, the taxman does not treat you as a trading business owner, they will treat you only as a business owner.

Two types of property that can qualify for Business Asset Disposal Relief are:

  • The trading premises of your own business, for example, a retail unit owned by a sole trader.

Business Asset Disposal Relief can also be claimed when your partnership or company uses a property that you own personally. However, it is important to note that there are restrictions that apply.  

  • Furnished holiday lets (in certain circumstances) Company owners are entitled to Business Asset Disposal Relief when they sell their shares.

The main qualifying criteria are the following:

  • The company must be a ‘trading’ company
  • The company must be your company. Generally, this means you must own at least 5% of said company
  • You must be an employee of the company

Each of these rules must be satisfied for at least two years before the company is wound up or sold. Each of the rules must be satisfied for at least two years before the company has ceased trading. The disposal of the company should then take place within three years after trading has stopped. This time period used to be one year instead of two years. The new two-year rule applies for disposals taking place after 6th April 2019.

Investors Relief

This relief provides a 10% capital gains tax rate for investors in unlisted trading companies, providing they hold onto their shares for at least three years. Investors Relief only applies to gains on newly issued ordinary shares in unlisted companies. Buying shares from existing owners does not qualify. There is no minimum percentage shareholding. The relief is subject to a lifetime cap of £10 million of capital gains (unlike the £1 million cap now applying to Business Asset Disposal Relief). The investor generally cannot be an employee or officer of the company, and neither can any connected person (e.g., close family members).

However, the investor can become an unpaid director if he was not involved or connected with the company before investing. He can also become an employee 180 days after investing, providing there was no reasonable prospect of becoming an employee at the time the investment was made.

Contact us to find out more

Non-Residents

Quite a few years ago it was possible to leave the UK for a short period of time and avoid capital gains tax on any assets sold while non-resident.

The rules have now changed so that you have to remain a non-resident for at least five complete tax years in order to avoid any capital gains tax. Under the current anti-avoidance rules, to attempt to avoid capital gains tax your period of non-residence must last for more than five years.

This may mean you have to leave the UK for more than five years or you may have the option for less than five years, depending on whether ‘split-year treatment’ is available and whether you are treated as non-UK resident under the terms of a double tax agreement.

Over the last couple of years now, non-residents have had to pay CGT on some of their gains from UK residential property. Only the part of the gain arising after 5th April 2015 is subject to tax.

Recent Changes

Non-residents are also subject to capital gains tax on UK commercial property from 6th April 2019.

It is also important to note, where a non-resident sells shares in a company that derives at least 75% of its value from a UK property, the sale will now be subject to UK capital gains tax. The individual should own around 25% or more of the company.

Only gains arising after 5 April 2019 are subject to tax.

Reporting Capital Gains

You will need to report capital gains arising during the year on your tax return if:

  • Your total sale proceeds for capital disposals made during the year exceed four times the annual exemption or,
  • You have any capital gains tax liability.

If you sell a property and the gain is completely covered by the principal private residence exemption (e.g., the sale of your main home), it does not have to be reported on your tax return.

It is also very important to report capital disposals that give rise to an overall capital loss for the tax year, so that you can carry the loss forward to future years.

CGT Payments – Residential Property

Normally capital gains tax has to be paid by 31 January after the end of the tax year. From 6 April 2020, UK residents who sell residential property must make a pre-payment of capital gains tax (payment on account). This payment, along with the submission of a return, must be made within 30 days of the property’s sale.

Company Capital Gains

Indexation relief on capital gains made by companies has been frozen with effect from 31 December 2017.

This means that the relief available on disposals from 1 January 2018 onwards will be limited to the increase in the Retail Prices Index up to December 2017.

This is a major blow to property investors who hold investment properties inside a company and business owners who hold their premises inside a company.

Indexation relief has protected companies from paying corporation tax on any rise in a property’s value which is simply down to inflation. 

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Further Information on Accounts & Tax

Our team of specialist accountants and tax experts can help manage, process and structure your business’s finances. From management accounts and payroll & pensions to tax planning and cash flow management, we can take care of the full back-office function of your business.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the team to find out how we can make your accounts & tax easier, quicker and cheaper.

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

A Guide to Inheritance Tax

The inheritance tax nil rate band has been frozen at its current level of £325,000 since 6th April 2009. The nil rate band is the amount of your estate that is exempt from inheritance tax. 

It will remain at its current level of £325,000 until 5th April 2026 – a 17-year freeze! However, since 6th April 2017, a new additional nil rate band has been available for the ‘family home’.

Click here to read our guide on income tax and National Insurance.

Generally speaking, effective inheritance tax planning should be carried out on a long-term basis. However, it is worth remembering the following points, which should be considered on an annual basis. 

Annual exemption

The first £3,000 of gifts made by any individual during each tax year is completely exempt for inheritance tax. In addition to this, if the previous year’s annual exemption was not fully utilised, it can be carried forward into the following (current) tax year.

This means, in one tax year you are able to have up to £6000 of gifts that will be exempt from any tax only if you have not made any gifts during the previous tax year.

This exemption is specific to a per person basis, so married couples can also make gifts of £3,000 each.

Small Gifts Exemption

Gifts of up to £250 per tax year made to any one individual are also exempt from any inheritance tax and do not count towards the annual exemption. These types of small gifts are an exemption for you as you can make as many of these gifts as you like to different people.

However, the annual exemption cannot be used for further gifts to the same recipient in the same tax year. 

Habitual Gifts Out of Income

Habitual gifts out of income are an exemption from inheritance tax, in order for these gifts to be classed as ‘habitual’, they need to be made consistently for a number of years. Which is why it is important to remember to keep these up every tax year. 

The Family Home

An additional nil rate band is available for the ‘family home’ for any deaths occurring after 6 April 2017. This exemption is only available on a property which has been the deceased residence at some point during their life. If the deceased has passed while owning more than one or multiple qualifying properties, the personal electives can elect which property this exemption should apply to.

The exemption is only applied once the property is passed. This is usually done to a direct descendant of the deceased and in this case, any stepchildren, foster children or adopted children are all accorded the same status as one another for this sole purpose.

Similar to the £325,000 nil rate band, any unused proportion of the exemption will pass to the deceased’s partner or spouse.

When a person downsizes or ceases to own a home after 8 July 2015, the residence nil rate band is available to them as well as assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the additional nil-rate band, are passed to direct descendants.

The residence nil-rate band that was introduced in 2017/18 and increased from £100,000 to its current value to £175,000. This level is set to remain until 5 April 2026.

Click here to read more about inheritance tax.

Inheritance Tax: Example

Margaret divorced her husband many years before her death in June 2021.

She leaves her estate, worth £600,000, to her daughter.

Margaret’s estate includes her former home, which is worth £250,000 at the time of her death. The residence nil rate band available for 2021/22 exempts £175,000 of the value of Margaret’s former home. This reduces her taxable estate to £425,000 before deduction of her main nil rate band of £325,000, which reduces it to £100,000.

The IHT payable on Margaret’s estate at 40% is thus £40,000. The residence nil rate band is withdrawn from estates worth in excess of £2 million (this threshold is also frozen until 5th April 2026).

This withdrawal is at the rate of £1 for every £2 by which the estate exceeds £2 million. Any mortgages or other loans secured over a property will have to be taken into account when allocating the exemption. For example, where the deceased held a property worth £250,000 which was subject to a mortgage of £180,000, the exemption will be limited to just £70,000.

Further Information on Accounts & Tax

Our team of specialist accountants and tax experts can help manage, process and structure your business’s finances. From management accounts and payroll & pensions to tax planning and cash flow management, we can take care of the full back-office function of your business.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the team to find out how we can make your accounts & tax easier, quicker and cheaper.

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

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Dental Practice Startup FAQs

In this webinar, Arun and Jyoti answer 20 of the most commonly asked questions for dental startups.

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.

7 Fatal Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Dental Practice

In this webinar, Arun takes you through 7 of the most fatal mistakes we see new dental practices making all the time.

If you’re starting a dental practice, make sure you DON’T DO anything on this list.

Listen to the episode as a podcast

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.

Email marketing for dentists

By now, most businesses have made the transfer to online communications. However, healthcare is one sector that is often still going through the process of learning how to communicate online. Patients will obviously eventually need to meet their dentist face-to-face, but their search for the right dentist starts online.

Email marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy, no matter what type of business you are. It is a very powerful tool that any business in any field and of any scale can use to acquire, engage and retain clientele. You need to understand, however, that there is an art to email marketing. With everyone being able to unsubscribe with the touch of a button, you need to find the fine line between marketing interesting, informative and insightful and bombarding and hassling your clientele. 

Email marketing helps you connect with your audience to promote your brand and increase traffic to your dental practice. You can actually do a lot of things with emails. Not only are they a great way to market your business, they are also a great way to sell products and drive traffic to your website and clients to your actual practice. 

Click here to read more about content writing for dentists.

Most people also try to fix their problems at home or attempt to avoid them and doing that also starts online. This is where quality content comes in. Your content needs to be good quality so when you start your email marketing campaigns, your patients have good content to read when your emails direct them there. 

Email marketing for dentists helps practitioners to: 

  • Provide quality and helpful content 
  • Engage existing and potential patients 
  • Increase revenue 
  • Prove personalised experiences
  • Advertise discounts, deals and promotions
  • Increase brand awareness

Click here to read more about marketing a dental practice.

Does email marketing work?

While email marketing has a lot of competition in the marketing department, it is undoubtedly a marketing method that still works, while still being very cost effective. Companies that utilise email, and do it well, can reap the benefits that come from that market technique.

Sending mass emails to your marketing list can increase your brand awareness, keep existing patients engaged, help retain patients and promote your special offers. 

Action Plan

Email marketing is a powerful tool for dental practices to engage with patients, provide quality content, increase revenue, and promote brand awareness in a cost-effective manner, leveraging the online platform to reach and retain clientele effectively.

Contact us to find out more

4 types of marketing emails 

We have outlined the main four types of popular email marketing campaigns and how you can use them effectively to help your business grow: 

Email newsletters

One of the most popular and common forms of email marketing are regular email newsletters. As a dental practice, you can use an email newsletter to provide your patients with helpful knowledge and updates. 

It is important to add value to all your patients’ inboxes. 

To do this, you must create engaging content, including new blogs, how-tos and announcements of new services or deals and prices. 

Send a few articles, blogs or videos out in a newsletter once a month. Maybe include a promotion or two. Behind-the-scenes stories of your team and the practice will also help build a relationship with your patients. 

Acquisition Emails

Acquisition emails can help your dental practice acquire more patients by reaching out to those who have opted to receive your emails but have not yet converted into consistent patients. 

By creating attractive offers, discounts and deals, as well as informative content, you can show all those in your email list that perhaps have missed their routine checkups or have been avoiding the dentist. Or, perhaps simply showing those who are unsure of which local dentist they should go to, the value of becoming an active patient at your dental practice. 

Acquisition emails are a great way to move all potential leads through the conversion funnel a lot faster and grow your patient base as well as drive additional revenue and target users who have expressed some interest at some point in what your practice has to offer. 

Promotional Emails 

Promotional emails are one of the greatest ways to drive new signups, sales and new service offerings for your dental practice. Promotional emails include offers that both entice and encourage your target clients to buy a new service. Use promotional emails to reward engaged subscribers with exclusive email only offers, drive new products you are selling or any new services you are offering. Cosmetic procedures that are hot and trending, such as Invisalign, are always procedures that many potential patients are always on the fence about. Therefore, offering promotions on services like this helps entice those patients into buying into that service.

Action Points

  • Email newsletters: Provide valuable content to engage patients and keep them informed about updates and services.
  • Acquisition emails: Offer deals and discounts to encourage potential patients to schedule appointments and become active patients.
  • Promotional emails: Drive signups and sales by offering exclusive deals on services like cosmetic procedures.
  • Retention emails: Maintain relationships with existing patients through personalized messages and loyalty rewards to encourage repeat visits.

Benefits of email marketing for dentists

Email marketing is a powerful tool that can be used to engage, acquire and retain patients for your dental practice. By implementing a successful email marketing campaign, your dental practice can benefit greatly. It is important to select the correct email marketing campaign to achieve your goals with this type of marketing. 

Build brand awareness

Before you email your patient list, take some time to design your email template. You need to make sure your emails are consistent in style, reflect your brand and look professional. A poorly formatted, plain email may be worse than no email at all.

Include your brand colours and logo, make your email reflect the design and look of your website. Create a consistent brand and get it out there via email.

Drive traffic to your website

Remember, when your target audience finds your email content interesting or valuable, they are a lot more likely to share it, forward it on or click on your links (make sure to always include your social media links and share buttons).

By emailing a blog, or even just a section of it, and encouraging audiences to click the link, you drive more traffic to your website. You can also increase your social media following and engagement by encouraging them to share and link them on your profiles.

Click here to read more about creating a website for dentists.

Build a relationship

As your business is a dental practice, it often means that interactions with your patients can be very limited in the sense that they will only ever see you for scheduled visits. However, this does not mean that you can’t build impactful and lasting relationships with these patients outside of these appointments.

Keep in touch 

Being a dental practice, is it quite easy to overlook the importance of keeping in touch with your patients when at best, you will only ever see them every 6-12 months. However, with the use of email marketing, you can fill the void in between those routine visits and build trust and relationships with your patients. 

In doing so, you are providing a bigger service than simply taking care of their teeth every appointment. Depending on your email campaign, you can provide patients with various helpful tricks tips, and information that is useful to them, which will make them want to stay subscribed to you. Email marketing will help you create a community of patients.

Action Points

  • Build brand awareness: Design professional and branded emails to ensure consistency and professionalism, which helps in establishing your practice’s identity and recognition among patients.
  • Drive traffic to your website: Share valuable content in your emails and encourage recipients to click on links to visit your website, which boosts traffic and engagement.
  • Build relationships: Email marketing allows you to stay connected with patients even between appointments, fostering relationships and enhancing patient loyalty.

Top tips on email marketing for dentists and dental practices. 

Building a subscriber list 

The only way to make full use of email marketing is to have a subscriber list. You need to build a list of contacts that you can start sending emails to. 

Create a simple contact form on your homepage, called something like ‘Sign up to our newsletter’, or ‘Special offers’. Keep the form as simple as possible, all you need is a name and an email address. You will get more sign-ups that way. 

Include requests to sign up for marketing emails in your communication with new and existing patients. Add these to your email marketing list as well. 

Maintain relationships with current patients 

Now you have your patients emails, you are able to contact your patients and you are given an opportunity to build their trust. You need to prove that you are using their contact information to send them useful and insightful emails, not useless junk or constant emails bombarding them. To keep the patients you already have, you need to keep in frequent contact with them while establishing a regular and personal connection with them. 

It is an absolute game changer for your dental business if you begin to reach out to your customers and provide them with the relevant information they need before they even realise they need it. 

While it is imperative to make a routine for when your marketing emails go out to your patients, you need to make sure that you are not overwhelming your subscribers with too many emails. That’s when you will start to lose your following!

Keep your newsletters monthly, keep your promotions spaced out, don’t make yourself blend in with the other emails. 

Targeted and personalised emails 

The content of your emails are what matters the most. The way you choose to personalise them will help you build relationships with your existing and potential patients. Segmented emails work the best, so your emails appeal to both types of patients. This ensures that each patient on your subscribers list receives content that is both relevant and useful to them. 

A great example of this is age-appropriate content. This may not mean what you think it means. For example, patients over the age of 50 are less likely to be interested in receiving information about braces like Invsalign. They may be more interested in reading about how their gums change over time and your services on dental implants. 

Offering content to your patients of all ages will make each patient feel as if you as a business cares about all of them individually and you are working to build on that relationship and trust.

Sloppy or irrelevant content can have an adverse effect as this will push your patients to unsubscribe. If they are subscribed to your email listing, it needs to be because you are providing them with something of value to them. The last thing you want is for your emails to be marked as spam. 

Personalising your emails is a must. Feeling valued is what you want your patients to feel when they receive your emails. Your goal is to make your patients feel like they matter. Your second goal is for your emails to help build your name and dental practice as a brand. Make sure your content reflects you as a business. 

Personalising your emails can consist of small things such as addressing each contact by their name instead of the vague ‘sir/madam’, sending birthday messages with offers or seasonal offers. This can be done quite simply in all mass email platforms once you link it to your contact lists. 

You can even create automated emails to specific categories of patients. For instance, you could send information on children’s dentistry automatically to only patients with children. You could also send information on gum disease and dental care to all patients who have seen the hygienist. 

All these can make an immense difference to how your patients feel about your practice and also how they view their dentist (as many are terrified). 

What is the most important about the content of your emails and all other content that you post, is your tone. It is important that you convey the appropriate tone that reflects your practice while you are addressing your patients. These details are what can leave a lasting impression on your patients. 

Click here to listen to our podcast episode about marketing to millennials.

Contact us to find out more

Keep patients up to date

Your emails can often consist of special events, offers or discounts you are offering at your practice. This is the main reason why many of your patients will be interested in your emails. Lets face it, dental work is not cheap and everyone loves a good discount!

Providing updates on anything new happening in your practice, such as new equipment, new services or any new staff, anything to get your patients attention and keep your patients informed. Newsletters are a great way of doing this. 

Let patients know about life events in the team as well. This creates a sense of community and will bring you closer to your patients. Birthdays, engagements, weddings, these are all great little additions to liven up an existing newsletter.

Educate your patients

You can use your email marketing to educate your subscribers. This can be through concisely worded emails or short descriptions with links to blogs and articles on your website. Linking your blog and website content can also be personalised to specific patients and you can align them to blog posts that are most relevant to them. 

For instance, send that blog you wrote on top tips for looking after your braces to all your orthodontic patients. 

Think about what questions you get asked a lot in the practice. What problems do you keep seeing in oral health? What are the little tips and tricks you know about brushing and flossing that patients probably don’t? Tell them about it!  

Optimise for all devices 

No matter what sector your business is, you need to be up-to-date with how you promote your services online. This includes ensuring that your email marketing campaign is optimised for mobile devices. Over half of emails that are sent are opened on mobile phones, therefore, it would make sense (and be in your best interest) to have the emails you send optimised for people that are accessing their emails from either a smartphone or tablet. 

The recipients are more likely to open and actually read the content of the email if the email is formatted in the right way for them to view it. 

While doing this, there are a few things to consider. Be sure to understand that the screen sizes are different. A laptop screen and a smartphone have very different screen sizes which is what you need to consider. You need to make sure that the content of your emails are clear and visible and not cut off around the screen. 

Include Call-to-actions (CTAs)

With any content that you write, at some point you need to encourage a call-to-action. A call-to-action (CTA) is simply a button like ‘call now’ or ‘further information’. Calls-to-action are a great way to create a relationship with your audience and get them to take an action you want. 

They are also a great way of pushing traffic to your website.

The point of your email marketing campaigns are to get your subscribers to come to you in some way to get you more business. This is why calls to action are so important. It allows your message to be read, then it gives your clients a way to come to you and create some form of contact. In essence, it is a technique that can make your patients become more responsive and engaged with your practice. 

Calls-to-actions can be a very useful technique helping customers along the purchase process and it can also be helpful in attracting new patients to your practice. 

Having a CTA, like a referral system, in place alongside the emails that you send will be helpful in monitoring how well the emails are doing and how effectively they are working. 

Monitor progress

There are various ways to monitor and track the progress of your email campaigns. These powerful analytics are able to track how many of your patients are actually opening your emails and clicking through the links. 

Monitoring the progress of your email marketing allows you to make any necessary tweaks and changes if they are necessary. This ensures that you are getting the most that you can from using email marketing for marketing your dental practice. 

There are some great ways to measure the effectiveness of your newsletter. You need to analyse whether your content helps build a relationship with your patients and subscribers, increases retention and engagement and strengthens patient loyalty. 

Does your content (like blogs and videos) get shared or liked on social media? Does your engagement on social media or your website traffic see a noticeable uptick after sending out a newsletter? Are recipients opening the email and clicking the link within? 

Action Point

  • Build a subscriber list: Create simple sign-up forms on your website and encourage patients to subscribe to your newsletters or special offers.
  • Maintain relationships with current patients: Send useful and insightful emails to build trust and keep patients engaged, but avoid overwhelming them with too many emails.
  • Targeted and personalized emails: Segment your email list and personalize content to appeal to different patient demographics, ensuring relevance and usefulness.
  • Keep patients up to date: Share updates about your practice, special events, offers, and any new services to keep patients informed and engaged.
  • Educate your patients: Use email marketing to provide valuable information and tips on oral health care, linking to relevant blog posts or articles on your website.
  • Optimize for all devices: Ensure your emails are optimized for mobile devices to accommodate the increasing number of users accessing emails on smartphones and tablets.
  • Include Call-to-actions (CTAs): Encourage patient engagement and interaction with clear CTAs, such as ‘call now’ or ‘learn more’, to drive traffic to your website or encourage bookings.
  • Monitor progress: Track the effectiveness of your email campaigns through analytics to measure open rates, click-through rates, and engagement, making necessary adjustments to improve performance.

You can check out our articles here samera learning centre.

Our Expert Opinion

“We don’t use email marketing as much for the Neem Tree Dental Practices as we do for Samera. However, whenever we have a special offer or important news we always rely on emails. We also often send emails out at Christmas, Eid and Diwali to our patients just to wish them the best and keep us in their minds.

We also use email marketing whenever we have an special offer like the Invisalign open days we sometimes hold. They’ve always worked well and Front of House + Emails usually = patients through the door.

Just make sure you have all your GDPR ducks in a row and don’t send emails out to your entire database – only those who have given the green light for you to contact them!”

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.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

A Guide to Income Tax and National Insurance

Income Tax

The 2021/2022 tax year begins 6 April 2021 and ends 5 April 2022 and the following will explain how most individuals will have to pay their income tax:

  • 0% on the first £12,570 (personal allowance)
  • 20% on the next £37,700 (basic-rate band)
  • 40% above £50,270 (Higher-rate threshold)

Basic-rate taxpayer explained

Arun earns a salary of £30,000. This is how his income for 2021/2022 can be calculated:

  • 0% on first 12,570 = £0
  • 20% on the next £17,430 = £3,486
  • Total income tax bill = £3,486

Higher-rate taxpayer explained

Arun is a sole trader and had profits of £60,000. This is how his income tax for 2021/22 can be calculated:

0% on first £12,570 = £0

20% on next £37,700 = £7,540

40% on final £9,730 = £3,892

Total income tax bill = £11,432

Read our top 10 tax saving tips here.

Marriage Allowance

Marriage tax allowance allows you to transfer £1,260 of your personal allowance (this is the same amount you can earn tax-free each tax year) to your spouse or civil partner if they earn more than you. It is free to apply for Marriage Allowance. This can reduce your tax bill by £252 every tax year.

In order to benefit from this allowance as a couple, you need to earn less than your partner and have an income of less than £12,570. Your partner’s income has to range between £12,502 and £50,270 for you to be eligible.

You are able to backdate your claim to include any tax year since 5 April 2017 that you were eligible for Marriage Allowance.

In order to register for Marriage Allowance register at: www.gov.uk/marriageallowance

Different incomes and their tax levels

Income between £100,000 and £125,140

If your income exceeds the £100,00, your personal income tax allowance is gradually taken away from you. The more you earn, the less you get for your personal allowance. It is reduced by £1 for every £2 you earn above £100,000. This means that if your income exceeds £125,140 this year, you will have no personal allowance at all.

It is reduced by £1 every £2 you earn after £100,000.

If you are earning over £100,00 this tax will really take its toll on you.

Paying 60% tax

If you are earning a high income of £100,00 or more, the effect is that anyone earning this or higher will face a hefty marginal income tax rate of 60%.

Income over £150,000

Once your income rises above £150,000, you will have to start paying income tax at 45% on most types of your income. This is also known as the additional rate of tax.

You can find out more about how to reduce your tax here.

What income is taxed?

The above tax rates apply to most types on income including:

  • Salaries
  • Pensions
  • Self-employment profits
  • Rental profits
  • Sole traders and partnerships

Many types of income are also subject to national insurance, whereas some types of income are subject to different income tax rates.

Contact us to find out more

Dividends

Many individuals receive dividends from stock market companies or from their own private companies. You may get dividend payments if you own shares in a company. You can earn some of your dividend income tax free each year.

You do not have to pay tax on any dividend income that falls within your personal allowance. This is the amount of income you earn per tax year that is tax free.

You do not have to pay tax on dividends from share in an ISA or any dividends received from a pension. You also get a dividend allowance each year.

You only pay tax on any dividend income above the dividend allowance.

For dividends that are taxable, the tax rates on those dividends are usually lower than other types of income. This is due to the fact that dividends are paid out after companies’ after-tax profits. This essentially means that dividend income is taxed twice.

Dividend tax credits have been abolished since 2016. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to gross up your dividends to calculate your tax. It is now a lot simpler, as all tax calculations now work with cash dividends.

Although that is great news, it also comes with some bad news: new tax rates for cash dividends have been introduced. These new rates are 7.5% higher than the previous ones. However, due to the ‘dividend allowance’, the first £2,000 dividend income you receive is completely tax free. Regardless of income, all taxpayers can benefit from this allowance.

For those receiving dividends, these following tax rates apply:

  • Basic-rate taxpayers: 7.5%
  • Higher-rate taxpayers: 32.5%
  • Additional-rate taxpayers: 38.1%

These rates will always be subject to the highest possible tax rate as dividends are always treated as the top slice of your income.

Click here to read our blog on 10 tax saving tips for vets.

How dividend allowance works

The dividend allowance is available for anyone (regardless of income) who has dividend income. The dividend allowance means that you will not have to pay tax on the first £5,000 of the dividend income. The dividend allowance is not given as an additional standalone tax-free amount of £2,000. 

Instead, it usually uses up some of your basic-rate band of higher-rate band. Dividends aren’t treated as sole income; they are treated as the top addition to your income and is, therefore, taxed at your highest marginal rate. The dividend allowance exempts the bottom £2,000 of that income from tax.

This means that if you have dividend income taxed at both x7.5% and 32.5%, the allowance will exempt some of the income taxed at 7.5%.

The recent changes in dividend tax rates includes an increase that was designed to extract more tax from those company owners who take most of their income as dividends. The main beneficiaries are higher-rate taxpayers and additional-rate taxpayers who receive relatively small amounts of income which is usually accumulated from stock market investments.

Changes in tax laws over the years has meant that if your investments were not stored and sheltered in a pension, an ISA or a capital trust you would have had to pay 25% or 30.6% tax on all dividend income. However, at present, you can receive £2,000 tax free.

Action Points

  • Review your dividend income to determine if it falls within the £2,000 dividend allowance for tax-free treatment.
  • Understand that the dividend allowance consumes part of your basic or higher-rate tax band, rather than acting as a separate tax-free amount.
  • Assess how your dividends are taxed, considering they are added on top of your other income and taxed at your highest marginal rate.
  • If applicable, identify portions of your dividend income that may be taxed at different rates (e.g., 7.5% and 32.5%) and apply the allowance to minimize tax liability.
  • Stay informed about recent changes in dividend tax rates, especially if you are a company owner who receives significant income through dividends.
  • Consider financial planning strategies such as investing in pensions, ISAs, or capital trusts to shelter dividend income from higher tax rates.

Income tax examples

Example 1:

In 2021/22 Brendan has a pension income of £49,270 and dividend income of £6,000.

The first £12,570 of his pension is covered by his personal allowance and the next £36,700 is taxed at 20%.

This leaves him with £1,000 of basic-rate band remaining.

£2,000 of his dividend income is tax free. The first £1,000 uses up what’s left of his basic-rate band (preventing him from paying 7.5% tax), leaving £1,000 of dividend allowance to use in the higher-rate band (preventing him from paying 32.5% tax).

The final £4,000 of dividend income is taxed at the 32.5% higher rate. 10

Example 2:

In 2021/22 Julia has £60,000 of rental income and £3,000 of dividend income. Her rental income uses up her personal allowance and basic-rate band and some of it is taxed at the 40% higher rate.

The first £2,000 of her dividend income is covered by the dividend allowance, leaving £1,000 subject to tax at the 32.5% higher rate.

The dividend allowance does not use up her basic-rate band because none of her dividends fall into the basic-rate band.

Example 3:

In 2021/22 Leon has a £130,000 salary and £50,000 dividend. With this much income his personal allowance is completely withdrawn.

The first £2,000 of his dividend income is covered by the dividend allowance, leaving £18,000 taxed at the 32.5% higher rate. Along with his salary this takes Leon up to the £150,000 additional rate threshold.

The final £30,000 of his dividend income is taxed at 38.1%.

Note, Leon has dividend income taxed at both the higher rate and additional rate. The dividend allowance reduces the amount of his dividend income taxed at the 32.5% higher rate.

Example 4:

In 2021/22 Martin has a £100,000 salary, £50,000 of rental income and £50,000 of dividend income. With this much income his personal allowance is completely withdrawn.

His salary and rental income take him up to the £150,000 additional rate threshold. The first £2,000 of his dividend income is covered by the dividend allowance, leaving £48,000 taxed at the 38.1% additional rate. The dividend allowance reduces the amount of his dividend income taxed at the additional rate.

UK tax on foreign dividends

Buying into shares worldwide is very common these days, particularly within US companies. This impacts your dividend income as these foreign dividends are often subject to withholding tax.

Usually, the overseas company will deduct tax before actually paying you the dividend. It also works in your favour that the UK has double tax treaties with many countries overseas that reduces the amount of payable foreign tax, this is usually between 10% and 15%.

The dividend withholding tax rate in the US is normally 30% but due to the double tax agreement between the UK and US, the amount of withholding tax can now be reduced to 15%. This can be done by completing form W-8BEN, issued by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In many cases, mostly with online investment, stockbrokers will handle these forms for you on your behalf to ensure a smooth process for you.

This double tax agreement also provides a specific exemption for pension schemes. This means that US dividends can be received tax-free if the shares are held inside a pension scheme. If your overseas shares are held outside a pension scheme (e.g., SIPP) or an ISA, your income from your overseas dividends will be subject to UK income tax. The double tax agreement does not recognise ISAs. ISA investors will still be subject to the 15% withholding tax.

You may be able to claim Foreign Tax Credit Relief when you submit your tax return. This allows the overseas tax paid to be deducted from the owed amount of UK tax. However, the amount deducted cannot exceed the UK tax payable on the income.

Contact us to find out more

Interest Income

Personal Savings Allowance

Your Personal Savings Allowance is provided at a 0% tax rate for up to £1,000 of your interest income if you are a basic-rate taxpayer and up to £500 if you are a higher-rate taxpayer. The more you earn, the more your personal saving allowance decreases. Additional rate taxpayers do not receive this allowance.

The amount of income that falls within your savings allowance will still count towards your basic-rate or higher-rate limit and can, therefore, affect the level of savings allowance you are entitled to and the rate of tax payable on any savings income you receive in excess of this allowance.

The starting rate band

There is a 0% starting rate for up to £5,000 of interest income. However, in most cases only those who are on low incomes can use it. You are only able to benefit from this 0% starting rate this tax year if your non-savings income is less than £17,570 (this is £12,570 personal allowance + £5,000 starting rate band). Normally, your non-savings income will include your salary and pensions, but it does not include your dividends.

Many of you reading this probably won’t be able to use the 0% starting rate this is due to you having more than £17,570 of non-savings income. However, there may be another option for you. If you are unable to benefit from starting rate band, you may be able to benefit from the Personal Saving Allowance.

Future income tax changes

Rishi Sunak has promised that after the devasting affects of the pandemic, our government is not going to raise the rates of income tax, national insurance, or VAT. This means that most income tax thresholds and allowances will be frozen until 5th April 2026. This includes:

–          Personal allowance £12,570

–          Income tax higher rate 

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Further Information on Accounts & Tax

Our team of specialist accountants and tax experts can help manage, process and structure your business’s finances. From management accounts and payroll & pensions to tax planning and cash flow management, we can take care of the full back-office function of your business.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the team to find out how we can make your accounts & tax easier, quicker and cheaper.

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

How to Start a Dental Practice

In this hour-long webinar, Arun and Jyoti discuss the essential things you need to know to start a successful, 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.

How to Automate Your Finances with Xero and Hubdoc

In this webinar, Nathan takes you through the software that Samera use for all of our clients to automate their financial function and streamline their accounts.

Further Information on Accounts & Tax

Our team of specialist accountants and tax experts can help manage, process and structure your business’s finances. From management accounts and payroll & pensions to tax planning and cash flow management, we can take care of the full back-office function of your business.

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the team to find out how we can make your accounts & tax easier, quicker and cheaper.

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

Should I Buy Leasehold or Freehold?

In these episodes of the Dental Business Guide podcast, we take a look at the differences between leasehold and freehold properties and which one is better for a dental practice.

You can listen to all of the the Dental Business Guide podcast episodes here.

I often get the question should I get a leasehold or a freehold for a new start up practice? Whilst getting a freehold is something that many want, it’s not always the best premises to get.

Choosing how you own the place where you run your dental practice is a really important decision. There are two main ways people usually own property: leasehold and freehold. Each has its own good and not-so-good parts. The choice you make depends on your situation. In this guide, we’ll look into the differences between leasehold and freehold, their pros and cons, and what you should think about before making a final decision. Whether you’re just starting out or planning to move your practice, this guide will help you find the best way to own your dental space.

Understanding the difference between leasehold and freehold

When starting your dental practice, a big decision is whether to get a leasehold or freehold property. It’s crucial to understand the difference between these options to make a smart choice that aligns with your long-term goals and finances.

Let’s break down the terms. A leasehold property is like renting—you pay the owner to use the space for a set time. With a freehold property, you own both the land and building, giving you full control without dealing with a landlord.

Both options have their pros and cons. Leasehold properties often have lower upfront costs, which is great for new practices or those with limited funds. They also offer flexibility for moving or expanding. However, lease agreements come with restrictions, and you may face challenges when the lease ends.

On the other hand, owning a freehold property provides stability and potential value growth. You have full control to make changes and avoid ongoing rent payments. But the initial investment is high, and selling a freehold property can be more complicated than ending a lease.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your unique situation, finances, and long-term goals. To make a successful decision for your practice, carefully consider the pros and cons of each option and seek professional advice.

Click here to read our article on Should I Start or Buy a Dental Practice?

Pros and cons of leasehold for dental practices

When setting up or moving a dental practice, a crucial decision is whether to go for a leasehold or freehold property. Before you decide, it’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Let’s look at the perks of leasing a dental practice building. One major advantage is the flexibility it offers. Leasing lets you choose a location that suits your needs, whether it’s in a busy commercial area or a quieter suburban spot. Leases also usually have shorter terms, making it easier to move or adjust to changing business needs.

Another plus is the lower initial costs linked with leasehold properties. Leasing generally requires a smaller upfront investment compared to buying a freehold property, making it especially beneficial for new dental practices or those with limited finances.

However, there are some drawbacks to leasehold properties that you should be aware of. The possibility of regular rent increases is a significant downside. Since leases often have set terms, landlords might raise the rent at the end of each term, impacting your profitability. You might also face restrictions on making changes to the property, as these alterations would need the landlord’s approval.

Moreover, leasehold properties come with the inherent risk of lease termination or renewal. If the landlord decides not to renew the lease or sell the property while you’re still there, you could encounter challenges based on your lease terms. Such situations have the potential to disrupt your dental practice, forcing you to relocate, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

In the end, whether you choose a leasehold or freehold for your dental practice depends on your specific circumstances and long-term goals. Analyzing your finances, growth expectations, and desired level of control over the property is crucial. Seeking advice from professionals like realtors, attorneys, and accountants can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision that aligns with your practice’s needs and aspirations.

Check out our podcast on How to set up or buy a dental practice

Flexibility in location and premises

When starting your dental practice, a big decision is whether to go for a leasehold or freehold property. This choice affects where you can set up and how you can use the space.

Location is the fundamental point when doing a start-up. If a freehold is available, ask yourself, why is it available in the first place? Is it because the current owner cannot rent it out, as it’s not in a great position or location? Or is it in a bad state of repair that needs much work to make it habitable?

Of course, a freehold in a strong location usually features a higher price tag, but sometimes you can get a good deal, but it’s rare, even in these times.

Leasehold properties offer flexibility in choosing a location. You can pick a spot that’s convenient for your patients, whether it’s in a busy city center or a bustling suburban area. Leaseholds often come ready to use, saving you money on setting up the space.

On the flip side, choosing a freehold property gives you long-term stability and control over your practice’s space. With a freehold, you own the entire property and can make any changes without asking the landlord. This lets you customize the space to fit your needs and create a unique environment that reflects your brand.

Consider your future plans and the growth potential of your dental practice. If you expect to expand your services or patient base, a freehold property may offer more room for growth compared to a leasehold, where you might be limited by the lease terms. However, keep in mind that freehold properties usually come with higher initial and ongoing maintenance costs, so it’s crucial to think about the financial side before deciding.

Ultimately, your specific needs and goals should guide your choice between a leasehold and freehold property. Consider factors like location, long-term plans, and financial feasibility as you weigh the pros and cons of each option. Making an informed decision ensures that you choose the option that best suits your practice and puts you in a good position for the long haul.

Lower upfront costs

When deciding between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice, the initial costs are a crucial factor.

Cheap rent, or a cheap freehold, usually means it is not going to be in a strong enough location to get the new patient visibility you desire, ultimately, you do get what you pay for. Whilst it may be tempting to get some premises for a squat, especially as there are so many empty units at the moment, do your research and make sure you choose a strong location with high visibility.

Leasehold arrangements usually mean renting a space for a set period, often with the option to renew the lease. Compared to buying a freehold property, leasehold options typically have lower upfront costs. Instead of a big lump sum payment, you’ll likely need to pay a security deposit or advance rent, making it more affordable for new dental practices or those with limited capital.

Moreover, leasehold agreements often make the landlord responsible for the property’s upkeep and repairs. This can shield you from unexpected expenses related to building renovations or fixes, as those are usually the landlord’s responsibility.

On the flip side, freehold properties involve buying both the building and the land. While this may require a significant upfront investment, there could be financial benefits in the long run. By owning the property, you have the potential for its value to increase over time, and you can also make changes or additions without needing approval from a landlord.

The decision between leasehold and freehold should be based on your specific situation, financial capacity, and the long-term goals of your dental practice. It’s crucial to carefully assess the upfront costs and consider how they align with your budget and plans.

Potential limitations and restrictions

When picking a leasehold or freehold property for your dental practice, it’s crucial to think about the potential downsides and restrictions that come with each choice.

One possible restriction of a leasehold property is the length of the lease agreement. Depending on what you negotiate with the landlord, you might only be able to use the property for a set period. This can limit your flexibility and long-term security, as you might need to rethink or find a new space when the lease ends. Also, leasehold properties often come with rules set by the landlord or property management, restricting certain activities or changes you can make.

In contrast, freehold properties give you ownership and control. Owning a freehold property means you can do whatever you want with the space without needing permission. This is especially valuable if you have specific needs for your practice layout or equipment. However, keep in mind that owning a freehold property also means taking on responsibilities and costs like property taxes, maintenance, and repairs.

Another potential obstacle to consider is the financial aspect. Leasehold properties often involve regular rental payments, which can impact your cash flow. On the other hand, buying a freehold property usually requires a larger upfront investment, including mortgage payments if financing is needed. To figure out which option is more financially viable for your dental practice, carefully assess your financial situation and projections.

Strong locations in town centers still command good rents. Yes, they may have dropped, but going in with a ridiculously low offer for a premium space may be tempting, but it’s likely to be ignored promptly too. Do your research properly, see who are the other occupiers, what terms can you realistically negotiate, are you in competition with others. Location is paramount when doing a start-up. Get this wrong and you will be facing an uphill battle from day one.

Ultimately, the choice between leasehold and freehold depends on various factors, including your long-term goals, financial capabilities, and the specific terms offered for each option. It’s advisable to consult with professionals like realtors, lawyers, and financial advisors who can provide valuable guidance and help you make an informed decision that aligns with your unique needs and circumstances.

Risk of rental increases and lease renewals

When deciding between a leasehold or freehold property for your dental practice, it’s crucial to think about the potential risks tied to rental increases and lease renewals.

Leasehold properties often come with the downside of regular rent reviews. These reviews can lead to significant hikes in rental costs, impacting your profit and long-term financial stability. It’s important to carefully review your lease agreement, especially regarding how often rent reviews occur and the potential magnitude of increases.

Lease renewals can also be a gamble for dental practice owners. When your lease term ends, negotiating a new lease with the property owner may be required. This can bring uncertainties and potential disruptions to your business operations. If property owners decide to raise rent, change lease terms, or not renew the lease at all, you might have to relocate your practice.

Choosing a freehold property, on the other hand, eliminates the risk of rental increases and lease extensions. As the sole owner of the property, you avoid the uncertainties that come with lease agreements. This provides more stability and allows you to plan for the long-term growth and success of your dental practice without worrying about unexpected changes in rental terms.

In the end, your dental practice’s specific situation and long-term goals should drive your choice between leasehold and freehold. It’s crucial to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits associated with rental increases and lease renewals when making this important decision. Consulting with a legal expert and considering your financial capabilities will help you make an informed choice that best suits the unique needs of your practice.

Pros and cons of freehold for dental practices

Deciding between a freehold or leasehold property is a big deal if you want to own a dental practice. It’s crucial to think about the pros and cons of freehold before making a decision, even though both options have their perks.

One major advantage of owning a freehold property for your dental practice is the security it brings. You have the freedom to make any changes to the property without asking the landlord, as you fully own it with a freehold. This is especially helpful if you have long-term plans for your practice and want complete control over its physical space.

Additionally, owning a freehold property can be a wise investment. Property values usually go up over time, and if you decide to sell your dental practice later on, you might benefit from the increased property value. This can give you more financial flexibility and a significant return on your initial investment.

However, freehold ownership comes with its own considerations. The upfront cost of buying a property outright is a significant downside. It requires a substantial capital investment, which may be challenging for some dental professionals, especially those starting their practice or looking to expand.

Moreover, as the freehold owner, you’re solely responsible for the property’s upkeep. This means you’ll have to take care of any needed renovations or repairs, which could cost you more money and take up more of your time.

In summary, choosing a freehold property for your dental practice can provide a sense of security, investment potential, and full control over the space. However, the upfront costs and ongoing responsibilities of freehold ownership need careful consideration. By weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals and financial capabilities.

Did You Know?


  • Rarely owned by the dentist: A 2022 survey by the Dental Elite found that only 40% of UK dental practices are freehold, highlighting the prevalence of the leasehold model. (Source: https://dentalelite.co.uk/)
  • Potential hidden costs: Leasehold contracts often involve ground rent and service charges, which can significantly impact your annual expenses. (Source: https://www.ft-associates.com/)
  • Potential for additional income: Owning the freehold allows you to rent out unused space to generate additional income, such as by partnering with another healthcare professional. (Source: https://dentalelite.co.uk/)
  • Greater flexibility for expansion: Owning the freehold simplifies obtaining planning permission for property extensions or renovations to accommodate your practice’s growth. (Source: https://www.ft-associates.com/)
  • Impact on borrowing costs: Lenders typically offer lower interest rates for freehold properties, reducing your long-term financing costs. (Source: https://www.ft-associates.com/)
  • “Marriage value” can be significant: This additional value, reflecting the specific use as a dental practice, can substantially increase the property’s selling price. (Source: https://dentalelite.co.uk/)

Full ownership and control over the property

When starting your dental practice, one of the major decisions you’ll face is whether to have complete control over the property or go for a leasehold arrangement. This choice can have a long-term impact on the financial growth and stability of your practice.

Full ownership, also known as freehold, means you have total control over the property. You don’t need permission from a landlord to make any changes or improvements to meet your specific needs. This level of control allows you to create a space that reflects your practice’s brand and vision.

Moreover, full ownership offers the potential for long-term capital appreciation. As the property owner, you can benefit from any increase in its value over time, which can be a valuable asset for your business. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about rising rental costs or the possibility of being asked to leave when your lease ends.

However, it’s crucial to consider the financial impact of full ownership. Buying a property outright requires a significant upfront investment, which may not be feasible for every dental practice. Before choosing this option, carefully evaluate your financial situation and ability to secure financing.

Also, owning a property comes with additional responsibilities. You’ll be responsible for all costs related to upkeep, repairs, insurance, and property taxes. When assessing the financial viability of full ownership, it’s important to factor in these ongoing expenses.

In the end, the decision between full ownership and a leasehold arrangement depends on your specific circumstances and long-term goals for your dental practice. While full ownership provides unmatched control and potential financial benefits, it comes with a significant upfront investment and ongoing obligations. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons, consult with experts, and make an informed decision that aligns with the needs and expectations of your practice.

Potential for long-term financial benefits

When deciding between a leasehold or freehold property for your dental practice, it’s crucial to think about the potential long-term financial benefits. Each option has its pros and cons, so it’s important to assess which aligns best with your business goals and financial situation.

Leasehold properties often provide more flexibility in terms of location and budget. With a lease agreement, you can choose an ideal spot for your dental practice without the upfront costs of buying a property. This can be especially helpful if you’re just starting out or want to focus on marketing and equipment. Additionally, leasehold properties may come with shared maintenance responsibilities, reducing potential financial burdens in the long run.

On the flip side, freehold properties offer the potential for long-term financial stability and value growth. You have complete control over how the property is used and developed because you own it. You can benefit from both rental income and potential capital gains as property values increase over time. Owning a freehold property also gives you the flexibility to make changes and improvements without needing permission from a landlord.

However, the financial implications of owning a freehold property should be considered. Upfront costs, such as a larger initial investment and ongoing maintenance expenses, need to be factored into your decision-making process. Additionally, the property market can be unpredictable, and the value of your freehold property may fluctuate over time, impacting your long-term financial benefits.

In the end, the choice between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice depends on various factors, including your financial capabilities, business objectives, and long-term plans. To thoroughly evaluate your options and make an informed decision that aligns with the requirements and goals of your practice, it’s recommended to consult with a property specialist or financial advisor.

Higher upfront costs and maintenance responsibilities

When choosing between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice, a crucial factor to consider is the higher upfront costs and ongoing maintenance responsibilities associated with each option.

In the case of a leasehold, you might need to pay a lease premium and other upfront expenses like agent and legal fees. This initial financial commitment can be significant, requiring careful financial planning. You might also have to provide a personal guarantee or a rental deposit, adding to the initial costs.

Moreover, as a leasehold tenant, you’re responsible for ongoing upkeep. This includes following lease terms related to maintenance and improvements, as well as handling property repairs and maintenance. These costs vary based on the property’s condition and lease agreement terms. It’s important to factor in these ongoing costs when considering a leasehold option for your dental practice.

On the flip side, freehold ownership comes with a higher upfront cost but eliminates the need for ongoing rental payments. When purchasing a freehold property, you should consider the purchase price, legal fees, inspections, and potential renovation costs. Although the initial investment may be higher, you gain the advantage of complete ownership and control over the property.

Maintenance responsibilities for a freehold property rest solely on the owner. As the owner, you have the freedom to manage and maintain the property according to your preferences and needs. However, it’s crucial to allocate sufficient funds for any necessary repairs or improvements over time.

Your preferences, long-term goals, and financial situation will all play a role in deciding between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice. Before making an informed decision about which option is best for your dental practice, carefully evaluate the higher initial costs and maintenance obligations associated with each option.

Limited flexibility for relocation

When deciding between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice, consider how much flexibility you might need for potential moves.

With a leasehold property, you’re bound by the lease agreement’s terms, often for a set period. If you decide to relocate your dental practice during the lease, you could face challenges and costs associated with breaking the agreement. Moving a dental practice involves keeping patients, finding a suitable location, and transferring equipment and records. So, if you anticipate needing flexibility in the future, a leasehold property might not be the best fit.

On the flip side, opting for a freehold property provides more freedom and control. You can move your dental practice to a new location without being tied to a lease agreement because you own the property and can sell or lease it. This flexibility is valuable if you foresee the need to expand, downsize, or relocate your practice.

However, owning a freehold property comes with its own responsibilities, like covering the costs of repairs, upkeep, and property taxes. Owning a dental practice can be expensive, and it’s crucial to keep these factors in mind.

Are freeholds available in the UK? It depends where you are in the country. If you are in central London, then there’s not a lot of freeholds around. There are mostly leaseholds. But if you are out outside London, then there can be freeholds available. When people are looking at a leasehold, they seldom ask if the freehold is available, because very often the seller owns the freehold. Now, initially, they might not want to sell it, but when they realise how much it’s actually worth, they might want to sell it. And also just putting that idea into their head makes a big difference. And probably there are more freeholds becoming available around the country, mainly because shops and offices are becoming more vacant and high streets are becoming more occupied by service industries. So there’s every opportunity, especially if someone owns, let’s say they have four or five shops in a row, and three of them are vacant. You got to look at that and say, well, they’re not getting any rent. So they might be willing to sell one. So it’s always worth asking.

Ultimately, the choice between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice depends on various factors, including your long-term goals, financial situation, and the flexibility you desire. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option and consult with professionals, such as realtors and financial advisors, to make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and circumstances.

Factors to consider when choosing between leasehold and freehold

When deciding between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice, there are key factors to consider. Understanding the pros and cons of each option can help you make a well-informed decision aligned with your practice’s long-term goals.

Firstly, assess your financial situation. With freehold ownership, you have full control over the property and no ongoing rent payments. However, purchasing a property outright requires a substantial upfront investment, which might be challenging for many dental practices, especially those in their early stages.

On the other hand, leasehold arrangements offer more financial flexibility initially. Leasing allows you to save money that can be allocated to essential aspects of your practice, like staff and equipment. Nevertheless, carefully review the lease agreement, including rental terms, renewal options, and any potential restrictions imposed by the landlord.

Next, consider your long-term strategies. Leasing may be preferable if you plan to expand your dental practice or anticipate a future move. Shorter lease terms can help you assess your practice’s viability before committing to a long-term property investment. However, freehold ownership provides stability and the potential for property appreciation over time.

Also, factor in market dynamics and location. Evaluate the cost and availability of suitable properties in your desired location. Purchasing a freehold property can be a good investment, especially in sought-after areas with limited options. Leasing, on the other hand, offers flexibility and reduces financial risks in areas with a volatile market or uncertain growth prospects.

Lastly, seek professional guidance from real estate experts or attorneys experienced in commercial property transactions. They can guide you through the intricacies of leasehold and freehold arrangements, ensuring you are aware of your legal responsibilities, potential challenges, and negotiation opportunities.

The choice between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice depends on factors such as your financial capacity, long-term plans, market conditions, and preferences. By carefully considering these aspects and seeking professional advice, you can make an informed decision that best aligns with the needs and goals of your practice.

Long-term goals and plans for the dental practice

When deciding between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice, consider your long-term goals and plans. The type of ownership you choose can significantly impact the future stability and growth of your practice.

If you have a clear vision of expanding your practice, adding new services, or even opening multiple locations, freehold ownership provides greater flexibility and control. Owning the property outright allows you to make structural changes, expand the space, or implement necessary alterations without seeking permission from a landlord. This level of independence is valuable when customising your practice to meet specific needs and accommodating future growth.

On the contrary, a leasehold arrangement may be more suitable if your long-term plans focus on stability, maintaining your practice’s current size, and scope. Leasing offers advantages such as easier relocation in emergencies, lower maintenance costs, and reduced initial expenses. This option provides more flexibility in changing your practice’s location or downsizing if the need arises.

Consider the financial implications as well. Purchasing a freehold property requires a significant initial investment, including a down payment and mortgage payments. On the other hand, leasing typically involves monthly rental payments, which may be more manageable for some dental practices, especially those in their early stages.

Evaluate the local market conditions and trends. If property values in your area are rapidly increasing, a freehold property could be a good long-term investment with the potential for appreciation. However, if the market is uncertain or property values are stagnant, leasing might be a more prudent choice, helping you avoid potential financial risks associated with property ownership.

Understanding your long-term goals and plans for your dental practice is crucial when choosing between leasehold and freehold. By carefully assessing your growth potential, financial capabilities, and market conditions, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your vision for the future of your practice.

Financial considerations and budget constraints

When deciding between leasehold and freehold options for your dental practice, your financial situation and budget constraints are crucial factors. Both choices have their pros and cons, so it’s important to thoroughly examine the details before making a careful decision.

Leasehold arrangements typically involve renting a space from a landlord for a set period, often several years. Compared to purchasing a freehold property, this option usually requires a lower initial investment. Leasehold agreements may also provide more flexibility, making it easier to move or expand your practice if necessary.

However, it’s crucial to fully assess the financial implications of leasing. Consider monthly rental expenses, additional fees or service charges, and the possibility of lease increases over time. Renting may result in long-term costs that could impact your practice’s profitability, especially if rental rates significantly rise.

On the other hand, freehold ownership gives you complete control over your practice’s premises. It offers stability and the potential for long-term investment. Purchasing a freehold property allows you to potentially benefit from property appreciation over time and build equity.

Nevertheless, acquiring a freehold property requires a substantial initial investment, including higher mortgage payments, legal fees, and down payments. It’s important to consider the impact on your cash flow and overall budget when assessing your financial capabilities.

A financial advisor or accountant can assist you in evaluating your financial situation and provide insights into the long-term financial implications of each option, helping you make an informed decision. Additionally, consider your practice’s growth plans, future needs, and how the chosen course of action aligns with your business objectives.

Remember that every dental practice is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. By carefully assessing your financial considerations and budget limitations, you can make a decision that best suits your practice’s needs and lays a solid foundation for its future success.

Location and market dynamics

The success of any dental office relies heavily on its location. It can impact how accessible, visible, and busy your practice is. When deciding between leasehold and freehold options for your dental practice, it’s crucial to thoroughly analyse the location and market dynamics of the area.

Start by assessing the demographics of the location. Look at factors like population density, age groups, income levels, and overall dental health awareness in the area. Understanding your target market will help you estimate the potential patient base and the demand for dental services.

Market dynamics are equally important. Research the local competition, identify the number of existing dental practices, and understand their specialties. This insight will help you gauge the level of competition you might face and assess the market saturation. Additionally, explore the area’s potential for growth, considering any upcoming changes or developments that could impact the demand for dental services.

Consider accessibility and convenience factors. Evaluate proximity to public transportation, parking availability, and major roads. An easily accessible location with ample parking options can attract more patients and enhance their overall experience.

The visibility of the practice is another aspect to consider. Being in a popular commercial area or on a busy street can increase brand awareness and attract new patients. However, if your practice relies heavily on referrals, being situated in a medical complex or close to other healthcare providers may be advantageous.

In summary, conducting a thorough analysis of the location and market dynamics is crucial when choosing between leasehold and freehold options for your dental practice. Understanding demographic factors, competition, growth potential, accessibility, and visibility will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your practice goals and target market.

Click here to read our article on How to market a dental practice.

Personal preferences and risk tolerance

Choosing between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice involves considering your personal preferences and risk tolerance. These factors are crucial in determining the best option for your practice, as each choice comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Some dentists may prefer the flexibility and lower upfront costs associated with a leasehold arrangement. Leasing allows you to occupy a space without the long-term commitment and financial burden of purchasing a property. It provides an opportunity to test the viability of a location or practice before making a full commitment. Additionally, lease agreements often include maintenance and repairs as part of the contract, relieving you of these responsibilities.

On the other hand, dentists who value stability and long-term investment may lean towards freehold ownership. Complete control over your practice’s location and the ability to make necessary changes or improvements come with owning the property outright. Furthermore, it offers the potential to build equity and generate additional income by renting out unused space.

Considering your risk tolerance is also crucial. Property ownership entails risks such as market fluctuations and responsibility for upkeep and repairs. If you are willing to take on these responsibilities and have a higher risk tolerance, freehold ownership might be a better fit for you. Conversely, if you prefer to focus solely on your dental practice and have a lower risk tolerance, leasing may be a more suitable option.

Ultimately, the decision between leasehold and freehold depends on your personal preferences, financial situation, and the long-term goals of your dental practice. Carefully evaluating your needs and weighing the pros and cons of each option will help you make a decision aligned with your vision for the future of your practice.

Examples of dental practices choosing leasehold or freehold

Let’s explore some examples to help you make an informed decision on whether to choose leasehold or freehold for your dental practice. These case studies offer valuable insights into the experiences of dental practice owners who have opted for these choices in the past.

Case Study 1, keeping costs lower: Dr. X, a well-trained dentist, decided to establish her own dental clinic in a bustling downtown area. After careful consideration, she opted for a leasehold property. Her decision was mainly influenced by the prime location of the building, ensuring a continuous flow of potential patients. By choosing a lease, Dr. Smith avoided the high initial costs associated with purchasing a freehold property in such a sought-after location.

Case Study 2, more control: Dental Group X, a multi-location group practice, chose the freehold option for their main clinic. With plans for long-term customization and expansion to accommodate their growing patient base and specialised services, they wanted the freedom to make necessary changes without landlord approval. Owning the property gave them control, allowing them to save costs in the long run and have more say in their practice’s physical space.

Case Study 3, more flexibility: Dental Practice X, a newly established dental practice opted for a leasehold property in a suburban area. As a startup, they were attracted to leasing due to lower initial costs. The flexibility in lease terms allowed them to relocate or expand as their practice grew. This choice enabled them to focus their initial investments on acquiring cutting-edge equipment and hiring skilled staff.

These case studies highlight that factors such as location, financial considerations, long-term goals, and the need for flexibility all play a role in the decision between leasehold and freehold ownership. By examining your specific needs and learning from real examples, you can make an informed decision aligned with the unique circumstances and expectations of your dental practice.

Expert advice and considerations from industry professionals

When deciding between leasehold and freehold options for your dental practice, it’s crucial to seek guidance from experts and consider the insights of professionals in the field. These specialists can provide valuable advice based on their experience and knowledge of the dental industry.

Financial considerations are paramount. Consulting with a financial advisor specializing in real estate and business properties can help you understand the long-term financial implications of each option. They can analyze your practice’s financial health, projected growth, and market conditions to determine which option aligns better with your goals.

Additionally, connecting with a commercial real estate agent experienced in dental properties is a wise move. They can offer insights into your location, market trends, and potential opportunities that may influence your decision. Their expertise can help you assess the pros and cons of leasehold and freehold properties in specific areas and identify any potential challenges or advantages.

For legal aspects and consequences related to leasehold and freehold options, legal professionals, particularly those specializing in commercial real estate, can provide invaluable assistance. They can review contracts, lease agreements, and property documents to ensure you are fully aware of your rights and any limitations as a tenant or owner.

Industry associations and dental practice experts can also offer valuable insights into the practical considerations of buying or leasing a dental practice. They can provide information on licensing requirements, regulatory compliance, and operational considerations tailored to the dental profession.

In conclusion, seeking advice from these industry experts will help you make an informed decision that considers market conditions, growth plans, location, legal considerations, and other factors crucial to the success of your dental practice. Their expertise will ensure that you choose the option that best suits your unique needs and goals.

Assessing the potential return on investment for leasehold and freehold options

When deciding between leasehold and freehold options for your dental practice, it’s crucial to assess the potential return on investment. This evaluation will help you determine the option that best aligns with your long-term success and financial goals.

When considering a leasehold option, carefully examine the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. Factors like the lease term, lease accelerations, and potential limitations affecting your practice’s growth should be taken into account. Additionally, assess the costs associated with leasehold improvements and ensure they fit within your budget.

On the other hand, opting for a freehold property means you have complete ownership of the premises, providing stability and the potential for long-term financial gains. However, it’s vital to evaluate the initial investment required to purchase the property and any potential ongoing costs for maintenance and repair.

A lot of people look at the asset value and say, oh, that’s a marvellous asset value, but then look at the damage to kind of cost you. So, if you’re buying a three- or four-pound freehold, as opposed to buying a 2-million-pound freehold, there’s a big difference in cost. So, you’ve got to be careful. The lenders will want to look at what profit the business makes, how that will play out, how profit will be distributed between the owner of the business because obviously, you need to get paid for doing the work, and also the bank. And they will build certain things into that, and they will build certain buffers and reservations in there to protect them and to protect the owner. There are things other people don’t understand, they think the rent or the business can afford just to cover that mortgage but, in most cases, the banks will want that covered one and a half, one and a quarter time, because that buffer allows for interest rates to go up even further in and not hurt the business. If you’re buying the business without the freehold, obviously, they require a huge amount of information. Because they’re going to lend it unsecured. 

The lenders will lend you the money for a freehold for over 20-25 years, on average, sometimes a bit longer. If you’re buying the practice at the same time, they will often then give you 20 years to repay the purchase price of the practice as well. Whereas if it’s leasehold, it will be a maximum of 15 years. So that extra five years would bring down your costs on purchasing the actual business quite considerably. The fact is that on most freeholds when you’re buying premises for your binding existing practice, lenders will give you 100%. So you haven’t got to put a deposit down and that is a huge advantage. Because if you are doing a startup, for instance, any sort of startup business, the banks will then lend you 70%. So being an owner gives you the advantage of them lending you all the money, so you don’t put any money in yourself for the freehold, you only have to find the money for the purchase of the business and you get the extended term for the actual business as well.

To make an informed decision, consider conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Calculate the expected return on investment for both leasehold and freehold options, taking into account factors such as your practice’s expected growth, market trends, and the potential resale value of the property.

Seeking advice from professionals, such as financial advisors or commercial real estate specialists, is advisable. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and guidance in navigating the complexities of evaluating the potential return on investment.

Remember that every dental practice is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. By carefully assessing the potential return on investment for leasehold and freehold options, you can make an informed decision aligned with your practice’s financial objectives and set the groundwork for its long-term success.

Practical tips for negotiating lease agreements or purchasing a freehold property

When deciding between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice, it’s crucial to consider the practical aspects of negotiating lease agreements or acquiring a freehold property. Utilise these tips to navigate the process and make an informed decision that aligns with your practice’s requirements.

  1. Clarify your long-term goals: Before entering negotiations or making purchases, have a clear understanding of your dental practice’s long-term objectives. Plan for growth, potential expansion, and financial security. This clarity will help you determine which option aligns better with your goals.
  1. Seek professional advice: Consult with experts like a dental-focused commercial real estate agent or real estate attorney. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the buying or negotiating process, ensuring informed decisions based on accurate information.
  1. Analyse the local market: Thoroughly investigate the local real estate market, including lease rates and property prices for dental practices. Understanding market dynamics will empower you to negotiate or purchase with confidence.
  1. Evaluate lease terms or freehold conditions: Carefully review the terms of a lease agreement or the conditions for purchasing a freehold property. Pay attention to any restrictions that may impact your dental practice, such as rent increases, lease duration, and maintenance obligations. Ensure the terms align favourably with your practice’s requirements.
  1. Negotiate favorable terms: If opting for a leasehold property, negotiate the details of the lease agreement. Work closely with your agent or attorney to secure favourable conditions, such as rent caps, renewal options, or the inclusion of necessary equipment or fixtures. These terms can significantly impact your dental practice’s long-term success and profitability.
  1. Consider financial aspects: Compare the costs associated with both options. Contrast leasing costs, such as monthly rent and maintenance, with the expenses of purchasing a freehold property, including mortgage payments, insurance, and property taxes. Evaluate your practice’s income, budget, and long-term financial projections to make an informed decision.

Remember, your dental practice’s choice between leasehold and freehold ownership is significant and can impact its success. By following these helpful tips and seeking professional advice, you can confidently navigate the negotiation or purchasing process and select the option that best suits your practice’s needs and goals.

Conclusion: Making an informed decision for your dental practice’s future

In the big picture, choosing between leasehold and freehold for your dental practice is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of various factors, including your long-term goals, financial capabilities, and the specific needs of your practice.

For those who are starting out or uncertain about future plans, leasehold might be attractive due to its flexibility and lower initial costs. Leasing allows you to use the space for a defined period, offering the option to relocate or expand as your practice develops. However, a thorough review of the lease agreement is crucial to ensure it aligns with your practice’s goals and is financially viable, considering factors like lease term and rent escalations.

On the flip side, freehold provides ownership and stability. It eliminates the risk of rising rental prices and grants full control over your practice’s location. Property ownership can also present future investment opportunities. Nonetheless, it comes with a significant upfront investment and ongoing maintenance costs, making it unsuitable for all dental practices.

Ultimately, the decision between leasehold and freehold should be based on a comprehensive assessment of your practice’s unique circumstances. Seeking professional advice from a commercial property expert and financial advisor is advisable to evaluate the financial implications and long-term viability of each option.

Remember, choosing the right property arrangement for your dental practice can significantly impact its success and growth. Making an informed decision sets a solid foundation for your practice’s future, creating a conducive environment for delivering quality dental care to your patients.

Additional resources and references for further exploration

There are numerous extra sources and references available to help you make a well-informed decision if you’re still unsure about choosing between a leasehold or freehold option for your dental practice. To learn more about the pros and cons of each option, consider exploring these resources.

Connecting with industry experts, such as real estate professionals or property advisors specialising in commercial properties for dental practices, is a valuable resource. With their market experience, they can offer tailored guidance based on their knowledge.

Additionally, there is a wealth of online articles, forums, and blogs discussing leaseholds and freeholds in the context of healthcare practices. These resources often feature case studies, expert opinions, and real-world examples, providing deeper insights into the implications and factors associated with each option.

Industry affiliations and associations related to dentistry may have resources available to their members. These resources, including publications, webinars, and workshops on property ownership, can offer valuable insights from dental professionals and assist in understanding the nuances of each option.

Lastly, engaging in conversations with other dental practice owners who have navigated the decision between leasehold and freehold ownership can be beneficial. Their firsthand experiences can provide practical advice and a better understanding of the potential challenges and benefits associated with each choice.

By utilising these additional resources and references, you can ensure that you have all the information needed to make a well-informed decision aligning with the specific needs and goals of your dental practice.

Ultimately, the right choice depends on your unique situation and long-term goals. Each option has its pros and cons. By thoroughly pondering the factors highlighted in this post—like financial implications, flexibility, and potential for future growth—you’ll be equipped to make a well-informed decision that aligns with your dental practice’s needs. Remember, seeking advice from a real estate agent or attorney is crucial to ensure the best decision for your practice’s future prosperity.

Our Expert Opinion

Sadly, I have seen too many people focus on buying a freehold for their dental clinic at the detriment of getting the right location.

If you are going to be running a dental clinic the most important thing is to get the location right as this will help the business grow and thrive.

Often the best locations are not available as a freehold but instead as a leasehold. In my view, go for the best location to make your business work. However, if the freehold is available, and you can fund it, then of course buying the site can be a good idea if you are certain on the location.

One good idea we tell our clients is if they find a location, take the leasehold, but have drawn up in the agreement that if you the landlord does decide to sell, that you have the first right of refusal to purchase it. This can allow you to set up your business under a leasehold and then potentially down the line buy the freehold.

Bottom line, focus on the location to make your clinic thrive, and if the freehold is available then go for it – otherwise tread carefully!

Reviewed By:

Nigel Crossman

Nigel Crossman

Head of Commercial Finance

Nigel is a former banker and head of commercial finance at Samera. He specialises in raising finance, negotiating deals and structuring finance applications for healthcare businesses.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

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.

How to Finance a Dental Practice

As you buy or start your dental practice and as a dental practice grows, there is likely to come a time when significant additional funding is required in order to scale further. This funding may be needed to purchase new equipment, to extend a current practice, or to buy more dental practices and build a group.

While routine services like cleanings and fillings are always in demand, cosmetic dentistry is also widely getting more popular. As demand grows, so does the annual salary for a dentist. Although dentistry in the UK took a hit in 2020-21 (due to the lockdowns), the industry has bounced back strongly.

Now is the time to build a dental business.

Buying or starting a dental practice is one of the biggest decisions that a dentist is likely to make and can be a stressful time for all parties involved. The various aspects involved, from creating a great business plan to determining the prime location, as well as many other legal and personal factors, must be carefully taken into consideration before taking the plunge. 

There are several rewards and stresses that are associated with building a dental practice, depending on whether you want to go down the private route, the NHS route or a mixture of both. This is why we are here to lessen any burdens on you when it comes to financing a dental practice. 

Click here to read more about why dentists want to own their own practices.

One of the most important skills in your personal and business life is learning how to manage your finances. If you can manage this skill well, you will then be on the path to obtaining the finance and business loans you need to build a dental business.

When you are seeking a loan to buy, start or grow a dental practice, banks and lenders will look at your personal finance history to help them ascertain whether you will be a secure and reliable client that can repay the loan.

If you do not currently own a dental practice, your personal circumstances are one of the information sources that lenders will have to assess your ability to manage a dental practice when you acquire one. They will also look at your CV and whether you have undertaken any roles in your current dental practice to gain skills such as management of staff, accounting or involvement with premises issues and the CQC.

Up to this point in your life, managing finances has been just for you and your family, with little scrutiny from others.

To get the finance and business loans required to buy, start or grow a dental practice will require some effort to convince a lender you are worthy of the finance.

Action Plan

  • Evaluate the need for additional funding to scale your dental practice, considering new equipment purchases, extensions, or acquiring more practices.
  • Recognize the increasing demand for cosmetic dentistry and its impact on the dental industry’s growth potential.
  • Approach the decision to buy or start a dental practice with thorough planning, considering business plans, location, legal factors, and personal readiness.
  • Understand the various challenges and rewards associated with different dental practice models, such as private, NHS, or mixed.
  • Develop strong financial management skills as a foundational element for securing loans and financing for your dental practice.
  • Prepare to present a comprehensive profile to lenders, including personal financial history, professional experience, and potential for practice management, to secure the necessary funding for growth or establishment.

Watch this webinar on how to raise finance for your dental practice.

Click here to read our 11 top financial tips for associate dentists.

Contact us to find out more

How Do You Get a Business Loan For a Dental Practice?

There are a number of banks and lenders out there looking to help you buy, start or grow your dental practice. They all have their own policies and limitations as to whom and how much they will lend.

Most lend on an unsecured basis up to a certain level and, therefore, will want to be sure that you have the skills and the financial ability to repay them when you take out a loan for your business.

When you approach lenders for finance they will want to see a breakdown of your current personal assets and liabilities and how you currently spend your income.

They will review how much you have been able to save, and if you have not saved, they will ask where the money has gone. They will also be looking to see if you have invested in property or other assets.

This is a detailed examination of your income and expenditure and will need to be supported by the provision of bank statements verifying what you have put down as your income and expenditure.

Your bank statements also show how you have conducted your bank account. Many lenders ask for six month’s bank statements to see your income as a Dental Associate.

They also look at how you control your funds, and whether you overdraw your account on a regular basis. In addition, they will also want to see three years of associate accounts again to verify your historical income.

Most of the lending for the first purchase of a practice is unsecured, so understandably lenders want to be sure you have a sound financial background and can control your own finances. They want to see a good degree of financial sense and control which will be needed to manage your own dental practice.

If you have a good credit score, experience in dentistry and a well-prepared application, you should have little trouble obtaining a business loan for your dental practice.

Click here to find out more about making sure your loan application is successful.

Applying for Finance for a Dental Practice

Remember that if you’re buying a practice, it’s not necessary to have a particular practice in mind when applying for funding. As long as there is a plan in place.

You can read more about creating a business plan for a dental practice here.

Every dental professional has a different story when it comes to setting up a dental surgery. Take a look at our unconventional story, for instance. Whatever the story is, it’s important to go about securing finance in the right manner.

Options for funding a dental practice

From experience, there are three main options when it comes to acquiring funds to buy a dental surgery; one of which is the most common.

  • Loans from banks and other financial institutions. This is the most common option.
  • Bank of mum and dad. In certain families this may be an option, and repayment arrangements are likely to be more flexible.
  • Self-funding. Some dental professionals have the resources to do this. However, it’s not always a good idea to invest the majority of savings as any business comes with some inherent risk attached. Having substantial personal financing in place helps with maintaining a comfortable lifestyle during any lean periods for the practice.

From working with clients over the years, we realise that most often a lending institution will need to be approached. If this is the case, there are certain factors to consider when deciding on the best time to apply for a loan.

Action Point

  • Research various banks and lenders to understand their specific lending policies and the amounts they are willing to lend to dental practices.
  • Prepare to demonstrate your financial capability and professional skills to assure lenders of your ability to repay the business loan.
  • Compile a detailed breakdown of your personal assets, liabilities, and income expenditure for lender review, supported by bank statements and other financial documents.
  • Maintain a good financial record, including savings, investments, and prudent management of your bank account, to present yourself as a reliable borrower.
  • Consider the three common funding options for acquiring a dental practice: bank loans, family support, or self-funding, each with its own set of implications and requirements.
  • Evaluate the optimal timing for loan application, ensuring you have a solid plan in place, regardless of whether you have a specific practice in mind for purchase.

Contact us to find out more

When to apply for a business loan for a dental practice.

Competition for lending is high, so it’s important to have the best opportunity of being in the successful percentile. With this in mind, here is what we would advise.

  • Prepare for lending more than 12 months in advance as banks will scrutinise documentation for the previous 6-12 months, and take note of any issues.
  • Make sure that everything is in order and that good financial acumen is apparent.
  • Have a history of making payments on time and a strong credit score.
  • Know what the business aspirations are and whether practice purchase or start-up is the aim.
  • Have a team of professionals in place. At the very least, this should include a dental accountant, dental solicitor, and a financial planner for life insurance and disability insurance.
  • Hire a commercial finance broker, such as Samera Finance that can help you secure funding on the best terms available.
  • Understand the difference between lending. Some banks will offer a conventional loan while others will offer a loan which is specifically aimed at start-ups and small businesses

Make sure that all of this is in place before applying for funding from a lender.

Click here to learn more about applying for loans after COVID-19.

Approaching a lender for the first time

Remember that although lenders are there for the same overall purpose, they all have slightly different policies and processes in place. Some have a specialist team in place to deal with business loan applications, others do not.

It helps to do research when raising finance for a dental practice, and find out as much about the lender as possible. That’s where a commercial finance broker who knows dentistry is worth their weight in gold, as they know which lenders are most suitable for which clients.

Whichever lender is chosen, they will want to know that they are providing finance to a reputable borrower and that they can rely on the money being repaid as agreed. With this in mind, any professional who is looking to invest in a dental surgery should be prepared to prove their financial reliability when they visit a lender. This is likely to include:

  • Proving comprehensive bank statements for at least six months (professional and personal).
  • Providing associate accounts for at least three years, to verify income.
  • Providing evidence of regular saving.
  • If there is no regular saving pattern, there should be proof of what earnings were spent on. This could include professional expenses, or home improvements. It’s important to be able to show wise spending choices.

It makes sense that banks, and other lenders, want to verify that borrowers are a good risk. These loans are usually unsecured; so they want to be as sure as they can that they will get the money back.

When speaking to clients about their lending situation, we always stress how important it is to be able to show that they are proficient at managing money, and ideally have significant savings or investments.

Please click here to learn more about why your loan application might have been denied.

Do you need to provide security for a business loan for a dental practice?

What will financial lenders assess?

Getting qualified for a loan can be a daunting experience. The process itself is non-binding because the information you provide has not been verified. 

Any dental professional who is looking to finance the purchase of a dental practice usually needs to have a deposit of at least 10%. When approaching a lender for the rest of the money, there are certain factors they will consider when making their decision.

  • The history of any earnings as an associate dentist.
  • Management of personal finances.
  • Living situation of the applicant. Is the accommodation rented or owned?
  • Career in dentistry and level of management experience.
  • Ability to repay any loan that is provided.
  • Any personal savings that are in place. Showing a propensity to save rather than make rash purchases is an indication of being low risk for lending.
  • Evidence that tax payments are up to date.
  • The personality and character of the applicant.

Contact us to find out more

Lenders look for a few key aspects of your application in order to confirm whether you are a worthy lender. These aspects include: 

Credit

Credit history and activity have a major impact on loan approvals and will heavily influence whether you get approved or not. It is also important to know that the lowest rates available are usually only obtainable by borrowers with high credit scores.

Lenders use your credit scores to assess the reliability of you as a borrower. It will help them assess the risk being taken when providing you with financing. 

In addition to looking at your credit score as an indicator, they often review your payment history which they consider to be a strong indicator of the likelihood that you will make timely repayments in the future.

Debt 

Lenders often use a debt-to-income ratio that compares the amount you earn to the amount to owe. This is to ensure that you will not be over extended with your new loan repayment. Debt-to-loan limits vary depending on what type of financing you need and the type of lender you go to. 

Click here to read more about dealing with debt as a dentist.

Income

In order to apply for a loan your lender will need to review your income, the same can also be said for your employment history for most types of financing that you will apply for. Not having steady work or a steady source of income for the last two years could impact your eligibility for getting approved for financing for your dental practice. 

Lenders will often call your current employers and verify your salary. If you are self-employed, lenders will look at the adjusted gross income on your tax return to assess if your business is making any profit. 

Assets

Depending on what type of financing you need for your dental practice, you may need to secure your loan with assets to put up as collateral in case you default on any repayment on your loan. 

Do banks lend only on projections?

Contact us to find out more

What banks are looking for in a dentist

Unless you are being represented by a business advisor, or a professional who is qualified in dental practice transactions, you will be expected to provide the following:

  • Details about your assets liabilities, personal Income and expenditures over the last three years or SA302s – and the appropriate documentation
  • They might also ask for details of hours you’ve worked, list of services provided, or even your earning history as an Associate Dentist
  • Your personal financial track record will also come into play: how you’ve managed your finances, high credit card bills, low credit score, etc)
  • Your current living situation i.e. do you own your own house or rent

Preparing to apply for a business loan

It stands to reason that any bank, or other financial institution, wants to reduce the risk of non-payment. For this reason, they look to lend to businesses that can prove they have reliable revenue and are in a position to make repayments on time.

It’s worth bearing this in mind when making decisions to grow a dental practice. Planning ahead is essential. Ideally, plan 10-12 months ahead of time, and make sure that revenue is optimised and accounts are up to date and accurate, before applying for funding. When funding is applied for, be prepared to provide a significant amount of documentation including:

  • An up-to-date business plan.
  • Up-to-date and accurate accounts (personal and business).
  • Up-to-date tax records.
  • Details of expenditure.
  • Detailed analysis of proposed finance spending and growth of the practice.

Having everything in one place before applying for growth or acquisition funding makes a successful outcome more likely. 

Show a good sense of financial control

Banks and lenders will want to see that you have demonstrated a good sense of financial control before they offer you a loan. Having some savings for a deposit, or an investment property and investment in your professional skills provides a level of comfort to banks.

This along with a well-run and controlled bank account all start to build a picture for lenders to enable them to consider your request for a loan and leads to a good credit score.

Don’t buy a new Jaguar annually!

So, buying a new Jaguar every year, running up large credit card debts and showing a large surplus of income over expenditure with no visible savings is not the way to go. If you constantly overdraw your account with no overdraft limit in place this indicates no control of your spending.

Having a bank overdraft limit in place is not a bad thing, it demonstrates the ability to plan and foresee pinch points in your finances and the financial skill to deal with this in advance.

This is not to say you cannot buy a nice car and have good holidays and send your children to private school. It just all must be managed in the correct way.

Avoid Credit Card Funding

Professional courses and school fees should not be funded on a credit card, banks like to see that you have used appropriate loan facilities to fund such activity indicating to them your financial acumen.

If surplus income has been spent on something considered good such as further professional qualifications/property investment, make sure you highlight this to the lenders as this is not always clear from bank statements where it may merely show a loan payment.

Planning for Tax Liabilities

It is important you keep up to date on all your tax payments too. When applying for financing for your dental practice purchase, they will always ask for confirmation that your tax payments are up to date, or you have made sufficient provision for them.

Click here to read more about accounts and tax for dentists.

Bearing all of these points in mind, we would say that the most important thing is living within your means. This does not mean that going on great holidays, buying a luxury car and paying for private tuition for children are all no-go areas.

It means that there should be a balance between spending and saving. Banks need to see sensible financial behaviour, sensible use of credit and wise investment of money.

Always question outside reports and accounts

Sometimes, accounts can be misleading (i.e valuations, investment profits). Without the proper context, the avalanche of reports you will review while buying your dental practice will be enormous, it will be easy to lose focus. Things may be hiding in your accounts might no longer be necessary. On occasions we have even seen costs included that are relevant to another practice entirely!

It is always important to trust the reports you receive, but verify them. Although it would be lovely if we could trust every document that is handed to us, people make mistakes. It is our job to catch these slight missteps before they cause any problems.

Honesty is essential

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? Be straightforward with yourself about your skills as well as your limitations, and you will go far as a private dental practitioner. Also, this will give you a good idea of the kind of staff requirements that you will need moving forward to fill in the gaps. These figures will also factor into your loan application.

Action Points

  • Prepare early for loan applications, ideally more than 12 months in advance, to ensure all financial documentation reflects stability and reliability.
  • Maintain good financial health by making timely payments, saving regularly, and having a strong credit score to increase loan approval chances.
  • Assemble a professional team including a dental accountant, solicitor, and financial planner to enhance your loan application’s credibility.
  • Consider hiring a commercial finance broker with dental industry expertise to navigate the loan process and secure favorable terms.
  • Understand the nuances of different lending options, from conventional bank loans to specialized start-up and small business loans, to choose the best fit for your practice’s needs.
  • Approach lenders with comprehensive financial documentation, including bank statements, associate accounts, and evidence of responsible spending, to demonstrate your financial acumen and reliability.
  • Plan for tax liabilities and ensure all tax payments are up-to-date or adequately provisioned for, as this will be a critical factor in loan evaluations.
  • Live within your means, balancing spending and saving to present yourself as a low-risk borrower with sensible financial behavior to potential lenders.

Contact us to find out more

Plan for applying for finance in 5 Steps

It may be a cliché, but it’s true that you need to live within your means. A quote from Charles Dickens – Mr Micawber

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

Mr Micawber

Step 1: Review your personal income and expenditure

The first step is to review your personal income and expenditure – look at it from an outside perspective, and consider what would others think when looking at your expenditure.

Would an outsider consider the £2000 per month you put aside for holidays excessive or just right?

The loan repayment figure you are showing at £1200 per month what does it relate to?

Make sure that you have a breakdown of your debt repayment schedule, showing all your payments, what they are for and who they are going to. Is it all a car loan or made up of some car loan and some professional qualification costs?

Click here to download a free debt structure template.

Step 2: Obtain your Bank statements and look at your account conduct

The second step is to obtain your bank statements and look at your bank account conduct. Do you stay in credit or within the overdraft limit? Are there any times when your finances get really stretched and if so, can you do anything about this?

Step 3: Obtain your Credit Score

Thirdly, obtain your credit score for free and make sure that it is correct. Check there is nothing on there you were not aware of, as credit scoring companies do often make mistakes. If you use multiple credit cards consider reducing the number of cards as having many credit cards can lower your credit score.

Step 4: Consider your partner’s financial background

Make sure your partner’s financial health is strong too. If borrowing in joint names you will both have an examination of your financial status.

Step 5: Use an experienced Commercial Finance Broker

Utilise the skills of an experienced commercial finance broker such as Samera to help you raise the finance. Our team are experts in helping dentists get finance and business loans for their practice acquisition.
Our specialist finance brokers will be able to guide you through the process to ensure you put in the strongest application to the banks and lenders to obtain the best available deals on the market.

Our finance brokerage team can advise you at every stage of your application to ensure you understand the process and don’t fall into the many potential pitfalls when raising finance for your dental practice purchase.

You can find out more about our commercial financial broker services here.

The Importance of a Business Plan

Opening up your own dental clinic is an exciting aspiration and starting up a successful dental practice from scratch is a very possible business endeavour. However, it requires an important set of skills that unfortunately not everyone has. We will guide you through all the stages that you need to go through to enable you to open a successful dental practice.

Click here to read our guide to starting a dental practice.

There is a substantial difference between buying an existing practice and starting your own practice from scratch. Call us for a free consultation and we will guide you through the pros and cons that come with starting or buying your own dental practice. 

Click here to read our guide to buying a dental practice.

When starting your own practice there are many different aspects that you need to consider that will substantially affect your business. These include the location of your business, the type of services you offer and how to attract patients who may already have their own local dentist, amongst a whole range of other considerations you will have to think about.

Contact us to find out more

The most crucial aspect of your entire endeavour of starting your own dental practice is the planning stage, which entails writing a thorough business plan.

Every owner envisions opening a successful dental practice, but you need an actionable plan to get you there, which often includes needing to apply for additional funding. This is where your business plan comes into play. You need to create your vision on paper by describing your business, goals and by addressing all your finances.

More often than not, once you open your practice, your payroll will most likely be your biggest expense. So it would be a good idea to not bring on too many people at the beginning. In addition, you should start with a few basic services and treatments to keep costs low until you gain a bigger customer base.

Financial planning especially for the first year is needed in your business plan to show that you can account for projections of the coming years as well as the profits and losses that may occur. 

Click here to read more about creating a business plan.

Applying for a business loan to buy a dental practice

When raising finance to buy a dental practice, you’ll be taking out an acquisition loan. The value of the dental practice you’re buying and, therefore, the price, will depend on several factors. The most notable of them is EBITDA.

It is important to understand what EBITDA is before buying a dental practice. EBITDA is a calculation that professionals use in order to get a clear picture of the “true profit” of their dental practice.

Essentially, EDITDA is: Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization. From the profit and loss account: you take the net profit figure (before tax and interest costs), and add back depreciation and any debt interest repayments.

Be very careful not to be misleading when presenting your sales figures. EBITDA has been calculated by adding on items that you will still have to pay – we often see subscriptions, travel, repairs and renewals added back on (they will still be a cost to you going forward). Doing this will inflate the EBITDA, which will jeopardize your loan.

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

Your financial standing is measured at a particular moment in time, the moment you are applying for a loan. Banks will look at your position now and scrutinise your situation over the previous 6-12 months.

You cannot change your lifestyle in a week and you cannot change what is showing on your credit history or bank statements, so you need to prepare and plan ahead.

Before you apply for the loan, it is imperative you have your house in order and show good management and financial acumen. This will improve the likelihood of you obtaining a competitive loan for your dental practice acquisition.

So, make sure you follow the steps outlined above!

Click here to read more about how much you can raise.

How much deposit will you need to buy a dental practice?

Financial lenders for dentists will usually lend Private, NHS or mixed practices 70% to 80% of the value of the “good will money”. However, it is possible to borrow up to 95% of the value.

But usually you must offer some additional collateral in order to perform the transaction, such as a buy-to-let property or your existing residential home.

However, the banks will also take into account the practice’s EBITDA to repay the loan, and cover any additional costs as well as providing the required standard of living adjustments.

3 important points when raising finance to buy a dental practice

  1. Review your finances early on, not when you want to purchase a practice. Ensure that you look at these critically and obtain an outside view, if possible, our team perform this at no charge.
  2. Make sure you are in financial control, provide explanations for existing debts and any large expenditure items. Make sure your CV is up to date and it includes all your professional skills, as this will be read by bankers, not dentists, so make sure you explain any technical phrases.
  3. Make sure all forms are completed fully as lenders check bank statements, accounts and business loans with credit reference agencies. So make sure everything is disclosed as this will ease the process and remove the need for further questions and explanations.

If you follow the points detailed above, you will find it much easier to raise finance and business loans to buy a dental practice.

Improving your new dental practice

The interior design and equipment changes to your dental practice can be done over a period of months or years. These upgrades must be accounted for in your financial analysis and taken into consideration for many of your profit goals – as this process may disturb your production if not handled correctly.

If, at the outset of your purchase, you know that important equipment must be changed – you should also factor this number into your purchase price. Most sellers are very conscious that they’re practice may need a “face-lift” after years of dedicated service. It’s expected – so don’t be afraid to use this as a point of negotiation.

Applying for a business loan to start a dental practice

Starting a dental practice from scratch means financing a whole range of things you wouldn’t necessarily need to when you purchase an existing practice. Since you’re not buying a ready-made business, you’ll need to build it yourself from scratch. This means funding:

  • Equipment
  • Consumables
  • Staff
  • Premises
  • Inventory
  • Marketing
  • IT
  • Tax

Many young dentists are hoping to start-up a squat practice. You can read our guide to starting a dental practice in 13 steps here.

You will need to prepare a business plan showing the area’s demand for the practice in covering: competition, other local services, hours of opening and provision of services, and other details.

You will also be asked to offer projections of 3 years of income and/or expenditures in a profit and loss format as well as cashflow planning.

Dentists who don’t enlist the help of a qualified business advisor may initially only work in their new practice one to three days per week with a full time receptionist or hygienist. You should factor in the work you will need to do outside of your practice in order to fill in the wage gap – and plan for it.

The price of developing building plans and renting equipment also need to be analyzed before lenders will review your application.

Our team of experienced dental practice accountants can prepare all of the necessary projections for you, and assist with your business planning.

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

Contact us to find out more

Location

Picking the best location for you may take some time. Location is key for many businesses, but especially for dentists, you want a location that is generally quite visible for your potential patients, centrally located and in an area that your target market would be in. 

There will always be a prime location for your business that may just be out of your price range. It is okay to understand that price matters and will play a vital role in the location you choose.

In the larger sense, it is better to wait for the right location as it heavily impacts how much business your practice will get. It will be much better for you, in the long run, to wait for the best location suited to you to come around rather than to open your business sooner in a more remote location. 

Click here to find out more about raising finance for property development.

After finding a location

Here are the specific steps you need to take before physically setting up shop. 

  1. Find a location that you want to work in
  2. Find a property within said location that can be converted or one that already has Class E planning permission
  3. Ensure the lease you have is for 15 years within the Landlord and Tenant Act or if freehold, a valuation will be required in due course
  4. Draw a plan of the premises and obtain a quote for the refurbishment
  5. Prepare at least 3 years of projections. This should preferably be done by an accountant and should include cashflow and profit and loss
  6. Prepare a thorough business plan
  7. Lastly, you need to obtain the finance you need to make your business plan a reality

At what rates will banks lend for squat practices?

Lenders will look to assist with finance up to 70% of the build and equipment costs subject to a cap on the maximum loan. They will want to see only one surgery completed fully in a single-handed practice and staff costs kept to a minimum with perhaps a nurse and receptionist at first to keep costs under control.

When reviewing your projections, they will want to see these in a standardised format and they do expect to see losses in the first few months. Be realistic, as lenders will expect you to be.

How much does it cost to start a dental practice?

We can’t give you a specific quote on how much it will cost because in truth, it depends on various factors. These include:

  • The location of your site
  • The building you’re going to need to acquire for the practice
  • What type of equipment you’re going to be putting into the practice
  • How many surgeries you are going to be putting into the practice as well as waiting rooms
  • How much the building work is going to cost

So, the cost will vary and differ greatly between any two circumstances. You can easily spend anything from £100,000 to £500,000 and quite easily maybe even more in some cases.

But you need to make sure that you have a budget and a business plan that will forecast future trajectories. These forecasts will help you to make an efficient plan to repay all the money you’re going to need to start up your own dental clinic. 

The most important thing you need to do before you even start preparing for building work is planning and budgeting for how much it is going to cost. 

Click here to watch our webinar on financing your first dental practice.

Equipment selection for a start-up dental practice

There are many suppliers of dental equipment and whilst you maybe excited about your new venture it’s important you get the balance right. Purchase what you may need, and then perhaps once things are running well, you can purchase some of the extra’s you may desire!

Through the Samera Alliance, our Dental Buying Group, we can help you find excellent equipment on great terms.  So make sure when starting out, you join the Samera Alliance if you want the right advice at the right price.

How long the dental practice start-up process takes (really).

In short: establishing your new dental practice can take several months (in some cases up to 8) so it is imperative for you to remain patient.
This timeframe includes the completion of the following tasks:

  • Your due diligence period, where you will review the premises and then obtain the appropriate planning permissions – which generally takes a couple of weeks.
  • CQC approval must also be acquired in order to being operations once the transaction is completed
  • Lenders will take 2-3 days to give you an outline of what they will lend. 5-8 days after you provide them with the requested information, they will usually give you a full credit backed offer.
  • A thorough dental practice valuation.

Click here for more articles and webinars on starting a dental practice.

Applying for a finance to run or grow a dental practice

Without a doubt, the costs of running a dental practice, or any type of medical practice, has been on the rise in the last several years. Usually, with many businesses, if the cost of the product or service rises, that will then translate onto the customer to make up that extra cost.

Unfortunately this does not always apply in medical healthcare practices. Dental practices experience many extra costs that other businesses do not necessarily have to invest in, such as capital equipment that can often be very expensive. 

This may come as a surprise to some but there are many dentists that are happy to go through their entire career as an associate dentist without the aspiration to buy or start-up their own dental practice. However, with the rise of the pandemic and the consequences that many dental associates have experienced as a result, there are now many dental associates realising that there are so many benefits to opening their own private practice ,without the NHS contracts weighing them down. 

Being your own boss and working for yourself can be incredibly hard and it comes with a lot of challenges that you may have never even anticipated. After being in the game for over 20 years, Samera has got you covered. We have a few costs you need to anticipate that are often forgotten about or overlooked when people decide to start their own dental practice. 

Click here to find out more about secondary sources of finance.

Staff Costs in a Dental Practice

One of the main costs many do not consider are the staffing costs. Most dental practices will feature different types of specialist dentists, often including an orthodontist who can typically earn between £60,000 – ££80,000 per year. In order to grow clientele you may also want to employ a separate hygienist, who will also retain a high-earning salary. 

Although you may be aware of the costs of each of the dentists you may be employing, it is also very important to factor in any other staff members you will need. Each dentist will usually require at least one assistant – this will be highly dependent on how many dentists you have working in your practice. A receptionist will also be necessary and depending on the size of your practice, you may have to hire two receptionists.

Staffing costs themselves are a huge cost for any practice, however, what you need to take into account is that when your practice becomes more successful, your staffing costs will rise as a result. It is especially important that these costs are accounted for and managed properly when you are starting out.

Click here to read more about building a great team.

Finance costs

Finance costs need to be controlled and reviewed to ensure that you are getting the best deal on the market. Some lenders charge 3.75% above base rate, while others may charge 2.5% above base rate. It is important to shop around the market to see these differences, as the difference between these percentages over the course of even one year can be substantial.

If you have started a squat practice, costs may be even higher. However, once established, these costs can be reduced by a well thought out refinancing package. 

Managing cash flow 

Buying equipment is a huge strain on many dental practices and sometimes buying the necessary equipment out of cash flow (or working capital) may seem to be saving on any long-term loans or interest. However, buying these things straight from your cash flow can create a big strain on the cash available to the business. 

Should anything unfortunate happen (e.g. Covid-19) you need to ensure that your business has the necessary reserves to save itself. Always consider whether to buy with cash or finance over the longer term. There are many financing options available to you should you need any information of what type of finance would be best for your situation. 

Click here to find out more about managing cash flow.

Rent and business rates

If you are paying rent for your dental practice that can often be a big cost for you. In some areas of the country it would be cheaper to buy the freehold if possible, so it is always worth asking. It is also important to note that lease payments rise on a very regular basis, thereby increasing your costs further. 

Equipment 

This one is a fairly obvious cost, but it can take its toll on your dental practice. You will need necessary office equipment such as a computer, desk and chairs for your reception area. You may even want to furnish your waiting room, which can be an expense you need to factor in.

However, your largest expense will come from purchasing the necessary dental equipment for your surgeries. A dental chair, lighting, dental tools, X-ray equipment, anaesthetics, sterilising equipment and even consumables such as mouthwash and toothpaste are all part of equipment costs that you need to consider. 

Contact us to find out more

These do not all have to be bought outright all at once. There are many financing options that are lenient and can help your dental practice in the long run. Although you may factor in the costs of financing all the equipment you will need, you also need to factor in the costs that are included in keeping all your equipment up-to-date and maintained. You will also need to factor in the costs of lighting, heating and cleaning services of your dental practice.

Click here to find out more about asset finance for dentists

Although these costs will be a considerable amount, they are essential when it comes to setting up and running a functional and successful dental practice. 

Overall, the costs of running a dental practice are high, like many other medical healthcare practices. Often with dental businesses it can take some time and hard work before you start to see increasing profits. However, these profits are more than worth the costs of running your own dental practice and being in charge of your own business. 

Dental practice financing in the UK 

Buying, starting or growing your own dental practice is not a cheap process. Whether it is for property, assets or acquisition, the chances are that you will need to raise finance to build your dream practice. 

You will be able to get funding from many different mainstream lenders to finance a dental surgery, but it is imperative that you show good management of income, evidence of savings and prove your credibility with those lenders.

Acquiring a dental practice involves a large financial investment, so a comprehensive due diligence process is absolutely essential. It is also important to work with specialists along the way such as a dental solicitor, a commercial financial broker, and professional dental accountants, in order to minimise any risks. 

Click here to listen to our podcast episode on financing a squat practice.

Whether your dental practice is NHS or private, we can help secure the tailored finance your business needs to grow and succeed. 

Mortgages for dentists

We can help you find the right mortgage product to suit your needs. Whether you are re-mortgaging or buying a new site. 

Click here to find out more about commercial mortgages.

Acquisition finance

Acquisition financing will allow you to gain capital specifically for the purpose of buying your new dental practice. We can guide you through the best cost effective ways to do this and mentor you through how it will affect you and your business. 

Click here to find out more about acquisition finance.

Asset finance

Dental equipment is expensive, you need to think about all aspects that you will need to finance such as chairs, X-ray machines, you name it, it all comes with quite a hefty price tag. Asset finance assists you with spreading the cost of repayment of equipment over time.

This eases the financial stress and allows you to avoid the need to buy the equipment that you desperately need outright. Asset finance means that your practice can continue to deliver the highest quality of dental services without compromising on price. 

Click here to find out more about asset finance.

Business loans

There are many reasons as to why a business loan would be a great financing option for you. These types of loans are one of the best ways to secure working capital. You will need this type of capital to keep day to day operations consistent in your practice. There are two types of business loans available to you, secured and unsecured. Secured is a longer term lending based on the security of your business assets or unsecured which is a flexible, alternative finance solution, usually for smaller amounts. 

Click here to find out more about working capital.

Best banks for dental practice loans

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. It all comes down to what deals or terms work best for you and your business. This is why it is always best to use a professional who is qualified in handling the unique aspects of a dental practice sale and/or purchase.

Most of the high street banks all lend to dentists, but their offerings and terms vary greatly depending on what your requirements are.

For instance, whilst one bank may offer a lower interest rate, they may require more security than another. In addition, new challenger banks are interested in providing loans to dentists, so they are another source to consider for good terms.

To ensure you get the best deal available when you require finance, using Samera Finance to help you navigate the best loan terms available is highly recommended.

Our team of finance professionals are perfectly positioned to help you understand your financial requirements and provide a selection of finance offers for you.

Click here to read more about finance options for dentists.

Work with a commercial finance broker

In the same way as it’s important to work with expert dental accountants and dental solicitors when financing and buying an initial dental practice, it’s vital to do so when growth and further purchasing is required.

Never forget that a dental surgery owner’s talents lie with running the practice itself and not with accounting or legal implications. It’s better to work with experts to deal with these factors. We’ve worked on these aspects of scaling a dental practice with clients on many occasions and it’s made the process a lot simpler for them.

When you use a commercial finance broker like Samera, you tap into our decade’s of experience in the healthcare finance market. Remember, it’s not just about finding a deal for you, it’s about everything else the broker will do for you.

A broker can negotiate much more affectively, since we know the different structures and formats of deals and applications that lenders look for.

We are completely independent of any one lender. We will approach several lenders to find you the right finance solution for your business.

Click here to read our 5 reasons to use a commercial finance broker.

Our Expert Opinion

“There are so many options to borrow money on various terms these days which can be confusing. The cheapest rate is often not the best deal available, As loan to value, term of loan, arrangement fees, exit fees and legal fees are all things that need to be considered. That’s why now more than ever it’s essential to have a commercial finance broker assist to get the best deal, not just the best rate.”

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.

Nigel Crossman

Nigel Crossman

Head of Commercial Finance

Nigel is a former banker and head of commercial finance at Samera. He specialises in raising finance, negotiating deals and structuring finance applications for healthcare businesses.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

How Much Can I Raise?

It is still a surprise to me that many borrowers are not aware of how much they can raise when seeking finance for a project.

In most cases, potential borrowers underestimate what they can raise and, therefore, what they can purchase. 

When looking at buying a dental practice, the amount you can borrow is often linked to several things and lenders (Banks) all have different policies, limits and requirements.

Who am I dealing with when I borrow finance?

It is very important to ensure that you are dealing with a lender who has experience and knowledge of the dental market. Many bankers are “generalists” and deal with many types of businesses. 

Several lenders have set up specialist healthcare teams, staffed with knowledgeable staff who can assess your application in the correct way. 

These specialist teams are rarely located in local branches and their experience (as you would expect) varies with how long they have been with the team.

Action Point

When seeking finance for a project, borrowers often underestimate their borrowing potential. It’s crucial to work with lenders experienced in the dental market, as they can accurately assess your application. Specialist healthcare teams within certain lenders can provide valuable insights and tailored financing solutions for dental practice acquisitions.

Click here to read more about finance options for dentists.

What determines what I can borrow?

Bank Policy determines this, and this can vary as to: 

  • Lending an amount per dentist for each transaction
  • Lending a percentage of the goodwill valuation
  • Lending a percentage of the goodwill valuation plus lending against security
  • Sometimes lenders vary the amount they will lend according to where you are in the UK
  • Your professional experience – lenders require between 3 and 5 years minimum in a practice
  • Some borrowers restrict the term of the loan to 10 years, others to 15 years
  • If you are setting up a squat (start-up) then 70% finance may be available

Click here to read more about how banks assess you when you apply for finance.

What does this mean in terms of how much I can raise?

If you take a figure of 70% -80% as a guide for purchasing an NHS or private practice, this will give you a good idea of what can be achieved. 

However, loans can be available for up to 95% with security.

Before everyone goes off to look at that £1,000,000 practice, there are some basics to remember.

Contact us to find out more

Loans must be affordable. The EBITDA of a business (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) will demonstrate whether a business can afford to support a borrowing. You will need to have cash available for a deposit, solicitor’s costs and fees that lenders charge.

You may need to look at how the business will perform in the future with you as the owner. Will you keep on the seller and the existing associates?  What new services will you introduce? What will you change? 

Lenders may require projections as evidence of how you intend to grow the value of the business. 

Action Point

Your borrowing capacity is determined by various factors outlined in bank policies, such as lending amount per dentist, percentage of goodwill valuation, professional experience, and location. Typically, loans can range from 70% to 80% of the practice’s value, with up to 95% available with security. However, affordability is paramount, considering the business’s EBITDA and your ability to cover costs like deposits and fees. Lenders may also require projections demonstrating how you plan to enhance the business’s value under your ownership.

Click here to watch our webinar on financing your first practice.

How to navigate the maze when applying for finance

You could contact your own bank and see if they can assist. However, considering all the differences would that be the right structure and cost for you?

Could you get a better deal elsewhere? Remember this is going to be for 15 years!

With all the differences in pricing, fees, loan terms, commitment periods and early repayment penalties it is best to shop around.

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

So why use a broker?

As brokers, we are independent. We are not tied to any lender and will look at the market for you, we act solely for you.

We will assess your own situation as an individual case, we will approach several lenders who we believe can help you, using our own experience and knowledge of the industry.

We will obtain offers of finance for you from several sources so that you can compare the offers and decide which is best for you and your business.

We will negotiate on your behalf to get the best price for you and liaise with the lender through the process of due diligence, valuation,  taking of security and any other requirements they may have.

You will have us by your side throughout the process, utilising 200 years of banking experience across the team and the knowledge of us having completed so many deals in that time.

Action Points

  • Independence: Brokers are not tied to any specific lender, allowing them to impartially assess the market and find the best fit for your needs.
  • Personalized approach: Brokers evaluate your unique situation and approach multiple lenders they believe can offer suitable solutions based on their industry expertise.
  • Access to multiple offers: Brokers obtain finance offers from various sources, enabling you to compare terms and select the most favorable option for your business.
  • Negotiation support: Brokers advocate on your behalf, negotiating with lenders to secure competitive pricing and favorable terms.
  • Expert guidance: With years of banking experience and numerous deals completed, brokers provide invaluable support and guidance throughout the entire process.

We will make sure that you see what is available across the market.

Click here to read 5 reasons to use a commercial finance broker.

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.

Reviewed By:

Nigel Crossman

Nigel Crossman

Head of Commercial Finance

Nigel is a former banker and head of commercial finance at Samera. He specialises in raising finance, negotiating deals and structuring finance applications for healthcare businesses.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Navigating your Dental Practice Financial Future

In this webinar, Arun and Gurpreet discuss how best to structure your finance and accounts, as well as how to save money on your consumables.

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.

What the Google Experience Update Means for Dentists

Our Expert Opinion

“The Google Experience Update changed the game for SEO. Basically, it now means that the better your website performs, the better Google will consider it.

You need to make your website fast, so pay more for a better server and get a developer to speed your site up. Your website also needs to be stable. This is also probably going to need the work of a developer, but it really will pay dividends.

Keywords, backlinks and the rest of the SEO concepts are still going to matter. However, it’s not just your content that needs to be good anymore. The platform on which they are hosted (your website) needs to be as good as possible too. “

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.

Grow Your Dental Practice With Clever 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.

How To Market A Dental Practice

Paying attention to marketing is essential if you want to appeal to new patients, build your brand awareness and grow your dental practice. It provides you with an opportunity to attract new patients as well as to keep current patients engaged and connected.

Making use of techniques such as website optimisation, SEO, social media, PPC and email marketing helps you grow your dental practice and make sure that it continues to flourish as you want it to.

The basis of your dental practice should begin with getting the right team in place. However, growing your business and getting that attention that you need for your dental practice to succeed, is where your efforts need to be drawn to next. This is where marketing comes in.

After nearly 20 years in the business, it has been a shame to see many dental practices who have the potential to thrive, fail due to the inability to get people through the door. This is why marketing is paramount to growing your business.  Marketing a dental practice effectively can make all the difference when it comes to getting new patients in and retaining current ones.

Click here to watch our webinar on using marketing to grow a dental practice.

Action Points

  • Start by creating a user-friendly website for your dental practice, keeping it simple initially, possibly even with just a homepage that includes all essential information.
  • Ensure the website is easy to navigate without using complex jargon or categorizing treatments in a way that might confuse potential patients.
  • Incorporate multiple contact options, making phone numbers clickable for direct calling, including contact forms on every page, setting up online booking systems, and adding a chat feature or WhatsApp number for ease of communication.
  • Prioritize making your website mobile-friendly, ensuring it not only looks good on desktops but also provides an optimal experience on mobile devices, where the majority of your traffic is likely to come from.

You can read more about creating websites for dentists here.

Search Engine Optimisation

Theoretically, you can have the best dental practice in the world in terms of patient care, and it will still fail to thrive if people do not know that it exists. Gone are the days when word of mouth was the way most people found a dentist. Today, people go straight to Google and search for a dentist in their area. This is why it’s so important to use SEO for dentists, to attract patients to your practice.

SEO helps you to optimise your search engine rankings. So that your practice features at the top of the results list when people carry out a search. For this to happen, it’s important that SEO is done well. There are several things to think about to successfully grow your dental practice with SEO.

Make sure you are using the proper keywords on the relevant pages. For instance, if you’re a dentist in Baker Street, you need to make sure your dental implants page uses phrases like ‘dental implants in Baker Street’ in the body of the text and preferably in the headers.

Start a blog right now if you haven’t already – it’s the perfect excuse to create content around any keyword. Write about the top tips for getting white teeth, the 5 reasons to use Invisalign, the best ways to avoid bleeding gums and so on.

Action Points

  • Implement SEO strategies to enhance the online visibility of your dental practice, ensuring it appears at the top of search results when potential patients search for local dentists.
  • Focus on using relevant keywords throughout your website, especially on service pages, incorporating specific phrases like ‘dental implants in Baker Street’ to match local search queries.
  • Start and consistently update a blog on your dental practice’s website, using it as a platform to create keyword-rich content on various dental topics, tips, and treatments to attract and engage potential patients.

Read our article on SEO for dental websites here.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be one of the most effective way of getting your adverts seen by potential patients. By using platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, businesses can pay to have their adverts shown to the exact audiences they want. With PPC, you pay every time a user clicks on your advert.

Read our blog on using Google PPC to grow a practice.

Google and Facebook both allow you to use narrowly defined target audiences, meaning you are not paying for your adverts to be shown to audiences with no intention of becoming a patient. With Google and Facebook by far being the largest search engine and social media platform, the advertising potential with these two services are enormous.

Start advertising on Google right now for simple keyword searches like ‘dentist in [your area]’. Set up ads for emergency patients especially, they are a great way to grow a practice and find new patients. You can target specific audiences but you can also simply target everyone within a certain radius of your practice.

Facebook can be great for PPC when used correctly. We recommend using Facebook ads for cheap brand awareness campaigns, just to get your name out there to people within your area. You should also use Facebook (and Instagram) ads for one-off offers and discounts. Target the people who have visited your website, your followers on Facebook and Instagram and also upload your patients’ emails. This means your adverts will go to more qualified leads who you know are at least somewhat interested in your services (since they have already interacted with you in the past.)

Set up a Facebook Pixel on your website – this allows Facebook and Instagram to track their users when they use your website. This then allows you to send adverts to people who have visited specific pages on your website. For instance you could send Invisalign adverts ONLY to people who have been on your Invisalign page.

Action Points

  • Leverage Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to target potential patients directly, paying only when your ad is clicked.
  • Utilize the targeting capabilities of these platforms to ensure your ads reach specific, relevant audiences, such as those searching for a ‘dentist in [your area]’ or requiring emergency dental services.
  • Consider using Facebook for brand awareness campaigns to familiarize your local community with your dental practice and for promoting special offers or discounts to a more engaged audience.
  • Implement a Facebook Pixel on your website to track visitor interactions, enabling more precise ad targeting, such as showing Invisalign ads to visitors who have shown interest in that specific service on your site.

Watch our webinar on using Facebook and Instagram ads for dentists.

Creating Content

Creating great content is key to digital marketing, it’s your ammunition! If you haven’t already – you need to start blogging and writing articles. These are some of the main things that search engines like Google will use to analyse and rank your website.

Write about top tips, give guides to different treatments, do top 10 lists, there are so many options to choose from and so many topics to write about! It takes time, but it will pay dividends in the long run in terms of SEO. Google notices when your website is constantly updating itself with new content and it prefers websites that do.

Read our article on content writing for dentists here.

But blogs aren’t the end of it. The most successful and engaging form of media on any website is video. It attracts customers, it engages them and it converts. Get yourself in front of the camera and talk about your services, dentistry in general, your team and your mission & values.

You can create a short video for each treatment page explaining the procedure. You could also have a video for each team member on their profile page. Video is more engaging for audiences and also performs better than simple text or images.

You can read more about video marketing for dentists here.

Social Media

There is no doubt that social media plays a larger than ever role in dental marketing. Using social media gives you the opportunity to interact with people in the local community who are patients or potential patients. You can post updates about the practice, including details of your community work and of any new treatments that are being provided.

You can also interact with your patients, by encouraging them to provide reviews of your practice, or ask questions. Do not forget that it is not sufficient to simply set up social media accounts; you need to make sure that they are managed effectively and regularly updated.

At the very least, you need to be on Facebook and Instagram. Not only can you keep in contact with your patients, keep them engaged and send them updates, offers and news. You can also advertise very effectively straight from these platforms.

Social media is essential to growing and marketing a practice. Even if you do not use Facebook or Instagram in your personal life, you need to be using it for your dental practice. Post about once a day. Post things like blogs, articles, behind the scenes videos, even content that isn’t directly related to the practice like motivational pictures!

Action Points

  • Actively use social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, to engage with the local community, patients, and potential patients by sharing updates, community involvement, and new treatments.
  • Encourage patient interaction through reviews and Q&A sessions to foster a community around your practice.
  • Maintain a consistent and effective social media management strategy to ensure your accounts are regularly updated with relevant content.
  • Utilize social media for direct advertising, leveraging the platforms’ targeting capabilities to reach specific audiences with updates, offers, and news.
  • Post diverse content daily, including blogs, articles, behind-the-scenes videos, and motivational images to keep your audience engaged and informed about your dental practice.

Read our article on using social media to grow a practice here.

Reviews 

One of the best ways to grow your practice using digital marketing is to encourage current customers to review your practice. Hopefully, these reviews on online spaces such as Google Reviews or Trustpilot will be positive. However, negative reviews can still be an opportunity for you to address them in a helpful and positive manner. Look at the negatives as constructive criticism and make sure you are seen to be addressing the problem.

In this day and age, when prospective patients are looking to go to a new dental practice, the first thing they usually look at is reviews. Reviews are what will entice or repel prospective clients. When people see those reviews online, they will (hopefully) see that your dental practice is reputable and highly thought of. This makes it more likely for them to book an appointment with you and use your services. 

Your best, as well as your worst, reviews equally have a way of quickly spreading online. Encouraging customers to review your company is an easy way to expand your brand’s reach. When people have good things to say and have a positive experience at your practice, they are more likely to spread their review to more sites including external websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and FourSquare

Not only will good reviews impress possible patients, it also impresses Google. The better your reviews, the more reputable and trustworthy in the field of dentistry Google will consider you. 

Action Plan

  • Actively encourage your current patients to leave reviews for your practice on platforms like Google Reviews or Trustpilot.
  • View negative reviews as opportunities for improvement and address them publicly in a constructive and positive manner.
  • Recognize the importance of online reviews in attracting prospective patients, as they often check these before choosing a new dental practice.
  • Promote customer reviews to enhance your practice’s online reputation and visibility, which can lead to increased appointments and service usage.
  • Understand that positive reviews not only influence potential patients but also contribute to Google’s perception of your practice as reputable and trustworthy in dentistry.

Watch our webinar on marketing and patient care here.

Email Marketing 

Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing methods, if it is utilised in the right way. You can provide a means of people giving you their email address, such as a newsletter sign-up page on your website or in person when they book an appointment. Once you have collected email addresses, you need to decide on your campaign.

Click here to read our article on Email marketing for dentists

For instance, you may want to offer discounts for treatments or an ongoing newsletter with details of latest news within your practice. Newsletters that consist of getting to know the staff segments and continuous updates of your practice, helps your clients feel closer to you as a business. Think carefully about the people you are targeting with your emails and make sure that the tone of your email content is engaging and appropriate.

Newsletters can be a great way of keeping your customers engaged, enhance your brand awareness and build a feeling of community. 

Action Points

  • Implement a strategy for collecting email addresses, such as through newsletter sign-ups on your website or during appointment bookings.
  • Plan your email marketing campaign, considering offering discounts or sending newsletters with updates and news about your practice.
  • Include personal touches in your newsletters, like staff introductions and practice updates, to foster a sense of connection with your clients.
  • Tailor the content and tone of your emails to suit your target audience, ensuring it is engaging and relevant.
  • Utilize email marketing to keep your patients engaged, increase brand awareness, and cultivate a community around your dental practice.

Watch our webinar on using marketing to increase profits here.

Offline Marketing for Dentists

Branding

Before we begin on effectively marketing a dental practice, we need to start with what you are promoting. Needless to say, it is your brand name and image that will define you and get you recognition. But you need to start somewhere else entirely, your brand should come later. The first thing and main thing you need to market is the benefits of your practice. This is what will get you the attention you need. Remember, benefits before branding.

You need to promote the specific benefits patients will get if they visit your dental practice. The fact of the matter is, the dental industry is heavily populated. You need to market what makes you different and special. That is what your audience will respond to, your unique selling points. 

It is hard to be unique as a dental practice, but there are certain aspects of your practice that can make you different, that is what you should market. 

Think about anything positive about your surgery that can be promoted. Here are a few aspects that we have come up with but remember, with the right team, you can promote just about anything. 

  • Easily available emergency appointments.
  • Easy access to appointments. 
  • Orthodontic surgery available on site. 
  • Specialist care for nervous patients.
  • Specialists available (eg, orthodontists, hygienists). 
  • Children’s dental care specialists available at the practice 
  • Cosmetic dental procedures available on site. 
  • Location!

Many dental patients tend to respond well to benefits like these before they even begin to respond to traditional commercial branding. Now you know the specific aspects of your dental practice that you need to promote, you need to remember to navigate a direct path from these benefits to the name of the dental practice. The aim is for patients to associate the benefits of the practice to the name of your practice, this will be your brand. Essentially, you will be branding your dental practice with your unique selling points. 

Action Points

  • Focus initially on promoting the unique benefits of your dental practice rather than the brand itself to capture attention and differentiate from competitors.
  • Highlight your practice’s unique selling points (USPs) such as emergency appointment availability, specialist care, or convenient location to appeal to potential patients.
  • Identify and market the aspects of your practice that set you apart, like specialized services for nervous patients, children’s dental care, or on-site cosmetic procedures.
  • Craft your marketing messages to directly link the benefits of your services to your dental practice, aiming to create a strong association in patients’ minds.
  • Use your practice’s USPs to define and build your brand, ensuring patients recognize and remember your practice for its distinctive advantages and quality of care.

Interact with the community

The patients who attend your practice are part of the local community, so it makes sense that you should ensure that your practice is known and respected locally. Community involvement can be of huge benefit to any business that is so closely involved with people in the local area.

The type of involvement that you can consider includes attending local fêtes, contributing to local charities and sponsoring junior sports teams. You may even be able to attend local schools, to talk about the importance of good dental care or about the pros and cons of a career as a dentist.

Action Points

  • Engage actively with your local community to build a positive reputation for your dental practice.
  • Participate in local events such as fêtes to increase visibility and connect with potential patients.
  • Contribute to local charities and causes to demonstrate your practice’s commitment to community well-being.
  • Sponsor local junior sports teams to support youth activities and enhance your practice’s presence in the community.
  • Offer educational visits to local schools to discuss dental care and career opportunities in dentistry, further establishing your practice as a knowledgeable and caring community member.

Postcards and Flyers 

It is important to remember that not all of your dental marketing efforts need to be based online. Your practice is physically located amongst both your current patients and prospective patients. Therefore, you are in the ideal position to make use of non-digital marketing solutions such as postcards and flyers. 

Make sure that your postcards and flyers are relevant and have something important to say about your practice. Remember that there are many businesses that post their advertising materials through the postboxes of your potential clientele. Many people still get bombarded with many flyers and postcards that are all more or less the same, which is why your content needs to stand out. 

Using customer testimonials on your flyers is always a great thing to add, but be sure not to go crazy with any designs. Sometimes it helps to include a promotion or discount on your flyers to provide more of an incentive for people to come to your practice and actually keep the flyer rather than throwing it away. 

However, with society becoming more environmentally conscious, it is important to use sustainably sourced materials and to advertise that fact. 

Action Points

  • Utilize non-digital marketing methods like postcards and flyers to reach current and prospective patients in your local area.
  • Ensure your printed materials convey relevant and compelling information about your dental practice to stand out from other advertisements.
  • Consider incorporating customer testimonials into your flyers and postcards to build trust and credibility.
  • Include special promotions or discounts in your materials to incentivize potential patients to visit your practice.
  • Opt for sustainably sourced materials for your printed marketing efforts and highlight this eco-friendly choice to align with increasing environmental awareness among consumers.

SMS reminders 

SMS marketing has made a huge comeback recently. If you’re like me and knew nothing about text marketing until recently, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. In the last few years, there have been a lot of new and old marketing strategies that have seen a sudden boost in popularity, and SMS marketing is one of the older ones but is now more effective than ever. It has been around for a couple of decades now but only now has it really caught on, especially with the smaller to medium-sized business market.

SMS reminders are a great way to keep existing patients engaged by reminding them about scheduled appointments or prompting them to book an appointment if they haven’t been in a while. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket nowadays and SMS reminders can help you reach your patients directly, cheaply and easily. 

Action Points

  • Explore the potential of SMS marketing as an effective tool for engaging with patients in today’s digital age.
  • Implement SMS reminders to keep existing patients informed about their upcoming appointments or encourage them to schedule a visit if it’s been a while.
  • Leverage the ubiquity of smartphones to ensure your messages reach your patients directly, offering a cost-effective and straightforward communication channel.

Our Expert Opinion

“Marketing, especially online marketing, is one of the most important aspects of running any business. It can make or break your business, especially if you’re a start-up practice or an existing practice that’s struggling.

My biggest recommendation would be to focus on getting the SEO right. This means you need to focus on content optimisation, user journey, user experience and the speed of your website.

There are so many tools and Google Chrome extensions you can use for free. Download Google Lighthouse and the Website SEO Checker extension on Google Chrome. Feed your website urls into these tools and they’ll tell you what you need to do to your website.

Some of it will need to be handled by your developer, and hopefully they’re already on top of it. But if I can give you one piece of advice, it’s focus on SEO and your website. Ads can work brilliantly but they cost money. SEO is free, it’s effective and it can be done fairly easily if you know what you’re doing.”

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.

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

How to Start a Dental Practice in 13 Steps

Setting up your own squat dental practice is a way of getting into ownership without the costs of buying an existing dental practice.

This is the story of how we started our first dental practice in 13 steps and how you can too.

Back in 2004, when many dentists were bumbling along with the old NHS contract, we decided to start up a squat dental practice. We had no experience of how to start a dental practice, we just had plain business ideas and clinical knowledge to back us up.

Most dentists we spoke to said we were mad not trying for an NHS contract, but we believed (and still do today) that being business-like in our approach to delivering dentistry would ensure our success. It did.

To date, we have done pretty well by taking the road less travelled, and with the prospect of further changes in the NHS, we only anticipate things to be even more difficult in the NHS for the UK’s dentists.

So now we want to share with you our story, how you can go it alone and how to set up your own successful private dental practice from scratch in just 13 steps.

Click here to read more about why dentists want their own practices.

Practice Startup Checklist

Download the Samera Dental Practice Startup Checklist to make sure you’re following every step on the path to becoming a dental practice owner.

Download the Starting a Dental Practice Guide

What is a Squat Dental Practice?

Usually this is a single surgery practice started from the beginning with a view of turning this into a highly profitable business. It can be more than one surgery if there are multiple dentists involved in the project.

You will need to have a vision of what you want to achieve and build your business plan around this, take into account the services you will provide, and ensure you research the area you are to set up in to ensure that there is demand.

Think about your opening hours and whether these will include weekends and early starts or late finishes. Most importantly, make sure you have the right location, with new clients being able to find your premises clearly.

Create a Business Plan

Putting Our Ideas on Paper

The first stage in setting up our first dental practice was putting down onto paper what we wanted to create. We had ideas, dreams, even aspirations, just like you almost certainly do. It was imperative to start putting these ideas down on paper as the first step to making it really happen.

Using sound business techniques, we clarified our vision of what we wanted to create and then, most importantly, started putting a business plan together.

After a couple of months, we had a great looking business plan, with our goals, mission and values. However, as wonderful as these ideas looked on paper – we had no location!

Learning Point 1: Clarify your vision of what you want to create and seek assistance if necessary to put a detailed and well thought through business plan together. Make sure your business plan includes:

  • The aims and objectives
  • Services that will be available
  • Market research
  • Acquisition and operational costs
  • How you intend to run the practice
  • Financial forecasts

You need to consider what your practice will become and work out the costs and income that you will generate so that projections can be calculated to provide lenders with a well thought out viable business opportunity. You can find further information on business plans for dental practices at the link below.

Click here to read more about putting a business plan together.

Choose the Right Location

Driving Around London at Night and Finding a Site

How could we have a wonderful business plan and idea with no location? Well, our plan had identified exactly what type of customer we wanted to come to our dental practice, including their psychographic and demographic characteristics. All we needed to do was start looking for suitable premises! Premises with everything we were looking for don’t come up regularly, so we started scouring London for suitable properties.

Click here to learn more about choosing between leasehold and freehold.

This meant walking and driving around looking for suitable sites at particularly strange hours of the day. We found the site of our first dental practice in Wandsworth Town, after driving back late from dinner with friends in North London. Days later we agreed the contract with the vendor.

We followed the same approach for our subsequent sites in Canary Wharf, Esher, Surrey and Fleet Street – always checking out the competition, visibility of the premises and the amount of traffic passing by. Hours spent doing this proved to be very valuable indeed!

Learning Point 2: Finding the right location to open your dental practice is critical. Don’t settle for second best, walk around different areas at different times of the day and speak to many agents and you will eventually find a suitable location for your new dental practice.

Make sure you do the necessary market research on the demographics of your chosen location and any competition you may face from existing practices in the area. Be prepared to make some tough decisions, like having to move to an area you hadn’t originally dreamed of.

You will need to research this carefully – remember you are going to be working there for several years and it needs to be an area you would want to work in.  Look at the local competition, how much footfall is there, are there good transport links and can patients park easily.

The building will need to be adapted and will need ventilation, space for plant and equipment and enough space to develop the practice into a 2/3 surgery practice or more.

Click here to find out more about choosing a location in our webinar on starting a profitable private practice.

Contact us to find out more

Create a Flexible Business Model

Becoming pregnant was not part of our equation, we had to create a flexible business model.

A week after agreeing all the terms for the premises we found in Wandsworth Town, Principal dentist, Smita, who was supposed to be doing most of the dentistry (particularly in the early days of the practice) was in fact, pregnant. Although this threw us momentarily, we decided to take the plunge anyway.

However, we decided we had to re-design our business model, where from an early stage, the practice would not rely upon the earnings of the Principal dentist – pretty much unheard of in the setting up of a squat dental practice.

Learning Point 3: In business, you have to be flexible and be ready to change your ideas and plans quickly. Don’t be inflexible, always be ready to adapt and change as circumstances change. You will make mistakes. You will face obstacles. Things will go wrong. It is important that you are ready to adapt to these new situations. Make sure you have a plan B for every eventuality. It is also essential that you create a business crisis continuity plan for your practice in case the worst should happen.

Click here to watch our webinar on mistakes to avoid when running a dental practice.

Hire an Expert External Team

The next few months were very exciting. What we had on paper was now being transformed into reality. Our next stage involved hiring experts to help with the business, something which we firmly believe in. Cutting corners can appear to help in the short-term, but 9 times out of 10, this approach can eventually come back to haunt you.

So, we hired a design team to aid us with the branding and design of the practice. We knew we had to create something special that stood out in a crowded environment. Their expertise was essential in creating a brand that ensured we got the right customers.

Learning Point 4: Build a team of experienced professionals from day one, don’t try and do it on your own, as it will be much more difficult to reach the lofty heights of success alone. People you will need include accountant, lawyer, designer, website and digital marketing experts just to name a few! Yes, it’s possible to do all these things on your own, but it’s not a good idea. Your skill is dentistry, not accounting or marketing or brokering.

Click here to read the 10 things to look for in a dental accountant.

Raise the Finance

Raising cash and being tight with the purse strings

Naturally, we had in our hearts a picture of the dream practices we wanted to build, with the newest technology, the most futuristic decor and a dozen surgeries. However, in our heads we also had budgets, cash flows, expenses and reality!

We got to work figuring out what we knew we could afford to raise, we calculated projected profits, we found as many quotes for every purchase we could.

Click here to listen to our podcast episode on financing a squat dental practice.

With great designers supporting our start-up, we now needed associate dentists, especially since our business model was not going to have our own Principal dentist earning for a while. We knew we had to be careful in our set-up costs. So, armed with a detailed business plan and robust financial forecasts, we approached various banks to support the venture.

Our plan, which was paramount to raising the finance, was approved by one of the major banks and we got the go-ahead to move forward. That said, sticking to our budget was also essential in successfully getting the business off the ground. Not spending on superfluous dental toys was an essential aspect to doing it right too. Hard negotiation and saying NO to salespersons was an essential part of the set up process.

Read more about how lenders want you to manage a start-up dental practice.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Dental Practice?

How much it costs to start a dental practice will vary greatly and depends on a huge range of factors, such as:

  • Where you’re opening the site
  • What type of building you’re going to be trying to acquire to put a dental practice into
  • What type of kit you’re going to be putting into the practice
  • How many surgeries you’re going to be putting into the practice
  • How much the building work is going to cost, what the design is etc. 

The ball park figure for starting a dental practice that we’re seeing today is anything between £100k and £500k. On average, probably about £200,000 to £250,000 to start up a dental practice as a squat these days.

Click here for more information on raising the finance to start a dental practice.

Contact us to find out more

What Does a Dental Practice Need to Purchase?

There can be a seemingly endless list of equipment and consumables that dental practices need to purchase. It’s great to have up-to-date technology and all the latest gear, but it’s also important to be mindful of your cash flow and working capital.

So, what exactly are you going to need to budget for?

Here is a list of just some of the equipment and consumables for which you may need to raise asset finance. Please bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, nor will you need to purchase everything on this list.

Click here to find out more about asset finance.

Learning Point 5:

The project will consist of two main costs –

  1. The Build – this is the transformation of the property into a dental practice the cost of taking out the fabric of the premises if necessary and installing your electrical requirements / surgery rooms / decontamination room / staff room / toilets / disabled access and toilets
  2. The Equipment – the cost of buying and installing a chair / x-ray machine / autoclave/ suction / compressors etc

These costs will form the basis of your projections (required by all lenders) showing how the practice will grow and become profitable.

Put some tight financial management into play by setting a budget, negotiating hard and keeping a close eye on your costs. Don’t get too excited and spend more than you have to use, only spend money on space and equipment you 100% need.

Make sure you have all the necessary documentation like accounts and bank statements. Contact a commercial finance broker (with experience in the dental sector) to discuss the different funding options available to you. You will get a better price and a better deal by using a broker. You will need to think about finance to cover assets, property, staffing, working capital and much more. Download our free cash flow forecast template.

Click here to watch our webinar on financing your first dental practice.

Put a Great Team Together

The old cliché –TEAM

Whilst the practice was developing, in parallel, we had to hire and build a team of associates and nurses. Did we get it right first time? Of course we didn’t! Do we still make mistakes? Of course we do, but we have pretty much experienced anything and everything that can occur within a team. However, without a dedicated team, the business would not be in its strong position today.

Keep in mind the basic principles of hiring a team. You’re going to be working with these people for quite a while (if all goes the plan!). Make sure you hire people you get along with, and make sure you hire people your patients will get along with!

Learning Point 6: Yes, it’s team again. You will need to hire your practice team too, so it’s imperative to start looking early for quality people to join your team. Don’t hire them because they are cheap, hire them because they can help you build your business.

Not everyone who is great at dentistry is also great with people. Make sure your clinical team have a good bedside manner and know how to upsell. Remember that your front-of-house staff can make or break a dental practice – they are the face of your business so make sure they are friendly, well-trained and great communicators.

Click here to read more about putting a dental team in place.

Market Your New Dental Practice

Pre-opening Marketing – The First Day

With our first team in place, and around 6 months after finding the premises, we opened the doors of our first dental practice to the public by holding “The world’s first tooth-brushing class!” A bit cheesy, but it worked, plus it certainly got the local community involved. We offered discounted check-ups and various other incentives to get people through the door.

Contact us to find out more

Before we actually opened (due to our pre-opening marketing exercises) we had over 50 patients booked for appointments in the first 2 weeks. During those first few months, the business grew, then grew some more, whilst being blessed with our first child. As the business went from strength to strength financially, we felt (12 months on) that we had designed a strong enough business model that could be sustained and replicated again, perhaps on a higher risk scale.

Learning Point 7: As part of your business plan, make sure you have a detailed plan of marketing in place. Don’t just wait for patients to come in, you will need to be active before you open and even more active in your marketing once open. Make sure you have sufficient budget to do this, else you will open a practice with no patients to see! Start building a website at least 3 months before the practice opens – Google takes a while to rank new websites. Start some Google and Facebook ads to start building brand awareness online.

Click here for all our articles and webinars on marketing a dental practice.

Growing Your Dental Practice

Think BIG – Roll on practice number two!

Despite what other people said (including our bank at the time) we decided to take a MASSIVE step for us – the decision to open up a dental practice in 2006 at Canary Wharf. Bigger overheads, higher profile based in the shopping malls, but also more to lose if it went wrong!

We were confident that using the same sound business acumen and techniques we had used on the Wandsworth Town practice would ensure that the new practice would be a roaring success.

Within 12 months of opening, the Canary Wharf practice was doing extremely well, and growing beyond our expectations. How did we do it?With the right location, right team, and a bit of luck.

Learning Point 8: Always think big, or else go home. You need to think about growing your business, it may not be another location but it could be new services or more surgeries, but always be thinking about how to grow! Make use of any extra space in your premises. Step up your marketing efforts. Try to minimise your costs as much as you can by cutting expenses where possible. Raise your prices. Be prepared to borrow further finance to help grow the practice, or perhaps refinancing your current loans.

Click here to watch our webinar on how to grow a dental practice.

Get Your Structure and Systems Right.

And then practice number three, all due to systemisation and structure!

Our first two squat dental practices started in 2004 and 2006 respectively, both of which were in good London locations, with leasehold premises (as the freeholds were not available). Then, in 2009, after exiting a local Waitrose in Esher, we saw a disused and empty building that looked perfect for our next site.

Following discussions with estate and planning agents, banks and structural engineers, we received the keys in December 2009 to our first freehold commercial premises of over 3500 square feet, which was to contain practice number 3.

By May 2010 practice number 3 in Esher was officially opened in an affluent Surrey town. Third time around, we knew much more than the first time, but we also had written systems in place, which was key for our expansion plans.

Learning Point 9: Write down everything and put systems into place for everything you do, as this will help when growing and developing your team. It is vital that the practice can be run without you. If the practice relies too heavily on you personally, that can be a problem. Systematise your practice and procedures so that the business can be run on its own comfortably. Your procedures need to be well documented and accessible by the whole team. The team itself needs to be well trained in these procedures as well. A business that is run on systems, not on individuals, is much easier to scale and/or replicate in a new practice.

Click here to read more about structuring a dental group.

Always Be Ready to Sell

But then out of the blue…Remember always be flexible.

We were approached by a leading Healthcare insurer wanting to buy us out. Again, we were 50/50 but eventually in May 2013 we sold our Canary Wharf site. It was not in our plans, but it made considerable sense for our personal needs (we have young children after all) and this worked for us financially too.

Contact us to find out more

In late November 2015 our Fleet Street practice was born, and a year later Notting Hill gate opened too. Both in fantastic locations for a practice to serve the many working people in their respective areas. Our ability to open in a location like this came from us taking the big step back in 2004 into the unknown. The Neem Tree brand is growing with partners across the UK, so if you want to be part of it do get in touch.

Learning Point 10: Always be ready to sell, and we were in this instance. At the time we were not even considering a sale, however, if the right offer comes along, it is sometimes a much better idea to receive much more than you thought you would get and secure one’s financial position. You are growing a business, after all, and it is important to think of it in business terms. By maximising your turnover and reducing your costs, you can grow your practice to a point where selling it returns an enormous profit on your original investments.

Click here to read more about selling a dental practice.

Live and Learn

Would we do it all again? Absolutely!

We have learned so much, worked with some wonderful people, and have helped secure the financial future for our family. We achieved this whilst encountering so many challenges, but this has made us stronger and fitter and ready for the new challenges that lie ahead of us all.

Learning Point 12: Live a life of no regrets and learn from everything you do! Expect problems, expect failures, expect obstacles. Nothing worth having in life comes easy. It’s okay to get things wrong (within reason!), as long as you learn from those mistakes and do what you can to avoid them again in the future. You can read more about the five traits of failed dental start-ups here.

Click here to learn from our mistakes and watch our webinar on mistakes to avoid when setting up a practice.

Be Ready For a Challenge

So, is setting up a dental practice for everyone?

Honest answer; probably not. It requires stepping out of your comfort zone many times. Working extremely hard, taking decisions that impact not just you but many others, and basically putting yourself on the line. If you relish that kind of challenge and possess an appetite for calculated risk-taking, then you probably need to set up your own dental practice!

If you are serious about setting up a dental practice, here are our 5 top tips for success:

  1. Use professionals to help you – ensure they have experience of squats and have done these before
  2. Research the area thoroughly and review the competition
  3. Speak early about Finance to ensure you have enough of a deposit to see the project through
  4. Plan what sort of dental practice you want but make sure that it is affordable and use the saying: What do I want / What do I need / What can be afforded?
  5. Use the experience of others to guide you through the process

Learning Point 13: If you want to grow, you need to take risks, so if you have the appetite of being your own boss, become a serial (but calculated) risk taker.

Click here to watch our webinar on how to start a dental practice during a pandemic.

Regulations for a Start-up Dental Practice

The building for your new dental practice will need to have suitable planning use for a dental practice. Class E is the recently introduced new coding system for dental practices and this can be checked with the local council planning department.

You must register with the CQC as a provider – you must be interviewed and the premises is inspected once complete. Once you have the premises and the finance you should start the registration process, as this can take some time.

Our Expert Opinion

“Having opened many dental practices over the years, I personally know it is not easy. The key is building a great team to support you, finding a prime location, marketing it strongly and then ultimately doing great dentistry. Easy? No. Possible. Yes! If you have the vision to do this, it is possible but don’t expect a smooth ride!”

Reviewed By:

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

Nigel Crossman

Nigel Crossman

Head of Commercial Finance

Nigel is a former banker and head of commercial finance at Samera. He specialises in raising finance, negotiating deals and structuring finance applications for healthcare businesses.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

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 Grow A Dental Practice

In this article, we’ll take a look at all the different factors you need to consider to grow a dental practice. From structuring your finances and accounts to digital marketing techniques, this guide will cover everything you need to know when it comes to growing a dental practice.

Why the Climate is Right for Growing a Dental Practice

According to a report published by IBIS World in 2017, the size of the dental market in the UK was £6.7bn, with a growth projection of 1.1% over the following five years. This means that the time is right to grow a dental practice. If you get it right, you can take advantage of the growing UK population, which is leading to a growing demand for dental health services nationwide.

The UK population is continuing to grow. By 2039 it’s estimated to reach 74 million. You can take a look at more detailed figures, provided by the Office for National Statistics. A growing population leads to an increased need for resources, including dental care. As strain on NHS dental care increases, there is an increased need for good quality private dental care.

The population is also ageing and, as the only part of the human body that has no self-repair ability, teeth require on-going repair and maintenance, if they are to last into later years. As I have discussed with several clients in recent years, there is plenty of opportunity to scale a dental practice, as long as the scaling process is completed correctly.

Listen to our podcast on the climate for dental practice growth in the UK.

Factors to Consider When Growing a Dental Practice

In order to grow a dental practice, it’s important to have a good understanding of the methods that you need to use. Making the right use of these methods is essential if you want your dental practice to expand and thrive.

From accounting and finances to the in’s and out’s of digital marketing, it’s essential that you consider all aspects of the business when you decide to grow your dental practice.

Click here to read more articles about growing a dental practice.

As a dental practice grows, there is likely to come a time when significant additional funding is required in order to scale further. This funding may be needed to purchase new equipment, to extend a current practice, or to buy more dental practices to become a group.

The first point I want to make is that it’s not all about profits when it comes to growing a dental surgery.

It’s important to consider the costs of running a practice, which are also likely to increase significantly over the coming years. For instance, payroll costs can account for almost 60% of revenue expenditure on average. In 2019 especially, the increase in the National Living Wage made a significant difference to dental practices that employ younger administration and support staff.

Click here to read more about the costs of running a dental practice.

These cost increases need to be factored into any decision to scale a dental practice. Other on-going costs that should be accounted for include non-payroll related expenses, such as the purchase of materials, payment of utility bills, insurance premiums and the cost of marketing.

The obvious lesson to take from all this is that any dental practice owner needs to concentrate their efforts on increasing revenue as soon as they take over at a practice or start up their own dental surgery. It’s these efforts that make expansion a possibility.

Click here to read about how to build a dental group.

Contact us to find out more

Work with Professionals When Looking for Growth and Acquisition Financing

In the same way as it’s important to work with expert dental accountants and dental solicitors when financing and buying an initial dental practice, it’s also vital to work with professional brokers when you plan to grow your dental practice.

Click here to book a free consultation with our finance team and discuss your options.

Never forget that a dental surgery owners talents lie with running the practice itself and not with accounting or legal implications. It’s better to work with experts to deal with these factors. on these aspects of scaling a dental practice with clients on many occasions and it’s made the process a lot simpler for them.

Click here to read the 5 reasons you need to use a commercial finance broker.

Actions

  • Contact a dedicated dental accountant if you haven’t already. You can read more about what look for in a dental accountant here.
  • Contact a commercial finance broker before you approach a bank or other financial institution to borrow finance. It’s important that you make sure the broker you work with has extensive experience in the UK’s dental sector. They will be able to make sure you choose the right option and get the best deal for your business.

Apply for Financing

There are a wide range of reasons for which you may need to raise funds as a dentist. From expanding the premises and equipping new surgeries to raising working capital or paying off outstanding debts, there will most likely come a time when you need to raise commercial finance.

Click here to find out more about funding options for dentists.

Banks and other financial institutions want to reduce their risk and tend to only lend to businesses that can prove they have reliable revenue and are in a position to make repayments on time.

It’s worth bearing this in mind when making decisions to grow a dental practice. Planning ahead is essential. Ideally, plan 10-12 months ahead of time, and make sure that revenue is optimised and accounts are up-to-date and accurate before applying for funding. When you apply for funding, be prepared to provide a significant amount of documentation including:

  • An up-to-date business plan.
  • Up-to-date and accurate accounts (personal and business).
  • Up-to-date tax records.
  • Details of expenditure.
  • Detailed analysis of proposed finance spending and growth of the practice.

Click here to find out more about how banks judge dentists.

Having everything in one place before applying for growth or acquisition funding makes a successful outcome more likely. 

You can find more webinars and articles on financing the growth of a dental practice here.

Actions

Structure Your Accounts and Finances Correctly

We’re dental accountants at heart and we firmly believe that structuring your accounts correctly can make or break your business. You can save time, money and effort when you go digital with your accounts and use programmes like Xero and Quickbooks. Automating your accounts and finances with these kinds of programmes brings huge benefits for your business. You can read more about the benefits of automated accounts here.

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s essential that you choose a dental accountant who has experience in the dental industry. It’s not enough to find a good accountant. They need to have a working knowledge and understanding of the tax, accounting and financial issues facing the UK’s dentists.

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

Actions

Contact us to find out more

Maintain a High-Performing Team

When you set up your dental practice, you put a team in place that you could trust. It’s important to retain this team if you want to grow your dental practice successfully. This means that you have to consider several factors.

Make Sure The Working Environment is Positive.

A working environment that is less than positive will deter people from wanting to remain working at your practice. Make sure that everyone is aware of the vision of the practice and working towards it. You should also make sure that members of your team have access to the training and technology that they need.

Watch our webinar and listen to our podcast on leadership skills for dentists.

Encourage Good Performance.

You cannot grow a dental practice without having a high performing team in place. This is why it’s so important to make use of key performance indicators, SMART objectives and an effective appraisal system that includes an emphasis on personal development.

Read our article on building a dental team.

Make Sure That Communication Works.

Effective communication is central to the success and growth of any dental practice. This may sound easy, but communication can become confused and messy if you let it. Make use of tools such as a communications strategy, an Intranet system and weekly team meetings, to help make sure that this does not happen. It may sound simple, but a clear communication strategy that everyone understands can make the world of difference in any workplace.

Click here to watch our webinar on The Language of Communication.

All of these factors can help you to keep your high performing team in place.

Actions

  • Set KPI’s and objectives with your team.
  • Dedicate a specific time each week (or every 2 weeks at the most) to meet with your team to listen to their ideas and air any issues.
  • Make sure you are open about, and that your team buy into, your vision for the practice. Be prepared to make some tough decisions about staffing if any of your team do not buy into the vision and objectives of the practice.

Use Marketing to Grow A Dental Practice

You can have an exceptional dental practice, but it’s not going to grow and flourish if you do not market it effectively. Optimised marketing is essential to the growth of any business. It’s important that you emphasise the benefits that people can get from choosing your dental surgery, rather than simply concentrating on the brand itself.

It’s these benefits that will attract people to your practice and make it easier for you to retain their loyalty.

The first step is creating a website for your dental practice that ranks highly on Google and converts patients. It’s important that you understand the basics of SEO for websites, if you’re planning on creating it yourself. You can find out more about SEO for dental websites here.

Remember to keep your website’s layout simple. Make sure everything is easy to find and the menus are simple to navigate. Whilst you need videos, images and other widgets, it’s essential to keep in mind that speed is paramount. Don’t go overboard! Do not forget to optimise your website for mobile. More people use mobiles to access the internet than desktops or laptops.

You can find out more about creating a website for dentists here.

When you are marketing your dental practice, do not forget to make full use of social media. This is where large numbers of potential patients spend time. It’s the perfect place for you to reach them and communicate with them. You can also choose to pay for social media advertising with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.

Click here to read more about growing a dental practice with social media.

Your website and social media’s content should be central to your marketing efforts. You need to make sure that the content is fresh, interesting and well-written. Starting a blog may seem time-consuming but you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get into – and how useful it is for marketing! Start writing your top tips, educating patients on your different treatments, start a newsletter. You’ll start attracting new, interested leads and it will improve SEO.

Click here to read more about writing content for dentists.

By getting the marketing right, you’ll attract new patients, convert leads and retain new patients far easier. Digital marketing especially is becoming more and more important with each year. You need to make sure you are paying attention to SEO, social media and PPC in particular to ensure the growth of your patient list and practice.

Watch our webinar on Using Marketing to Increase Profits.

Actions

  • Perform an SEO audit on your website and improve the on-page and local SEO as much as you can. You can learn more about SEO for dental websites here.
  • Start writing blogs and articles, as well as creating video content with your team.
  • Improve your social media profiles and start posting your blogs and engaging with patients. Set aside an hour a day for either you or a team member to post and respond to followers.
  • Start some simple Google Ads campaigns using your most popular treatments and your location as keywords. For instance ‘invisalign Brighton’, ‘dental implants Wigmore Street’
  • Use these 5 free ways to grow your dental practice.

Attract Emergency Patients

Emergency patients are our secret weapon to growing a dental practice. Emergency patients are actively and urgently looking for a dentist right now. They’re most likely in pain, a little desperate and willing to travel farther than general patients. Other patients are idly considering dental work sometime in the future while they look at your website. Emergency patients are looking for a dentist right here and right now. They’re qualified, hot leads just waiting to be converted.

The best bit is that you’re not just trying to attract patients for one-off emergency treatment. You were there for them when other dentists weren’t – maybe even their regular dentist. Hopefully your front-of-house and clinical staff impress them. This gives you a real chance of turning these emergency patients into regular patients. Patients will travel farther than you think for a dentist they like – make sure that dentist is you!

Click here to listen to our podcast on using emergency patients to grow a practice.

Actions

  • Make sure your website has a page dedicated to and optimised for emergency dental appointments.
  • Give patients as many ways as possible to contact you in an emergency. For instance; WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or you could forward the practice phone to your own personal mobile out-of-hours.
  • Offer as many evening and weekend appointments as are feasible for your team and practice.
  • Set up PPC campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook Ads for emergency dental appointments in your area.

Contact us to find out more

Retain New Patients

Attracting new patients is not enough to grow a dental practice, you need to make sure that they are retained. There are several things that you need to do, in order to make sure that this happens.

  • Make a good first impression. Maintain a welcoming but tidy waiting room and making sure that reception staff are friendly as well as efficient. The importance of friendly front-of-house staff that your patients get on with cannot be overstated!
  • Engage with your patients. No-one expects you, or the associates who work at your practice, to be best friends with patients. However, you do need to engage with them. Few patients will return to a dentist who is unapproachable and distant.
  • Remind patients in a friendly manner. We all lead busy lives, and it’s easy to forget things like dental check-ups. Keep your patients engaged by sending them friendly reminders, but do not harass them with constant contact.
  • Monitor the retention of patients. In order to understand how your patient retention efforts are working, you need to monitor their effectiveness. If you do not do this, you cannot hope to grow your dental practice successfully.

Read our article on retaining new dental patients.

Actions

  • Set up a simple contact form on your website (just ask for name and email address) for people to sign up for a newsletter. Send these contacts offers, discounts and updates once a month.
  • Set up a referral programme and offer benefits to patients who return and refer a friend.
  • Upload your patient list to Facebook and encourage patients to follow you on social media. Make sure you are posting interesting content and engaging with your followers as often as possible.
  • Install an automated process for reminding patients of their upcoming appointments or that they need a check-up soon.
  • Set up a cheap brand awareness campaign on Facebook Ads and Google Ads.

Expanding a Dental Practice

If you’re successful in scaling a dental practice, there will hopefully come a time when a physical expansion is necessary. There may be an option to re-design the current surgery in order to make this happen. Or, it may be necessary to acquire additional property, in order for expansion to take place.

Optimising the use of current space

The first question to ask when looking for room to expand is, “How effective is the current use of space?”. For instance, staff break rooms do not need to be large, luxurious spaces. They simply need to be a place to take a reasonably comfortable break before returning to work. It may be possible to use some of this space as a treatment area.

Unused hallways and storage areas can also be utilised. Take the time to consider the current usage of the entire surgery space, and come up with new design options. This can save on the cost of having to acquire additional premises, in some circumstances.

Click here to read our guide to commercial mortgages.

Dealing with the landlord

This will only be an issue if the leasehold of the property is not owned by the dental practice. If this is the case, it’s important to discuss any refurbishment or re-design ideas with the landlord first. Failure to do so could lead to legal complications further down the line.

Depending on how good the relationship with the landlord is, there could be an argument for involving a dental solicitor. At least you need to be seeking their advice and support.

The Issue of Planning Permission

If the purpose of the premises is to remain the same, it’s unlikely that planning permission will be needed. However, there may be times when there will be a need to acquire planning permission when extending a dental practice. For instance, part of the property which is currently being used as a residence may be converted for business use. Also, neighbouring residential property may be purchased for conversion.

Any property that is going to be used as part of a dental practice should have Class E planning consent. If the correct consent is not in place, it’s possible that enforcement penalties could be imposed. It’s always best to check if planning consent is needed, before going ahead and making any changes. The government provides advice on this subject.

Actions

  • Contact a commercial finance broker to discuss your financial options when it comes to expanding the practice.
  • Conduct market research and be certain you will have the capacity to fill the extra surgeries or chairs after expansion.

Our Expert Opinion

“There’s no one particular route to grow a dental practice. It requires a multi faceted approach to ensure you achieve your goal of growth. Marketing, finance, pricing, teamwork plus of course great clinical care, all contribute to growing your practice.

How do we grow our practices? We focus on improving online visibility with SEO and sometimes Pay-Per-Click campaigns targeting emergency patients. We have also recently expanded our Esher practice by turning under-used office space into more clinic space.”

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.

Reviewed By

Chris O'Shea

Chris O’Shea

Head of Marketing

Chris is a digital marketing expert and head of marketing at Samera. He specialises in SEO and content strategy for healthcare businesses.

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

How Emergency Patients Can Help to Grow your Dental Practice

The Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | March 10th 2021
Arun Mehra & Smita Mehra

Arun Mehra: Hello and welcome back. This is Arun Mehra from the Dental Business Guide podcast and today I’ve got Smita Mehra, how are you?

Smita Mehra: Yes, very well. Thank you, Arun, very good. Just looking forward to talking a little bit more about emergencies today.

Arun Mehra: Yeah, so today Smita is going to share her experience and knowledge and expertise on how to get emergency dental patients. Now obviously, this has perhaps been an odd year to say the least.

But maybe you want to share a little bit of experience of what you did in your practices, and then how this has translated into your business and then how you can suggest other people to do it themselves as well.

Smita Mehra: Well, yes, as you rightly said, it’s been quite an odd 12 months really for us. Well, as it has been for everybody, certainly in the dental field, and obviously wider fields.

Patients Don’t Want General Treatment, But They Still Have Dental Emergencies

But what what I found most interesting, certainly recently over the last few months of lockdowns, and then Boris Johnson making speeches and somebody else coming on to to make either further lockdown restrictive speeches or opening things up, is that our emergencies and new patients and people calling the practices have been very linked to these announcements that the government makes. 

So for example, if Boris is announcing further restrictions or a new lockdown, suddenly we get a lot of cancellations, and people will phone up in fear. Whereas conversely, recently, they’ve started to open things up. And Boris spoke just a week or so ago about the roadmap to recovery. And suddenly, the phone starts to get very much more busy as confidence grew. 

Emergency dental patient in pain

So what we found during the sort of worst phases of lockdown when the books did really go quiet, is that we realised that people weren’t going to come in for general treatment, they weren’t advised to move around. And they were trying to restrict movement of people. So the only reason and way that people would be coming to us would be an emergency situation.

So no check-ups and general treatment, but just more emergencies. So we decided to focus our online attention to marketing towards emergencies and same-day appointments. And we also opened up our hours, we increased our hours of opening, we increased our days of opening. And we went to seven days a week. And that helped.

Arun Mehra: So, obviously it was a difficult time for everybody. But the team stepped up, correct?

Your Team Needs to Step Up

Smita Mehra: Yeah, we’re very, very lucky, the team stepped up, everybody stepped up, they stepped up their game. And it ended up being very fruitful in many ways. But the other thing to remember is that we’re looking at just the business of the book and the figures. Now reflecting back on it, one of the big reasons we ended up doing quite well at that point was because none of the dentists were taking time off, none of them were taking holidays.

And so those, I don’t know, four to six weeks or more, that dentists would normally take time off, and hence the books would go quiet or your patient base would go on holiday, for example, through the month of August or at Christmas, those quiet periods weren’t there. 

Conversely, it was quiet in many other ways. But if you then busied up the books by getting people in to do the only thing they could do, emergencies, then that obviously generated further treatment and goodwill.  

Arun Mehra: So on the emergency front, how did you get the message out through the various lockdowns that, firstly, that you are open, but also that you can deal with emergency patients.

Contact us to find out more

Get The Word Out There

Smita Mehra: The first thing we did is we announced it on our website, on our homepage that we were open or not open, depending on which lockdown we were in. We also made sure that we had regular social media updates, whether it be Facebook or Instagram, going out, reaching out to our patient base and beyond. 

We had simple things outside the door, we had a blackboard out which notified you of what our current status was. And we also emailed our patient base just to let them know whether we were closing down or opening up etc. So there were various modes of communication that we used.

Dental Patient in pain

Arun Mehra: Okay, but then obviously, that’s to your existing patient base. What about attracting new patients? How did you go about doing that?

Smita Mehra: That was mostly based on website and Pay Per Click marketing, and just notifying patients or notifying the wider public through our homepage on the website. That’s the predominant way.

Arun Mehra: And am I right in saying that one of the team was fully solid and creating content around emergency care and content around COVID. What to do in the instance of COVID and therefore, when people were searching for seeing a dentist during COVID, the page is ranked organically very, very well.

Smita Mehra: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we had a couple of people and one certainly was working full time on just creating new and interesting and relevant content, even during the first lockdown nearly a year ago now.

So that two odd months that we were closed or quiet, you know, a couple of people were in the background really working to build up content, that then really helped us once we opened up because we were at a certain level, because of the organic growth of the content that we had. 

Open a Dental Shop

And that was at a period when most websites or most dentists were completely, you know, locked down and the sort of locked the door and left the building as it were, both physically and metaphorically. So because we didn’t do that, because we didn’t leave the building metaphorically. And we were really working sort of backstage on all of these things.

We even built an online shop literally within a couple of days, with the help of our online marketing team. And that, you know, carried on, it held some traction with emergencies that were coming in, I would direct them to the shop. And they would purchase emergency kits and temporary filling kits, etc. 

From there, that wasn’t a huge amount of business in terms of revenue. But it was just that we were keeping things going online and keeping our methods of communication going. And the phone calls, I was answering the phone calls throughout the first lockdown, almost 24 hours a day. So there were open lines of communication at all times.

Arun Mehra: Okay, great. So, obviously now, getting emergency patients seems to be the big thing that you’ve focused on in the last year. Now, I suppose, as a result of lots of NHS practices, not providing much or limited care.

That’s obviously helped, not just in your practices, but other private practices out there in terms of clients I’ve spoken to. So now, for those people who haven’t targeted emergency patients in the last 12 months, what do you think the benefits are to you to your business?

Pick Up the NHS Slack

Smita Mehra: Well the privilege is that we are fully private. So the provision of NHS obviously, they’re very, very stretched at the moment and have been for the last 12 months. And due to the lack of provision or how stretched they are, people have been making a private call and coming to us through other means. 

So in other words, they were NHS patients, but obviously they’ve had to make the call to come privately. Now, I know that there will be a core of patients who perhaps can’t afford it and have gone to hospitals.

But then there are groups of people who can afford to be treated privately, they’ve just chosen to go down the NHS route, but now have realised that actually through the private route the provision of care and the immediacy of the care that they’ve received has been far superior, just because the ability of what private practices can do at the point of need, so it’s really, really helped. 

The new patients that have come through over the last 12 months have been phenomenal, because not only have they turned into treatment, and they’ve referred their friends and family to us. But the types of treatment that we’ve been doing have been much more complex.

Contact us to find out more

And, even things like leads from that, things like Invisalign, for example, which Okay, it’s not an emergency, but it’s very lockdown friendly. So, you know, that’s been doing very, very well as well. So, yeah, for us, it’s been actually, it’s turned out to work well so far. 

Solving Emergencies Creates Goodwill

Arun Mehra: So then, if I’m a dentist and I’m running my own practice, emergencies is a great angle, as you said, for those people, get them out of pain sort their problem out. 

Smita Mehra: And the goodwill that that creates has been phenomenal. And the comments and the reviews that we’ve got, as a result of it have been brilliant, and also very heartening for the team. And given the team a big morale boost at a time when it’s been tough.

It’s been really tough working with all of the peopIe. And in those conditions, it’s not been easy at all. But to be fair, if your team steps up, then you know you have everything.

Arun Mehra: Okay, brilliant. So there you have it thank you so much. I think the points you’ve raised here, are that emergency care has been something that you and your team have focused on and delivered to a very high standard. And your marketing team have also stepped up to help you there. 

So if for anyone else, thinking about going down that route to build a solid business is to have a good foundation of having emergency patients. Or sorting people out their pain has to be the number one priority and then everything else can be built upon that degree.

Smita Mehra: Yeah, absolutely. And so it’s very clear that there’s Front of House that need to step up and step in and deliver but it’s also very much back-office. And it really has almost been like, I liken it to a game of netball. You know, you’ve got people who pass the ball to the goal attack or the goal shooter.

And without the ball coming to the goal shoot, there are no goals to score. So it is really a team approach and it’s not just the people who are delivering the care. It’s in private practice, certainly from our experience, it’s been a whole team approach that has led to, you know where we are today.

Arun Mehra: Thank you. There you have it. That’s Smita telling you all about how to get emergency patients. That’s been really, really helpful. Really, really interesting. So watch out for our next podcast and or listen out for our next podcast and which will be very, very soon. Thank you.

Smita Mehra: Thanks. Have a great day.

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.

Five Traits of Failed Dental Start Ups

The Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | 24th February 2021
Arun Mehra & Chris O’Shea

Learning from Failure: 5 Common Traits of Failed Dental Start-Ups in the UK

Starting a dental practice can be exciting and rewarding, but it comes with challenges. Unfortunately, not all dental start-ups in the UK succeed. However, understanding why they fail can be useful for aspiring dental entrepreneurs. In this blog, we will explore five common characteristics that often lead to the failure of dental start-ups. By learning from these mistakes, you can improve your chances of building a successful dental practice in the UK and navigate the competitive landscape better. So, let’s dive in and uncover the key lessons we can gather from failed dental start-ups.

Lack of Market Research and Analysis

One common reason why dental start-ups fail in the UK is because they don’t do enough market research and analysis. Many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of understanding the market before starting their business. Without proper research, it’s hard to know who their target customers are, what services are in demand, and how to stand out from competitors.

Market research gives valuable insights into the business environment, such as the competition, trends, and customer preferences. By investing time and resources in market analysis, dental start-ups can learn a lot about what the market needs and tailor their services accordingly.

Not doing market research can lead to several negative effects. For example, a dental start-up may struggle to attract patients if they don’t identify the gaps in the market or develop unique selling points. Not knowing about the competition can result in setting inadequate prices or failing to differentiate from other established practices. Moreover, without market analysis, start-ups may fail to recognize potential challenges or adapt to changing market dynamics. For instance, not recognizing emerging trends or changes in customer behaviour can lead to an outdated business model or the inability to meet growing patient needs.

To avoid this common mistake, dental start-ups should make market research and analysis a vital part of their business strategy. This includes conducting thorough market research, analysing industry data, and staying updated with industry trends. By understanding their target market, offering innovative solutions, and making well-informed business decisions, start-ups can position themselves for success.

Action plan

Insufficient market research and analysis is a common pitfall for dental start-ups in the UK, often resulting in challenges in attracting patients and standing out from competitors. Without understanding customer preferences, competition, and industry trends, start-ups struggle to identify market gaps and make informed business decisions. Prioritizing thorough market research helps align services with market needs and positions start-ups for success by staying ahead of industry trends.

Inadequate Financial Planning and Management

One common reason why dental start-ups fail in the UK is because they don’t plan and manage their finances properly. Many dental entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of careful financial planning and fail to allocate enough resources to their practice. This lack of foresight and understanding can lead to various financial challenges, ultimately causing the start-up to fail.

A key mistake made by failed dental start-ups is not conducting thorough market research and analysis. Without a clear understanding of the target market and the financial aspects of running a dental practice, entrepreneurs often make uninformed financial decisions. This can result in a mismatch between the revenue generated and the expenses incurred, leading to financial instability and potential debt.

Inadequate financial management practices like poor budgeting, ineffective cash flow management, and insufficient financial forecasting can worsen the financial challenges faced by dental start-ups. Entrepreneurs may overspend or allocate resources inefficiently without a clear and realistic budget, making it difficult to cover essential expenses or invest in necessary technology and equipment. Similarly, mismanaging cash flow can make it hard to meet financial obligations, impacting day-to-day operations and hindering growth.

Furthermore, not having proper controls and accounting systems in place can hinder the ability to monitor and manage the financial health of the start-up effectively. Without timely and accurate financial reporting, entrepreneurs may not be aware of potential problems or opportunities, making it difficult to make informed decisions and take corrective actions.

To avoid these pitfalls, dental entrepreneurs must prioritise financial planning and management from the beginning. This includes conducting thorough market research, developing a realistic budget, implementing effective cash flow management techniques, and establishing robust financial controls. Seeking guidance from industry experts, such as dental specialists or financial advisors, can also provide valuable insights and support in navigating the complexities of financial management.

Recognizing the importance of adequate financial planning and management can improve the chances of long-term success for dental start-ups. Proactively addressing financial challenges and implementing sound financial practices can help these businesses thrive in a competitive industry and contribute to the overall growth and development of the dental profession in the UK.

Action Plan

Inadequate financial planning and management are common reasons for dental start-up failures in the UK. Entrepreneurs often underestimate the importance of careful financial planning, leading to challenges in covering expenses and achieving profitability. Without thorough market research, start-ups may make uninformed financial decisions, resulting in mismatches between revenue and expenses. Poor budgeting, cash flow management, and accounting practices exacerbate financial challenges, hindering growth and sustainability. To avoid failure, dental entrepreneurs must prioritize financial planning, conduct thorough market research, develop realistic budgets, and implement effective financial management techniques with the guidance of industry experts.

Weak Marketing and Branding Strategies

One common reason why dental start-ups fail in the UK is because they have weak marketing and branding strategies. While having skilled dentists and a great team is important, it’s equally crucial to effectively market and brand your start-up. Without a good marketing plan, your dental practice may struggle to attract new patients and build a good reputation in the industry.

A common mistake is not investing enough time and resources in developing a comprehensive marketing plan. This involves identifying your target audience, understanding their needs and preferences, and creating a compelling brand message that captures their interest. Simply having a website and some basic online posts is not enough – you need to stand out from competitors and create a unique identity.

Another mistake is neglecting to use digital marketing channels effectively. Having a strong online presence is essential in today’s digital age. This includes using online advertising to reach a broader audience, engaging with patients through social media, and having a user-friendly website optimised for search engines. Ignoring these digital marketing channels can seriously limit your visibility and growth potential.

Consistency in branding is also crucial. Your branding should be consistent across all touchpoints, from your logo and web design to your signage and promotional materials. Inconsistency can lead to confusion among potential patients and make it difficult for them to trust your brand.

Furthermore, not tracking and measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts is a common mistake. Without analysing data and metrics, it’s challenging to determine which strategies are working and where improvements can be made. Implementing tools like Google Analytics and conducting regular marketing audits can help make data-driven decisions.

Lastly, failing to keep up with the latest marketing trends and strategies can hinder your success. The dental industry is always evolving, so it’s essential to stay updated on new marketing techniques that can give you a competitive edge.

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing strong marketing and branding strategies, you can position your dental start-up for success, attract a loyal patient base, and set yourself apart from failed dental start-ups in the UK.

Action Plan

Weak marketing and branding strategies hinder the success of dental start-ups in the UK. Neglecting to invest in comprehensive marketing plans tailored to the target audience limits visibility and growth. Failure to utilize digital channels effectively, such as online advertising and social media engagement, restricts outreach potential. Inconsistency in branding and a lack of tracking and measurement impede trust-building and informed decision-making. Remaining updated on marketing trends is crucial for staying competitive in the evolving dental industry. By addressing these shortcomings and implementing strong marketing strategies, dental start-ups can attract patients, differentiate themselves, and avoid failure.

Poor Patient Experience and Customer Service

One common reason why dental start-ups fail in the UK is because they don’t provide good patient care and customer service. While offering quality dental treatment is important, it’s equally crucial to ensure that patients have a positive experience throughout their interactions with the practice. Failed dental start-ups often overlook the importance of customer service and fail to prioritise the needs and comfort of their patients. Unhappy patients are less likely to come back or recommend the practice to others.

One aspect of poor customer service is significant delays. Patients value their time and don’t appreciate waiting for long periods before receiving treatment. A dental start-up that doesn’t manage appointments efficiently and minimises waiting times can quickly lose patients to competitors who prioritise reliability and efficiency.

Unfriendly staff is another factor in poor patient experiences. Patients expect to be greeted warmly and attentively from the moment they enter the practice. Staff members who lack interpersonal skills or training to effectively respond to patient inquiries and concerns could lead to a failed dental start-up. This can create an unpleasant atmosphere and make patients feel uncomfortable, leading to a negative perception of the practice overall.

Additionally, poor patient experiences can be exacerbated by inadequate communication. In any healthcare setting, timely and clear communication is crucial, and dental practices are no exception. Patients may feel confused and frustrated if a dental start-up fails to effectively communicate treatment plans, costs, and post-operative instructions.

Moreover, an absence of personalised care can also contribute to an unsatisfactory patient experience. Patients want to feel like their individual needs are being recognized and addressed. A dental start-up that treats patients as just another number or fails to tailor treatments to their specific needs may struggle to retain loyal patients.

In conclusion, providing a positive patient experience and excellent customer service is essential for the success of a dental start-up. By focusing on efficient appointment management, training staff in communication skills, improving communication, and delivering personalised care, dental practices can create a positive environment that fosters patient satisfaction and loyalty.

We hope you found our blog entry about the common reasons why dental start-ups fail in the UK informative and helpful. Learning from the mistakes of others is an important way to ensure the success of your own dental practice. By understanding these common pitfalls, you can take proactive steps to avoid them and position yourself well. Remember, building a successful dental practice takes time, effort, and careful planning. If you have any questions or need further guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your dental website can be a powerful tool in attracting new patients and growing your practice, so make sure to make the most of it.

Action Plan

Poor patient experience and customer service contribute to the failure of dental start-ups in the UK. Delays in appointments, unfriendly staff, inadequate communication, and a lack of personalized care can lead to dissatisfied patients and hinder practice success. Efficient appointment management, staff training, clear communication, and personalized care are essential for fostering patient satisfaction and loyalty. By prioritizing patient experience and customer service, dental start-ups can improve their chances of success and stand out in a competitive market.

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.

Reviewed By:

Nigel Crossman

Nigel Crossman

Head of Commercial Finance

Nigel is a former banker and head of commercial finance at Samera. He specialises in raising finance, negotiating deals and structuring finance applications for healthcare businesses.

Dan Fearon

Dan Fearon

Finance Manager

Dan is a former banker and the head of our dental practice sales team. He specialises in asset finance for healthcare businesses and dental practice sales.

Arun Mehra

Arun Mehra

Samera CEO

Arun, CEO of Samera, is an experienced accountant and dental practice owner. He specialises in accountancy, financial directorship, squat practices and practice management.

The Guide to Buying a Dental Practice

Buying a dental practice is the most thrilling, and the most difficult, aspect of your professional life. Providing vital oral healthcare and cosmetic treatments to the public both rewards you and helps local communities.

Whether you are buying your first practice or you are building a dental group, Samera Business Advisors are here to help you to achieve your goals and build your future.

We’ve been helping the UK’s dentists start their own dental practices for nearly 20 years and, as dental practice owners ourselves, we’ve learned a thing or two about buying dental practices.

For our friends and colleagues who are looking to embark on the journey of dental practice ownership, we hope this guide helps to start you on the path to your future in dentistry!

Click here to read more about why dentists want their own practices.

Starting or buying a dental practice can be a big task, especially if you’re new to the field. The dental market is always changing, so it’s important to stay updated on the latest trends and rules. In the UK, the dental business is growing, and there’s a high demand for good dental services. However, finding the right dental practice to buy can be challenging.

In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to understand the dental practice market in the UK. We’ll cover everything from current market trends and regulations to finding the right dental practice that fits your needs and budget. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced professional looking to expand your business, keep reading to learn how to navigate the dental practice market.

The Current State of the Dental Practice Market in the UK

The dental practice market in the UK is always changing and growing. More dentists are thinking about owning their own practice, whether it’s starting their own practice or expanding an existing one. Whether you’re a new dental graduate looking to set up your own practice or an experienced professional aiming to acquire one, it’s crucial to understand the current state of the dental practice market.

With interest rates currently higher than we’ve seen for a good number of years, it looks as though buyers are hesitant. This has pushed the price of many practices to be higher than they are really worth as sellers struggle to get the price they want.

Many buyers are waiting for interest rates to fall to get a better price. However, if you have the capital then this could be a great time to get the practice you want while other potential buyers hesitate.

It may be a better option for many to start their own practice. However, buying a practice will of course give you an instant, already existing revenue stream immediately.

Click here to read more about whether you should start or buy a dental practice.

Understanding the different types of dental practices available for purchase

When thinking about buying a dental practice, it’s important to understand the different types available for purchase. Each type has its own unique qualities, and making an informed decision will greatly impact your success as a practice owner.

Solo Practice:

This is a dental practice owned and operated by a single dentist.

It allows complete independence and control, making it a popular choice for dentists who prefer working on their own.

If you are considering a solo practice, you need to understand that most of the burden will fall on your shoulders. Assess your ability to handle both the clinical aspects and the business management side of running a practice honestly. This includes financial management, staff hiring, and patient acquisition strategies.

Partnership Practice:

Involves two or more dentists owning and running the practice together.

This arrangement allows for shared responsibilities, accountability, and financial risks. It’s great for dentists who want to collaborate with colleagues and share costs.

When thinking about a partnership practice, it’s crucial to identify potential partners whose vision, work ethic, and business goals align with yours. Draft a clear partnership agreement that outlines roles, responsibilities, profit sharing, and conflict resolution mechanisms.

Dental Group:

A dental group is 2 or more dental practices that all work together under a single name or brand.

These practices often have a centralized management structure but there are several ways a dental group can be structured. They may offer a wider range of dental services and each practice can specialise in treatments or simply cover a different area.

For those interested in building a dental group, it is essential that you get the financial and tax structure right from the start. If you’re thinking about buying multiple practices, you’ll really need the help of experienced dental accountants like Samera.

Specialist Practice:

A specialist practice focuses on providing specific dental services, such as orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, or oral surgery.

These practices require additional training and expertise in specific areas of dentistry. Buying a specialist practice can be a rewarding opportunity for dentists with specialized skills or those looking to expand their service offerings.

It’s important to recognise that you may be limiting your potential patient list and you may need to work with other dentists under a referral programme.

Understanding these types of dental practices will help align your goals, preferences, and skills with the right practice. It’s crucial to carefully evaluate each option, considering factors like your experience, financial capabilities, desired level of independence, and long-term objectives. Taking the time to research and consult with professionals in the field will ensure you make an informed decision and position yourself well in the dental practice market.

Action Points:

  • Fully understand the structure of any dental practice you are looking purchase or buy into.
  • If you are thinking about building a dental group then you have to get the structure right.
  • Contact a specialist dental accountant to help with the financial and tax structure.

How Long Does it Take to Buy a Dental Practice?

The short answer to this question is: it takes as long as the buyer and seller allow it to take.

Like any important transaction, buying a dental practice hinges on whether or not the buyer and seller can agree upon a price and contract terms. As the buyer, you are expected to make the initial offer on the practice, with negotiations to follow.

However, there are many tasks that you, or a representative like Samera Business Advisors, must perform in order to make sure that your transaction is legal and your resources are secure. These include:

Factors to consider when buying a dental practice: location, patient base, and competition

When thinking about buying a dental practice in the UK, there are important things to consider that can greatly affect its success. These factors should be carefully thought about during the decision-making process.

  1. Location:

The first thing to think about is where the dental practice is located. A convenient and easily accessible location is crucial for attracting and keeping patients. It’s best if the practice is in a well-populated area known for dental services. Being close to public transportation and having enough parking options can also make it more convenient for patients.

You need to be honest and realistic about your goals. Most of you may want to own a practice on Harley Street and live in Central London, but how realistic is that? If you want to own a practice at a good price, you may need to consider living in a part of the country you never envisioned yourself in.

You’ll need to reconcile your business goals with your lifestyle and family goals.

  1. Patient Base:

Another important factor is the existing patients of the dental practice. How big is their current patient list and what is the potential to grow it? Understanding the demographics of the current patient base and the local area gives insights into the potential for growth and success. Things like age, income level, and dental insurance coverage can help plan marketing strategies and services that meet the specific needs and preferences of the patients.

  1. Competition:

It’s equally important to assess the competition in the area. Analyzing the number and types of other dental practices nearby helps determine the level of competition and how saturated the market is. It’s also important to consider the services offered by competitors and any unique features that can make the practice stand out.

  1. Growth Potential:

Evaluating the growth potential of the dental practice is essential. Factors like population trends, economic indicators, and the potential for new patients can impact the long-term viability and profitability of the practice. Conducting market research and seeking expert advice can provide valuable insights into growth prospects in a specific geographic area.

By carefully considering the location, patient base, competition, and growth potential, potential buyers can make informed decisions when navigating the dental practice market in the UK. These factors will help ensure that the purchased practice has a solid foundation for success and long-term profitability.

Action Points:

  • Location Evaluation:
    • Map potential locations, assessing their accessibility, visibility, and proximity to public transport and parking.
    • Balance your ideal location aspirations with realistic financial and lifestyle considerations.
    • Visit different areas to understand local dynamics and lifestyle fit.
  • Patient Base Analysis:
    • Obtain demographic data of the existing patient base, focusing on age, income, and insurance types.
    • Develop targeted marketing plans based on these demographics.
    • Conduct surveys or focus groups to understand patient needs and preferences.
  • Competition Assessment:
    • Identify and visit other dental practices in the area to gauge services offered and client volume.
    • Analyze market gaps that your practice could fill.
    • Plan unique services or approaches to differentiate your practice from competitors.
  • Growth Potential Evaluation:
    • Research local population growth trends and economic indicators.
    • Consult with a market analyst for insights into the dental market in the area.
    • Develop a long-term growth strategy based on this research.

Dental Practice Valuations and Due Diligence

You must get a valuation from an established provider to receive an accurate purchase price of the dental practice for sale. Always remember, the valuation from the seller needs independent assessing. Do your own homework and employ your own valuer to ascertain if the dental practice for sale is really worth what the seller is asking for!

Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) is currently used as part of the dental practice valuation process.

It’s important to remember that every practice is different. There are several factors that can form part of the value of a practice, including the accounts over the previous three years, the potential for development and expansion and whether a time limited (PDS) NHS contract is in place or an open ended (GDS) NHS contract.

Read our article on dental practice valuations to find out more.

Contact us to find out more

Keep in mind you are not just buying real estate, you are buying a business. This may be the foundation of the next 30 years of your professional life! You must take the time to learn every facet of the dental practice for sale.

Once you know which dental practice you would like to purchase, it’s essential to know that you are investing in the right one. It’s too late to have regrets and doubts after you have signed contracts. This is an investment in the following years of a dental professional’s life, so it’s important to make sure everything is in order.

From the accounting to the exterior bricks and mortar, a magnifying glass must be applied everywhere. A specialist dental lawyer will know the right questions to ask so you can assess the business and plan for its growth.

You will also want to ask an experienced accountancy firm to review the financials and check the numbers for validity now and potential in the future. Management information, details from the software system and other important financial information will help you get a much better picture of the health of the business too.

As part of the due diligence process, your solicitor must request the seller to guarantee that the supplied information is correct in order to protect against any loss caused by misrepresentation.

There are certain aspects of due diligence that dentists themselves are best placed to examine, such as the way the practice operates and the treatments that are provided. However, when it comes to legal and financial considerations, a specialist dental solicitor and dental accountants should be part of the team.

It’s never a good idea to proceed without this expert help. Professionals know what questions to ask and what to look for in accounts and financial records. I have worked with many clients to co-ordinate the due diligence process, during the dental practice acquisition process, so I know how important an expert eye is.

What is Included in the Due Diligence Process when Buying a Dental Practice?

“Due diligence is the process of evaluating a business from all aspects before making a purchase decision…It includes specific elements that can vary based on the situation and the nature of the business. Due diligence protects both parties but primarily the purchaser. It can uncover potential liabilities and financial matters and make sure nothing is hidden.”

Jean Murray, The Balance, 2018 (4)

Include everything that pertains to the viability of the business in due diligence. Do not leave anything to chance. From the building itself, to treatment lists, accounts and software, everything needs to be checked in microscopic detail. Too often I have seen clients getting ahead of themselves. Take a step back from the buying edge and make sure every aspect of the practice is viable, before taking the leap into purchasing.

There are several different points to consider when checking documentation during the due diligence process; too many to list here. However, I have found that some of the most important checks to complete include:

  • Are the services currently provided at the practice a good match to the services that can be provided should the sale progress?
  • Is the ethos of the seller similar to the ethos which will continue?
  • Does billing match procedures that were carried out?
  • Does cash recorded match what is reflected in tax returns?
  • What are the current wage demands of the practice?
  • What are the property rental terms?

This is only a fraction of what should be considered as part of due diligence when buying a dental surgery. Take time to make sure that every detail has been scrutinised. This is an important business and life decision that is being made, so do not take any chances. Remember to obtain a guarantee from the seller, as to the accuracy of the information provided. This provides protection against any future financial or legal issues caused by misrepresentation.

Action Points:

  • Independent Valuation:
    • Hire an independent valuer to assess the practice’s worth.
    • Compare the seller’s valuation with your independent assessment.
  • EBITDA Analysis:
    • Review the Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortisation (EBITDA) as part of the valuation.
    • Analyze the practice’s financial health over the past three years.
  • Potential for Development:
    • Assess the potential for development and expansion of the practice.
    • Consider the type of NHS contract in place (PDS or GDS) and its impact on the practice’s value.
  • Legal and Financial Expertise:
    • Engage a specialist dental lawyer for legal due diligence.
    • Consult with an experienced dental accountancy firm to review financials and validate projections.
  • Seller’s Guarantee:
    • Ensure that your solicitor requests a guarantee from the seller for the accuracy of the provided information.
  • Operational Due Diligence:
    • Personally evaluate the operational aspects like treatment quality and practice management.
    • Match the services provided with your capabilities and future plans.
  • Financial Checks:
    • Verify billing accuracy and cash flow against tax returns.
    • Review the current wage demands and rental terms of the property.
  • Comprehensive Review:
    • Scrutinize all aspects of the practice, including the building, equipment, accounts, and software systems.
    • Ensure that the ethos of the practice aligns with your vision.

Negotiating the Price and Terms of the Deal

When it comes to buying a dental practice at the right price, figuring out the details of the price and deal terms is a crucial step. This is your chance to make sure you’re getting the best value for your investment and that the specifics of the deal match up with your goals. Remember, you make your profit when you buy at the right price and add value over the lifetime of your ownership.

First off, doing your homework and gathering as much information as possible about the practice is important. This includes checking the financial records, looking at the types of patients, evaluating the equipment and facilities, and understanding how much similar practices are worth in the current market. Armed with this information, you can confidently enter discussions with the seller.

One key thing to think about is the price tag. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of how the price is set and if it makes sense based on the practice’s financial performance and potential for growth. It’s essential to get help from a professional valuer or a dental practice expert who can give an independent assessment of the practice’s value and guide you through the negotiation process.

Working out the details of the deal is just as important. This includes figuring out the payment structure, financing options, and any conditions that need to be met before the sale is finalized. For instance, you might want to include plans for a smooth transition period where the current owner helps with handing over patients and staff.

During negotiations, being flexible but also firm in your position is crucial. Be prepared to justify your offer or counteroffer with solid reasoning and evidence. Remember, it’s a two-way process, and finding an agreement that benefits both parties is the ultimate goal. A clear, honest and open conversation is crucial.

It’s highly recommended to engage the services of a legal professional experienced in dental practice acquisitions. They can make sure all the necessary legal documents are in place and help protect your interests throughout the transaction.

In summary, negotiating the price and terms of the deal is a critical step in buying a dental practice. By doing thorough research, seeking professional help, and staying persistent during negotiations, you can secure a deal that puts you in a good position in the dental practice market.

Action Points:

  1. Independent Valuation:
    • Engage an independent valuer to provide a realistic appraisal of the practice’s worth.
    • Use this independent valuation as a basis for your negotiations.
  2. Market Conditions Assessment:
    • Research current market conditions, including demand for dental services in the area and recent sale prices of similar practices.
    • Use this data to argue for a price that reflects the current market.
  3. Negotiation Preparation:
    • Prepare a well-founded argument for your proposed price, backed by your research and valuations.
    • Be ready to explain why your offer is fair and reasonable.
  4. Flexible Yet Firm Approach:
    • Enter negotiations with a flexible mindset, but be firm on your maximum budget.
    • Be prepared to walk away if the price exceeds what you believe is fair value.
  5. Counteroffer Strategies:
    • If the seller’s initial price is too high, present a counteroffer with justification.
    • Include aspects like needed renovations, equipment upgrades, or other investments as reasons for your counteroffer.
  6. Consider Total Acquisition Cost:
    • Factor in additional costs such as legal fees, renovation expenses, and equipment upgrades when negotiating.
    • Negotiate a price that accounts for these extra investments.
  7. Use Conditions as Leverage:
    • If certain conditions (like lease terms, equipment status) are not ideal, use these as leverage to negotiate a lower price.
    • Highlight how these factors will incur additional costs for you post-purchase.
  8. Professional Assistance:
    • Consider hiring a negotiation expert or a dental practice broker who specializes in such transactions.
    • Their expertise can be invaluable in achieving a favorable price.

When it comes to buying a dental practice in the UK, there are important legal and regulatory things you need to know. These considerations are crucial to make sure the transition into owning and running a dental practice goes smoothly.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements set by the General Dental Council (GDC). The GDC sets standards and rules that all dentists must follow, covering professional conduct, clinical management, and patient safety. It’s important to check that the practice you’re looking at meets these requirements and that the current owner has stayed compliant.

Also, if you’re buying a dental practice that already has employees, you should carefully review the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE). These rules are in place to protect employees’ rights during a change of ownership. Understanding your responsibilities as the new owner regarding employee contracts, terms, and conditions is crucial.

Another important thing to think about is the legal structure of the dental practice. You can choose to buy the practice as a sole trader, partnership, or limited company. Each structure has its own legal and tax implications, so it’s a good idea to consult with a legal professional or an accountant to figure out the most suitable option for your specific situation.

In addition to these legal considerations, it’s importan