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.

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.

Building a CQC compliant dental practice

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

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Buying a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Buying a Dental Practice

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

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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!”

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.

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.

How to Finance a Squat Practice

Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | 8th February
Arun Mehra & Nigel Crossman

Financing Strategies for Squat Dental Practices  

Starting a dental practice from scratch can feel like a big challenge, especially when it comes to money. However, if you use the right methods, you can create a successful dental practice without spending all your savings. In this guide, we’ll explain the basic ways to get money for new dental practices. We’ll talk about different options like regular bank loans and other ways to get money. We’ll also give you tips to help you make the most of these options.

When you have the right money strategies, you can build a dental practice that will last a long time in your community. So, let’s explore the world of funding for dental practices and see what choices you have.  

You can read more articles, webinars and podcasts on starting a dental practice on our Learning Centre.

Introduction to squat dental practices

Starting a new dental practice, which is also called a squat practice, is different from established practices in the dental field. These are new practices that are just beginning and they might face a bunch of challenges when it comes to getting the money they need. To understand what’s unique about these start-up practices, it’s important to learn about them.

Starting a dental practice from the beginning needs careful planning, managing money, and knowing how the dental industry works. Start-up practices face challenges like getting money to buy equipment, finding a good place to work, and hiring the right people. They might also have a hard time finding enough patients and making steady money at first. But even though there are problems, start-up dental practices also have chances for dentists to make their practice the way they want and create a special experience for patients. By using smart money strategies, dentists can understand money stuff and make their practice successful over a long time.

The challenges of financing a squat dental practice

Getting money for a start-up dental practice can be really tough. Unlike established practices that already have patients and money coming in, start-ups have to start from scratch. This can make banks more hesitant to lend money because it seems riskier. One big challenge is getting the money you need to start the practice. You have to pay for things like finding a place to work, buying equipment, hiring staff, and advertising. All these costs can be a lot.

Regular banks might not want to lend money to a proposed start-up practice without a good financial history or something valuable to offer if things go wrong. Another challenge is getting patients and making money regularly. It takes time and effort to build a group of patients, and it can be slow when you’re just starting. This can make it hard to pay for ongoing things and pay back any loans or money you borrowed. Also, start-ups might have trouble getting good loan terms. Lenders might ask for higher interest rates or stricter rules because they worry about the risks of a new and uncertain practice.

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This can make it hard for the practice to stay strong financially and grow. To handle these challenges, dentists who want to fund a start-up practice should look into different ways to get money. This might mean finding lenders who know about dental practices or looking at options like crowdfunding. It’s also important to have a smart and detailed plan for your business that shows how it can grow and make money. On top of that, building good relationships with dental experts, like suppliers or other dentists, can give you helpful advice and connections that might help you get money or find patients. So, funding a start-up dental practice can be tough under certain circumstances. But with careful planning, different money options, and a strong business plan, dentists can handle these challenges and set themselves up for success in the long run.  

Action Plan

Starting a dental practice from scratch, known as a squat practice, presents unique financing challenges. Securing funds for equipment, hiring staff, and marketing can be difficult without an established patient base. Traditional banks may be hesitant to lend to new practices due to perceived risks. Additionally, attracting patients and generating steady income poses challenges initially. Dentists can overcome these hurdles by exploring alternative funding options, such as lenders familiar with dental practices or crowdfunding. A well-developed business plan and strong industry connections are also essential for success. Despite the challenges, careful planning and strategic financing can pave the way for a thriving practice in the long term.

Understanding the different financing options available

When it comes to getting money for your start-up dental practice, it’s really important to know about the different ways you can do it. This knowledge will help you make smart decisions that fit with your practice’s money goals.

One option is to get a regular bank loan. This means you ask banks or other lenders to give you money for your dental practice. These loans usually have set interest rates (either the rate stays the same or changes) and a plan for how you’ll pay it back. It’s really important to look into different loan options and pick the one that works best for your practice.

You can look into options for getting money to buy equipment using asset finance. Dental tools can cost a lot, and there are special ways to get money just for buying equipment. This can help spread out the cost over time, so it’s easier to handle your practice’s money.

For some dental practices, it might be an alternative option to get money to buy an existing practice or make your current one bigger. This is called practice acquisition funding. It gives you the money you need to buy established practices, which helps you switch smoothly and get more patients.

Last but not least, think about private funding or partnerships. People who have money, like family, friends, or other dentists, might want to invest in your practice. This can be another way to get money that fits your situation. Knowing about all these different money options is really important. It helps you make smart choices that work for your startup dental practice’s needs and goals. By looking into each option carefully and talking to money experts, you can get the money you need to make your practice grow and succeed.  

Action Plan

When financing a start-up dental practice, several options are available to consider. Traditional bank loans offer a straightforward approach with set interest rates and repayment plans. Asset finance provides specialized funding for purchasing expensive equipment, allowing for manageable payments over time. Practice acquisition funding facilitates the purchase of existing practices or expansion of current ones, streamlining the transition and attracting more patients. Private funding or partnerships with investors, such as family members or fellow dentists, present alternative avenues for securing funds tailored to individual needs. Understanding these diverse financing options empowers dentists to make informed decisions aligned with their practice’s goals, ensuring growth and success in the long term.

Traditional bank loans for dental practices

Regular bank loans can be a good way for startup dental practices to get the money they need for different things. These loans come from banks or financial companies and can provide a lot of money to help dental practices with their money needs. One big advantage of regular bank loans is that they’re easy to get. Banks are usually willing to work with dentists to give them the right kind of money for what they need as they (rightly) see the healthcare industry as a safe bet.

This could be money for buying equipment, fixing up the office, getting an existing practice, or just working capital. When you think about a bank loan, it’s important to know about the different kinds. The most common one is a term loan. This means you get a set amount of money and you have to pay it back over a certain time, usually with a fixed interest rate. This helps dental practices plan their money and make regular payments until they’ve paid back the whole loan.

Another kind of bank loan is a line of credit. This gives you a set amount of money that you can use whenever you need it. This can be really useful for dental practices that don’t always make the same amount of money or have costs that change. You only pay interest on the money you use, which can save you money.

To get a bank loan for a dental practice, you have to be prepared. Lenders will look at how well your practice is expected to perform financially, like how much money you make and how much profit you have according to your business plan. You need to have a strong plan for your practice, financial records, tax papers, and any other important papers ready to show the bank.

Even though regular bank loans can be a good way to get money, there are some things to think about. Banks can have strict rules for giving out loans and might need to secure the loan in case things don’t go well. Also, it can sometimes take a while to apply and get approved for a bank loan if you get the business plan or application wrong, so you need to be patient and careful.

So, regular bank loans can give startup dental practices the money they need to grow and run their business. Understanding the different loan options, getting the right documents ready, and being aware of the challenges are important when you’re trying to get a bank loan successfully.

Action Plan 

Regular bank loans are a reliable option for startup dental practices to secure financing for various needs like equipment purchases or office renovations. They offer fixed-term loans with predictable payments or flexible lines of credit, allowing access to funds as needed. However, applicants must prepare strong business plans and financial documentation, and be aware of stringent approval criteria and potential delays in the application process. Overall, bank loans provide valuable support for dental practices’ growth and operations.

Equipment financing and leasing options

When you’re running a dental practice, having the right equipment is really important. But buying dental equipment can cost a lot of money, especially for new dental practices that are just starting out. This is where equipment financing and leasing options can be really helpful.

Equipment or asset financing lets you spread out the cost of buying dental equipment over time. Instead of paying a big amount upfront, you make regular monthly payments over a set period. This makes it easier for your practice’s budget. You get the necessary equipment without having to pay a lot of money all at once.

Leasing, on the other hand, gives you the chance to use the equipment without owning it completely. With a lease, you pay a monthly fee to use the equipment for a certain time. When the lease period is over, you can choose to renew the lease, upgrade to newer equipment, or give back the equipment. Both equipment financing and leasing have their pros and cons.

Financing lets you eventually own the equipment, while leasing offers flexibility and the option to upgrade when technology improves. Which option you choose depends on what your practice needs and your money situation.

Before you decide on equipment financing or leasing, it’s important to do some research and compare different banks or leasing companies. Look for good interest rates, flexible payment terms, and reputable providers. You might also want to work with a financial advisor who specializes in supporting dental practices. They can guide you through the process and help you make the best decision for your practice. Getting the right dental equipment is crucial for providing good care to your patients. By looking into equipment financing and leasing options, you can overcome money obstacles and make sure your new dental practice has the tools it needs to do well.  

Action Plan

Equipment financing and leasing options provide valuable solutions for dental practices facing the high costs of acquiring necessary equipment. With equipment financing, practices can spread out payments over time, easing the financial burden of upfront costs. Leasing offers flexibility, allowing practices to use equipment without full ownership and providing options for upgrades or returns at the end of the lease term. Before deciding, it’s essential to research and compare providers for favorable terms and consult with financial advisors specializing in dental practices to make informed decisions.

Alternative financing options for squat dental practices  

When it comes to getting money for a new dental practice, traditional bank loans might not always be the best choice. But don’t worry, there are other ways to get the money you need to start your practice.

  1. One option is to get help from companies that specialize in giving money to dental practices. These companies know a lot about dental practices and can offer loans with payment plans and interest rates that make sense for the dental industry.
  2. Another idea is equipment leasing. Leasing means you can use the dental equipment you need without having to pay a lot of money upfront. Instead, you make regular payments over time. This is good for new practices that want modern equipment without spending a lot right away.
  3. You could also try crowdfunding. This is a way to ask people online to support your healthcare project. There are websites where you can create a campaign and people who believe in your idea can give you money. This can help you raise money and also let more people know about your practice.
  4. And don’t forget about teaming up with other dentists or investors. Working together with people who have similar goals can bring in money and support for your new practice.

It’s really important to look into all these different ways to get money and see which one fits best for your needs. You might want to talk to a money advisor or someone who knows about dental practices to get advice and make a smart choice.  

Action Plan

Alternative financing options cater to the diverse needs of new dental practices seeking funding. Specialized companies offer tailored loans with favorable terms, while equipment leasing enables access to modern tools without hefty upfront costs. Crowdfunding platforms provide opportunities to garner support and funding from backers, and partnerships with other dentists or investors can offer both financial resources and support. Consulting with financial advisors helps practices navigate these options effectively.

Tips for improving your chances of getting financing approval  

When it comes to getting money for your new dental practice, there are some important things you can do to improve your chances of getting approved. These strategies can help you get the money you need to start or expand your practice, so you can provide good dental care to your patients.

  1. Build a strong credit history: Lenders often look at your credit history when deciding whether to give you money. Make sure you have a good credit score by paying your bills on time, not having too much credit card debt, and avoiding unnecessary loans. If your credit isn’t great, work on improving it before applying for funding.
  2. Create a detailed business plan: Having a well-prepared business plan shows lenders that you’re serious and knowledgeable. Include detailed predictions about money, research about the market, and clear goals for your business. This will show that you know how to run a practice and handle finances.
  3. Collect important documents: Banks will need various papers to check how stable and trustworthy you are financially. This might include personal and business tax forms, bank statements, financial reports, and legal documents like licenses and permits. Make sure all these important papers are organized and ready to go to make the application process smoother.
  4. Get professional advice: Think about talking to a money advisor or someone experienced in the dental industry. They can give you helpful advice and guidance. They’ll help you understand the details of funding and suggest ways to improve your chances of getting approved.
  5. Explore different funding options: Don’t just stick to regular bank loans. Look into special funding options designed for dental practices, like dental practice loans, equipment financing, or working capital loans. These specific choices might give you more flexibility and better terms for what you need.

By following these tips, you can greatly increase your chances of getting the funding you need to start or grow your new dental practice. Remember, careful planning, a strong credit history, and exploring different funding options are key to boosting your approval chances and setting the stage for a successful dental practice.

Action Point

To improve your chances of obtaining financing for your new dental practice, focus on maintaining a strong credit history, creating a detailed business plan, organizing essential documents, seeking professional advice, and exploring diverse funding options. These strategies will demonstrate your preparedness and increase your appeal to lenders, enhancing the likelihood of securing the necessary funds for your practice’s success.

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Creating a solid business plan to attract lenders

Creating a strong plan is really important if you want banks to give you money for your new dental practice. A well-made plan shows that you’re skilled and committed to making your practice successful. It also helps banks understand your goals, strategies, and how you expect to make money. When you’re putting together your plan, it’s important to include certain important parts that banks look for.

First, explain your mission, which is what your practice is all about. Then, do a careful study of the market to know who your patients will be, who your competition is, and how your practice can grow. In the money part of your plan, give details about how much it will cost to start your practice. This includes things like equipment, supplies, and the place where you’ll work.

Break down how much money you think you’ll make and spend, including how many patients you’ll see, what you’ll charge, and how much insurance will pay you. Talk about what makes your practice special compared to others.

It’s also important to talk about how you’ll get patients and make your practice grow. Explain your plans for marketing, like using online ads, doing virtual events, working with the community, and partnering with other healthcare providers. Don’t forget to talk about your background, education, and experience. Lenders want to know that you have the skills to run a dental practice well.

Lastly, talk about how you’ll pay back the loan and what you can use as a guarantee. Lenders want to know they’ll get their money back. You can include a plan for repaying the loan, expected money statements, and something valuable you can offer as a promise that you’ll pay. By putting together a strong plan that covers all these things, you’ll make a strong case to lenders and increase your chances of getting money for your new dental practice.  

Click here to find out more about building a business plan for a dental practice.

Starting a dental practice can be tough, especially when it comes to getting money. But don’t worry, if you follow the right steps, you can overcome these challenges and build a successful practice. Remember to carefully look at your money options, get advice from experts, and think about different ways to get money. By doing these things, you can build a strong foundation for your new dental practice and get ready for long-term success.

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.

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.

Why First Impressions of Your Practice Matter

Why would you want to purchase new equipment or undertake refurbishment work at your dental practice at this moment in time?

The look and feel of your practice can have a big impact on your patients’ view of the service that they may receive, as soon as a client enters your premises, they are forming an opinion of your practice.

Enhance the Patient Experience

A modern practice with the latest equipment such as 3D Scanners and 3D Printers will enhance the patient experience and speed up the treatment times. Being able to show your clients x-rays while still in the chair and talk through the process will allow you to start introducing new, higher-end services into the practice.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

Staying ahead of local competition can make you stand out and give you a unique selling point. What better way to market your practice than by showing your newly refurbished surgery or the latest piece of technology that you have purchased that will improve upon the already high level of service that you offer?

Make Use of Space

You may have reached the maximum capacity within your surgeries and need to convert unused space into a treatment area or, due to the new restrictions, you need another room to maintain your existing activity levels.

The number of patients that you can see on a daily basis has an impact on your practice turnover and growth. If you can increase your patient appointments and the types of services that you offer it can have a real impact on the business profit margins.

Invest in your business

Investing in your business with items such as equipment can have a positive effect on patient perception, the services that you offer and ultimately the profits.

So how can you finance the equipment?

Asset finance is normally the preferred option. By using Asset Finance you can usually structure a facility over 3-5 years. This will assist you in managing business cash-flow and providing you with a regular monthly payment plan, instead of paying a large lump sum up front and perhaps putting pressure on your bank account.

Samera Finance are experienced healthcare brokers with a banking background. We have access to many asset finance providers. It’s always best to explore the market and see what is available rather than just approaching a single lender.

Action Points

  • Upgrade Equipment: Invest in the latest dental technologies like 3D Scanners to improve patient experience and treatment efficiency.
  • Compete Effectively: Stand out by refurbishing your practice and incorporating advanced technologies to offer unique services.
  • Expand Services: Use available space to increase treatment areas, boosting patient capacity and service variety.
  • Smart Financing: Utilize asset finance to manage costs effectively over time, maintaining healthy cash flow while expanding your practice’s capabilities.

Please contact us directly if you wish to explore your options:

Dan Fearon   Nigel Crossman
Commercial Finance Broker 
07718655245 
[email protected]            
Head of Finance
07715668267
[email protected]

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.

Doing a Start-Up During a Pandemic

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

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Dental Practice

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

Hiring Cheap vs Hiring Right

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

The Pitfalls of Going for Cheap Hires

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

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

Strategies for Hiring Right

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

Benefits of Hiring Right

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

Read our article on Building a Dental Team.

Blindly Trusting Partners and Suppliers

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

The Risks of Blindly Trusting

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

Navigating Professional Relationships

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

Benefits of Strategic Trust-Building

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

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

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Did You Know?


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

Personality vs. Package

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

The Pitfalls of Personality-Driven Hiring

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

Balancing Personality and Proficiency

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

Benefits of Holistic Hiring

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

Associates and Employment Tribunals

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

The Complications of Getting it Wrong

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

Navigating Employment Classifications

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

Benefits of Legal Compliance

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

Read our article on Leadership Tips for Dentists.

Diversify Workload Distribution

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

The Pitfalls of Uneven Tasks

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

Strategies for Task Optimization

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

Benefits of Task Optimization

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

Rushed Recruitment Practices

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

The Pitfalls of Rushed Hiring

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

Strategies for Comprehensive Recruitment

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

The Benefits of Thorough Hiring

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

Avoid Team Dependency

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

The Pitfalls of Depending Too Much on a Few

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

Strategies to Avoid Team Dependence

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

Benefits of Avoiding Team Dependence

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

Not Keeping an Eye on the Finances

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

The Pitfalls of Ignoring Financial Prudence

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

Financial Prudence Strategies

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

Benefits of Financial Prudence

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

Check out our articles and webinars on finance for dentists.

Not Seeking Professional Advice

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

The Pitfall of Underestimating Professional Guidance

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

Approaches for Seeking Professional Counsel

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

Benefits of Seeking Professional Advice

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

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

Not Embracing Technology and Marketing:

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

The Risks of Ignoring Technology

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

Strategies for Marketing and Technology Integration

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

Benefits of Embracing Innovation and Marketing

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

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

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

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

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

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

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

More on Growing a Dental Practice

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

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

How to Become a Practice Owner

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

10 Essential Cyber Security Steps for Dentists

How to Protect Your Dental Practice Online

Cyber security for dentists is a crucial, but largely over-looked, aspect of running a dental practice. Your computers, devices and networks hold confidential patient data and sensitive dental records.

With the rise of cyber attacks on medical businesses, the increasing reliance on the cloud for storage & processing and the introduction of legislation like GDPR, it is essential that dentists make sure they have a strategy for cyber security and protecting their digital information.

Cyber Security Threats to Healthcare Businesses

In this webinar, Arun and George discuss several cyber security issues which pose a threat to your healthcare business online.

Please click here to find out more about cybersecurity threats.

Preventing cyber attacks

Security Products

An essential part of any prevention of cyber attacks is using some sort of Anti-Virus software. This is a major contributor to compromises. A decent Anti-Virus software will quarantine a malicious file and ensure it does not have access to a computer, potentially compromising it.

An Anti-Virus works by scanning files or code that being passed through your network. Depending on the company. They build an extensive database of already known viruses and malware and matches the files to these in their database and decides whether to quarantine the file or not.

Hardware

Users can install a Firewall which is essentially a virtual wall that chooses to allow or decline traffic through your network.

Much like antivirus software’s, Firewalls scan packets for malicious code or attack vectors that have already been identified as established threats. Should a data packet be flagged and determined to be a security risk, the firewall prevents it from entering the network or reaching your computer.

Training

The number one way to prevent cyber attacks is training. It has been said that your own staff are the biggest threat to any business. All it takes is one staff member to click on a link and that can be the entire network compromised. Of course the computers will have an anti-virus which should block any virus that has been allowed to access the computer. But why increase your body armour when you can take the bullets out of the gun?

Phishing

Spotting a Phishing Email

There are 3 main traits to look out for with Phishing Emails.

  1. Urgency – Using tight deadlines to create a sense of urgency that distracts you from the rest of the message and pressures you into acting quickly.
  2. Authority – Using the authority of the sender, such as by pretending to be a senior executive, trusted colleague, or reliable company, to convince you that the message comes from a trustworthy source.
  3. Imitation – Exploiting ‘normal’ business communications, processes, and daily habits to trick you into reacting to a message. Check who the email is addressed to, if it’s ‘friend’ or ‘valued customer’, then this might be because the sender doesn’t know you.

Passwords

An obvious one; but having a secure password can be the difference between access and no access.

Nowadays websites ask for a secure password, this includes at least; one capital letter, 6 lowercase letters, and one number. Usually, people like to be able to remember their password so they will use personal names and dates.

A great method for a secure password is using the ‘Three Random Word’ method, this entails of using three completely random words, followed by ideally a random number, but any number would do, even a significant date. Using three different words will greatly increase the prevention for brute force attacks.

Example:

Joe Bloggs has a child names Sarah who was born 14/05/07.

Most commonly the password Joe will use is Sarah140507, this way Joe has ticked all the boxes for the website, and its easy to remember. But this password is not very secure.

As of Sept 2021, 78% of the UK population are regular social media users.

Joe Bloggs posted a picture of a birthday dinner for his daughter Sarah on Facebook on 14/05/18 saying, “Happy Birthday Sarah, 11 today!!”. See the issue? Joe told a wannabe hacker exactly the date of his daughters’ birthday. Using a brute force attack, the hacker can now try to force his way into Joe’s account(s) using the information he has gathered.

Read more about cyber threats here.

Allocate responsibilities in your dental practice

When it comes to computer security in a dental practice, it’s crucial to identify what must be done and allocate exactly which team members are responsible for those tasks.

Overall responsibility should rest with a senior manager who has a broad view of all the risks and how to tackle them.

Other individuals can handle particular aspects. For instance, installing security software.

Management should identify which information and technology is really vital to the business, this is where the big risks lie.

For example, damage to your dental practice’s financial or clinical system, or the loss of your dental patient list, could lead to the complete failure of the business.

Other information may be less important. Equally, some computers are probably more critical, or more vulnerable, than others.

Identifying the risks, then establishing what security measures already exist and whether they work, and what extra ones are required, will help you to target your security efforts where they are most needed in your dental practice.

Action: Make a list of all the cyber security steps that need to be taken and make a spreadsheet allocating these tasks to specific members of staff.

Protect your computers and networks in your dental practice

Malicious activity could come from outside or inside your dental practice. Attacks from outside, for example by troublemaking hackers or e even competitors, can be protected against simply by installing a firewall.

This is software or hardware which examines all the computer communications flowing in and out of the business, and decides whether it’s safe to let them through. It can also be used to manage your staff’s internet activity. For instance, by blocking access to chat sites where employees might encounter security risks.

You can configure (set-up) the firewall to allow or prevent certain kinds of activity. There are several different kinds of firewall. The router supplied by your Internet service provider (ISP) may already have one built-in, or you can buy a software firewall solution.

Protecting against illicit activity from inside the dental practice requires other precautions we’ll look at elsewhere in this supplement. All of these also provide extra protection against attacks from outside.

Action: Install a firewall to protect your networks and possibly restrict staff and patient usage of the internet in the dental practice.

Keep your dental practice’s computers and devices up-to-date

Suppliers of PCs, software, and operating systems, such as Windows, frequently issue software updates (patches) to fix minor problems (bugs) or improve security. It’s essential to keep all of the computers in your dental practice (and other devices) up-to-date with the latest patches and software updates.

Normally, they can be downloaded and installed automatically. Remember that just one vulnerable computer puts all the others at risk. It’s important to ensure that all available patches are applied to all of them.

Action: Check for software updates on all the devices in your dental practice and upgrade hardware that is outdated.

Control employee access to computers and dental records

Although your computers should be guarded by a firewall, you should still protect user accounts (each person’s ‘identity’ with which they log on to a computer) and sensitive documents with passwords.

Because each individual should have a unique user name and a password, access to different parts of your IT system can be limited to certain people. It is important to remember that some individuals may have more than one user name and password, perhaps if they have multiple roles.

This not only protects against accidental or intentional damage by staff to systems and information, it also provides further security against outside intrusions. To achieve this, you can use security options built in to operating systems such as Windows, or you can buy specialised software online.

Because you identified your biggest security risks and most vital information in Step 1, you can decide whether password control for a given item should be basic (for instance, one password authorising access to an entire computer) or stronger (each document or application requiring a separate password).

Some individuals designated as computer administrators (admins) may be given access to nearly everything, in order to perform technical work. You should keep the number of admins to a minimum.

Security software will usually generate records showing which employees have used particular computers or documents at different times. This can be useful for pinpointing problems, but access to these records should, of course, be tightly limited – otherwise, people misusing the system could alter them to cover their tracks.

You can find out more about patient data and record keeping on the BDA website here.

Action: Set up your employee profiles on your CRM, website administration and any other online data storage in your dental practice. Make sure you assign the appropriate roles to each team member.

Protect against computer viruses in your dental practice

Malicious software or ‘malware’ (a category including viruses, Trojans and spyware) may not always be as devastating as the headlines suggest, but can still slow down your systems dramatically, and passing them on to customers will win you no friends.

Fortunately, there is plenty of protection available. Your computers may have been sold with anti-virus software (the generic term, although most products also protect against other kinds of malware). If not, you can easily buy it.

This software regularly scans a computer in search of malware, deleting any that is found. Regular updates to head off new threats are key to anti-virus software. So this is one area where it does pay to stick to the big brand names and to ensure that the software is set to receive updates as regularly as possible (ideally daily).

Action: Install and run anti-virus software on all your devices regularly to check for any issues or threats.

Extend security beyond the office or dental practice

Today’s employees sometimes work from home or on the road between dental practice sites using their own laptops, phones and tablets. It is difficult to extend the same level of security you can apply to office computers to these devices.

But, you can reduce risk by requiring any personal equipment used for work is approved first by management or IT. It should have the minimum of anti-virus software, password protection and (where applicable) a firewall.

To protect against unauthorised access to information when a device is mislaid or stolen, it should be possible to delete all the information (“wipe” it), even when you don’t have the device.

This capability is built into newer models; software can also be bought to perform remote wiping, but this must be installed before the device is lost. Ensuring the sensitive data is kept in an encrypted area (see section 7) of the computer or device will stop most attempts to access data.

This is easy to set up using off-the-shelf software. Beware of the dangers when connecting to unencrypted public WIFI, as hackers can intercept data. Check the hotspot is genuine and make sure file sharing is off and the firewall is on.

Action: Conduct a review of all the devices your employees use to access or store patient data or dental records. Make sure they all have the proper anti-virus, firewall and data protection features.

Remember the disks and drives you need to protect in your dental practice

Removable disks and drives, such as DVDs and USB sticks, pose security risks in two ways. They can introduce malware into your computers, and they can be mislaid when containing sensitive information.

Ensure that as far as possible, only disks and drives owned by your dental practice are used with your computers. Discourage employees from using them in third parties’ computers (in Internet cafes for example), and set up anti-malware software to scan them whenever they are used in the office.

Action: Establish a plan to track who has possession of each disk or drive at any given time, what information is contained on them and check that all documents are erased from them after use.

Plan for the worst

Following the measures in this guide will help you protect against a major security breach. But no system is 100% secure, so it’s worth planning what you’d do if things went badly wrong. First, define what is ‘major’ for you. Something that puts a non-critical department of the business offline for a couple of hours probably isn’t. But something that prevents you serving customers, or performing vital functions such as payroll, will be.

Establish how you will know that there’s a problem. You shouldn’t have to wait for computers to go down; your firewall or anti-virus software, for example, may provide advance warning that something unusual is going on. Plan your next steps.

What help (perhaps a specialist computer company) should you call in? Do you need to contact key dental patients or suppliers to explain that there is a problem? Can some functions be continued using other computers, or pen and paper, while your systems are repaired?

Finally, ensure that it’s clear who is responsible for doing what in an emergency. Your plan can be laid out in a document, and delivered in training sessions. It may incorporate elements of your plans for other disasters, such as a fire on your premises, and cut-down versions can be applied to less damaging computer incidents.

Action: Create a strategy for how your dental practice will handle a major breach of patient data or dental records. Identify your biggest risks and create an emergency contingency plan.

Educate your dental team about cyber security for dentists

Tell everyone in the business why security matters, and how they can help, using training sessions and written policy documents. This will encourage them to follow practices such as regular password changes. Most will not have to actively work at security. They’ll simply need to be aware of risks. For example, knowing that they should never click on a web link or attachment in an email from an unfamiliar source.

There are non-technical risks, too. One is social engineering, where hackers try to trick employees into revealing technical details that make your computers vulnerable. For example, a hacker might pretend to work for your computer supplier and claim they need passwords to perform maintenance. The casual atmosphere of social media such as Facebook could be conducive to such deceptions, so employees should be especially wary of discussing your systems and practices on social media.

Action: Create a training session to educate your team on their responsibilities and duties regarding dental records and patient data. Deliver this programme regularly.

Keep records and test your dental practice’s cyber security regularly

Security is an ongoing process, not a one-off fix. So it’s important to keep clear records. For example, the decision-making in Step 1 of this guide could help you produce a list of all your hardware and software, along with an indication of how secure each item needs to be.

Similarly, records of software patches and lists of authorised personal devices will help build up a picture of your business’s security status, spot potential weak points, and figure out how any problems arose. Good record keeping will also help you regularly test all your security measures, and ensure that you have functioning, up-to-date software. Any business is only as secure as its weakest link, and testing will make sure that no weaknesses are overlooked.

Action: Create a cyber security strategy for your dental practice by following the steps listed here, creating a plan for each task and regularly testing your systems and strategies.

you can find out more articles on Samera learning centre.

Our Expert Opinion

“Cyber security is hugely important for every business. It’s doubly important for healthcare businesses because they handle patient data as well as their own financial data. If I were to ask you what your cyber security protocol is and you can’t answer off the top of your head – your business is in danger. You can’t rely on a simple anti virus programme. You can’t rely on a simple back-up. You honestly really need to take cyber security seriously.

If the NHS can get hacked then a small dental practice certainly can! It’s not just about hackers either. We at Samera suffered data issues when a fire broke out at one of the servers we were using for back-ups in France. Since then we’ve used a triple back-up system to make sure it never happens again. Don’t take any risks with yours or your patient’s data. Sort your cyber security out as soon as possible – your business could very well depend on it!”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Get Started: Cyber Security for Healthcare

Cyber security is an essential part of keeping your patients, data and business protected online.

With Samera Cyber Security, you get the tools you need, the know-how to use them and digital copies of all your data. This three-pronged approach means you can keep your business safe and your data safe.

Contact us today to find out more about how our cyber security training, digital protection products and back-up contingencies can help you.

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The Climate for Dental Practice Growth in the UK

Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | 8th February 2021
Arun Mehra and Nigel Crossman

Unlocking Opportunities: Exploring the Climate for Dental Practice Growth in the UK

Dental practices in the UK have been facing some changes recently. These changes include new laws and different patient needs, which are making the dental practice environment evolve. However, there are still great opportunities for dental practices to grow and succeed in the UK. By using the right strategies and approach, dental practices can reach their full potential and achieve significant growth in a short time.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the main factors that are driving growth in the dental practice industry in the UK. We will look at things like changes in the population and advances in technology, and how these trends are shaping the future of dental practices in the UK.

Read our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

Introduction to the current climate for dental practice growth in the UK

The dental business in the UK is going through a time of change, providing many opportunities for dental practices to grow and expand. This is due to advancements in technology, changing patient expectations, and evolving healthcare approaches, all of which are continuously shaping the field of dentistry.

One significant factor contributing to the growth potential of dental practices is the increasing emphasis on oral health and its connection to overall well-being. People are becoming more aware of the importance of regular dental check-ups and preventive care, leading to a higher demand for dental services to maintain and improve their oral health.

Moreover, advancements in dental technology have revolutionised the field, offering dentists innovative tools and techniques to provide better patient experiences and outcomes. From digital imaging and CAD/CAM technology to laser dentistry and minimally invasive procedures, these changes have not only improved the quality of care but also expanded the range of services that dental practices can offer.

Additionally, the ageing population in the UK is also contributing to the growth of dental practices. As people age, they require specialised dental care, such as dentures, implants, and other supportive procedures. This creates a niche market for dental practices to cater to the unique needs of this segment.

Furthermore, the growing healthcare policies and the increasing availability of dental insurance coverage have made dental care more accessible to a larger portion of the population. As a result, more patients are seeking dental treatments and services, providing dental practices with a larger customer base to serve.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that the current environment for dental practice growth also comes with its challenges. Competition within the industry is fierce, with various dental practices vying for the same pool of patients. To succeed in this competitive landscape, dental practices need to stand out by offering excellent patient experiences, personalised care, and effective marketing strategies.

Action Points

  • Promote Oral Health: Educate on the significance of oral health for increased preventive care services.
  • Invest in Technology: Utilize advanced dental technologies for better patient care and expanded services.
  • Focus on Seniors: Offer specialized services for the aging population’s dental needs.
  • Maximize Insurance Benefits: Make use of healthcare policies and dental insurance to attract a wider patient base.
  • Stand Out: Differentiate your practice with superior patient experiences and personalized care.

Read our guide to setting up a private dental practice.

Factors influencing the growth of dental practices in the UK

The growth of dental practices in the UK is influenced by several important factors that shape the current environment for dental practice development. Understanding these factors is crucial for dental professionals who want to open new opportunities and expand their practices.

Firstly, there is a growing demand for dental services. As the population grows and ages, the need for routine dental care, cosmetic dentistry, and specialised treatments continues to rise. This increasing demand creates a favourable environment for dental practices to attract more patients and increase their revenue.

Another factor impacting practice growth is the advancement of dental technology. Innovations such as digital dentistry, CAD/CAM systems, and laser dentistry have transformed the field, improving treatment outcomes and patient experiences. Practices that embrace and invest in these technologies tend to attract more patients and gain a competitive edge in the market.

The evolving regulatory landscape also affects the growth of dental practices. Changes in regulations and policies, such as the NHS contract changes and the expansion of private dental care, can create new opportunities for practices to adapt their business models and expand their service offerings. Staying informed about these regulatory developments is essential for dental professionals to stay ahead and capitalise on emerging trends.

Moreover, there is an increasing emphasis on preventive care and patient-centred approaches in the dental industry. Practices that focus on patient education, engagement, and personalised treatment plans tend to build long-term patient relationships, leading to increased loyalty and referrals. Building strong patient relationships through excellent customer service and patient-focused care has proven to be a catalyst for practice growth.

Finally, economic factors play a crucial role in shaping the growth of dental practices. Overall economic stability, consumer spending power, and insurance coverage all impact patients’ willingness to seek dental treatments. Understanding the economic environment and adjusting pricing strategies and payment options accordingly can help practices attract and retain a diverse patient base.

In conclusion, various factors influence the growth of dental practices in the UK. The increasing demand for dental services, advancements in technology, regulatory changes, patient-centred approaches, and economic factors all contribute to the exciting opportunities available for dental professionals to expand their practices. Staying informed, embracing innovation, and adapting to the changing landscape are key to unlocking growth potential in the dynamic dental industry.

Action Plan

  • Capitalize on Demand: Focus on expanding services to meet the growing need for routine, cosmetic, and specialized dental treatments.
  • Invest in Innovation: Embrace and integrate the latest dental technologies to enhance treatment outcomes and patient experiences.
  • Navigate Regulations: Stay informed about regulatory changes and adapt business models to leverage new opportunities in both NHS and private sectors.
  • Emphasize Preventive Care: Develop patient-centered approaches, focusing on education and engagement to foster long-term relationships and loyalty.
  • Adjust to Economic Conditions: Tailor pricing strategies and offer flexible payment options to accommodate the economic status and insurance coverage of patients.

Contact us to find out more

Demographic trends and their impact on dental practice growth

Segment trends play a crucial role in shaping the environment for dental practice growth in the UK. Understanding these trends can help dental professionals seize opportunities and tailor their services to meet the growing needs of the population.

One key trend is the aging population. As people live longer, there will be an increased demand for dental services among older adults. This group often requires specialised dental care, such as dental implants, dentures, and oral health management for ongoing conditions. Dental practices that can meet the unique needs of older patients might find themselves in high demand.

Another important segment trend is the rising diversity of the UK population. With globalisation and migration, dental practices have the chance to serve a more diverse range of patients. This includes people from different cultural backgrounds who may have specific oral health needs or preferences. Practices that can adapt to and embrace diversity will be well-positioned to attract and retain a broader patient base.

Additionally, the younger generation presents both opportunities and challenges for dental practice growth. Millennials and Gen Z are more conscious of their oral health and will invest in preventive dental care. However, they also have higher expectations when it comes to convenience, technology, and personalised experiences. Dental practices that can leverage digital tools, offer flexible appointment options, and provide a patient-centered approach will be able to capture the loyalty of these younger patients.

It is also important to consider the impact of regional demographic variations. Different areas in the UK may have specific population dynamics, with variations in age profiles, economic status, and oral health needs. Dental practices that conduct comprehensive market research and tailor their strategies to the specific demographics of their local area have a competitive advantage in the pursuit of growth.

In conclusion, staying aware of segment trends is crucial for dental practices seeking to unlock growth opportunities. By understanding the needs and preferences of different segment groups, practices can tailor their services, attract a diverse patient base, and position themselves for long-term success in the ever-growing landscape of dental care in the UK.

Action Points

  • Cater to an Ageing Population: Develop specialized services for older adults, focusing on implants, dentures, and chronic condition management.
  • Embrace Cultural Diversity: Adapt services to cater to the oral health needs and preferences of a culturally diverse patient base.
  • Engage Younger Generations: Leverage digital tools and offer personalized, convenient services to meet the expectations of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • Tailor Strategies Locally: Conduct market research to understand local demographic trends and tailor services to meet regional needs.

Read our guide to buying a private dental practice.

Facts and figures about Dental practice growth in the UK

The Dental Practices industry in the UK was worth £6.6 billion in 2022, and it grew by 17.2% compared to the previous year. However, between 2017 and 2022, it experienced a yearly decline of 2.7% on average.

In the UK, the Dental Practices industry lost market share faster than the overall economy and the Human Health and Social Work Activities industry. It ranked eighth in size among the Human Health and Social Work Exercises industries and was the 132nd largest industry in the UK.

The main factor negatively affecting this industry is people’s real disposable income, while high industry support is the primary positive factor. Better dental hygiene has improved the condition of people’s teeth as they age, leading to increased demand for dental services as the population gets older. Older people are a significant market for dental practices.

As the number of people aged 65 and older increases in 2022 and 2023, there will be more opportunities for dental offices to provide their services.

Action Points

  • Industry Value: The UK Dental Practices industry was valued at £6.6 billion in 2022, growing 17.2% from the previous year.
  • Aging Population: Increasing demand for dental services with the growing number of people aged 65 and older.

Regulatory and policy changes affecting the dental industry in the UK

Recently, the dental business in the UK has experienced significant changes in rules and policies that have a big impact on the growth and development of dental practices. These changes have not only affected how dental experts operate but also created opportunities for growth and expansion.

One major change is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. This regulation made data security stricter, requiring dental practices to review their data management processes and ensure compliance. While this might seem like an extra burden, it has also given dental practices a chance to improve their reputation by showing a commitment to data security and privacy.

Another significant change in the dental industry is the shift towards preventive and comprehensive approaches to oral health. With a greater focus on patient education and prevention, dental practices have the opportunity to position themselves as leaders in promoting overall health and oral well-being. They can do this by offering comprehensive oral hygiene programs, promoting healthy lifestyle choices, and adopting advanced technologies for early detection and intervention.

Moreover, the changes in the NHS dental contract have brought both challenges and opportunities for dental practices. The new contract aims to improve patient access to dental care and encourage preventive measures. This shift towards a preventive-centred model provides opportunities for practices to stand out by offering innovative and patient-centred services that go beyond traditional treatments.

Additionally, the ongoing changes in reimbursement structures and fee schedules have prompted dental practices to rethink their pricing strategies and explore alternative sources of revenue. Practices that proactively adapt to these changes by implementing efficient cost management, exploring private treatment options, and embracing digital solutions have a greater chance of thriving in the evolving dental landscape.

Overall, the regulatory and policy changes in the UK dental industry have created a dynamic environment that demands adaptability and innovation. Dental practices that stay updated with these changes and leverage the opportunities they present will be well-positioned for growth and success in the ever-changing dental landscape.

Read our guide on How to Build a Dental Group.

Technological advancements and their role in driving dental practice growth

In the UK, technology has played a crucial role in improving dental practices. Dentists now have access to many advanced tools and innovations that enhance patient care, streamline operations, and ultimately lead to practice growth.

One significant advancement is the use of digital dentistry. This includes tools like 3D scanners and intraoral cameras that have changed how dentists diagnose and treat patients. These tools provide detailed and precise images, allowing for more accurate treatment planning and better patient outcomes. Digital impressions have also replaced messy traditional impressions, saving time and making patients more comfortable.

Another area where technology has made a big impact is in dental implants. Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems have revolutionised the way custom dental prosthetics are made. This not only improves the fit and feel of the final restoration but also reduces the time it takes to provide implant treatments.

Furthermore, advancements in practice management software have streamlined administrative tasks, making dental practices operate more efficiently. These software systems automated appointment scheduling, patient records management, billing, and inventory management, freeing up time for dentists and staff to focus on providing quality care.

Moreover, technology has also improved patient communication and engagement. Dental practices can now use various digital platforms to communicate with patients, send appointment reminders, and provide educational materials. This enhances patient satisfaction and loyalty, leading to more referrals and practice growth.

Overall, technological advancements have transformed the dental industry in the UK. From digital imaging systems and CAD/CAM technology to practise management software and patient communication tools, the role of technology in driving dental practice growth is significant. Embracing these advancements can create new opportunities and help dental practices thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Opportunities for expansion and innovation in the dental field

The dental field in the UK has many exciting opportunities for growth and progress. Thanks to advancements in technology and the changing needs of patients, dental practices have the potential to thrive in this ever-changing environment.

One significant opportunity for growth lies in the increasing demand for specialised dental services. As the population gets older, there is a growing need for dental professionals who focus on caring for older adults. Dental practices can tap into this market and cater to people who require special attention, and they are willing to pay more for it.

Another way to grow is by incorporating technology into dental practices. From digital imaging and 3D printing to tele-dentistry and virtual consultations, technology offers various opportunities to provide efficient and convenient dental services. Practices that adopt these innovations can stand out from competitors and attract informed patients who value personalised care and convenience.

Moreover, the growing emphasis on preventive and restorative dentistry presents additional growth opportunities. Dental practices that offer comprehensive services like teeth whitening, orthodontics, and dental implants can attract patients who want to improve their smiles and overall oral health. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in cosmetic dentistry, practices can position themselves as leaders in the field and build a loyal patient base.

Innovation in the dental field goes beyond clinical services. Dental practices can explore opportunities for expanding their reach through strategic partnerships and collaborations. For instance, teaming up with local healthcare providers or health centres can lead to cross-referrals and a broader patient base. Additionally, exploring options like tele-dentistry or mobile dental units can help reach under-served communities and expand the practice’s footprint.

In conclusion, the dental field in the UK offers plenty of opportunities for expansion and growth. By identifying niche markets, embracing technology, offering comprehensive services, and exploring strategic partnerships, dental practices can unlock their full potential for success and growth. With the right strategies and a commitment to excellence, the possibilities in the dental industry are limitless.

Strategies for attracting and retaining patients in a competitive market

In a highly competitive market, attracting and keeping patients is crucial for the growth and success of your dental practice. Here are some effective strategies to help you stand out and build a loyal patient base:

Improve your online presence: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential. Create a user-friendly and visually appealing website that showcases your services, expertise, and patient testimonials. Optimise your website for search engines to improve its visibility and reach. Engage with patients on social media platforms to build relationships and showcase your practice’s personality.

Provide outstanding customer service: Offering excellent customer service is essential for retaining patients. Train your staff to be friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. Ensure your patients feel valued and heard by actively listening to their concerns and addressing their needs. Personalise the patient experience by remembering their names, preferences, and treatment history. Going the extra mile will leave a lasting impression and foster patient loyalty.

Implement patient referral programs: Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful in the dental industry. Encourage your satisfied patients to refer their friends, family, and colleagues by offering incentives like discounts on future treatments or free services. Promote your referral program through various channels, including your website, online platforms, and in-office signage.

Focus on patient education: Educating your patients about oral health and the importance of regular dental visits is not only beneficial for their well-being but also for building trust and loyalty. Provide educational materials, blog posts, and informative videos on your website and social media platforms. Take the time to explain treatment options, procedures, and preventive measures during patient appointments. Well-informed patients are more likely to value your expertise and continue seeking your services.

Stay connected through regular communication: Establish a regular communication system to stay connected with your patients. Send out newsletters or emails featuring dental tips, practice updates, and upcoming promotions. Consider implementing appointment reminders and follow-up messages to ensure patients stay on track with their oral healthcare. By maintaining consistent communication, you will strengthen the patient-provider relationship and keep your practice top of mind.

By implementing these strategies, you can differentiate your dental practice in a competitive market and attract new patients while retaining existing ones. Remember, a strong online presence and providing exceptional care are the keys to long-term success in the dental industry.

Action Points

  • Online Presence: Boost your dental practice’s visibility with a user-friendly website and active social media engagement. Optimize search engines and share patient testimonials.
  • Customer Service: Elevate patient experiences with exceptional service. Personalize care and ensure staff are welcoming and responsive to patient needs.
  • Referral Programs: Encourage word-of-mouth through patient referral incentives, promoting loyalty and attracting new patients.
  • Patient Education: Build trust and loyalty by educating patients on oral health, treatment options, and preventive care.
  • Regular Communication: Keep in touch with patients through newsletters, appointment reminders, and follow-up messages to maintain a strong patient-provider relationship.

Read our guide on How to Retain New Dental Patients.

Financial considerations and funding options for dental practice growth

When it comes to growing your dental practice, money is an important factor to consider. Expanding your practice, buying new equipment, and hiring more staff all require funding. However, finding the right funding for your dental practice growth can be challenging if you don’t know the available options.

One common funding option is a business loan from a bank or financial institution. These loans provide a lump sum of money that can be used for various expansion projects. Before applying for a loan, it’s essential to assess your needs and determine how much funding you’ll require. Create a detailed business plan that outlines your growth strategies, projected income, and repayment plan to increase your chances of approval.

Another funding option is seeking investment from private investors or venture capitalists. This involves selling a portion of your practice’s ownership in exchange for capital. While this can be a great way to get funds, it’s important to carefully evaluate potential investors and negotiate favourable terms to protect your long-term interests.

Moreover, there might be government grants and programs available to support dental practice growth. Research local, regional, and national initiatives aimed at promoting healthcare professions, including dentistry. These grants can provide financial assistance, training opportunities, or tax incentives, helping you expand your practice while minimising financial strain.

Lastly, consider exploring partnerships or joint ventures with other dental professionals. Pooling resources and expertise can lead to collaborations that drive growth while sharing financial burdens. This collaborative approach allows for shared investments in new technologies, marketing campaigns, or office expansions, all while benefiting from each partner’s patient base and networks.

Read our guide on How to Finance a Dental Practice.

Before making any financial decisions, it’s crucial to consult with financial advisors or industry experts who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. They can help you understand the potential risks and rewards of different funding options and develop a sustainable growth strategy for your dental practice. By carefully considering financial considerations and exploring funding options, you can open doors for significant growth and success in the dental industry.

We hope you found our exploration of the environment for dental practice development in the UK helpful and insightful. As the dental industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial for dentists to adapt and seize opportunities for growth. By staying updated on the latest trends and factors influencing the business, you can position your dental practice for success. Whether you’re a new professional or an experienced one, there are always opportunities waiting to be explored.

Click here to read our articles Samera Learning Centre.

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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.

Financing Your First Dental Practice

Click here to read our articles.

Business Loans for Dentists

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

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

Dental Practice Finance: Further Information

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

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

How to Set up or Buy a Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

How to Set up a Profitable Private Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Key Mistakes to Avoid: Buying or Starting a Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

How to Create Your Own Dream Practice

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Why Dentists Want to Start Their Own Practice

Many dentists dream of owning their own practice. And while it can be tough and certainly stressful, it’s also incredibly rewarding.. Imagine calling the shots, setting your own schedule, and managing your own clinic, that’s the sweet side of being an entrepreneurial dentist. However, it requires a load of hard work, dedication, and money. 

I have spoken to many dental professionals over the years who have been wary about taking on the responsibility of buying or starting a dental practice. My advice is always to take the plunge if you have a desire to own your own business. Success and profits are far easier to come by if you are in charge of your own destiny. There are several reasons why this is the case.

In this article, we’ll dig into the entrepreneurial spirit of dentists, the steps to kickstart a private dental practice, and the ups and downs of being the boss in your own dental world.

The journey of a lifetime

Owning a dental practice is the most rewarding phase of your professional life. By providing essential health care and cosmetic dental treatments to the general public, you will grow as a dentist and help to build your community.

With your own practice, you are able to experience the rare thrill of establishing a legacy within the medical community allowing you to affect change on the ground-level of this amazing industry. Through your passion and dedication, you will build a practice that enhances the lives of thousands, while also providing for your family.

The rise of entrepreneurial dentists

Lately, there’s been a noticeable increase in a new breed of dentists – the entrepreneurial ones. These individuals not only have the necessary medical skills for their jobs but also a strong desire to kickstart and manage their own private dental practices.

Traditionally, being a dentist meant working in established dental clinics or joining group practices for a stable career. However, times are changing, and more dentists are embracing their entrepreneurial side. They want independence and the opportunity to build successful businesses on their own terms.

One key factor driving this trend is the changing mindset of dentists themselves. Many dentists now see the potential for personal and professional growth that comes with venturing into business. They’re eager to break free from the constraints of working for others and are adopting well-thought-out business models to achieve their goals.

Moreover, the digital age and technological advancements have played a significant role in empowering independent dentists. The availability of online resources, entertainment platforms, and marketing tools has made it easier than ever to reach and engage with potential patients, establish competitive specialties, and build a loyal customer base.

Furthermore, the evolving healthcare landscape creates new opportunities for dentists to offer specialized services and innovative treatment options, catering to specific niches and patient needs. As a result, the entrepreneurial spirit among dentists has intensified as they strive to distinguish themselves from competitors and provide unique value propositions.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the mindset and motivations of entrepreneurial dentists. We’ll explore the challenges they face, the strategies they employ to overcome them, and the valuable insights they’ve gained along the way. 

So, whether you’re a dentist contemplating starting a private practice or simply interested in understanding the entrepreneurial spirit in the dental industry, keep reading for an enlightening peek into the world of the entrepreneurial dentist.

What is your ‘why’?

As we mentioned earlier, many dentists who are buying or starting their first practice factor in a sense of legacy into their decision. Meaning, they want the ability to form a business – based off of quality and trust – that can stand even after they are gone. In fact, we’ve recently seen a huge upswing in family-owned dental practices going back generations for that exact reason.

Perhaps “legacy” isn’t your motivation though – maybe you simply want the ability to determine your own future, without having a “boss” constantly over your shoulder?

In order to begin a dental practice, or any business, it is important to examine your own motivations first. Only by understanding your motivations (your own “why”) will you be able to design your practice to facilitate those goals.

Have a good conversation with yourself and ask what your personal objectives are … Are they financial, or more about your quality of life (spending time with family, etc.)? Where do you want to take your practice? Who do you want to help?

Did You Know?


  • The global dental services market is expected to reach $451.9 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% – a lucrative opportunity for budding dentists. (Source: Grand View Research, 2023)
  • Millennials and Gen Z prioritize technology and convenience in healthcare. Offering online appointments, digital consultations, and teledentistry can attract these demographics. (Source: American Dental Association, 2023)
  • Research shows higher success rates for dental practices in high-traffic areas, near residential communities, or with easy access to public transportation. (Source: Journal of the American Dental Association, 2019)
  • Startup costs can vary significantly depending on location, equipment, and desired technology. Budget for everything from dental chairs and x-ray machines to marketing and staffing. (Source: American Academy of Dental Practice Administration, 2023)
  • Invest in practice management software to streamline scheduling, billing, and patient communication. It can boost efficiency and save time. (Source: Dentistry Today, 2023)

Benefits of owning a dental practice

There are many answers to the question “Why do you want your own dental practice?” – and none of them are wrong. However, there are some crucial benefits to dental practice ownership that make it an incredibly enticing opportunity. Are any of these concepts a motivator for you?

You are your own boss

This is easily the most common answer we hear. When you own your own practice, you have the ability to control every aspect of the business – from staffing to the exterior bricks and mortar. You write policy, you determine the standard of care, and you are in direct control of the well-being of your patients. For those of us with the fortitude to shoulder these responsibilities, practicing ownership is a dream come true. Are you ready?

Build the work environment of your dreams

“Office politics” is listed as one of the top reasons for being dissatisfied at work. Through ownership, you can craft the work atmosphere that you’ve always wanted, with people you hand chose, working a schedule that you decided.

Earn more money

At this stage in your career, it should come as no surprise to you that the vast majority of dental practice owners earn more than their associates. By being your own boss, and potentially managing an entire team of associates, you will maximise your practice’s earning potential by servicing more patients without you having to personally do the work yourself!

Money may not be everything to a dedicated dental professional, but ideally, no one does all that training to settle for less than they are worth. I have seen dentists who are associates and struggle to live a comfortable life. This is not the case for dentists who invest in their own practice.

  • Earnings are higher than for associates.
  • Equity is always in place.
  • Owning means that wealth can grow.

Who would not want to benefit from all of these? Many professionals already have them. At the time I am writing this, there are around 11,000 dental practices in the UK. The UK’s Dental  Industry revenue has grown at a CAGR of 2.5% over the past five years, to reach an estimated £7.2bn in 2023. The question I’m asking is, can anyone really afford to miss out on being part of this exciting growth industry?

Ownership = actual wealth

Having money does not make you wealthy. Wealth, actual wealth, comes from the ownership of assets, things that make money. Historically, the two most profitable assets to own have always been real estate and a business. When you own a dental practice, you actually stack these powerful investments on top of each other, giving yourself a “super asset”. This super asset will accumulate value over the course of your successful career, all while you are earning a significant income for your family.

Tax Benefits!

Business ownership comes steeped in tax incentives. These are benefits afforded to dental practice owners because they are providing a valuable service to their community. These tax-breaks allow you to free-up capital to reinvest in your business, further growing your assets. In fact, one of the most effective ways many of our clients have successfully grown their practice has been by simply taking all of the money they save in taxes, and immediately putting it back into their practice, thinking of it almost as an “automatic business savings plan”.

Click here to read our article on How can dentist reduce their tax legitimately.

Tax is an unavoidable burden for most people, but it’s possible to optimise a tax position by starting up a dental practice. I often find myself advising clients about the numerous tax deductions they are eligible for once they are running their own dental practice. These deductibles include:

  • Staffing costs such as salaries.
  • Insurance and banking and interest costs.
  • Marketing expenses.
  • Equipment.
  • Energy and other bills.

It’s easy to see that all the important costs of setting up and running a dental practice are tax deductible. Take a look at the UK government’s website for the full list.

And those are only a handful of the hundreds of reasons why dental practice ownership is not only the “more fun” option, but also the most financially sound decision you can make.

Challenges and risks involved in starting a private practice

Lots of dentists who want to start their own private practices find the idea exciting. But, it’s crucial to understand the challenges and risks that come with taking on this entrepreneurial journey.

Money is one of the big hurdles. Starting a private practice involves costs like equipment, office space, staff salaries, and marketing. Finding funding or backers can be tough because banks might see dentistry as a risky business.

The dental market is also very competitive. Established practices and big dental chains may already have a strong local presence, making it hard for new dentists to attract patients. Building trust and a good reputation takes time and effort.

Another risk is the uncertainty of patient flow and income, especially in the early stages. It takes time to build up a group of patients, and dentists might face financial ups and downs. Economic factors, like recessions or changes in insurance coverage, can affect the profit of a private practice.

Click here to watch our webinar on financing your first dental practice.

Running a private practice means taking on different roles besides being a dentist. Entrepreneurial dentists have to handle tasks like administration, staff management, marketing, and following rules. Sometimes, balancing these business and clinical duties can be tough.

Also, the dental field is always changing. Keeping up with new technology, treatment methods, and industry trends requires constant learning. Falling behind could mean losing to competitors or offering outdated services.

Despite these challenges, many dentists are driven by a passion for giving personalized care and the freedom that comes with having their own practice. Entrepreneurial dentists can make their private practices successful by recognizing potential problems and creating a smart plan to overcome them.

Click here to read our article on 5 quick tips when buying a dental practice.

Essential steps to starting a successful dental practice

To create a successful dental practice, you need to plan and carry out some important steps. These actions lay the foundation for a thriving and profitable business in the competitive field of dentistry.

  1. Do a Thorough Market Research: Before diving into the world of private practice, it’s crucial to do comprehensive market research. This involves studying the local dental market, understanding the demographics of the area, and identifying gaps or potential opportunities. By gaining insight into the needs of potential patients and existing competition, you can create a strategic plan that sets your practice apart.
  1. Create a Strong Business Plan: A well-crafted business plan is a roadmap to success for any ambitious dentist. It outlines your goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational processes. A business plan serves as a guiding document that helps you stay on track, make informed decisions, and secure funding if needed.
  1. Secure Adequate Financing: Starting a dental practice requires a significant financial investment. From acquiring equipment and technology to leasing or buying office space, there are various costs to consider. It’s essential to secure sufficient financing through personal savings, loans, or partnerships to cover these initial expenses and ensure smooth operations during the early stages.
  1. Choose the Right Location: To attract and retain patients, your dental practice needs to be in the right place. Consider factors like accessibility, visibility, parking availability, and proximity to neighborhoods or other healthcare facilities. A convenient and easily accessible location can significantly contribute to the success of your practice.
  1. Invest in Modern Equipment and Technology: In today’s digital age, staying up-to-date with the latest dental equipment and technology is crucial. Patients seek digital treatment options and a pleasant experience. Investing in advanced equipment, digital imaging systems, electronic health records, and other technological advancements not only enhances patient care but also improves efficiency and productivity within your practice.
  1. Build a Strong Team: A successful dental practice relies on a competent and dedicated team. Hire staff members with relevant experience and expertise who share your practice’s values and vision. From dental hygienists and assistants to receptionists and office managers, each team member plays a crucial role in delivering excellent patient care and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations.
  1. Implement Effective Marketing Strategies: Effective marketing strategies are essential to attract new patients and establish competitive specialties locally. Utilize digital and traditional marketing channels to raise awareness of your practice. Develop a professional website, use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, engage with patients on social media platforms, and leverage online reviews and referrals to build a positive reputation.

By following these essential steps, aspiring entrepreneurial dentists can position themselves well when starting their own private practice. With careful planning, dedication, and a commitment to delivering excellent patient care, you can build a thriving dental practice that fulfills your entrepreneurial aspirations.

Click here to watch our talk from the 2022 BIDA Dental Showcase on Essential Ingredients for a Successful Squat Practice.

Resources and support for aspiring dental entrepreneurs

Starting your own dental practice might seem challenging, but there are ways to make it happen. Even though it’s not easy to run a successful dental business and be your own boss, there are resources and support networks that can help turn this dream into a reality.

One helpful resource for dental entrepreneurs is professional associations and organizations. They offer mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and educational resources tailored for dentists who want to start their own practices. Connecting with experienced dental professionals who have successfully ventured into entrepreneurship can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Continuing education programs and dental schools often provide courses and workshops on the business aspects of running a dental practice. These educational resources cover practice management, financial planning, marketing strategies, and other essential skills needed to thrive in the competitive dental industry.

Financial institutions and lending institutions play a crucial role in supporting dental entrepreneurs. Many banks and credit unions have special loan programs just for dentists, making it easier for new business owners to get funding for their practice. These institutions understand the dental business well and can offer valuable advice on financial planning and credit repayment options.

Online platforms and communities have become important resources for aspiring dental entrepreneurs. These platforms provide a space for dentists to connect, share experiences, and seek advice from others on the entrepreneurial path. Online forums and communities can be a source of inspiration, motivation, and practical tips to help aspiring dental entrepreneurs overcome challenges and stay focused on their goals.

Whether you’re looking to buy or start your first or next dental practice, Samera Business Consultants are here to help you achieve your goals and build your future. For those embarking on the journey of dental practice ownership, this guide hopes to set you on the path to your future in dentistry!

In conclusion, aspiring dental entrepreneurs should take advantage of available resources and support networks. By utilizing professional associations, educational programs, financial institutions, and online communities, dental entrepreneurs can gain the knowledge, guidance, and support needed to confidently embark on their journey towards starting a successful private practice.

Key traits and skills for success as an entrepreneurial dentist

Becoming an entrepreneurial dentist takes a unique set of qualities and skills to make sure you succeed in starting and running your own private practice. While being a skilled dentist is important, there are other traits that can make a big difference in creating a successful business.

First and foremost, having a strong sense of ambition and self-motivation is crucial. Starting a private practice involves taking risks and facing the challenges that come with running a business. It’s important to have the determination to explore new ideas, constantly seek improvement, and take your practice to new heights.

Effective communication skills are also essential. Building relationships with patients, staff, and other healthcare professionals is crucial for long-term success. Dentists with excellent communication skills can understand treatments, listen to patient’s concerns, and establish trust, leading to a loyal patient base.

Adaptability is another key quality for entrepreneurial dentists. The healthcare industry is always evolving, and being able to adapt to new technologies, treatment methods, and industry trends is crucial. Embracing change and consistently seeking out valuable opportunities for growth and improvement will set you apart in a competitive market.

Entrepreneurial dentists should also have leadership abilities. As the owner of a private practice, you will be responsible for managing a team of dental professionals. To build an effective team, it’s important to lead by example, delegate tasks efficiently, and create a positive work environment.

Another important skill for dentist entrepreneurs is financial acumen. Running a private practice involves managing budgets, tracking expenses, and determining the financial health of your business. The key to long-term viability is being able to use projections and financial data to make informed decisions.

Lastly, a passion for continuous learning and professional development is crucial. The field of dentistry is always evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest research, techniques, and advancements is essential for providing excellent care to your patients. A commitment to lifelong learning will not only benefit your patients but also position you as a trusted expert in your field.

In conclusion, being an entrepreneurial dentist requires a mix of ambition, effective communication, adaptability, leadership, financial acumen, and a passion for continuous learning. By developing these qualities and skills, you can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling journey in starting and running your private dental practice.

Balancing the clinical and business aspects of running a dental practice

Operating a dental practice involves finding a delicate balance between taking care of patients and managing the business side of things. As an entrepreneurial dentist, your main aim is to give your patients top-notch dental care. However, it’s equally important to understand and handle the business aspects of your practice.

One major challenge in balancing the clinical and business aspects is making the most of your time. Dentists often find themselves torn between caring for patients and handling administrative tasks. It’s crucial to set up efficient systems and assign tasks to your team to overcome this hurdle. Hiring capable staff and empowering them to manage certain administrative duties can save your time for patient care.

Financial management is another vital part of striking a balance. As a dental practice owner, you need a solid understanding of your practice’s finances, including income, expenses, and profit. Implementing effective accounting practices, regularly reviewing financial reports, can help you make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.

Marketing is where the clinical and business aspects intersect. While delivering excellent dental care is crucial, it’s equally important to promote your practice and attract new patients. Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both online and offline methods can help you reach your target audience and set your practice apart from competitors.

Staying up-to-date on the latest advancements in dental technology and methods is essential for both business and clinical purposes. Investing in state-of-the-art equipment and ongoing education for yourself and your staff can improve patient satisfaction, enhance clinical outcomes, and ultimately contribute to the success of your practice.

In the end, to balance the clinical and business aspects of running a dental practice, dedication, strategic planning, and a willingness to adapt to industry changes are essential. By effectively managing your time, finances, marketing efforts, and staying current with industry advancements, you can thrive as an entrepreneurial dentist, providing outstanding care to your patients while growing your practice.

Is owning a dental practice worth it?

Whether you are buying your first or next dental practice, ownership of your own dental practice is one of the most rewarding experiences that the medical industry can provide. Being able to offer essential dental care and treatment to your community will be as rewarding you to personally as it is to the public. 

As long as you can attack your new platter of responsibilities as a business owner head-on, you should answer the question above with a confident, “absolutely.”

However, owning your own dental practice requires many, often tedious, tasks that are as confusing as they are strict.

Are you ready to start your own dental practice?

When you own a practice, you need to be good at many things other than dentistry. You may need to deal with complaints, sickness, CQC, Health and Safety, debtors, invoicing, marketing and all of the other trappings of owning and operating your own successful dental practice.

Ask yourself and be honest, do you have the skills to manage these tasks?

As long as you are straightforward with yourself about your skills as well as your limitations from the beginning, you will go far as a dental practice owner with a career hopefully spanning decades.

Our Expert Opinion

“Over the years I have helped many dentists start their own dental practice, primarily because they want to practice the way they want to. This may mean they will over the short term earn less, but over the longer term, they will be able to provide the level of care they want for their patients.

In addition, whilst starting and running a practice is not an easy option it provides them with the real satisfaction of controlling their own destiny. This means setting up in a location they desire with the design and equipment of their choice.

This can be liberating for many dentists, whilst at the same time challenging, but all very achievable.

From my experience most dentists who start their own dental practice rarely look back, and usually wished they had done it earlier in their career!”

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

The 3 Stages of the Life of a Dental Practice

Step 1 – Setting up or Buying a Dental Practice.

If you’re at the stage of buying or setting up a dental practice, that is your first stage. If you are setting up a clinic, there are plenty of things you need to be thinking about. For instance, you need to consider the location, your budget, the type of dentistry you will be offering, as well as the type of patient you want to be attracting.

When beginning your journey as a dental practice owner, you have 2 main options. Firstly, you can set up a new clinic from scratch and we have a number of resources within the Learning Center that cover setting up a dental practice or clinic.

Your other option is to buy an existing practice. Buying a practice comes with its own considerations such as; what are the current profits, where is it located, how is it performing currently, and, if you can buy that practice, how can you add value to it? In other words, if you buy it now at a certain price, how can you increase the value so that you can then sell the same practice in the future at a profit.

Step 2 – The Growth Stage

You may have set up or bought a practice that is now operating and performing fairly well. The truth is, however, that whether you started or bought your practice, your goal is to grow it. How do you accomplish this? There are several ways to grow a business, but you need to be smart about it. You need to ensure that you grow the turnover, without growing the cost at the same rate as the turnover. Therefore, you need to manage the costs appropriately to make sure that the margins of your business are growing at a healthy rate.

What do you need to grow your business? Firstly, you need to make sure you have the right team in place. Having the right team can make all the difference in any business. However, that team needs to have bought into your vision and they must understand what you are trying to achieve with your practice or your business.

Secondly, your marketing has to be hot! We are living in an age of digital marketing, therefore, you need to be on-board with everything in the online world, whether it be YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Pay Per Click marketing with Google, SEO etc. You need to understand these platforms to be able to grow your business.

Growth is all about getting your marketing right, getting the team right and then implementing great care to your patients and customers. This is how you grow your business to a value that will ultimately help you on your exit.

Step 3 – The Exit Stage

You’re at the stage where you may have owned a practice for a few years, you have grown it healthily and it is doing well. However, you really want to exit at the top of its game, not when it has reached its peak and then started to decline. You need to be thinking about “when is the right time to be selling my dental practice or office?” The answer: when it is doing its best. At that stage of maximising value, where you have made all the effort at the growth stage to get a value that is healthy and profitable, this is where a buyer will come along and pay you a handsome price for it.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Registering with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Legally, in England, any dental professional and their practice must be registered for any registered activity which is going to be carried out. Buying or setting up a dental practice means that these registrations have to be in place, before any treatments are started.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health care and social care in England. The CQC monitors and inspects providers and provides reports and rankings, so that people can see which providers obtain the best results.

What are the regulated activities for dentists?

The CQC provides full details of activities for which registration is necessary on its website. These activities include:

  • Surgical procedures.
  • Diagnostic and screening procedures.
  • Treatment of disease, disorder or injury.

From the list of activities provided, it’s up to a practice owner to determine which are relevant. Once registration is complete, it’s important to understand how the CQC will monitor the performance of the dental practice on an on-going basis. I cannot emphasise this enough. Performance and care have to be high quality in order to ensure good CQC reports. These reports can have a direct effect on patient numbers and on the profits of the business.

How does the CQC check performance?

Investing in a dental practice is a big step. It’s important to eliminate as much risk as possible. One risk is that patient numbers could decline. The best way to stop this from happening is to provide an excellent standard of treatment and care.

The CQC reports on the standard of care in dental surgeries. Therefore, it’s important to understand what has to be done to prove the standard of care in the practice that is being purchased.

The CQC gathers information from different sources including:

  • Service users.
  • Service providers.
  • Local organisations.
  • Service stakeholders.
  • NHS England.
  • General Dental Council.

The CQC also carries out inspections. Prior to inspection, it asks for information which can include:

  • Current statement of purpose for the practice.
  • Accreditation or good practice programme membership details.
  • Staff names, roles and hours worked.
  • Details of complaints received.

Once a request for information has been received, a practice only has five days in which to respond. This is one reason why it’s so important to adopt good record keeping practices once a purchased or new practice is up and running.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Building a dental team

In this article we will take a look at building a good dental team and keeping it up to scratch.

Putting a good dental team together.

The General Dental Council provides details of standards for the dental team. I would guess that most people reading this will be aware of that fact, but it’s worth another read. When putting a team in place they need to be people who will adhere to these standards and to the aims and culture of the practice overall.

Why a good fit is so important

When a dental practice is purchased, there is often a professional team already in place. This does not mean that these people are the best fit for the new practice. I’ve worked with several clients who have quickly found it impossible to operate effectively because of a significant clash in practices and differences between the culture of the old practice and that of the new one.

Just because someone has a wealth of qualifications and a good record does not mean they are the best fit for the business that a new purchaser is trying to grow. For instance, I have heard people complain about dentists who have no sense of humour and are not the best with people who are nervous. If one of the aims of a practice is to specialise in providing care for people who have a phobia of dental treatments, this type of professional would not be a good team member.

What are the most important qualities?

There is a good chance that people already working at the practice, and/or those seeking employment, will have similar skill sets. However, the qualities they have may be very different. One of the most important tasks for any new dental practice owner is to decide which qualities are important to smooth running of the surgery, such as:

  • The ability to work as a team.
  • Problem solving ability.
  • Reliability.
  • A level head.
  • An empathetic nature.
  • Good time keeping.

It’s important that members of the team possess qualities that are in line with the aims and culture of the practice.

Step back and evaluate

It’s never a good idea to make snap judgements about members of a team that is already in place. Do not forget that everyone needs time to adjust to a new situation. Step back from the day to day operations for a little while and simply evaluate how people work and how they interact with each other.

It’s also important to speak to people and ask them about their aims and aspirations. This will help to make it apparent if they are going to have issues working within the practice as it will be operated.

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Hiring new members of the dental team

There may be a need to hire new team members for a dental practice that has just been purchased. It’s possible to list available posts with the British Dental Journal or to ask a specialist dental professional recruitment agency for help. It’s important to do the ground work before the job is listed and/or potential candidates are sought.

  • What qualifications and experience are necessary for the role?
  • What services are to be provided by the individual?
  • What additional skills would be advantageous?
  • What qualities are important?

The ideas and requirements that are collated help to formulate a description of the job role. They are also a big help during the interview process.

The interview process

Depending on how many candidates there are, it may be a good idea to reduce the list by telephoning each candidate and asking them why they want to work for this particular practice and how they see themselves as a good fit. Anyone who has not done their research, or is obviously not the right fit, can be weeded out.

During the interview itself, the questions should reflect the real world within the practice. Some questions it may be useful to ask include:

  • Give an example of how your working practices fit with the aims of this surgery.
  • Tell us about how you would go about implementing an improvement to processes; give an example.
  • Explain how you would handle a nervous patient.
  • Explain what you would do if a patient was late.

It can be useful to take a look at some questions that dental industry candidates have been asked.

Welcoming new team members

Once the right team is in place, it’s important to make sure that they remain satisfied in their work and motivated. High motivation levels lead to good standards of productivity and performance. These good standards are essential to the survival and growth of any dental practice.  

In order to keep motivation levels high it’s important to:

  • Provide a comprehensive induction package.
  • Have an open, learning-based culture.
  • Communicate the aims and culture of the practice.
  • Hold regular staff meetings.
  • Implement a fair on-going assessment and appraisal process.
  • Encourage self-development and training.

People who work in this type of environment are more likely to want to contribute to the on-going success of the dental practice.

Keeping a good dental team in place

I believe in starting with the basics, when it comes to growing a dental practice. Having the right team in place means that treatment and patient care are of high quality. This makes it easier to retain patients, and to attract new ones. Retaining, and increasing, a patient pool is essential for any dental surgery that wants to see profits grow and expansion occur.

Retaining a professional, caring and highly motivated team is essential for anyone who has ambitions to grow a successful dental practice. There are several points that I always reinforce with clients which can make staff retention a lot easier.

Creating a positive working environment

The first step to take when creating a positive working environment in a dental surgery is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Every member of the team needs to be aware of the vision of the practice, and to be on board with it. Remember that a vision is not set in stone. As a practice evolves, so the vision can be tweaked to reflect the way forward.

This vision needs to be at the centre of everything that happens in a flourishing dental practice. It also needs to be supported by other factors which make the surgery an excellent place to work. These factors may include:

  • Emphasis on a good work/life balance.
  • Additional benefits on top of salary.
  • Use of the latest technology.
  • Access to ongoing training and education.
  • Recognition for a job well-done. This can be as simple as thank-you or may involve a bonus scheme.

For dental professionals, one of the best ways to check for a good working environment in their practice is to put themselves in the place of every staff member and be honest about whether they would really want to work there. Doing this can be a real eye opener; I’ve used it as a tool myself over the years.

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Encouraging good performance

Every successful business needs to have an appraisal process in place; dental practices are no different. This should not be seen as a way of monitoring members of the team; it needs to be seen as a chance to develop, learn and be rewarded for success.

I have always found that 360 degree feedback is useful as part of this process. I have certainly learned important things about myself in this way. Remember, it’s about providing excellent patient care, and growing the business as a result. There is no place for an inflated ago.

In any successful appraisal system there are some important points to get right.

  • Create clear and specific job roles so that there is no room for confusion.
  • Create SMART goals which each team member can work towards achieving and be measured against. Creating goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed gives people more chance of achieving them (2)
  • Make sure that every team member has a personal development plan in place (PDP). This can be especially important in an SME like a dental practice where career advancement opportunities may be limited but development can be encouraged and supported.
  • Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance so that measurement standards are consistent.

Performance appraisal reviews should normally happen every twelve months, but there should be opportunity to talk at any time.

According to Forbes,

“The most common form of performance appraisals compare our current performance levels either with our previous performance levels or the performance levels of our peers. When the two approaches were compared, the researchers found that comparing our performance now with our performances in the past was more effective because employees regarded them as fairer, especially on an interpersonal level.”

This makes sense in a dental surgery where staff numbers are limited and comparing peers may promote discord rather than the harmony that is required. The aim of any successful appraisal system is to improve individual and overall performance in a motivational and supportive manner.

Communicating is key

I have never come across a client yet who has disagreed with my assertion that effective communication is at the centre of any successful dental surgery. However, with the best will in the world, communications become confused and messy, if there is no strategy and plan in place. These plans can include factors such as:

  • Defined communication timelines.
  • Creation of a staff Intranet system.
  • Daily and Weekly team meetings.
  • Defined methods of communicating management plans and concerns.

Poor communication tends to lead to poor performance, reduced patient satisfaction and reduced chance of growth. Never take communication for granted.

These are all factors that can help keep a good team in place in a dental practice. The longer a good team is retained, the more likely a practice is to thrive and grow.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Creating a Business Plan for a Dental Practice

“The value of a business plan simply cannot be overstated. Putting ideas and concepts down on paper is invaluable and the act of researching and compiling data about your competitors and the market will prove to be very useful in the years to come.”

Stefan Topfer, The Importance of Business Planning (2)

Why creating a business plan is essential when buying a dental practice

I started this article with a quote that I wholeheartedly agree with. A well put together business plan is at the centre of every successful business. It’s also an essential factor in successfully obtaining acquisition finance. I have had this conversation with many clients over the years. If they cannot show how they are going to be a success, why should the bank have faith in them?

The fact is that a business plan helps anyone who is starting or buying a dental practice to clearly see their current position and the way ahead. It also means that financial professionals can see the reliability and promise of a dental business, before they make a lending decision.

What to include in a dental practice business plan

A well-written business plan needs to be comprehensive and succinct. It should cover all aspects of the business, without going into minute detail. Items to be covered include:

The aims and objectives of the business.

Make sure that aims are well-considered and transparent. It’s also important to make sure that these aims reflect the personal CV of the practice owner.

The services that are available at the practice.

Make sure that the resources, facilities, products and qualifications are in place for all of the services that are included.

Information about the market and competitors.

Research should be completed so that details of the current market, and the level of competition, can be provided. Consider the threats the business may face and the opportunities it can explore. I have found that a SWOT analysis is often useful at times like this. It helps with full exploration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can be summarised in the business plan.

The cost of purchasing and running the business.

This is a good indication that all financial implications have been considered. Remember to recognise the risks of hidden costs and indicate that there is a mitigation plan in place. This information helps banks to recognise the reliability of the business.

How the practice is going to be run.

Proposed hours of operation should be included. This information needs to be backed up by details of the amount of staff required and the working hours that will be needed.

Financial forecasts.

Anyone starting or buying a dental practice needs to have informed knowledge of how the financial situation looks for the coming months, and years. Banks also need to see that they are lending to a business that is going to be profitable. Be realistic with the figures that are included and back them up with research and evidence where possible.

Anyone starting or buying a dental practice needs to have informed knowledge of how the financial situation looks for the coming months, and years. Banks also need to see that they are lending to a business that is going to be profitable. Be realistic with the figures that are included and back them up with research and evidence where possible.

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How to format a business plan for a dental practice

Any good business plan should have three distinct sections; the executive summary, the narrative and the financials. It should also include appendices with relevant charts and graphs. It’s vital to understand the importance of each section.

The Executive Summary.

This is the most important part of a business plan when looking for acquisition finance. Lenders like to know important aspects about a dental practice business, before they provide any funding. Details of what services are going to be provided, how much funding is required and how it will be repaid should be included in this section.

It’s important to make the executive summary persuasive. Include details of the vision for the future and why the business is such a low risk when it comes to lending. What will make the business succeed?

The Narrative.

The main section of a business plan should be broken down into defined parts, for ease of reading and understanding. These parts should include.

  1. A business overview including aspects such as structure, staffing, loan repayments and risk management.
  2. Location of the business. Is this likely to change as the dental practice succeeds and grows. What are the strengths of the location?
  3. Marketing and analytics. What demographic will marketing be aimed at, what form will it take and what will the investment be. Make sure that the marketing strategy for the practice is defined.
  4. Operating the business. What will happen on a daily basis? What sort of equipment will be used at the business and what supplies will be needed? All aspects of the day to day running of the business should be included here. This includes how the business will be managed and what the staffing requirements will be.

The Financials.

In the final section of a business plan, the finances of the dental practice should be addressed. This should include projected income and cash flow figures, together with any assumptions on which these figures have been based. Provide a comprehensive vision of the financial standing and future of the practice.

Appendices.

This part of the business plan is where supporting evidence and background information is provided. This can include charts, graphs, action plans and schedules.

Putting a business plan together may sound like hard work, but it’s an essential aspect of buying or starting a dental practice. Once the plan has been completed, it’s time to consider funding options for the purchase.

Our Expert Opinion

“No plan, no business. A plan is so important to help you navigate the pitfalls of starting and building a business. Get the basics down on paper and then evolve the plan slowly with ideas and goals.”

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

Should I Start or Buy a Dental Practice?

Starting vs Buying a Dental Practice

Taking the opportunity to own a dental practice means either finding a dental practice for sale that is the right fit for you or starting a new, squat practice from scratch.

Before examining the finer points, such as location and turnover, there are major decisions to be made.

For example:

  • Is it better to buy an existing practice or start from scratch?
  • Should the practice be NHS, private or mixed?
  • Should the property be leasehold or freehold?

Buy a dental practice or start from scratch?

There are two main options when it comes to starting out as a dental practice owner for the first time.

There are pros and cons to both of these options and it’s up to the individual which option is best for them. When clients approach me about making this decision, I advise them about the different aspects they need to take into account.

Buying an existing dental practice

Buying an existing practice can bring certain benefits:

  • There is already a good patient base.
  • The dental surgery has a good reputation.
  • There is a proven potential for good financial returns.
  • The necessary equipment and design features are in place.
  • There is already be a good team of professionals in place.

Whether these benefits exist can be discovered as part of the due diligence process, which you can find more about here. Some practices come with plenty of cons, rather than pros.

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For example:

  • Out-dated dental practices.
  • Out-dated dental equipment.
  • A patient base that is used to these methods and may be averse to change.
  • A poor local or online reputation

When buying an existing dental practice it’s important to make sure that the business is a sound investment; one which provides good prospects for growth and profits.

Click here to read our guide on How to Buy a Dental Practice.

Starting a dental practice from scratch

The likelihood is that starting a dental practice from scratch can sometimes be more expensive, but often a savvy entrepreneur can set up a practice on a tight budget.

The building will probably need some re-design and all the equipment will need to be purchased. A complete new team will also need to be hired. This process can be costly and time-consuming. Marketing will also need to be a major concern, as there will be no ready-made patient base. This can be especially problematic if there is competition in the area.

However, there are also potential benefits to be had from starting from scratch.

  • There is no previous client perception in place.
  • State-of-the-art equipment can be purchased for use.
  • The surgery can be designed precisely to your requirements.
  • A hand-picked team can be put in place.
  • A suitable, visible location can be found.
  • You can fully implement your own vision.

It’s important to research the area and the business potential thoroughly before making a decision to start a dental surgery from scratch.

Once the decision to buy a dental practice or set one up from scratch has been made, there are other important decisions to consider.

Click here to read our guide on Starting a Dental Practice.

NHS, private or mixed?

Anyone buying a dental practice has the option to choose to invest in an NHS practice, private practice or one that is mixed. I would always say that buying a dental practice which has some element of private treatment makes the most sense. Although, I have also helped many clients to negotiate the NHS tendering process.

An NHS practice may seem like a good proposition, as it provides a regular income and the patient turnover is not as high. However, NHS contracts come with restrictions and these can choke the ability to be creative in scaling a business and optimising success. The NHS England website provides details of the contracts for anyone thinking about buying an NHS dental practice.

Anyone who is looking for a dental practice for sale that allows them to make the most of their entrepreneurial skills is best advised to choose private.  Providing private dental plans to patients can be highly lucrative, as long as the expected high standard of treatment is provided.

It’s also important to be prepared for investing time and financing in high quality marketing as patient acquisition and retention are essential to the survival of any private dental surgery.

Click here to read more about the NHS tender process.

Leasehold or freehold?

I’ve worked with clients who purchased freehold dental practices and those who have purchased leasehold practices. Personally, if I was looking for a dental surgery for sale I would choose freehold every time.

However, many times the freehold is never available. Therefore, focus your efforts on choosing a practice or premises in a great location, rather than just thinking about freehold or leasehold.

Of course, it depends on how good an opportunity a particular practice is, but banks tend to look more kindly at applications for finance when a freehold property is involved.

Anyone looking at a leasehold dental practice for sale needs to make sure that the lease has at least 15 years to run and be aware that banks will only lend to the end of the lease. This is a vital consideration for anyone wanting to obtain acquisition finance.

You can find out more about acquisition finance here.

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Location of the dental practice

As I mentioned earlier, location can be an important factor in getting value for money when buying a dental practice. Often the best deals and opportunities can be found when the purchaser is willing to travel or move to a less popular location.

When considering the purchase of a dental practice and thinking about the location, it’s important to take into account several factors:

  • Is the local population booming or falling? Access to a patient pool is essential for growth.
  • Does the location of the proposed or existing practice have great visibility for prospective new patients?
  • Is travel to the location viable, or will a move be required?
  • If a move is needed, how easy and affordable is it to secure accommodation?
  • What plans are there for the area over the coming years? For instance, the building of new housing could greatly increase footfall at the practice and potentially increase its value quite quickly.

Click here to read more about marketing a dental practice and finding more patients.

What opportunities does a practice present?

In some respects a dental practice is the same as any other business; stability, profitability and growth are all vital to success. This is why it’s so important to ask for an array of information from the vendor before committing to the practice being the right option, and signing contracts.

  • How many patients have been seen in the last 12 months?
  • What types of treatment are most prevalent?
  • What are the most outstanding treatments at the practice?
  • What do exam recall rates look like?
  • What is the patient retention rate?
  • What marketing strategies are being used and how well are they working?

Of course, always ask for evidence of responses, so that a full picture is available.

Click here to read more about due diligence when buying a dental practice.

Is it more expensive to start or buy a dental practice?

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy, clear answer to this question.

All things considered, it can cost an average of around £200,000-£300,000 to start a new practice, but this can raise to up to £500,000 and above.

The price of a dental practice for sale will depend on several different factors, like its current profitability. A successful dental practice will cost far more than a struggling one. One of the metrics we use to calculate the value of a practice is EBITDA. You can read more about EBITDA and valuing dental practices here.

You may be able to find a practice for sale at around the same price as it would cost to set one up, but will it be a successful, profitable practice? Probably not.

So in summary, it completely depends. You do often find it can be cheaper to start a new practice than to buy an existing successful one. This is because a successful practice already has an existing, proven turnover that you’re buying. Whereas a new practice’s profits depends more on your own hard work.

Click here to watch our webinar on How to Set up or Buy a Practice.

Starting a Dental Practice: Get Started

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

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

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

Learn More: Starting a Dental Practice

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

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

5 Key Steps to Starting your Dental Practice

Further information on Starting a Dental Practice

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

Our Dental Practice Start-up Programme is a hands-on consultancy service designed to take you through your whole journey to becoming a dental practice owner. Contact us today for all the advice, support and expertise you’ll ever need to start a dental practice.

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

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