All through dental school, you have thought about nothing but opening up your own practice someday. However, after a total of eight years in college, four to receive a bachelor’s and four for dental school, your financial situation might be less than ideal. There is a good chance that if you did not receive some sort of scholarship, you could be over $100,000 in debt just from the schooling. And you still haven’t even collected your first paycheck!
The average dentist’s salary is about $150,000. This is definitely a nice chunk of change. It would be simple to join another practice and just go to work as another employee. But many dentists do not like the idea of working for someone else. It can help alleviate many of the headaches that go along with being a business owner, but your career would be in someone else’s hands. In addition, all the major decisions would be left up to somebody else. Plus, if the company you work for is making huge profits, your salary stays the same regardless. But if it was your own business, all the profits would be yours for the taking.
What Are the Costs in Opening Up Your Own Dental Practice?
Just like when shopping for a car, the cost of it can range greatly depending upon what you are looking for. The price of starting your own dental practice will vary, but it is definitely doable for $300,000 if you proceed wisely. If you do not plan with an eye on your checkbook, starting up your own dental practice could very well cost you more than a million dollars.
Of course one major expense in opening up your own dental practice would be the actual building space. Would you like to buy or rent? If you are having to do a lot of construction to suit your practice, you might as well buy. Renting the space and building it out could come back and bite you later on. Why put all that equity into the building if you do not own it?
As anyone in real estate will tell you, it is all about location. Most of the time, if it is in a desired location, then it will cost more money for the property. However, shop around a bit. Maybe there is a location that would be just as suitable, but needs a bit of construction. If you are in it for the long haul, it makes sense to invest in a building that will improve in equity instead of just keeping stagnant.
Maybe you could have your practice in a less populated city and save some money since the price of the property will be lower. But in doing so, you have to be certain that enough people will be coming to your dental practice to support your business. It certainly will help if there are not many other dental practices in your vicinity. The less competition the better. But that does not mean you want to open your practice in a small town of 500 people because there probably won’t be enough people coming in through the doors to financially support your practice.
The actual square footage of the practice will also play a big role in how much it will cost. How many dental chairs will you have? How many offices will there be? Does the waiting room really have to be a thousand square feet? Smaller square footage means less money needed overall for the building. Instead of improving and building out a 5,000 square foot building, it might be more productive to keep the square footage to 2,000 or so. It might even be possible to go less than that. Just keep your vision of your future practice in mind without going overboard.
How Can You Afford This?
You might be thinking right now how you can afford everything that is needed. Not only do you need to find the building, but also do construction, purchase all the dental equipment needed, hire employees, and pay off your student loans.
The good news is that banks tend to like giving loans out to dentists and doctors. They believe it is a good investment. In wanting your business, they will often offer loans at low interest rates. Much lower than they may offer these loans to others that are not in the medical field. Plus, there is a good chance you could transfer your student loans into a new bank loan with a lower rate, saving you thousands of dollars every year.
Learn from Someone that Has Been There
Avi Weisfogel, a dentist based out of New Jersey, opened up his dental practice right out of dental school. He realized early on that if you did good work, the patients would come in. People would start making recommendations to their friends and it would build from there.
Dr. Weisfogel had a very successful dental practice for 15 years. He won several awards in the community for best dental practice in the community. Treating every patient like an individual is something that more medical professionals should do.
It wasn’t long before Weisfogel started to combine another passion with his dentistry. He started to diagnose and treat sleeping disorders in his dental patients. He was proving there were other avenues in dentistry that could be financially beneficial to his business. Weisfogel has proven this concept so much that he now helps other dentists with incorporating sleep clinics into their dental practice. These are all things to consider when beginning a dental practice of your own. Keeping all options open and treating every patient like they are one of a kind is an important view for a dentist to never forget. The financials will take care of themselves if you watch your bottom line carefully and do excellent work. Just take it one day at a time without becoming too overwhelmed.
Read our last story on Avi Weisfogel here!