Opening Your Own Dental Office?
Before you dive into the deep end of the pool, make sure you are fully prepared. Opening your own dental office can be an overwhelming project. Sit down with yourself and make a list of these important details.
How much space do you really need?
- How many rooms do you want? This will determine how much square footage you will need, and it will also determine the size of your waiting area.
- Rooms you need include: waiting room with a front desk, business checkout area, handicapped bathroom, mechanical closet, IT closet, and also a lab and sterilization area. These may be separate or together.
- Rooms you would like to have but may not need might be: a private office, private bathroom, pan area, staff lounge, consultation room, storage closets, etc.
Where do you want to be located?
- Consider how many existing dentists are in your desired location.
- Do you want a high-profile site?
- Are you looking for cost efficiency or elite appearance?
- If you’re a specialist who only works from referrals you can look for a less costly space on an upper floor. Your office can also be situated off a main road or you can locate in a building with less exposure.
- A location in a high-rise building with occupied space on the floor below is usually the most costly as far as your construction fees are concerned, but typically is less per square foot in your lease expenses.
- Will your patients need access to public transportation?
- Is there enough parking for your staff and patients?
Are you ready to negotiate your lease?
- When negotiating your lease, you want to have a long-term commitment. The cost of your build-out will be a large investment, and taking the chance of having to rebuild in a new location any time sooner than 10 years would be imprudent.
- Many owners today are willing to give you three months of free rent, but this can change at any given time.
- It could take anywhere from 12 to 18 weeks to build a new office once the building permit is issued. Working some free rent into your agreement will help generate income while the construction is being completed.
Who will be on your team?
- Establishing a team that will work for your benefit is crucial to your success.
- If you can work with a team of people who have worked together in the past it’s a plus.
- Your contractor, architect, and construction manager should all be dental-centric. This could be the same person or different individuals.
- As for the equipment you choose, if you find an equipment salesperson you feel comfortable working with, it will streamline the process.
- Your IT, computer, and phone representative will be a long-term relationship after your office is completed, so choose carefully.
- Your lender should be someone strategically working on your behalf.
Your dream of building your own dental office can be a costly undertaking, so make it a priority to do it right the first time. And if you find you still have questions, remember there are professional healthcare real estate agents who work specifically with medical professionals. They know the industry and offer unique expertise you cannot find elsewhere.