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Buying A Dental Practice: 6 Things You Need To Know


Buying A Dental Practice

Buying a professional service business, like a dental practice is one of the most profitable ventures you can enter into if you are considering becoming a small business owner. While there are some professional service businesses that would allow an owner with no experience in that particular industry to buy the business and successfully run it, I don't recommend a buyer try to do that with a dental practice. If you are going to buy a dental practice, unless there are special circumstances involved, I would recommend that you are a practicing Dentist first.

Dentistry is a health related industry. You are dealing with patients and one aspect of their health. This requires an in-depth education as well as a tremendous understanding of various dental needs in order to effectively assist patients. A buyer that is not a Dentist by trade would have to rely on someone else for that knowledge. Because Dentists make a good salary, pay is one of the greatest expenses within a dental practice. With both said, a practicing Dentist will be most equipped to buy a dental practice. That said if you are a Dentist ready to buy your own practice, here are 6 things you need to know that will help you find the right opportunity.

Pay Attention to What You Are Buying

If you have always worked for someone else or you are fresh out of dental school, you may not know the interworking’s of a dental practice and what it actually takes to make the operation profitable. To start, one thing you should know and understand is that setting up a dental practice as a startup can be very expensive. There are high equipment costs as well as construction and plumbing to equip the facility with what you need to operate. The average cost to start a new dental office that is around 2,000 square feet with 5-6 treatment rooms, 2 fully equipped to start, costs on average between $450,000 and $550,000. This cost also takes into consideration some working capital and marketing allowances.

With that said, buying a well-established existing practice can be the more cost effective alternative if you find the right opportunity. Be sure to look at the age of the equipment. If you would be buying a dental practice to have to go in and replace outdated equipment, that may not make as much sense as buying one that has newer equipment.

Billings Benchmarks

A dental practice usually requires about 1,400 patients to employ a full-time dentist. They need to be active patients that have regularly scheduled appointments. With each patient, ideally the office will be billing on average $500 per visit or more. About 30 percent of the business’s revenue should come from hygiene appointments.

Profit Margins Should Be Between 40 And 50 Percent

As you start digging into the numbers more understand that the amount of overhead the practice has is a number to keep an eye on as it directly impacts the business’s profits. A highly profitable practice will realize 40 to 50 percent profit margins. You will find some hanging around the 30 percent range and when that is the case the office is usually functioning inefficiently in an area that is causing margins to shrink.

Look For A Dental Practice With A Good Customer Retention Program

As I mentioned it takes about 1,400 patients to employ a full-time dentist. With that said, finding a practice that has a good customer retention program in place is important. Effective customer retention programs will help keep your marketing expenses in check.

Ancillary Services Can Add Significant Income

Many dental practices now offer ancillary services like teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures. While practices that only offer specialty services like oral surgery or cosmetic procedures are often more difficult to sell, which you’ll want to keep in mind for your exit strategy, finding a general dentistry practice that offers additional services can add significant income to your bottom line. Before viewing ancillary services as a selling feature, do a thorough evaluation to ensure that the expenses associated with offering these services is not costing the practice more than they are worth.

Financing To Buy A Dental Practice Is Available

While there are some industries that struggle to find financing because of the risk associated with their business, the dental industry is not one of them. A dental practice is typically seen as a low risk business and as a result I have seen banks offer 100 percent financing for the purchase price plus working capital for 7 to 10 years. Seller financing is also very common when it comes to buying a dental practice.

For Buyers And Sellers Of California Dental Practices - Find The Best Info Below:

To View All Dental Practices For Sale/Wanted: All California Dental Offices Practices For Sale & Wanted To Buy

Find A Dental Practice Brokers Or Agents Go To: All California Professional Dental Practice Brokers And Agents

To Sell A Dental Practice In California - Go To: Sell A California Dental Practice

Dental Practices Resources To Buy Or Sell A Restaurant - Go To: Dental Office Advisors, Due Diligence, Financing, etc

Find Financing To Buy Dental Practices - Go To: Dental Practice Financing For Buyers - Get Pre-Qualified

How To Buy & Sell Dental Practice Business - Go To: Dental Office Practices - Strategies, Good Tips, etc. - Articles & Blogs

Peter Siegel, MBAAbout This Author: Peter Siegel, MBA (Business Purchase Financing Expert, ProBuy & ProSell Program Advisor) at BizBen (started in 1994, 8000+ California businesses for sale, 500 new & refreshed postings/posts daily) working with business buyers, business owners/sellers, brokers, agents, investors, & advisors). Phone him at 866-270-6278 to discuss strategies regarding buying, selling, (or financing a puchase of) California small to mid-sized Dental Practice businesses.


Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Buying A Business



  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists

PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.

Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.

Rick Carlson, Business Broker - Southern California

You Will Never Feel Lost In The Shuffle. Many Brokers Simply Send Out An NDA And That's The End Of Communication. All Buyers Receive A Personal Meeting With An Ace Acquisition Specialist So They Can Recommend The Perfect Business For You. Phone Rick direct at 800-985-4939.

Michael Floorman, Business Broker, BTI, San Francisco Bay Area

Business Team, San Jose (Campbell) located in the Pruneyard Towers at Bascom and Hamilton. Established in 1981 Business Team with over 6600 sales to date has 1000 business listings to choose from, paid Google advertising. We offer highly trained and experienced professionals.

Bob Baumgarten, Business Broker: Orange, LA Counties

National Business Brokerage is a full service brokerage company that has been serving buyers and sellers of Southern California businesses since 1994. We are dedicated to providing the highest standards of professional service for our clients. Phone Bob direct at 949-588-8727.

Mani Singh, Business Broker, Inland Empire

I have successfully represented clients sell & acquire multitude of businesses ranging from Gas Stations, Liquor Stores, Markets, Super Markets, Smoke Shops, Postal Stores, Restaurants, General Retail, Auto and Construction related. Phone me for assistance with selling or buying at 951-296-7646 Cell

Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.


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