26 Sep 2019  •  Buying and selling a dental practice  •  5min read

Stick or twist? Why buying additional practices could be your best move

Have you always dreamed of running multiple dental practices, or perhaps you’ve come across an opportunity that is too good to pass up?

Some people are naturally entrepreneurial – they typically identify potential in everything and possess the tenacity to accomplish their goals.

In contrast, others are more cautious and prefer to only take carefully, calculated risks.

Whichever bracket you may fall into, in a competitive dental sector there is space for both approaches. The million dollar question is, which direction do you want to travel in?

The corporate dental market can range from a dentist running two or more independently owned practices to large, established chains operating 500 practices or more.

Distinctions between corporate practices and independent groups are becoming less apparent. Both business models recognise that implementing uniformed systems and processes can develop profitable practices providing outstanding patient care.

If you’re seriously considering increasing the number of practices you own you will be faced with a variety of challenges.

For starters, from a time management and business continuity aspect, how will your second practice complement or affect the first?

What will be the impact of you flitting between both practices and do you have the necessary skillset to combine managing additional staff in conjunction with running marketing campaigns and taking on new patients?

Before taking a quantum leap, think about how stable and secure your existing practice is and whether the structure will allow you, at least in the early days, to split your time, between the two practices.

“Whatever your main drivers are, create a short, medium and long-term business plan with cash flow forecasts to ensure both practices thrive.”

Whether your new practice has a manager or is associate run may impact this, so evaluate whether you’ll be able to share staff between the two if they’re located in relatively close proximity to each other.

There are some notable advantages to expanding your dental practice portfolio. If one offers different services or specialisms to the other you may be able to refer patients between the two practices.

Or perhaps your first practice has reached maximum capacity and there is a business necessity for you to purchase an additional practice to keep up with demand.

Whatever your main drivers are, create a short, medium and long-term business plan with cash flow forecasts to ensure both practices thrive.

“If seeking finance, evaluate all of the funding options that are available to you which can offer a range of flexible products to meet your needs.”

Ultimately, your costs and investment opportunities will be influenced by your goals for each practice you purchase and whether you have the necessary finance in place to grow.

Think about whether you need to refurbish and create additional surgeries, recruit new staff or increase your marketing spend.

If seeking finance, evaluate all of the funding options that are available to you which can offer a range of flexible products to meet your needs.

Some specialist dental financial providers will allow you to use the equity you have built up in your existing practice to place less of a strain on your cash flow when you come to purchase your second business.

Running an expanding dental business portfolio isn’t for everyone and only you know whether you wish to ‘stick’ or ‘twist’.

However, with the right financial backing you may be able to buy additional practices much sooner than you anticipated and can begin to build the corporate dental business of your dreams.

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