The First 4 Steps to Take When Opening a Second Practice

The First 4 Steps to Take When Opening a Second Practice

So, you’ve made the big decision to open a second practice. Congratulations! If you’re still contemplating the idea, we wrote another blog post that might help with your decision. Here are a few of the first steps to take when opening a second practice.

Step One: Find the Perfect Office

This is probably something you’ve already thought about. The need for an office in a certain location often motivates dentists to open a second practice. However, nailing down the exact property and taking steps to purchase it needs to happen first! After all, there is no second practice without a location. Depending on your goals and financial situation, this step could take a while.

Do you plan to borrow money to fund construction and outfitting? You’ll need to account for the time it might take for you to schedule interviews and meetings with loan officers around your dentistry work. And when working with a bank, you might be waiting on that loan approval and the subsequent cash for a while.

The other major consideration here is your approach. Will you build new or outfit an existing space? Each method has its unique challenges. But building a new office will probably take longer and require more of your attention each step of the way.

Step Two: Hire an Associate Dentist or Two

Realistically, you aren’t going to be able to run multiple practice locations on your own. That means that once you have a firm idea of the where and how, your next move is to seek out associate dentists to partner with you.

Dental Entrepreneur Organization (DEO) has published a great resource on how you can go about finding associate dentists for hire. One of the key takeaways is this: networking. Let your existing team members know what you’re looking for and peruse LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in some fresh faces, reach out to the administration at regional dental schools. They can likely guide you to a recruiting event or even to specific candidates they would recommend for you.

Step Three: Build Out Your Team of Hygienists

This is no small task.

In our post How to Know if Your Practice is Ready for Growth, we talked about the nationwide shortage of dental hygiene faculty.

In the U.S., the dental profession hasn’t built up enough opportunities for higher education in this field. Thus, you and every dentist you know has probably lived through the frustration of being short-staffed.

When opening a second practice, moving too fast to open before you have a solid team in place could be detrimental to its success. You need to balance an expensive second lease with patient appointments and incoming revenue. That can’t happen if you don’t have the staff of hygienists to work with those patients.

Step Four: Establish a Dental Membership Plan

With a dental membership plan, your patients sign up for a subscription where they pay a set monthly or annual fee. In return, they receive the services and other benefits you’ve decided to include. For example, two cleanings for the year and a discount on other procedures.

The reason dental membership plans are so relevant to dentists looking to expand their practice’s footprint is in the potential for consistent, recurring revenue.

When you open a second practice, you are opening up exciting financial opportunities. But initially, you’re taking on financial strain to do that. The upfront investment is steep, including an additional lease, costs to outfit the building with equipment, and paychecks for your team before you really start to turn a profit.

You can see why many dentist entrepreneurs choose to take out smartly situated loans. But even so, you want to stabilize your books as quickly as possible.

Enter, dental membership plans.

Since your patients will be charged regularly, with their appointment schedule being separate from payments, you will have a steady stream of income. This applies even if patients cancel or reschedule a few times. That recurring income is always beneficial, but when you’re first starting out at a new second practice, it can be a lifesaver.

And, if you work with a third-party software provider like DentalHQ, you can further optimize the financial benefits of your dental membership plan. We input your subscribed patients into a system that automatically sends them their monthly or annual bill. This saves your team time and, by extension, allows them to focus more on marketing efforts (essential for your new location).

So, let’s recap your recipe for success when opening a second practice:

  1. Find the Perfect Office
  2. Hire an Associate Dentist or Two
  3. Build Out Your Team of Hygienists
  4. Establish a Dental Membership Plan

Take these first four steps, and enjoy watching your new practice grow and thrive.

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