Easy answer: Ask someone you trust.
Dentists begin the process any number of ways. Some start with equipment vendors. Others look for rental space or contact dental office brokers seeking to purchase a fully functioning dental office. But at some point, the question emerges:
Do I want to start from scratch or purchase an existing practice?
There are no wrong answers to this question. Practices, like real estate, are valued by the market. There are times (if prices and demand are low) when there’s no question that purchasing a practice is the right solution. In the last year, most of our clients sifted through every dental practice on the market and felt the existing inventory was picked over. If that’s the case, then you have two options: wait until the market changes or start your own practice. If you’re to the point that you’re ready to start your own practice from scratch.
Where do I begin?
If you’re early in the process, you may not yet realize that real estate is just the tip of the spear. Dentists need a solid team to aid in the daunting process of starting their own practice. The team should include:
- An equipment vendor; in the Atlanta Market we have partnered with Henry Schein, Benco, Patterson or Atlanta Dental
- An office designer; the equipment people can serve this need but we also recommend Peacock
- A lawyer; we suggest the use of an attorney who specializes in real estate to review all legal documents
- A dental consultant; McIntyre & Associates and Larry M. Guzzardo are two great local consultants
- A finance company or bank; Affinity Bank and Bank of America have excellent solutions tailored for dentists
- Contractors, technology firms, data providers, etc.
But none of these can get very far without the identification of real estate.
If you live in a market that supports dental-focused commercial real estate brokers (like us in Atlanta), an experienced real estate broker will have a network of providers to guide you through the process. Even if that option is not available to you, it still benefits you to find an experienced broker who will advocate on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. When seeking such a broker, look for a broker who:
- Focuses exclusively on commercial real estate
- Works exclusively with dentists
- Has represented other dentists you know
Some markets may have only two of the above, but I’ll bet you can find at least one of the above requirements in any market. The experience of a commercial, dental focused and trusted broker combined, offers a professional with whom you can go into battle.
From here, the paths toward practice ownership are legion. But with a good foundational team, in place from the beginning, you’ll have the guaranteed support you need to make the best decision should any trouble arise.
To read the entire post and learn how to start a dental practice in Atlanta, click here.