Are you ready to buy a practice? Setting Your Personal Goals
Are you ready to buy a dental practice? There are many factors that play a role in this important decision: personal, financial, and clinical. This post will focus on the personal aspects of deciding whether to purchase a dental practice.
Buying a dental practice is similar to buying a house.
In many cases, it makes sense to start out by renting. Maybe you’re not sure that this is the right location for you and your family. Or maybe you want the option to factor a partner, spouse, or child into the equation down the line. You might not be sure how much space you need or how much yard you need.
In the same way, starting out as an associate can help you advance your career without committing to any single location or practice style. You can develop your clinical speed, explore different practice environments, and pick up some business and management skills.
However, just as with buying a house, there are some long-term advantages to dental practice ownership.
Schedule Flexibility: The ability to control your own schedule. As a practice owner, you can dictate the pace of the schedule in the office, the days and times you work, and the vacation you can take.
Treatment Plan Autonomy: The ability to control your own treatment plans, and actually complete the dentistry you diagnose. Many associates are given the smaller or less interesting cases by the senior doctor or clinic owner.
Work with People You Like: The ability to choose your own team. Some associates have to work with the less skilled assistants in the office, and once in a while team members can have bad attitudes towards you while at the same time being the owner’s close friend or relative.
Job Security: When you’re the boss, the practice success is up to you, and no one can fire you.
Tax Advantages: Practice ownership offers the ability to tax advantage income and write off expenses. There are many tax benefits to owning your own practice, but there are responsibilities that go along with that, like payroll taxes, etc.
Long-Term Relationships with Patients: The ability to build long-term relationships with the people in your community. When I was practicing, many of my patients became personal friends.
Earning Potential: Practice ownership offers considerably more income potential for the same work.
Long-Term Investments: The ability to build equity in a practice that you can sell in the future. Even with modest growth over your entire career, you could end up using your practice sale to fund a portion of your retirement.
If you’re not ready for a long-term commitment, working as an associate may be the right thing to do, just like renting is sometimes the best option. In fact, buying a practice is often a longer-term commitment than buying a house.
Consider these advantages and weigh them against the flexibility and learning environment of working as an associate. If you have a spouse or partner, discuss it with them. Think about the direction you want your life to head and the kind of impact you would like your life to make.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer here – it depends on you and your personal goals.
Questions to ask yourself:
Are you ready to commit to one location for the long term?
Are you tired of having someone else control your schedule?
Are you ready to take full control of your treatment plans?