After many years of hard work, your day has finally come. You are about to open up your dental practice. It’s an exciting time for you and everyone else involved in making it happen. However, several things need to be done before the doors can officially open. Here is a list of nine things that absolutely must be completed before opening your dental practice:
1. Building Requirements
The biggest roadblock to opening dental practice is meeting all the requirements set out by your state and local regulatory bodies. Fulfilling these criteria will involve several steps, such as working closely with architects and engineers during the early stages of planning, complying with zoning restrictions and ordinances (such as parking and signage), and ensuring the building incorporates state compliant ADA signs.
To meet all the requirements, you will have to hire a local professional to help with the process. When hiring the expert, make sure that they are not currently employed by any of the other dentists you are considering working with (for example, find someone who is not an employee at the dental office where you plan to rent space). In addition, you will want to choose a professional who has experience dealing with your particular state and local regulatory agencies.
Before opening a dental practice, you will want to purchase several signs. While it may seem trivial, signage is vital to bringing in patients and growing your business. Experts consider signage the welcoming committee for your office because it introduces you and your practice to potential patients. Signage can be as simple as a utility sign with your company’s name on it, but you’ll also want to think about more visible signs, like commercial digital signage. For example, if your practice is located in an area with no street signs for businesses, consider making or buying one with your name on it so people can better find your office.
You’ll also want to consider putting up signs that let customers know you accept their insurance since this is another way to feel comfortable coming in and getting the care they need. Signage design is very important because it’s the thing that will attract patients to your practice when they pass by it. Customers want to see your signs when they drive by, so choose something that stands out and is easy to read. Finally, consider letting a professional marketing company design your signage, so you don’t need to do it all on your own.
3. Plan for All Emergencies
Emergency protocols are necessary when opening dental practice because they will help save the patient’s life, protect your practice, and comfort patients during an emergency. When establishing your plan, consider the following. First, if the non-dental emergency requires immediate attention, who drives the patient to the urgent care unit, and what information goes with them? Second, will you see patients on a walk-in basis or only pre-scheduled appointments? Third, establish a standard for which emergencies you’ll accept and which ones you won’t. This helps you maintain your normal schedule while providing necessary emergency treatments. Fourth, establish a high enough fee to compensate for the emergency but low enough to discourage patients from seeking treatment. Fifth, decide whether you’ll schedule appointments for emergencies on weekends and holidays or only during regular office hours. Finally, what steps do you follow if a patient doesn’t have insurance?
If no emergency protocol has been established, consider these suggestions. First, make sure you won’t be neglecting patients who need dental treatment but can’t afford it. Second, be sure your colleagues and family know what to do if they’re ever contacted about a dental emergency, and you’re unavailable. Finally, put together a plan of action that helps the patient find emergency treatment, even if they can’t afford it. It helps keep your practice profitable during the first weeks of opening.
4. Interior Design
There are two types of dental offices: general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic practices usually have a separate interior design for children, teenagers, or adults. It often varies what type of people will be coming into your office on any given day, so it’s important to learn some basic tips about interior designing for opening a dental practice. You want to keep your environment warm and welcoming, but it should also be sophisticated. Your furniture should match this theme to create the right atmosphere. Most dentists use oak accents for their offices because they are durable; the oak color goes well with any other décor material you may use. A dental office needs durable chairs because people sit in them during the entire duration of their visit. Please make sure they are comfortable and ergonomically correct, with armrests that can be adjusted to fit any size person.
While you want your office to look professional, it’s also important to feel relaxed. You will spend a lot of time with your patients, so it is essential for everyone to feel comfortable. You should adjust the lighting and temperature to fit your patients’ needs. When it comes time for you to design your office, make sure you work with a company that specializes in medical interior design. This way, they will help you choose the best commercial glass for your office and other things you will need for your decor. You can research different companies online or ask around for recommendations from other dentists.
5. Develop a Strategy to Manage Your Finance
In the first year of owning a dental practice, it isn’t easy to focus on everything you should. Managing finances should be at the top of your priority list. This makes sense because you cannot run a business if you do not have money. It would help if you had cash to make money. If your business is not making enough money to sustain itself, you will soon close. For this reason, it is wise to create a plan to manage finance as a thing to accomplish before opening a dental practice. Create a budget and stick with it. It is the first step towards managing finances.
A budget gives you a basic guideline of how much money you should be charging for certain jobs, the tax planning measures to take, and raises questions that need answers before you open your dental practice. For example, how much should you charge for a filling? How much will overhead cost? These questions can be answered when creating a budget for managing finance in the first year of owning a dental practice. Once this is done, you then have to create financial goals. Since you have numbers from your budget, you can set goals on whether or not your dental practice will meet these financial goals. If it does not, what can you do to change that? These goals should be achievable and followed by adding a time frame in which you want them achieved.
6. Identifying All Building-Related Issues
If you have ever owned a house, chances are you had to deal with some issue that required time and money to correct. Whether it was a small item such as doors that wouldn’t open or close just right or large items such as HVAC systems requiring ac repairs, there were likely some delays before you could move in. Your practice is the same way. You need to take much more than just a few steps to complete all of the dental-specific items you need to do before opening your practice. The last thing you want is an issue that will cause stress, delay, or additional expense after seeing patients.
The three most common mistakes made when opening dental practice are not doing enough work to complete all of the tasks before opening, hiring an unsatisfactory contractor, or working with a general contractor who has little knowledge about dentistry. If you haven’t started on everything that needs to be completed before your planned opening day, you must do so before having an inconvenience or issue. Take the time to identify all of the building-related tasks that you need to complete, including at least one day before your opening. You may need to hire a professional to help you finish some of the items, but make sure you have a list and timeline of what needs to be done before opening your doors.
7. Establish a Cleaning Routine
You need to develop a cleaning routine before opening a dental practice. Every professional with an occupation that entails lots of dirt must also have a cleaning routine. If they don’t, they will not be working in a healthy environment, making it impossible to do their jobs. As a dentist, you need to follow the same steps so that your office will be clean and safe. Some of the necessary things you need to organize before opening your dental practice include cleaning supplies for each action, paper towels or disposable washcloths, and a water source if not already available in the room itself. You will also require disinfectants (antiseptics) for surfaces that clients frequently touch, pest control treatment after some time, and the right personal protective equipment (PPE).
8. Consider Renovating the Business Space
When you are opening a new dental practice or relocating to a new space due to eminent domain law, renovation is one of the first things that come to mind. Take a look at the following tips to see how you can start this process. The first thing on your list should be to research the design and layout of your dental office. This is important because it will help you determine what kind of equipment, staff, and supplies you need to make this happen. If your dental practice is currently located in a too-small space or does not include the necessary equipment and supplies, it may be time to consider moving offices. In addition, ensure that your renovations work within your budget. While you need to renovate to attract new customers and patients, you also want to make sure that you don’t spend more than you can afford. Lastly, the most important part of renovating your space is making sure that you and your employees love working there. If you aren’t happy with your new office space, it’s unlikely that your patients will be satisfied either.
Renovating your dental space will ensure you have a beautiful, functional office space before starting your dental practice. It will also increase the value of your property from your commercial appraiser when the time comes for you to sell the place. Remember to consider many different aspects when renovating, including the layout and design of the space and what equipment is needed for efficient operation. Also, remember that you need to consult with other dentists to get advice about designing the business space.
9. Obtain Insurance for Your Business
Start-up dental practitioners should obtain appropriate insurance before opening a dental practice. Insurance is a financial product that helps protect individuals from unforeseen negative events. You have access to professional liability insurance and property damage coverage by paying a monthly premium should the unexpected occur. It will help cover expenses such as legal fees, court costs, and personal injury claims resulting from a lawsuit. There are two types of insurance necessary for a start-up dental practice: professional liability and property damage insurance.
Professional liability insurance coverage provides the business, its owner, and staff members with financial protection from lawsuits arising from malpractice or negligent acts. For example, if you were to break a patient’s tooth during a procedure accidentally, the cost of repairing that person’s smile would be covered by this type of insurance. If you did not properly disclose a patient’s medical history, you could be held liable for injuries sustained from subsequent infections or diseases caused by said neglect. Property damage coverage will help pay for any damages that may occur during normal business hours, such as broken equipment and other property losses. Many insurance companies offer standard policies covering the average dentist. You can also shop around for customized plans to suit your practice’s specific needs and budget. As you can see, there are quite a few things to do for a new opening dental practice. If possible, try to have most of this done before you open up shop so that you can focus on doing what’s important, providing excellent patient care. Your patients will appreciate you for all your hard work.