Buy an Existing Practice or Build a New One?
We speak with hundreds of practice buyers each year. Many are looking for that gem of a practice in their desired area; a practice with new or newer equipment, digital technology, great location, recently remodeled, etc. Oftentimes, that practice either doesn’t exist; or if it does exist, it’s not for sale. So what’s a buyer to do – buy an existing practice or build one?
Omni is a rare breed in the practice broker world. We not only provide practice transition and valuation services for dentists – both buyers and sellers – we are also experts in helping dentists with their real estate needs. We are often asked in seminars, at conferences, or over the phone, “Should I buy an existing practice, or do a startup?” I often suggest that dentists spend some time looking for a practice in their desired location. If they can’t find one, they should consider starting a practice, especially if the doctor is 100% certain of the area in which they want to practice.
I recommend that dentists do a bit of demographic analysis on the locale. See how many dentists are currently practicing in the area. A good ratio is 2,000 daytime population for each doctor. There is a difference between the daytime population and the regular population. The daytime population includes the workforce. For example, if you look at the population of South Lake Union during the day vs. the nighttime population, you would see a big difference. Another demographic to pay attention to is the age of the population. For a general practice, a good mix of young and old is best. If you want a high cosmetic practice, but the average age is 28, you might need to consider another area. Homeownership is another good indicator of practice success. You want to have more homeowners than apartment renters. You can obtain detailed demographics either through a company that will charge a fee and provides data such as the average annual dollar amount spent on dentistry per person within a zip code and other more granular items. Or, Omni has information that we can provide.
If you perform the necessary research and find that opening a new practice in the area you like makes sense based on the numbers, we suggest that you go for it. We have helped many dentists over the years do demographic research, find a space, and negotiate a lease. Steve Kikikis is our go-to person for real estate leasing and sales. You can reach out to Steve anytime for help on whether you should buy an existing practice or build one by sending him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.