Are you an orthodontist looking to start a new orthodontic treatment office? Opening a new practice can be an exciting opportunity. However, it also comes with several challenges. For example, according to Orthotown Magazine, orthodontic practice overhead costs have risen by around 10% in the past few years. Fortunately, with the proper knowledge, you can easily navigate these challenges and successfully start and grow your orthodontic practice. So, if you’re looking to open an orthodontist office, below are some top things you should consider that can guarantee your success.
1. Make a Plan
An orthodontic practice is a business. And according to Growthink.com, as many as 80% of businesses fail within the first few years, primarily due to poor planning. Therefore, if you’re looking to start a new orthodontic treatment office, a plan is one of the most essential items you need.
You need to consider several things if you want to make an effective plan for your new orthodontic practice. For example, you must decide on the type of services you want to offer, including braces, aligners, headgear, teeth extraction, retainers, and other procedures to offer your clients straight teeth. Next, you need to identify your target audience, for example, children, teens, older adults, or all of them.
You must also consider the financial element when creating a plan for your new orthodontic practice. For example, you must raise the funds for the initial capital investment. You must also create a robust budget to ensure your office can cover the overhead expenses until revenue starts streaming in. And lastly, for a comprehensive plan, you must also develop a marketing strategy, recruitment & training plan, growth strategy, and expansion plan.
2. Choose a Good Location
According to the Bank of America, location is one of the most important decisions when starting a new orthodontic treatment office. This is because the location influences other factors such as the type of business you can set up, customer access, expansion possibilities, competition, etc. Therefore, you must choose a suitable location if you want your orthodontic practice to be successful.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a location for your new orthodontist office. One of the most essential ones is proximity to your target customer market. On top of that, you must ensure that the office is visible, for example, close to foot traffic, which can help you target more clients.
Space is another vital factor when choosing an office location for your orthodontic practice. The office should have enough interior and exterior space to meet your business’s current and future needs (if you plan on expanding). Lastly, before you decide on an office location, ensure that other nearby businesses are compatible with your practice. For example, you don’t want to set up shop close to other competitors or businesses like clubs that can drive some of your potential customers away.
3. Take Care of the Legal Aspects
Legal elements are another vital consideration when opening a new orthodontic treatment office. And there are several legal aspects to consider, starting with the required business licenses you must acquire from local authorities. In addition, you might also need building permits, especially if you are planning on new construction or significant renovations before opening your office.
Besides licenses from the local authorities, you’ll also need to acquire a license from the state dentistry board before you can begin seeing patients. In addition, according to the American Dental Association, you might have to register with the DEA to prescribe controlled medication. Lastly, you must meet other legal requirements, like registering your business name, choosing the business entity you want to operate, fulfilling tax obligations, etc.
Of course, the legal aspects of starting an orthodontic practice can be complex and overwhelming. Therefore, hiring lawyers to assist you with these processes might be a good idea. And as a bonus, a good lawyer can offer you essential legal advice that can help you avoid legal pitfalls that can land you in trouble or cause your business to encounter several challenges down the line.
4. Get Your Office Ready for Opening
Unless you’re purchasing an already existing orthodontic clinic, the office space you choose won’t be ready for operation. Therefore, you must invest in various services to prepare your dental office for opening. This will ensure you have a well-organized and nice-looking office space.
One of the top ways you can get your office ready for opening is by hiring a remodeling contractor to fix any issues with your orthodontic treatment office or make necessary improvements. For example, you might need to repaint your office, update the flooring, and renovate the roof. In addition, you should invest in quality lighting to improve the visibility of your dental clinic and create a positive ambiance for the staff and your clients.
Another way to get your orthodontic clinic ready for opening is by improving the organization of your dental office. For example, you can hire contractors to create an efficient layout, thus creating a clean workspace that fosters productivity. Or you can research and purchase the best cabinets that will improve the storage space in the office, thus reducing clutter and preventing a disorganized appearance.
Lastly, when getting your office ready for opening, you must invest in client comfort. For example, you should create a comfortable and appealing reception area where patients can relax while waiting for their appointment. You can also invest in a music system or other entertainment, like TVs in the treatment rooms, to help relax clients with dental anxiety.
5. Install Utilities
Utilities are another vital consideration when opening a new orthodontic treatment office. First, utilities will help ensure your dental clinic runs smoothly and efficiently. Secondly, depending on your location, some utilities might be a prerequisite for acquiring the permits and licenses you need to operate your business.
One of the essential utilities you need for your orthodontic practice is water. For example, you need water to clean your office, for drinking (staff and clients), the washrooms, and even in treatment rooms. Therefore, you must hire plumbing services to install the necessary water utility systems and fixtures in your dental office.
Besides water, electricity is another vital utility for running your orthodontic practice. Therefore, you need to hire reliable electrical services, for example, to install an efficient lighting system. You’ll also need a professional electrical contractor to update your electrical system and install vital dental equipment that operates on electricity.
When investing in utilities, you must also consider waste management. For example, you should ensure your dental office is connected to a well-functioning sewage system. On top of that, you should invest in a good waste management program for disposing of all the rubbish generated by your office and, more specifically, the hazardous waste generated in the treatment rooms.
6. Purchase Essential Equipment
Equipment is another vital factor when setting up a new orthodontic treatment office. Without the right equipment, your staff will have difficulty catering to the patient’s needs, leading to poor customer satisfaction. Therefore, if you want your new dental clinic to be successful, you must invest in quality equipment.
Of course, when considering equipment, you should start with dental equipment. And according to NS Medical Devices, you should invest in the latest dental equipment if you want to offer high-quality services to your clients. So, depending on the services you plan to offer, you should purchase tools and supplies like braces, retainers, archwires, headgear, orthodontic adhesives, x-ray machines, dental chairs, intraoral cameras, dental lights, sterilization tools, etc. Other vital dental tools and equipment you should invest in include scissors, dental mirrors, pliers, scalers, masks, and gloves.
Besides dental equipment, you must also invest in other essential office equipment. For example, you need computers, furniture, copiers, printers, filing cabinets, telephones, and IT systems to run your dental office efficiently. In addition, you need other essential equipment like an HVAC system to keep your office comfortable, air purifiers to clean the air, and a water treatment system to purify your water supply.
7. Enhance Your Office’s Curb Appeal
According to Startup Magazine, curb appeal is vital to a business, as it helps to promote a positive business image. And for a dental clinic, good curb appeal can keep your existing customers happy while allowing you to attract more clients. Therefore, curb appeal is another crucial consideration when starting a new orthodontic treatment office.
You can improve your orthodontic clinic’s curb appeal in several ways. For example, you can start by giving your dental office a fresh coat of paint, investing in new siding material, or pressure washing the exterior walls and windows. You can also improve your office’s exterior looks by installing or updating the front sign, which will also have the bonus of capturing the attention of passersby and attracting potential customers.
The parking lot is another essential feature that can help to boost your office’s curb appeal. A shiny-looking, well-marked parking lot will radiate a positive business image that makes your customers feel safe and welcome. In addition, having a spacious parking lot in top condition will significantly improve your customer’s convenience and, consequently, their experience. Therefore, before opening your office, you should hire parking lot contractors to build, repair, renovate, or update your dental office’s parking lot (and other exterior surfaces like walkways).
8. Hire Employees for Your Office
According to a 2021 report by the American Dental Association, around 46% of dental professionals were at risk of depression, while another 84% suffered from pain and discomfort while at work. Some of these issues can be attributed to burnout resulting from a heavy workload. Therefore, when planning to open a new orthodontic treatment, you should avoid such pitfalls by recruiting the necessary staff to help you run your practice.
When recruiting employees, you’ll need capable professionals to care for your patients. Depending on the services you plan to offer, this can include dental assistants, dental technicians, dental hygienists, and a medical billing expert. Of course, you can also hire orthodontic specialists to share your workload, especially if you expect a high patient flow.
Besides the dental services staff, you also need employees to help you run other aspects of your orthodontic clinic. For example, you need capable front office staff to welcome the patients, schedule appointments, answer the phone, and handle other office tasks. You can also hire an office manager to assist in efficiently running the dental office. And lastly, you can recruit professionals like an accountant, a marketer, and an IT expert to handle specialized aspects of your dental practice business.
9. Market Your New Practice
Like any other business, you need to attract new customers if you want your orthodontic practice to sustain itself and grow in the long run. And the only way you can do this is through a good marketing strategy. Therefore, marketing is another top item to consider when setting up a new orthodontic treatment office.
Fortunately, there are several marketing techniques that you can use to promote and generate many customers for your orthodontic clinic. Starting with the most basic, you should invest in quality signage to capture the attention of potential customers passing near your dental office. You can also target your local client base through referral programs, advertising in local news outlets, handing out fliers, volunteering at local events, and directory listings.
Investing in digital marketing channels is another excellent idea for marketing your orthodontic practice. For example, you can create a business website, increasing your dental office’s online visibility and reach. Other top ideas include social media marketing, creating a Google business profile, email marketing, click-to-pay ads, etc. In addition, hire a dedicated marketing professional or outsource the marketing responsibilities to an advertising agency, guaranteeing even more robust results.
Launching a new orthodontic treatment office can be an overwhelming experience if you don’t have the proper knowledge. On top of that, running your new dental clinic can be challenging, especially when mistakes can quickly lead to business failure. Fortunately, with the above tips and tricks, you can have all your bases covered when opening your dental office, thus guaranteeing a successful start.