Should I buy a dental practice or begin a startup? | Evaluating a Dental Practice to Buy

Q: Should I buy a dental practice or begin a startup?

A: For the vast majority of dentists purchasing an existing practice is easier, faster, less risky, and at least as rewarding as going the startup route. 

Now, my purpose here is not to completely poo-poo the idea of startup practices. Sometimes doing a startup is a great option. But there are three very common myths circulating about the [false] “cons” of buying an existing office. I want to dispel these myths and break them down for you based on my years of experience.  

Myth #1 – It’s too tough to change the culture

Building a culture from scratch is as difficult — or more! — as inserting yourself into an existing culture. The thing is, every practice needs the same things from its employees: it needs them to be capable, knowledgeable, and personable. Think it’s going to be easier to build that kind of staff than to find it? If so, you’re wrong.

Myth #2 – You won’t have your dream practice

The gist of the complaint here is that if you buy a practice, you’ll have to compromise on things like floor plan, equipment, decorations, etc. If you build a practice, though, you can get everything just the way you want it.

Buying an existing practice comes with compromise, yes. But just like building a practice from scratch, you’ll find yourself crafting your dream practice over time, not necessarily on day one.

Myth #3 – You’ll be less satisfied

This myth says that buying is easier than building, and that there’s more satisfaction in going the tougher route.


There is real satisfaction to be had from building a practice from scratch. But to pretend that at the end of a successful career, there isn’t as much satisfaction to be had from buying a practice and turning it into your ideal practice over the years? Lunacy.

There is no “one size fits all” answer. But pursuing ownership through the purchase of an existing practice is generally “one size fits most.”