Buy the Practice YOU Want | Urban vs Rural Dental Practice Purchase

Q: Should I buy an urban or rural dental practice?

A: While the conventional wisdom out there says “go rural,” my first question is: “What do YOU want to buy?” While there is no right or wrong answer, I can help you think through the options and implications so you can make the right choice for you.

Ultimately, though, it’s about what will make you and your family happiest. Either way, there are some considerations to keep in mind. 

Rural Considerations

Common Concerns:

There are many people who think rural practices are technically and clinically out-dated. Potential buyers have also expressed concerns regarding how they’ll be received as the new owner.

Just remember: These concerns may be true for some rural offices out there, but that can be equally true for an office in the heart of any given city. 

Another concern is often how these practices are performing post-pandemic. 

Data released by the ADA shows that as of February 2021, rural dental practices had recovered an average of 84% of their pre-COVID patient volume.

Potential Pros:

Along with the cost of living, staff wages and  real estate costs are often much lower than their metropolitan counterparts (especially if the facility is purchased). These lower expenses mean lower overhead and higher profitability.

(Plus, they often have higher roadside visibility.)

Keep in mind that because of the higher profitability, they can sometimes come with a higher price tag. 

Urban Considerations

Much of what has been said about rural offices can just be the inverse for urban practices, like higher cost of living or higher rent,

One main consideration here though is the competition.  

In urban practices, you’re more likely to be another fish swimming in the pond. You can get bigger than the others if you make sure to be the first to eat whatever pond fish eat, but that will require more effort than just having food thrown your way by a kid on the bank. 

Bottom line is that there are successful practices in both rural and urban areas. You just need to decide what suits your lifestyle and your clinical goals.

  1. Understanding the Asking Price – Is It a Good Practice to Buy?
  2. Yes, It’s Okay if the Practice You Buy Is Close to 5 Others (or 10) — Here’s Why

3. Why Demographics Is the Least and Most Important Thing to Consider